Watchmen 2009: The Squid Cut

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Faneditor Name:
Original Movie Title:
Fanedit Type:
Original Release Date:
2009
Original Running Time:
186
Fanedit Release Date:
Fanedit Running Time:
223
Available in HD?
Available in 4K?
Brief Synopsis:
As we approach the 15th anniversary in March 2024, I'm immensely excited to release this new version of the 2009 Watchmen movie. At first, it sounded simple. Just add the squid back in. But I decided it was really an opportunity to expand the movie beyond that. Using voice cloning and footage from the 2019 sequel miniseries, I was able to add back in major plot points from the comic. And by inserting nearly the entire Under the Hood feature as an in-world 60 Minutes type interview, I've expanded the world and story significantly.

I’ll go through both broad strokes and in intricate detail in other sections.
Intention:
@gleem suggested that someone take footage from the Watchmen (2019) TV show and use it to make the ending of the movie comic accurate. He knew I had already made an edit of the miniseries (The Bass Reeves Cut - a Hooded Justice origin movie) that did not use the 1985 flashback footage. So, I took the challenge and ran with it, increasing the scope as I went along.
Additional Notes:
I’ve chosen not to include the Tales of the Black Freighter animated short. While it works in the context of the comic, I don’t feel it adds enough to the movie version to be worth the additional 25-minute runtime and jarring switches to animation. A note about versions - I encoded in h264 at 1080p (8gb) and h265 at 4k (32gb). All source files are 1080p and I was intending to simply release at that resolution. However, there’s a surprising amount of film grain throughout the movie (likely to help blend the digital FX) and that makes compression difficult. I can’t in good conscience make a near 4-hour movie smaller than above – there’s already artifacts from compressing the film grain. My preferred version is the 4k – despite being considered inferior with film grain, h265 combined with the upscaled resolution really preserved things quite well. Both have the same 5.1 audio.
Other Sources:
Watchmen (2019) miniseries
Under the Hood special featurette

Songs:
Devo - (I Can’t Get Me No) Satisfaction
John Cale - Sanities
Metallica - Call of Ktulu
Pink Floyd - A Saucerful of Secrets
Iggy Pop - Neighborhood Threat
Special Thanks:
@ArtisDead for the amazing poster art
@gleem for suggesting this edit based on my project Watchmen (2019) The Bass Reeves Cut
Release Information:
Digital
Editing Details:
Major notes on the project:

-The edit uses Watchmen - The Director's Cut as a starting point.

-Ending is now true to the graphic novel. Using sequences from the 2019 Watchmen miniseries, I’ve added two scenes surrounding Veidt’s plan. The footage has had film grain overlayed to closer match the rest of the overall look.

-Voice cloned Matthew Goode (Adrian Veidt) and Billy Crudup (Dr. Manhattan) for lines surrounding the end of the film (as well as a single line from Seymour and a couple for Hooded Justice).

-Shortened several action sequences, primarily to cut moments of superhuman strength from any character that isn’t Dr. Manhattan or Adrien Veidt.

-Implemented almost all the Under the Hood featurette as an in-universe 60 minutes type interview show. Kept most segments between 1 and 2 minutes, with only a couple coming in around 3 minutes.

-Added open matte shots to certain scenes. While not shot in IMAX, Watchmen was an early action movie presented in theaters with “IMAX” sequences. Over half the movie seems to have open matte footage available, however the director’s cut was not given the same treatment. Since the Under the Hood footage and Watchmen (2019) miniseries have different aspect ratios (4:3 and 16:9, respectively), I’ve opted to edit in open matte footage to embrace the shifting screen formats. The corners of many of these shots are blurred with neighboring footage, as the wide presentation and open matte footage don’t fully line up. The alternatives (cropping the sides or leaving the corners black) were less appealing.

Finally, some notes on music:

-I really think most choices in the movie are top notch. Many are referenced in the graphic novel or act as short hands for the time period depicted. As a rule, I decided I was only going to use music from pre-November 1985 and preferably that’s referenced in the graphic novel.

-As I’ve created two new scenes for the movie (using voice cloning mentioned above), I needed some additional music. For the first Veidt scene I used the song Sanities by John Cale, which is referenced in the graphic novel.

-For the second scene, I opted for period and thematically appropriate. I used Call of Ktulu by Metallica (without ever quite letting it go full metal). A fun foreshadowing to go along with the big reveal monologue.

-While some of the music from the Watchmen miniseries worked for this edit, some did not. For the squid scene itself, I added A Saucerful of Secrets by Pink Floyd for its spaced-out sense of insanity.

-As for music originally in the movie, I only replaced two tracks. And they probably won’t surprise many. First, I removed Hallelujah from the infamous sex scene. In its place, I found a track that’s indirectly referenced in the graphic novel and uniquely ties together Laurie and Dan while adding a goofy tone to the scene (much needed in my opinion). Satisfaction was covered by Devo on their first album. That album is mentioned by Laurie’s in the comic to demonstrate the age gap between her and Dan. But the song Satisfaction would be well known to Dan as he would have been in his 20s when it was originally released by the Rolling Stones. A band Laurie loves playing a song from Dan’s era.

-The second song I replaced was the My Chemical Romance cover of Desolation Row. The lyrics themselves are referenced in the graphic novel. The band’s singer, Gerard Way, is a huge fan of Watchmen and an accomplished comic writer. But I ultimately wanted something more period appropriate. I replaced it with Neighborhood Threat by Iggy Pop, a different track referenced in the comic.
Cuts and Additions:
Detailed change list (all timestamps are within 15 seconds):

00:00 – Added FE intro and project title card

02:30 – Established Under the Hood interviews on TV before Eddie Blake attack

04:00 – Trimmed attack sequence and added open matte shots

11:30 – Open matte shots added to cops and Rorschach investigating

16:30 – Cut Rorschach “shh” to KOed cop and dodging (absorbing?!) bullets

16:30 – Removed “cops” from Hollis Mason saying the original vigilantes were “a few of us cops”

19:00 – Under the Hood segment added

30:00 – Under the Hood segment added

32:00 – Open matte shots added to Rorschach breaking into Dr. Manhattan lab

35:00 – Open matte shot added for Laurie’s vision

40:00 – Under the Hood segment added

50:30 – Voice cloned Hooded Justice from Watchmen 2019 for his two lines to align with my Hooded Justice origin story fan edit: https://youtu.be/Piw-FxiPMvs

55:30 – Under the Hood segment added

1:00:00 – Open matte shots added for police strike sequence

1:03:30 – Under the Hood segment added

1:11:30 – Under the Hood segment added

1:19:00 – Under the Hood segment added

1:24:00 – Trimmed parts of alleyway fight

1:28:30 – Under the Hood segment added

1:42:00 – Under the Hood segment added

1:49:30 – Under the Hood segment added

1:55:00 – Open matte shots added to Veidt Tower attack

2:00:30 – Open matte shots added to Rorschach capture

2:11:30 – Under the Hood segment added

2:21:30 – Under the Hood segment added

2:25:30 – Open matte shot of Laurie suited up

2:27:00 – Open matte shots added to fire rescue

2:28:30 – Graphic novel referenced music substituted for Dan and Laurie sex scene; open matte shots added at beginning; whole sequence trimmed by ~30 seconds

2:34:00 – Open matte shots added for prison fight

2:40:00 – Under the Hood segment added

2:51:30 – Under the Hood segment added

2:56:00 – Incorporated footage from Watchmen (2019) using voice cloning to add Veidt speech to future president Robert Redford; graphic novel referenced music used as background

2:57:00 – Open matte establishing shot of Karnak

2:59:00 – Watchmen (2019) scene added

3:02:00 – Open matte shots of Laurie’s vision

3:06:30 – Open matte shots of Antarctica arrival and entering Karnak

3:09:00 – Watchmen (2019) scene added

3:11:00 – Open matte shots of Karnak fight

3:13:00 – Open matte shots of Karnak fight round two (trimmed slightly short)

3:13:30 – Graphic novel dialog voice cloned for Veidt over footage from Watchmen (2019) and period / thematically appropriate music

3:14:00 – Voice cloned Veidt to say 3 million instead of 15, for comic accuracy

3:17:30 – Shortened 2009 segments of climax that didn’t fit new narrative; added brief 'day for night' color correction to match time with TV footage

3:18:30 – Watchmen (2019) scene leading to “big reveal” with music to fit the tone

3:21:00 – Cut any references from here and onward to the original film ending

3:21:30 – Cut wide shot of crater (that doesn't match TV footage)

3:23:00 – Open matte shots of bullet catch

3:30:30 – Cut Nite Owl attacking Ozymandias (to closer characterize him with the comic)

3:31:00 – Voice cloned famous Veidt & Dr. Manhattan exchange from graphic novel “nothing ever ends”

3:31:30 – Final Under the Hood segment

3:35:00 – Cut Laurie quoting Dr. Manhattan “nothing ever ends” and ended scene on her kiss with Dan

3:35:30 – Used voice cloning to have Seymour say Robert Redford is running for president in 1988

3:36:30 – Replaced first credits song with period appropriate track referenced in graphic novel

User reviews

3 reviews
Overall rating
 
9.7
Audio/Video Quality
 
10.0(3)
Audio Editing
 
10.0(3)
Visual Editing
 
9.3(3)
Narrative
 
9.7(3)
Enjoyment
 
9.3(3)
(Updated: February 22, 2024)
Overall rating
 
10.0
Audio/Video Quality
 
10.0
Audio Editing
 
10.0
Visual Editing
 
10.0
Narrative
 
10.0
Enjoyment
 
10.0
Wow, wow, wow! It has been a long time since I saw a cut of this movie that surprised me and kept me deeply interested.

Interspersing the clips of the Nite Owl TV special was such a fun choice. I felt like almost every clip was perfectly placed in reference to the larger narrative. And the way the squid ending was worked in (and the John ending worked around) was great! Another reviewer mentioned that the disparity between day and night was too obvious, but it actually didn't bother me. I took it that the explosion lit everything up like daytime. So overall really great!

I'm very impressed by how open TriggeredPuppy was to discussing their edit and they really impressed me with this one! Excellent work;

User Review

Do you recommend this edit?
Yes
Format Watched?
Digital
Report this review Comments (0) | Was this review helpful? 2 0
(Updated: February 18, 2024)
Overall rating
 
9.0
Audio/Video Quality
 
10.0
Audio Editing
 
10.0
Visual Editing
 
8.0
Narrative
 
9.0
Enjoyment
 
8.0
Zack Snyder's Watchmen is a strange case of being both too faithful and not faithful enough to the original work. On the one hand, all its best material is lifted directly from the source, with the character development and iconic visuals mostly intact (when its not, you really notice, though...).. On the other hand, the shock-value moments Snyder lifted directly from the comic become both trite and even crass when translated to the silver screen, as the comic excess just doesn't have the same punch when seen in a format that crossed those borders long ago. It was said for a long time that Watchmen was unfilmable (like Lord of the Rings) and this film is an interesting experiment as to why, as it was adapted by someone that loved the content of the comic but was mostly if not completely ignorant of the comic's satiric bent.

Regarding the edit's changes, the added footage from the miniseries showing 'the squid' captures more of the horror aspect of the original work's climax than the original film did, but unfortunately at the expense of being narratively cohesive, as the footage of the film vs. the show are at different times of day and don't quite mesh. That said, it was a delight to see the deleted/extraneous material filmed with the supplemental cast added into the film, though, and it reminded me very much of the end chapter exposition/exploration dumps of the original comic, adding additional depth to this strange alternate version of our past.

Worth checking out if you are a fan of the source!

Edit: Forgot to mention that the few song changes were noticed and appreciated, working better than the original.

User Review

Do you recommend this edit?
Yes
Format Watched?
Digital
Owner's reply February 23, 2024

I'm with you 100% - the daytime setting for the film's climax really annoyed me, I've taken your feedback along with ideas from jasonflippy. I did a small "day for night" color correction to a few seconds of the scene and it really sells the energy surge being the source of light. I'm posting a clip to the main project thread. Fully appreciate the feedback!

Report this review Comments (0) | Was this review helpful? 2 0
Overall rating
 
10.0
Audio/Video Quality
 
10.0
Audio Editing
 
10.0
Visual Editing
 
10.0
Narrative
 
10.0
Enjoyment
 
10.0
This is an excellent edit, returning the comic campiness and memorability of the original story's finale to the film.

User Review

Do you recommend this edit?
Yes
Format Watched?
Digital
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