The Graphic Novel
In 2005 the ultimate accolade for the comic adaption of "Watchmen" took place when it was affiliated in the Top-100 of the “Best English Novels since 1923” of the TIME-Magazine by the famous literary critics Grossman & Lacayo. Since then it is mentioned in the same breath as classics like "1984", "Lord of the Rings" or "Slaughterhouse-Five" and may regard this award as an honor. Is this comic reckoned as leader of the pack ("Watchmen" it is commonly named as the first completed comic cycle which exceeds the limit to the Graphic Novel) and proofs that sketched adventures are no longer harmless, low brow child amusement.
Between 1986 and 1987 Alan Moore (Text) and Dave Gibbons (Drawings) create a 12-part self-contained cycle narrating a history of a virtual world in the year 1985. The USA and the USSR still at the edge of a nuclear war, the Vietnam War has been won. Nixon is still the President of the United States. This is where in 1940 in the course of the success of "Superman"-Comics, a group of masked man hunters, named the "Minuteman"originate. No super power, no big ambitions but with a lot of pep and even more equipped with fetish they fought over a decade against similar dressed up baddies until one by one died or retired. During the 60-ties a new grouping arose named "Watchmen", whose members provided partly supernatural forces and used the technical improvements. Due to the public opinion who blamed the fighters for vigilante justice, in the 70-ties the so called “Keene-Act” has been approved which then banned the masked vigilantism and gave the members the following choice: Work for the government or retirement. Ever since they are scattered to the four winds, until in 1985 the Comedian, an avenger of the first hour gets assassinated by an unknown person….
Moore & Gibbons draw an obscure picture of the time past. Even in the real world the Cold War dominated the headlines. Influenced by the fear of a worldwide nuclear elimination, they embedded a superheroes story into a criminal story avoiding any clichés. Not only that the superheroes were everything but heroes (The Comedian a ruthless killer; Hooded Justice and Silhouette Homosexuals – she gets assassinated -; Dollar Bill an inexperienced sportsman who gets shot; Rorschach close to the edge of a sociopath who only can live with the firm conviction of his mind), but also their characters were given credible backgrounds, a comprehensible story. They appear too much human the heroes: embittered, addicted to alcohol, depressive, full of inferiority complexes only be compensated by the costuming. The people with their masks become older, lose their faith, their challenge, their right to exist. So what remains? All in all a complex story of several time levels which lacks the common identification figures. The overall leak through of social criticism is acrimonious and the end no Happy-End at all.
Even though Alan Moore refuses any co-operation (that’s why his name is never mentioned), he can count himself lucky. Other than for example the delution and strong modified adaption of "The League of extraordinary Gentlemen" - one reason why Moore hates filmmakers and especially the medium film-, the adaption is pretty close to the origin. The atmosphere breathes the tragic darkness in any take and solely the credits with its endless allusion to past incidents is a great pleasure. Some changes have been made and especially the end has been strongly modified. But this wasn’t a bad idea. To present the superman Dr. Manhattan as origin of disaster sounds finally much plausibly than pulling some aliens out of the hat. Mainly because also the Age Ego of Jon Osterman who was in an accident – in contrast to the sketched role model – gets much more depth in the movie. Eddie Blake, the Comedian; Walter Kovacs, Rorschach; Lauren Jupiter, Silk Spectre II; Daniel Dreiberg, Nite Owl II, Adrian Veidt, Ozymandias – one can enumerate them all: each character credible represented, has a soul and is never ridiculous. The frames are terrific, the music score well selected the effects top-notch. Director Zack Snyder has without question delivered his master piece with this movie. Three years of work, 130 Million Dollars production costs, the courage for the unadorned adaption in spite of an imminent bombing at the box offices. It was worth it. With no doubt "Watchmen" has what it takes to become a cult movie which only reveal his full capability after a repeated watching. Because "Watchmen" is feast for the senses: acoustic, visual and emotional. For me as TV addict in years, the best movie for a long time with a comprehensible story associated with the full spectrum of what movie technology can deliver!
The chiefs at Warner proved courage to take the rated-R risk and haven’t been rewarded. Due to the high production costs of 130 Million Dollars, advertising expenditures of more than 50 Million Dollars and the complicated distribution of the revenues which results of a very long legal dispute, this movie might ever be a money-losing-business for Warner. 184 Millionen US-Dollars worldwide revenues was just insufficient in this case. One can’t talk about a ruinous bombing but the financial success stayed away. But if we are honest this was only to be expected! Warner then decided to release the director’s cut (Snyder’s preferred version) on DVD and Blu-Ray to realize at least some profit in future – or at least reduce the loss. However first in the USA. Because for the European Market Paramount is the responsible company and both majors share the rights of the movie. And Paramount doesn’t see any reason for an extended version. For Christmas Warner announced another much longer “Ultimate Edition” in the US. In this version all Black-Freighters-Scenes will then be integrated into the director’s cut. Meanwhile in the uS both version have been released on DVD and Blu-Ray. While the theatrical version comes along with no additional extras the director’s cut provides much more material. Besides the anyway 20 minutes longer main movie the 2-Disc-Special-Edition contains also some documentations as well as a digital copy of the movie.
Compared was the theatrical version with the director's cut, both on a present US-DVD. Besides many extended sequences (among other things the death of Hollis Mason, Nite Owl I is only shown in the director’s cut) many frame differences have been detected. Exactly on places where additional takes have been inserted into the director’s cut, the transition of scenes has been extended in the theatrical version. It looks like the previous take runs some frames longer and the following take starts some frames earlier. Sometimes these differences are just one frame short and are of no consequence. Not to mention that this has something to do with censorship. Therefore such "Cuts" below half a second haven’t been considered or have been documented in short interim reports. (Therefrom the above mentioned “90+”-differences. Who really counts every difference – even it is only 2 frames – might get a bigger number). Where it makes sense, several frame short differences have been merged even if they do not happen in successive takes. It was important that all differences have been listed but the report still is readable. Therefore, besides the frame material, the presentation of the dialogs has been emphazised which partly differs (in spite of equal frames) in both versions. So, this was it, I think...have fun!
After Rorschach has found the photograph of the Minuteman in the comedian’s closet there is the first change. In the theatrical version Rorschach’s last sentence "Somebody knows!" is shown in an alternative close-up of his face. Then there is also in this take the sentence of the narrator Nite Owl I: "It all started with the gangs. You know, people tend to forget that."
On the other hand in the director’s cut version there is a side view on Rorschach shown while his last sentence and then he turns towards the sound of the ringing bell from the elevator.
Alternative image material:
Cop 1: "No, I definitely heard something." They look around. "Watch the door!" Cop 2 walks to the broken window looking at the flittering adhesive tapes. Rorschach appears behind him, the Cop turns around gets frightened and is knocked down from Rorschach. Cop 1 still talking walks out of the adjoining room: "Must've been the wind. Next time you..." - he slows down because he sees his unconscious colleague lying on the floor at the window: He looks to the broken window and in the opening there is Rorschach facing him. The frightened Cop pulls his gun and fires some shots. Without any hit, the next view shows the empty window frame. Within the last seconds of this take Nite Owl I starts with "It all started with the gangs...", before both versions again run synchronic with the photograph of the Minuteman.
( 58 sec. )
When Danny says good-bye to Hollis in the director’s cut there is a newsbreak at TV that causes their attention. They both tensely watch the screen where among other things photographs of Rorschach are shown.
The news anchor: "This just in: The masked vigilante known as Rorschach has assaulted a police officer in the early-morning hours. Rorschach is on the FBI's Ten Most Wanted list for violation of the Keene Act, which banned masked heroes six years ago. Rorschach reportedly incapacitated...."
Hollis: "Forced everyone out except him."
Danny (raises a smile): "Well, he'll quit. When he's dead."
( 22 sec. )
Another long-shot of Danny walking through the streets.
( 12,5 sec. )
Rorschach at Danny’s home. When he stands up, answering the question where he has been, with "Out of Prison" still in both versions there is only in the theatrical version with the counter cut onto Danny the apodosis "So Far". In the director’s cut this counter cut runs longer Danny still narrating: "Heard about you on the news. Say you attacked a cop." Rorschach lapidary: "Minor wound. Won't need hospitalization."
( 8,5 sec. )
After this both version run again with identical dialogs, Rorschach addresses Danny: "Danny...." But due to connecting reasons there are two alternate settings. In the director’s cut Danny nodding cleaning his glasses while listening the story of the cop, looks up and then a knee shot of Rorschach. In the theatrical version there is first a frontal close-up of Rorschach’s face followed by a close-up of Danny who takes his glasses off. All in all the theatrical version runs longer at this point.
Theatrical version +(0,5 sec. )
And because Danny has taken his glasses off before in the theatrical version he now puts it on again before he looks at the Smiley. Because of that the version here runs a litte longer.
Theatrical version +( 2 sec. )
An additional take where Danny opens the basement door and switches on the light.
( 8 sec. )
Rorschach leaves Danny through the closed subway tunnel, Danny then sits down on the steps thoughtful watching the Smiley. With this take Rorschach’s monologue already begins and is continued while he’s walking through the streets. "Rorschach's journal. First visit of evening fruitless. Feel slightly depressed. Soon there will be war. Millions will perish in sickness and misery. Why does one death matter against so many? Because there is good and evil, and evil must be punished. Even in the face of armageddon. I will not compromise in this." Therefore the following dialog already begins in the theatrical version and is resumed at Veidt’s office.
( 23 sec. )
No running time difference, not even alternative images. But when Rorschach breaks in the laboratory to see Dr. Manhattan there is an additional dialog: "Even Adrian Veidt, possible homosexual. Must investigate further." The following screenshot only shows the place where this dialog happens.
After dinner Daniel takes Laurie to the cab. Here both versions differ. In the director’s cut Danny notices a waiting car over the road. Danny: "You always get a government escort to dinner?" Laurie:"They're making sure I don't do anything upset the country's most powerful weapon." In the theatrical version there is only one take where Laurie let the window down smiling at Danny. Due to connection reasons the previous and following takes in the unrated version are as well extended with some frames. The total difference is
( 10 sec. )
Comedian’s funeral. When the coffin is taken out of the car there is an additional tracking shot along the street in the director’s cut, Walter Kovacs walking by carrying a sign. He passes Danny, in the foreground Dr. Manhattan gets off the car. In the theatrical version the following long-shot starts a little earlier, there Dr. Manhattan is still getting off the car. The total difference is
( 13,5 sec. )
The Comedian slaps Silk Spectre I another time in his face.
( 3 sec. )
Cut-back to Vietnam. After Dr. Manhattan has atomized the Vietcong there are some more takes in the director’s cut. In a close-up a helicopter flies by Manhattan, the laughing & shooting Comedian comes into the frame. Cut onto a scared Vietcong, the laughing Comedian appears behind him and the Vietcong backs off terrified.
( 29,5 sec. )
A funeral. Again the director’s cut runs minimal longer in 2 settings. The coffin is going down, a slow zooming on Veidt. That’s why the last sentence of the priest isn’t complete in the theatrical version: "Of whom may we seek succor, but of thee, O Lord?" But due to connection reasons the end of the take of Veidt has some more frames in the theatrical version.
( 3,5 sec. )
Cut-back. In the director’s cut this starts with a view onto a board then Veidt starts his speech: "Welcome. We'll starting shortly. We're waiting for one more." Nite Owl II and Silk Spectre II smile at each other then Dr. Manhattan appears with his wife in a blue flash. He tilts his head to her:"I told you, you wouldn't be the only one dressed up." Veidt continues: "Welcome, doctor. Now we can start. Thank you for coming. Acquaint yourselves with this map of high-crime areas." Meanwhile it looks like Silk/Laurie is taken of Manhattan, Owl/Danny who notices it lowers his eyes. With the take of the newspaper, Comedian holds in his hand both versions now run again synchronic. But this take in the theatrical version has Veidt’s voice in the background: "Welcome to the first meeting..", whereas he then gets interrupted by Comedian: "This is bullshit." In the director’s cut it is said "This is ALL bullshit." Total difference
( 33 sec. )
Comedian derisively keeps on talking: "You people. You hear Moloch's back in town, get your panties all in a bunch. You think catching him matters?" Rorschach angrily chips in: "Justice matters." The Comedian bursts out laughing: "Justice? Justice is coming to all of us. No matter what the fuck we do." Therefore there has been inserted an alternative take of Veidt in the theatrical version, furthermore the take where Eddie/Comedian walks all around him starts earlier. The total difference is
( 15,5 sec. )
The next four takes in the director’s cut are all running a little longer at their end. In total the director’s cut runs about
( 4 sec. )longer
At the police strike Nite Owl II still talks to the raging crowd: "We are trying to retain order on the streets until the police strike is over." Then Eddie shouts: "Crawl back in your holes before you get hurt. I got rubber bullets." A man is calling out of the crowd: "I want my rights! You are not the law!" A second calls after: "We want regular cops! No more vigilantes!" In the background an old woman appears: "My son's a police officer, you fucking faggots!" Then another demonstrator throws a can which then hits Eddie at his head. Immediately after this, the theatrical version begins again.
( 18,5 sec. )
The take where Eddie fires the smoke grenade runs minimal longer in the directors cut.
( 0,5 sec. )
Danny rubs one more time over the bloodied Smiley.
( 2,5 sec. )
An additional take at the funeral, in the foreground Dr. Manhattan is shaking a hand, in the background the view on the tomb is getting free. The following long-shot also starts some frames earlier.
( 17,5 sec. )
This long-shot ends some frames earlier in the theatrical version because in the director’s cut an additional take has been inserted where Moloch lays a wreath at the tomb stone.
( 6 sec. )
Again there are two sequenced takes insignificant extended with some frames at their end.
( 18 SF )
Only in the director’s cut Moloch opens the mailbox and closes the entrance door.
( 7,5 sec. )
After Dr. Manhattan has dimmed himself for a little, the answer of the producer falls into an alternative take of Danny & Laurie in the theatrical version. On the other hand in the director’s cut a longer sequence starts with a Fallout-Symbol sprayed at the wall. The owner of the kiosk to a customer who is reading the Black-Freighter-Comic in the foreground: "The weight of the world's on him, but does he quit? No. News vendors always cope. They're the... Walter appears the owner of the kiosk continues: "Oh, God, here comes that homeless guy again. I told you, this month's issue still hasn't arrived yet. Why do you care about that right-wing rag? Those bastards don't give a damn." After the sound of a horn, the pick-up with the magazines arrives: "Hold up. Here they come." Then both versions again run synchronic. Total difference
( 20 sec. )
Minimal alternative. In the director’s cut the newspapers hit the ground in a close-up followed by a take of the owner of the kiosk who welcomes the driver. Besides, the following back view of the two super heroes starts earlier. And only here the driver answers the question about what’s up with "Fine, Fine." On the other hand in the theatrical version the newspapers are falling in the long-shot and then the owner of the kiosk walks to the driver. The total difference is
( 4 sec. )
A little alternative cutting as well as some additional material in the director’s cut. The backside view of Danny and Laurie walking down the street is available in both versions but it is interrupted by an insert on Walter looking after them. In the theatrical version this shot comes directly after. There is also an additional dialog when both heroes cross the street. Danny: "Maybe we should get a cab. These are bad neighborhoods." Laurie: "Yeah, well, I'm in a bad mood." The total difference is
( 10,5 sec. )
Dr. Manhattan at the studios. After his sentence "Structurally, there's no difference." There are two more takes of the studio in the director’s cut. The audience getting anxious and is calmed down by the host: "All right. Let's settle down, please."
( 3,5 sec. )
Again both versions are cut different. After Danny has knocked down the last attacker the just shown two takes in the director’s cut of the studio now begin in the theatrical version as well as a counter-cut onto both heroes who face each other heavily breathing. That’s why the theatrical version runs a little longer at this point.
Theatrical version +( 11,5 sec. )
When Dr. Manhattan gets whipsawed by the crowd at the studio and finally teleports the pack away both versions again are cut different, respectively use alternative material. Initiating with the opening of the scene the theatrical version is a little brighter at the energy ejection. In the director’s cut there is an additional pan shot through the now almost empty studio where Dr. Manhattan is still standing. The total difference is
( 12,5 sec. )
After the teleportation there are additional scenes in the director’s cut. First comes the scene – now extended – first shown in the theatrical version: Danny & Laurie face each other heavily breathing. But in the director’s cut this goes much further. Danny puts on his glasses and Laurie gasping: "Jesus. Us getting mugged. Let's go." Both heading towards the street passing by the moaning baddies. Again Laurie: "I'm shaking." She looks at Dan: "You know what? I'm wiped. I'm just gonna call it a night." Danny: "Oh, are you sure you don't wanna come by Hollis' with me and shake off the adrenaline?" Laurie: "I think I've had enough hero stuff for one night. It helped having you listen." Danny: "Any time." Laurie says good-bye: "Take care, Dan. It's a rough world out there." Danny beckons her after: "Be seeing you." Afterwards jump-cut, Dan knocking on Hollis’s door who then opens: "You're late." Dan enters the apartment: "Ah, I know. I know. You won't believe what happened." Hollis doesn’t listen and points to the TV: "Dr. Manhattan just lost it on live TV." Dan hangs his jacket up to the hook: "Wait, what?" Then with a surprised look in his face he walks to the TV: "I was just with Laurie. She doesn't know." A glance at the TV screen whre the teleportation is shown, the frame is getting grainy. In the background Hollis: "She's gonna know soon enough. The whole world will know."
( 94,5 sec. )
Directly after this, both versions run again synchronic with a shot of the Mars. However the frames are a little brighter in the director’s cut, therefore the theatrical version runs a little longer.
Theatrical version +( 1,5 sec. )
The take of Dr. Manhattan runs minimal longer.
( 16 SF )
Also a little bit extended: the shot of Weaver and his wife.
( 16 SF )
The love scene begins a little earlier.
( 1 sec. )
The back view of John starts a little earlier.
( 16 SF )
Jon’s face can be seen longer.
( 1 sec. )
The take where Janey approaches Jon begins earlier in the director’s cut.
( 3,5 sec. )
The pan-shot over the fractionized watch runs a little longer.
( 1 sec. )
The take where the photograph is placed on the commode starts earlier.
( 1 sec. )
Jon materializes himself in the cafeteria. The following close-up of Janey all in all runs longer in the director’s cut.
( 1,5 sec. )
After "They called me Dr. Manhattan" there is an additional take where Jon/Manhattan hovers in front of a group of soldiers. He is still talking: "They explain the name has been chosen for the ominous associations it will raise in America's enemies." Cut onto the inside of the office: "The marketing boys say I need a logo.", then the theatrical version also starts when Manhattan marks his forehead.
( 21,5 sec. )
Interesting. While Dr. Manhattan marks his forehead one can hear his voice in the off narrating. In the theatrical version now the previous heard dialog from the director’s cut "They explain the name has been chosen....", but in the director’s cut: "If I'm to have a symbol it shall be one I respect." The screenshot shows this scene, there is no frame difference.
Two succeeding takes are extended: the close-up of Manhattan as well as the beginning of the following knee shot.
( 2 sec. )
The take of the kneeing Vietcong all in all runs longer.
( 1,5 sec. )
The tracking shot onto Hollis at a book presentation is filmed differently in both versions, the director’s cut in total runs a little longer.
( 1 sec. )
When Dr. Manhattan is attacked and then atomizes the assassins only in the director’s cut he says "I am not sure if I know what that means." This sentence relates to the previous one: "In it (the book), he calls my arrival the dawn of the superhero.". No frame difference.
The bloody mud sticking at the ceiling can be seen longer in the director’s cut. And in this scene now also in the theatrical version the previously heard sentence from the director’s cut comes up "I am not sure if I know what that means."
( 1,5 sec. )
Two additional takes where Dr. Manhattan strokes Janey’s cheek. Due to the running time difference the identical monolog in both versions is dislocated in the director’s cut.
( 5,5 sec. )
Dr. Manhattan and Laurie are at the roof. This take also begins earlier in the director’s cut.
( 3 sec. )
After the last take of the Mars there are some additional scenes in the director’s cut. First a take where the apartment of Dr. Manhattan and Laurie is searched through, Laurie is questioned by agent Forbes
Forbes: "And you have no idea where he would've gone." Laurie: "How would I know? Probably on the other side of the world studying molecules or something." Forbes: "Our satellites have done a sweep of the planet. There's no trace of his energy signature anywhere." Laurie: "Really?" Forbes: "Miss Jupiter, did you and Dr. Manhattan have a fight today?" Laurie: "That's none of your fucking business." Forbes: "It is when your're on government payroll and you're not doing your job." She’s getting angry, tears at Forbes’s tie so that his skull bangs on the table: "That's as close to the word *whore* as you're gonna get with me, Agent Forbes." She releases him, he gets up and appears sobered. He offers Laurie a cigarette. "My apologies, Miss Jupiter. You know how important Dr. Manhattan is to our national security. You can imagine our concern." Laurie: "I can only imagine." She sees Forbes lighting up his cigarette and remembers the meeting of the Watchmen. Cut onto the board Eddie has lit. He in the background: "Ain't nothing gonna matter once those nukes start flying. We'll all be dust. The Ozymandias here will be the smartest man on the cinder." Jump cut. Nite Owl II starts with his plane and Laurie looks after him. In the background Dr. Manhattan together with Janey teleports away. Then Laurie gets approached by Eddie: "Laurel? Laurel Jane?" She turns to him, Eddie continues: "You're Sally Jupiter's Kid." Laurie: "You're the Comedian, right? You were pretty cool in there." Eddie smiles: "You know, your mom, she was one of the all-time champion beauties. You got her eyes, you know. You even have that same funny little mole." Suddenly Sally’s voice from the background: "Take your hands off her." Eddie turns towards the oncoming Sally: "Hey, doll. Long time no see." Sally: "Not long enough in my book, Eddie." To Laurie: "Get in the car." Laurie frowns but walks on. Again Sally to Eddie: "Are there no depths you won't sink to?" Eddie: "Jesus Christ, Sally. Can't a guy talk to his.."(he stumbles)"..you know, old friend's daughter? I mean, what the hell do you think I am?" Back in present, Laurie is taken out of her memories by a loud cry: "We found him!" Some scientists come along: "We found him." Forbes: "Where is he?" One scientist gives the answer: "Mars!"
( 137 sec. )
The take of the president and the advisors is a little bit extended.
( 1 sec. )
Now it’s getting a bit tricky. At the beginning the dialogs are identical, but alternative settings have been used whereas the theatrical version is extended by 7 frames. Shown are only the first single frames of the particular take.
The counter cut on Nixon in front of the clock is minimal different filmed, respectively runs longer in the director’s cut. Here there are dialog differences. But only because a longer passage follows that can only be seen in the director’s cut.
Directors cut: General 1: "If they realize it's not a hoax, they'll probably start with air strikes."
Theatrical version: Nixon: "How soon can we be ready for a preemptive strike?"
( 1 sec. )
General 1 (whereas the dialog already starts with the take of Nixon): "If they do, they'll have Afghanistan under control in a matter of days." Kissinger: "A watchdog group of nuclear scientists has moved the Doomsday Clock to two minutes until midnight." Nixon gets upset: "Get this shit off the screen. Who are these assholes to say when doomsday approaches? I say when doomsday is approaching." He calms himself and continues: "Now, then. What about the rest of the Warsaw Pact countries?" General 2: "Czechoslovakia, Poland and East Germany have mobilized their forces. But no movement yet. They're playing a wait-and-see. Letting the Russians take the lead." Nixon to Kissinger: "Bold moves, Henry. That's what's needed right now. We can't let these fuckers think we're weak." Kissinger low voiced to Nixon: "Yes. They must fear the madman Richard Nixon." And now he also asks here in a alternative setting: "How soon can we be ready for a preemptive strike?" Then both versions run again synchronic whereas the theatrical version begins some frames earlier.
( 63,5 sec. )
Alternative shot when Nixon turns towards the chart. No running time difference.
After an insert onto the military only in the director’s cut Nixon asks: "What would our losses be?". There is an answer in both versions but in different takes. That’s why the director’s cut runs a little longer. Besides that the theatrical version starts a little later with the view of the illumination of the chart.
( 3,5 sec. )
Immediately after, there are within the next 60 seconds at different takes in the theatrical version as well as in the director’s cut minimal frame short extensions, which in my personal opinion are irrelevant and no longer considered. The total running time difference is here only 15 frames that is missing in the director’s cut.
Now once again a longer action sequence that has been removed in the theatrical version. We are again in the apartment where the scientists analyze the map of the Mars where Manhattan’s signature has been tracked. Forbes: "There must be a way to reach him." Laurie interferes: "Excuse me." Forbes keeps on talking: "Radio transmission, space shuttles..." Laurie: "Excuse me." Forbes enervated: "What?" Laurie: "I need to use the restroom." Forbes escorts her but in front of the door Laurie knocks him unconscious with a hit in his face throwing him through the door against the sink. Forbes, now bounded, regains consciousness looks at Laurie who says: "Don't you understand? The only thing that can bring Jon back is Jon. If he wants to find me, he will. I've been a prisoner in my life long enough." She loads the captured pistol and disappears.
( 38,5 sec. )
The assassination of Adrian Veidt. There is an extension in the director’s cut directly after the shooter hit the assistant’s leg. The assassin shoots off the fingers from the assistant in two close-ups. In the theatrical version there is only a counter cut onto the shooter. However the last frame of the shot into the leg can be seen as well as the first three frames of the knee-shot are removed. The total difference is
( 2 sec. )
Another monolog of Rorschach, while the camera shows the corresponding frames: "The alley was cold, deserted. My things were where I left them, waiting for me. My coat, my shoes, my spotless gloves. My face. Putting them on, I abandoned my disguise became myself. Free from fear or weakness or lust. Down alley heard woman scream. First bubbling note of city's evening chorus. Attempted rape. Mugging. Both." Rorschach clears his throat: "The man turned and there was something rewarding in his eyes. Sometimes the night is generous to me." Memories, cut onto a high gloss photograph, Rorschach is in an apartment and looks around. At the same time the monolog continues: "Veidt's assassin was a local lowlife named Roy Chess. At his apartment, I found clues. Seems he worked at Pyramid Transnational. I've seen the logo before at Moloch's."
( 79,5 sec. )
The monolog, presented in Chess's apartment can be heard in the theatrical version in this take when Rorschach breaks into Moloch’s apartment.
Additional dialogs between Walter and the psychologist when he asks why Walter doesn’t like him. Walter: "What you call compassion. Wanting to protect and understand the guilty. This rotting society, what it calls rehabilitation. Nothing short of compromise." Psychologist: "Is it compromise to want to make you well?" Walter: "There are other men in here with behavior more extreme than mine, doctor. Of course, they're not famous, are they?"
( 21 sec. )
Rorschach talks about Rorschach. "Once a man has seen society's black underbelly he can never turn his back on it. Never pretend, like you do, that it doesn't exist, no matter who orders him to look the other way. We don't do this thing because it's permitted. We do it because we have to. We do it because we're compelled."
( 26 sec. )
Cut-back. Some shots of the child murderer who drunken staggers home and then calls his dogs: "Barney? Who's gonna bark for Daddy?" Then he notices the broken entrance door and draws his weapon. Already here starts Rorschach’s monolog which begins some seconds later in the theatrical version included take.
( 20 sec. )
Only in the director’s cut Rorschach chips some more times on the murderer’s skull and finally slashes it. In this take Walter’s voice can already be heard talking of shock waves crawling up his arms.
( 3,5 sec. )
Only in the director’s cut the psychologist grabs his things together and leaves the cell with the words (addressed to the guard) "I can't help him." Cut onto the jail canteen where in the director’s cut are two additional takes. The sentence "Hey, Rorschach" by the way is placed into the last close-up before the cut in the theatrical version. Also, the in both versions available sideways long shot begins earlier in the theatrical version. Therefore the total difference is
( 21 sec. )
Two additional takes of Laurie looking at Dan’s costume and then walks down a staircase.
( 15,5 sec. )
Some alternative settings when Dan talks about his father. Solely the cut transitions have been set different but the dialog is identical in both versions. A noteworthy running time difference doesn’t comes about.
But Dan is talking a little more in the director’s cut: "Plus, there were enough other guys doing this so that I didn't feel ridiculous." Laurie: "Like Hollis." Dan nods: "Yeah. Yeah, he was my hero. Man, I remember the first time that I met him... I just felt so connected, you know? To something that mattered." With the shot on Laurie having a look on Dan’s costume the theatrical version starts off with a little delay.
( 24 sec. )
The next scene is in Dan’s apartment. Dan switches on the TV and there is some alternative frame material whereas the theatrical version runs a little longer. However there is also a difference in the TV news.
TV in the theatrical version: "Soviets are finding themselves bogged down in bloody house-to-house fighting. Casualties on both sides are said to be in the hundreds. Civilian deaths are also alarming high."
TV in the director’s cut: "Soviet ambassador to the U.N. had no comment when asked if Dr. Manhattan's disappearance has fueled Soviet aggression in Afghanistan." These in the director’s cut spoken sentences take place in a later sex scene between Dan and Laurie whereas there in the director’s cut only smacking kissing noises can be heard. The total difference here is
Theatrical version +( 2,5 sec. )
After Dan said "Oh Hell" because he might be too nervous the scene goes a little further in the director’s cut. Laurie: "It's okay. Maybe we were just moving too fast." She fondles his face: "We've got all the time in the world. We'll take it slow." Dan has a long look at her they kiss each other and snuggle together. Only in the theatrical version Laurie fondles Dan’s face before the jump cut. Therefore the total difference is
( 31 sec. )
The shot of Dan is in total longer in the director’s cut. At the beginning as well as at the end some frames have been removed.
( 2 sec. )
A slightly different cut transition where the long shot of both approaching each other can be seen longer in the director’s cut. The total difference is
( 3,5 sec. )
Silk II/Laurie jumps through the roof into the burning house and opens the door. After "Let's go!" there are additional scenes in the director’s cut. With the order "Come on. All right, let's move it, people" she urges the people to the window where Nite Owl II/Dan has all prepared outside. Cut back onto a girl asking: "Mom, is that guy in the space rocket...is that Jesus?" She naysay: "No, baby."
( 20 sec. )
Again there is something alternatively cut. When the vehicle flies away from the burning building the theatrical version begins a little earlier whereas it still can be seen flying away in the director’s cut. The total difference for the benefit of the theatrical version is
Theatrical version +( 0,5 sec. )
Two takes which don’t succeed each other but were extended at their beginning in the director’s cut. Because this is rather irrelevant I’ve both merged at this point. The total difference is shortly
( 4 sec. )
Another erotic censoring, two succeeding takes have been shortened at the end the third one completely removed. This is a total loss of
( 9 sec. )
A close-up begins earlier in the director’s cut.
( 2 sec. )
Once again there have been some cut movements. Thereby 5 takes run different whereas some frames (here 3, there 2) are missing in the theatrical version and are no longer mentioned. With the others there is a resulting difference of
( 2,5 sec. )
Lawrence gets cut off his hands in a close-up view.
( 1 sec. )
Owl and Silk are landing on the jail’s roof. Directly after, there is a scene in the director’s cut where they come down a staircase in the inside building. Laurie asks: "How do we know he's still alive?" They notice the corpse with the cut off arms, Dan thereupon: "He is alive!"
( 11 sec. )
Right after the blood leaks under the restroom door there is a longer action sequence in the director’s cut. The three heroes reach the rooftop of the jail. Rorschach: "Good to see you in uniform, Daniel. Should've known all you needed was nice pair of legs to motivate you." Laurie: "You're such an asshole, Rorschach." He replies: "Spare me indignation. Picked hell of a time to be unfaithful to Jon. Just get tired of being patriotic, or someone put you up to it?" Laurie is getting more furious, in the background the aircraft appears: "You don't know what the fuck you're talking about!" Dan interferes: "Hey! Would you two stop? You can argue later. I had to turn the screechers off so we'll be drawing fire soon." The three getting into the vehicle, Rorschach who is last once again turns around. Some cops showing up, one of them shouts: "Stop! Stop or we will shoot!" Rorschach closes the door on time because the cops open fire. With the long shot where Archie is flying away the theatrical version starts again.
( 49,5 sec. )
The long shot where Archie flies from the jail is treated different in both versions. There is no running time difference.
Jon/Manhattan has transferred Laurie to the Mars. In the director’s cut there are, right after the take of Laurie awesomely looking at the structure, some additional scenes.
Scene 1: Kiosk.
The same Dude from above reading the Black-Freighter-Comic at the kiosk. In the background another dude: "Hey. Nice ass." Answer of a woman: "Hey, asshole." Then the guy in front of the kiosk: "Hey, let's see if that comic-book retard's up here." This is addressed to the Reader but this guy is gets just hold by another dude: "Hey, hey, hey, yo. You all hear? Some super-owl dude just busted Rorschach out of prison." Inquiry: "Rorschach?" Again the dude: "Yeah." The so asked guy (a gang member) turns towards his cronies: "That fool put my cousin in a wheelchair." His partner: "You mean Nite Owl. Him and Rorschach used to be partners." The guy turns facing the first dude who nods: "Yeah." Again the crony: "Maybe he messed your cousin up too." The first dude comes up with: "Didn't he write a book or something?" Crony: "Yeah." Kerl: "You know, he lives over a garage right near here. Yeah?" Dude to crony: "Does he, now?" All nod, laugh and set out for
Scene 2: Hollis's apartment.
He looks at the TV-news and here come the previous (in Danny’s apartment) shown frames in the theatrical version. The speaker cannot be heard cause of the ongoing phone call between Hollis and Sally in the background. Holly: "Helloho?" Hollis: "Sally?" She again: "Hollis?" He: "Yeah." Sally chuckles: "Yes, Hollis Mason. Jesus. All this time you've had my number and you wait until our sunset years to use it?" Hollis: "Well, it seemed like a special occasion, Sal." Sally asks again: "What?" Hollis explains: "The TV is reporting there was a tenement fire last night. There were trapped people rescued by airship and they say the pilot was dressed like an owl. And it seems he had a sexy woman with him." Sally: "Laurie? My daughter, Laurie?" Hollis laughs, Sally continues: "I can't get over Laurie back in costume. Maybe she'll finally thank me for getting her started in the first place." Hollis: "You know, Sal, by the sound of your voice... you're sounding younger than ever." Sally feels flattered: "Oh. Why, bless you, Hollis. But that's probably just senility." Someone knocks at Hollis’s door and he finishes the call: "Well, it's been great talking to you, Sal, but someone's knocking." Sally: "Well, don't get too misty-eyed thinking about old times. You take care now, Hollis." He: "Ah, you too." Both say good-bye and there’s another knocking. The first guy calls: "We're looking for Mr. Owl." Hollis reflects and gets up: "Yeah. Hold your horses." Again the dude: "Mr. Owl, you there?" When Hollis turns the knob another guy giggles: "Trick or treat." Hollis opens the door and the first guy again: "You should've stayed retired, Owl." The door gets dashed open, the gang barged in and attack Hollis. The following fight is stylized – Hollis recognizes with each hit an old opponent – and it is obvious how he has been in his heydays. But Hollis has no chance. There are too much of them. At the end they slay him with a statue and the attackers leave the apartment. In this last take of the scene already a sentence of Rorschach can be heard…
Change to scene 3, Rorschach and Nite Owl II in his cavern.
Rorschach: "I hate this. Cowering in cave, hiding from authorities." Dan tinkers something: "Cops are out there hunting us. Unless you wanna go back to prison we'd be stupid to expose ourselves without a plan." Rorschach: "And what would that be?" Dan heaves a sigh: "Once we've established a pattern we can break into Pyramid, see what we find." Rorschach disagrees: "Did that. Dead end. I think it's a front company for whoever's really behind it, but can't prove it." After he sat down on the stairs and starts rubbing his head the theatrical version starts again.
( 231,5 sec. )
Rorschach and Nite Owl II at the Bar roughing up people. Only in the director’s cut there is a close-up of a gang member, probably only because Hollis gets only killed in the director’s cut. Besides, the previous take has been extended by some frames.
( 2 sec. )
At the Bar Rorschach still means "Follow the money", then there is again a fade onto Mars in the theatrical version. In the director’s cut both want to leave the Bar when the voice of the news anchor can be heard: "...former member of the Minutemen Hollis Mason found murdered in his apartment less than an hour ago. Witnesses reported seeing member of a local gang known as the Knot-Tops leaving the area right around the estimated time of death. Reporting live, Tiffany Burns..." Dan stunned shaking his head and turns towards the present knot-bearer: "Who did it?" Dude: "I knew you were gonna vicitmize me, man. What about my civil rights? Just because I'm wearing a knot..." He is interrupted by Dan who furiously sweeps away the table jumping towards the guy: "Tell me who did it!" Knot cries out: "A lot of people dress like this...", but gets pulled to the ground by Dan and receives some hits. "Who murdered Hollis Mason?" More punches into knot-bearers face, he spits blood. Dan: "You tell your friends they're dead." He chokes the guy: "I'm gonna take out this entire rathole neighborhood. I'll break your neck." In a close-up the knot-bearer spits out teeth. Dan wants to hit again but this time his arm is held back from Rorschach: "Daniel, not in front of the civilians." He pulls Dan off the guy lying on the floor who now "Oh, goddamn. Goddamn, Hollis." sobs and gets hustled outside. Cut onto the Mars, a frontal close-up of Manhattan and Laurie and then the theatrical version starts again. Due to connection reasons the beginning of the long shot is minimal extended in the theatrical version. Therefore the total difference is
( 58,5 sec. )
After the long shot there is another extension in the director’s cut. Manhattan’s sentence: "This is where we hold our conversation." is included in both versions whereas the following sentence differs.
Theatrical version: "In it, you ask me to stop the imminent nuclear war."
In the director’s cut this is more a kick-off for a longer sequence: "In it, you reveal to me that you and Dreiberg have been sleeping together." Laurie: "You know about me and Dan?" Jon: "Not yet. But in a few moments you're going to tell me." Laurie shakes her head: "If you already know the future, then why were you surprised when I left you? Or when that reporter ambushed you? Why even argue about it if you already know how this is gonna end?" Jon: "I have no choice. Everything is preordained. Even my responses." Laurie: "And you're just going through the motions. The most powerful thing in the universe is still just a puppet." Jon shows an emotion: "We are all puppet, Laurie. I'm just a puppet who can see the strings." Laurie: "And what if you're wrong?" Jon still turns to her: "Why does my perception of time distress you so?" Laurie excited: "Because it's inhuman. Because it makes me insane. You always say you wanna comfort me. Well, it isn't working." Jon contemplatively turns away, Laurie calms herself and says: "Look, I don't wanna fight. I'm sorry I slept with Dan." Jon surprised: "You slept with Dan?" Laurie is irritated: "You just said that you already knew about that." Jon again turns toward her: "I said often that you were my only remaining link to humanity." The following sentence: "Why would I save a world I no longer have any stake in?" can be heard again in both versions. Due to the shortening in the theatrical version there are two alternative takes before both versions run again synchronic. Therefore the total difference is about
( 100 sec. )
There is a camera-flight onto the Pyramid-Building. As soon as the cut on the inside takes place there is a little extension at the beginning of this scene in the director’s cut. Nite Owl II stands contemplatively at the window, Rorschach addresses him: "Daniel?" He looks up. "You with me?" He accepts. "Then what are you doing?" The answer is also includes in the theatrical version. Before the dialogs in both versions are a little dislocated to assure the connection.
( 14,5 sec. )
With the cut-back which Laurie goes through due to Dr. Manhattan, there is a small extension which can only be found in the theatrical version. When she again lives through the first meeting with the Comedian there are three additional takes plus dialog: Eddie: "You're Sally Jupiter's kid." Laurie: "You're the Comedian, right?" Shot of Eddie in the office: "You were pretty cool in there." Then both versions run again synchronic.
Theatrical version +( 7,5 sec. )
Naturally there is also a difference in the credits because some people don’t appear in the theatrical version. This is not a big thing but should have been mentioned *ggg*.