Watchmen: The Film Companion
written by Peter Aperlo
The Watchmen train that is hard to avoid. Given that you’re visiting this particular site, you’ve probably already succumbed to it, at least in some small part. But just in case, here’s a quick recap of the pivotal plot of the book the movie is based on: America is in possession of a gigantic nuclear weapon in the form of Dr. Manhattan, a former scientist who has been transformed into the most powerful being on the planet. Not surprisingly, this has led to an alternate history from the one we know, one in which Nixon is still president, masked crime fighters have come and gone (after being outlawed in 1971), and America won the Vietnam War. In the mid-1980s, America and Russia stand at the verge of nuclear war, with a countdown clock frozen at five to midnight. And in that precariously balanced world, someone may or may not be murdering former masked heroes.
It took more than 20 years for Alan Moore and Dave Gibbons’ career-defining work—which, by the way, changed the field of comics and graphic novels forever, which everyone is probably well aware of by now—to reach the silver screen. Directors and screenwriters came and went (and Alan Moore dropped his name from all references to the movie work), but 2009 is finally seeing the release of the Watchmen movie.
Watchmen: The Film Companion is a beautiful retrospective. The interviews and extensive essays it contains elaborate incredible details about how the movie was filmed and what went into making it possible. More than that, the book goes into detail on what makes the movie pop, those small touches that don’t seem like much from a distance but ultimately make or break the entire work.
Since the book is packed with hundreds of color photos (and really, the photos are awesome), it’s a lovely way to extend the magic of the movie.