This was a response I had written over at comicbookmovies.com in reference to the news that the new Watchmen movie will not have the original squid finish. What I think irked me most is the usual fanboy retort of “If you go see this movie you are not a real Watchmen fan.” After the years of promoting this book to friends and family and the in-dept discussions I’ve had about it, I take a statement like that a wee bit personal.
Since this was originally a comment post, please forgive the short almost fragmented style. I wanted to go directly from one point to the next.
In a word, does the squid matter?
In quite a few words, the importance of the squid is the moral ambiguity in enacting, or keeping the secret of an act that is 1000 times greater than 9/11, however, its purpose is to end terrorism rather than perpetuate it.
For us fans of works as complex as Alan Moore’s, it requires the act be so outrageous, so incomprehensible, that we can actually believe it would be enough to subdue the endless tensions between nations.
As such; possibility of generic nuclear holocaust: boring. Giant genetically engineered psychic alien squid being teleported into New York City killing 3 million people and driving countless others insane: WINNER!
No offense to the intelligence of the general movie going audience, but it just doesn’t take a lot to give them their jollies.
As long as the ending can make the audience question the fact we take the black and white, right or wrong, everyday moral simplicity for granted. Then, for me at least, it will accomplish what it was meant to.
Will I still miss the squid? Of course. Do I think it should still have the squid? Most definitely! Is there a reason Alan Moore refuses to be associated with the alternate mediums of his work? Obviously. Will I still go see the movie? You bet.
Does this mean I’m not a “real fan”? If not, then I’m really good at pretending, considering I’ve promoted the story to countless people. If only, so we can discuss the philosophical implications made throughout.
I don’t think it reduces my “fan status” of the Watchmen. It just means I don’t agree with the “it’s not exactly what I wanted so I’m just gonna take my toys home so no one can play” mentality.
In the end, I see no reason why the movie may not be considered an alternate to the known Watchmen universe (ala retcon). Rewrites are commonly accepted in comic story lines, for better or for worse. To deny this movie at least that much would be to deny the very origins of our precious Watchmen. Especially considering the original concept was to be a more “real” and dramatic variation on the Charlton Comics Action Heroes. DC Comics just didn’t like the idea of Alan Moore getting the collective hands of their Silver Age icons dirty, so new characters were used.