MikeyB's "The Song Paints a Picture": Watchmen (2009)

 Well it has been two months since my last entry into this series of articles, so that means its time for the third edition of "The Song Paints a Picture ". If you are new to this series let me give you a quick refresher as to what this is all about. In each article I pick a song that whenever I hear it, will instantly make me think of a movie scene that used it in such a way that the film and song become forever linked in my mind.  Tonight's entry is Bob Dylan's 1964 folk classic "The Times They Are a-Changin'". Specifically its usage in the opening credits of Zak Snyder's film adaptation of the hit graphic novel of the same name: "Watchmen". So now that you now what you're getting into lets dive right in!

The Song

 One of Dylan's most timeless songs, "Changin'" is a melancholy anthem for change. One that echo's the social and political turmoil not only of the 60's in which it was released but has proven again and again to be relevant and resonant in any time period. (Apologies for the quality of the song video. Other then the scene down below, it was the best version I could find on YouTube.)

The Film

 Snyder's ambitious and epic adaptation of Alan Moore's graphic novel is, in my opinion, one of the finest comic book films ever made. This adult and often satirical take on the genre is set in an alternate universe of the 1980's. One where the "cold war" is reaching a boiling point and a group of ex heroes investigate the mysterious death of one of their friends. Performances are great across the bored with Billy Crudup and Jackie Earle Haley being particular standouts. Snyder's trademark action and visual flair is present, but so is a sense of story and character building that his films are often criticized of lacking. It is a movie that despite its length, three hours for the directors cut, never feels over long or bores and is one of my absolute favorites in the genre.

The Scene

 So this entry is a bit different in the way that instead of an actual scene from a film, it is a film's opening credits. Meaning, I don't need to set the scene up at all in this paragraph and this is mostly filler to make my article look longer, cleverly disguised as an explanation of the next paragraph. I'm going to condense the two last parts of this months article into one.

  As the first cords of Dylan's guitar start to thrum we start our slow motion tour through Watchman's alternate history. We witness the rise of the first superheroes in the 40's, their impact on the world and their exploits fighting crime. We see this first generation's eventual decline and downfall, and then its rebirth as a new generation of heroes rise up in the 60's. We see the social unrest of a world where the cold war has escalated to un-imaginable heights and the eventual outlawing of masked heroes all together in the 70's and early 80's. All the while Dylan's guitar, harmonica, and iconic vocals narrate the actual changes we see take place. It is a masterful combination of sound, visuals, and editing that perfectly sets the tone for the rest of the film and, in my opinion, is one of the greatest opening credit sequences of all time.