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Watchmen vs. The Incredibles

TheIncredibles.jpgI just had a big surprise today. As I sit here about to get ready for the midnight screening of the Watchmen film from Zack Snyder, I read a rather negative piece about the film describing one man's reason why he won't go and see the film.

Now I totally respect that, but I wasn't prepared for a comment that was in the story that came from almost five years ago. You see the story had been flagged to me because it contained my name, and in reference to a quote from some time ago about The Incredibles and Watchmen.

21st November 2004 I sat down and wrote about The Incredibles and just how good a film I thought it was. I was just really starting on my reviewing hobby and had no idea where it would take me. I was, as I am now, just writing about films because I love watching and experiencing them.

Unsurprisingly I gave The Incredibles a big review, I loved it. Absolutely everything about it, and still do, but back then I picked up on a very interesting comment which Christopher Campbell over at Spout Blog picked up on for his piece, 5 Reasons a Watchmen Movie Was Unnecessary.

During his second point he talks about how the superhero film has been satirised so much it's almost ridiculous, and

“...The Incredibles was the best possible movie to come out of the graphic novel’s wake, and The Dark Knight was the darkest and most realistic. Comparatively, even a decently made Watchmen adaptation should seem a pale wannabe. That’s why it’s easy to side with IMDb user Richard Brunton’s concern from years ago...”

That startled me, but what was most surprising was what followed next, an excerpt from the review I wrote:

“There is so much similarity to The Watchmen that those who haven’t read the graphic novel will be saying ‘That’s the Incredibles movie’ when Watchmen finally comes to fruition.”

That was well before word of Zack Snyder's version of the film and I think even before Paul Greengrass' involvement.

A part of me laughed when I read that comment again, but then I reread it and thought about what The Incredibles was all about, and I realised that actually there's a lot of merit to that comment, perhaps more so before the Zack Snyder version came along, for the story of The Incredibles is in fact a much lighter version of Watchmen.

Just think of the opening blurb:

The story sees a group of once great superheroes quashed by the Government, they live in secret, being normal people, and itching for the old days, struggling with themselves and what they once were. That is until the day comes of a threat so large that they must defy the Government and fight once again.

There are some amazing similarities, and for those who don't share the love of the comic book and are seeing Watchmen for the first time, we must be thankful that so much time between that film and today. For if Watchmen had been released closer to the release of The Incredibles, I think people would have been saying "That’s the Incredibles movie", albeit a much darker one.

With that, I depart to watch the Watchmen for myself with high expectations. I may have loved The Incredibles, but I surely do love the Watchmen comic.



You know what, man? Something about the Watchmen previews and spots leaves me thinking that, in 2 years time, the film will be all but forgotten.

I hope i'm wrong, considering the reverence of the source material. But the previews don't have much HEART. Now, Snyder rarely misses, and the previews do NOT look bad...but they don't make me stand up and go "i must see this. this film stokes my interest."

The incredibles hit some nail on some head and did it perfectly. Even if Watchmen does so, I doubt it will make the kind of impact that the graphic novel did when it was released, simply for the fact that there have been comic book movies of much higher profile done perfectly here lately ( iron man, hulk 2, punisher 2, x men 1-3, spidey, Batman, etc ).

When all is said and done, will audiences marvel at the second silk spectre or Dr. Manhattan when we've come accustomed to costumed do gooders we are already familiar with?

perhapse. and i hope so. but something tells me i'm going to be let down...

Just goes to show that you don't talk rubbish Richard :P

That's a very good point Mogulus, will it be remembered? I think it will for the fact that it is going to be viewed as the most successful comic book adaptation, but a stand alone film, I'm not sure. I'm more hopeful for the director's cut for that.

Cheers Billy!

Having read and watched superheroes since I was a lad I have to say that Watchmen was like no othercostumed caper I have seen on screen.

While the superficial resemblances to Incredibles (great film) are there, the nihlistic alternate reality is uniquely grey in contrastto the neat black and white of routine herodom.

The Incredibles "capes" joke clearly has inspiration in Dollar Bill's fate in Watchmen, suggesting the Incredibles owes much to Alan Moore's masterwork.

Hello, I just found this now after my crusade all day over to try to update The Incredibles entry in wikipedia. Simply not possible, thanks to the nazi moderators who won't read Watchmen's plot details and agree that there's a fair amount of similarity. You can't even mention it in the discussion page for the article.

Here's the link to the whole gory Vendetta:

BTW, there's a section in the Watchmen entry called Parodies and I mentioned The Incredibles too. Deleted again. I smell a Disney employee at work...

I have been searching Google for an explanation of one particular similarity between Watchmen and The Incredibles, but I have not seen it so far. That is, that the exact same scene is shown in both movies. The scene is a mob holding signs, burning an effigy of a superhero with a cape and an H on his chest. In Watchmen, this appears during Nite Owl's flashback when he and the Comedian are dispersing the mob. In The Incredibles, this occurs at the start, and it's a photo in a newspaper. Which came first? Why the duplication? Anyone know?

Watchmen is based on the graphic novel/comic book series which has the scene in it and was the first to have the scene, but there's nothing in the comic book that has the sign of a hero with an "H" on his chest - I've just skimmed through and had a look.

So perhaps the Watchmen film was paying tribute to both films, after all Incredibles was very similar to Watchmen in the first place.



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