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"Christ Almighty, it's the Goddamned Watchmen!"
—an actual line from the opening scene of this script
In 2009, the film version of Watchmen finally made it to the big screen.
This page, however, is not about that adaptation. This page is about the 1989 Sam Hamm rough draft script, which was never produced (hence its inclusion in Darth Wiki), but is just so balls-to-the-wall So Bad It's Good, Crazy Awesome that it gets its very own page here at TV Tropes.
Like the graphic novel it's based on, Hamm's Watchmen is set in an alternate version of late-20th-century America, in which superheroes once thrived but have been outlawed by 1985. When the superhero/government operative the Comedian is murdered, the vigilante Rorschach investigates, reuniting with his former partner Nite Owl and eventually uncovering a conspiracy that extends all the way up to Dr. Manhattan, the only truly superpowered being in the story's universe. That's about where the similarities to the original end, however, outside of the very barest plot outlines. Instead of a deep exploration of the darker side of superheroes, Hamm chose to create a borderline comedic (at least, one can hope he wanted it to be funny...) action-adventure, complete with cackling villain and one hell of a Gainax Ending.
Confusingly, Alan Moore actually liked this script, which either makes him the greatest troll of all time or suggests that he thought it would just prove the inherent unfilmability of his work. Had it been produced, it likely would have starred Robin Williams as Rorschach, Kevin Costner as Adrian Veidt (he's never called Ozymandias in this script), Jamie Lee Curtis as Silk Spectre, and Gary Busey as the Comedian.
If you're feeling brave, want to feel your opinion of the actual film adaptation increase hundredfold, or just have a good laugh, the full script can be read here.
(Page under construction.)
CHRIST ALMIGHTY, IT'S THE GODDAMN TROPE LIST!
- Batman Cold Open: The script begins with a botched rescue attempt at the Statue of Liberty.
- Big Applesauce: This version is even heavier on emphasizing the setting than the original.
- Captain Obvious: During the experiment that killed Jon Osterman, the general present "comes to a belated and painfully obvious realization":
General: Say, there's a man in there!!
- Dark Mistress: Moloch has a moll named Lucy.
- Death by Irony: In this version of Rorschach's backstory, instead of Rorschach killing the dogs followed by burning the building with their owner still inside, he covers the man in raw hamburger and steer blood and has the dogs eat him. Then he kills the dogs.
- Does This Remind You of Anything?: A conversation between Veidt and Dreiberg makes it sound a lot like Dreiberg is Veidt's kept boy. (Considering it's made obvious that Dreiberg is financially dependent on Veidt in this script, this isn't entirely inaccurate.)
Dr. Manhattan: Time is the key, Laurie. If I can unlock the origins of time, I'll finally be able to reconcile quantum physics and relativity.
- Fusion Dance: Dr. Manhattan does to his past self, becoming "a solid protective HUSK around [Jon]". This saves Jon from being killed from the particle cannons.
- Gainax Ending: It ends with the complete destruction of the timeline of the Watchmen universe, causing New York to revert to the real world. This is accomplished via Rorschach, Nite Owl, and Silk Spectre "spinning and tumbling through an otherdimensional funhouse of sound and color" until they land in Times Square, where a kid is reading Watchmen and excitedly shouts that he recognizes them. Then the police arrive. Cut to black.
- Heroic Sacrifice: Dr. Manhattan, saving himself. Well, Jon Osterman. Sort of.
- Indulgent Fantasy Segue: Dan has three of these. Each time is obvious, as they "take place in a stylized dream-time, midway between flashback and fantasy". Subverted the third time, as the telltale effects eventually fade out, revealing the action as actually happening.
- In Name Only: Mother of God.
- Meet Cute: Jonathan Osterman and Janey Slater.
- Magic Pants: Dr. Manhattan has a pair of black trunks that materialize around his body when he shrinks down.
- Pieta Plagiarism: The alternate universe Vietnam War Memorial is a statue of Dr. Manhattan cradling a dead soldier.
- Police Are Useless:
SWAT Cop: What do we do now?
"Night Owl": BABY . . . WE'RE A BLAST FROM THE PAST.
- Soundtrack Dissonance/Left the Background Music On: Daniel and Laurie dance to Fats Waller's "S'posin'", which doubles as the soundtrack for the CTU's ambush on Rorschach.
- Spared by the Adaptation: Rorschach