A question about The Watchmen (movie)

and an observation.

(sorry if this has been addressed before)

I was watching this with someone who has no knowledge of the story and when the Police are in the Comedian’s apt the camera pulls and we see Archie floating in darkness listening into the investigation.
But when Rorschach visits The Owl, Archie is covered in dust. The Owl seems to be surprised about the news of the Comedian’s death.

What gives?

Something I noticed this time that I never did before is during the funeral Silk Specter (I) says “It rains on the just and the unjust alike” and then cuts to the funeral and Jon is standing there and the rain doesn’t fall on him at all.

I don’t think that was Archie. It was probably just an airship flying by, or the Gunga Diner elephant balloon.

Nice catch on the funeral scene. The book is absolutely full of stuff like that.

In the comic, police blimps are a commonplace sight. For a while after 9/11 in Washington DC, a couple of small blimps with cameras patrolled the city’s airspace, and I think the movie referenced both.

The movie referenced something to do with 9/11?


Visually, not verbally.

Note that the name of the movie is Watchmen (one word).

Oh. I see.

In the comic, police blimps were visual shorthand for “repressive state.” Fifteen years later, the things were in service over Washington, DC. If they hadn’t been, I doubt the movie would have included them.

Ok I just re-watched it. It is one of the advertising blimps. You can see Gunga Diner on it. It is show head-on so it doesn’t look like an elephant.

But they alter the sound as if that blimp is using a listening device to eavesdrop on the police investigating the crime scene.

I disagree. They were there to show how different the world was with Manhattan in it (as he produced the masses of Helium for them) - I never got “repressive state” out of Watchmen. Well, any more than the 80s was naturally.

Does anyone have a cite that those were meant to be police blimps?

I agree with the previous poster that post 1930s airship travel usually just signifies an alternate universe.

Huh. Just flipped through the first two chapters and there all blimps all over the place. They’re just vague distant objects in the skyline, tethered to or wandering among the taller buildings. The first appearance of the distinctive Gunga Diner blimp that I can find comes in Chapter 5, with Rorschach commenting in his journal: “Is everyone but me going mad? Over 40th street, an elephant was drifting.”

And if you like throwaway details, take note of how many stars are on the flag used at Eddie Blake’s funeral.

It was a lot more heavy handed in the movie, (like the soldiers firing on the hippies right after the girl put a flower in the rifle barrel), but any state where Nixon’s in his 5th term is probably pretty repressive.

Well, it was him or the commies.

Your interpretations could be correct; for a comic that featured its own Cliff’s Notes, Moore let a lot of details fly by. He certainly never said they were police blimps. Here’s why I don’t think they were luxury airships:

Helium isn’t particularly scarce. It turns up in all natural gas deposits. The US Government has been selling the stuff off at fire sale prices since 1996 (well after the comic, but well before the film). I don’t think Dr. Manhattan would synthesize it the way he synthesized lithium under those circumstances.

The dirigible industry went dormant (although the Hindenberg company still maintains an office somewhere) because of really bad publicity and competition from the airplane industry, not because of a shortage of helium. And hydrogen blimps would be cheaper and more viable; the Hindenberg burned because of the dope sealant on its exterior, not the hydrogen in its interior.

Those Watchmen blimps might serve some commercial purpose (and calling the Gunga Diner elephant a “blimp” is a bit of a reach), but other than a tire company and an Alaskan hauler, drones with cameras during a national emergency were the last time I saw blimps out in force in the real world. What was the Watchmen national emergency? The threat of Russia kept the Doomsday Clock perpetually close to midnight, so there was one.

The comic states Dr. Manhattan’s existence sparked a number of technological advances, including a “fast and safe airships may soon be economically viable” comment by Adrien Veidt in 1975 (that Dan Drieberg had his Owlship as early as 1966 suggests he may have built a very early prototype years before such designs could be profitable commercially). I guess maybe Manhattan synthesizing lithium in quantity (something he refences doing in 1962) might have made light airbody frames possible.

Going through the comic quickly, I don’t really see any blimps or airships or whatever that have specific police markings. If someone claims to see them, I’d suggest they might be thinking instead of Batman: The Animated Series, in which police blimps feature prominently.

'snot so far off from the real world. Kent State, anyone?

…but not much more than real life, was my point. e.g. Case being investigated by ordinary policemen, existence of alt. publications, lots of graffitti, rock concerts and disorganized gangs. In a repressive state, I’d expect the only gangs to be organized.

The scene in question is 12:20 seconds into the film. The blimp isn’t backgroud stuff. It is featured in the shot. The two cops are looking at the photo of Blake with Nixon.

Do you think he’s a spook? Government? Black ops?
(camera pulls out revealing a blimp, low in the sky compared to others)
I think this is bigger than both of us.

The blimp is prominent in the shot as he says ‘bigger than both of us’.

So maybe the Gunga Diner blimps are in fact surveillance blimps. Disguised as harmless ads. But this doesn’t seem to come up later.

Was Archibald a lighter-than-air craft? I had the impression that it used some sort of super-science propulsion/levitation system. Certainly, a large proportion of its volume seems to be usable space, and it seems awfully fast for a dirigible.

In fact, I think that scene was constructed from one of the famous photos of Kent State. Certainly, there was no doubt at all in my mind when I saw it that that’s what it was referencing.

It was more like a minivan of the air, no blimp qualites at all.