Music from the Watchmen Film

I’ve seen the ‘Watchmen’ movie twice now, and though I really like the movie itself, what stands out, for me at least, is they way they used music throughout the film; particularly in transition scenes and montages.

[WARNING: Possible spoilers, especially if you haven’t already read the graphic novel]

The musical good-ness starts with the opening credits that feature Bob Dylan’s ‘The Times They Are A-Changin’’. This was a really neat way to start the film as this montage is our introduction to the parallel reality that the movie is set in (I particularly liked the bit where Silhouette replaces the sailor in Eisenstaedt’s famous ‘V-J Day in Times Square’ photo).

The two most memorable uses of music, however, are the cold war era protest song ‘99 Luftballons’ by Nena that gets played at the start of the Daniel Dreiberg and Laurie Jupiter dinner scene and use of Simon & Garfunkel’s ‘The Sound of Silence’ for The Comedian’s funeral. Awesome stuff, particularly the entire funeral scene. Also memorable, but more because of it’s unusual placement, is the use of Leonard Cohen’s ‘Hallelujah’ during the Nite Owl and Silk Spectre sex scene.

Then there are the more energetic songs that are used at appropriate points. These include ‘All Along the Watchtower’ performed Jimi Hendrix (but, of course, written by Bob Dylan), ‘Desolation Row’ as performed by My Chemical Romance (also originally by Bob Dylan), and ‘Ride of the Valkyries’ as performed the Budapest Symphony Orchestra (which is a nod to the helicopter attack scene from ‘Apocalypse Now’). Oh, and if you stay for the credits you’ll also get to hear Leonard Cohen’s ‘First We’ll Take Manhattan’.

Finally there’s the brilliant use of a muzak version of ‘Everybody Wants to Rule the World’ by Tears for Fears that is played in the reception area outside Adrian Veidt’s office.

[End spoilers]

Actually, come to think of it, the good use of awesome music started months ago with the Smashing Pumpkin’s ‘The Beginning is the End is the Beginning’ being used for one of the film’s trailers.

Anyway, if you haven’t yet seen the film I suggest you do because it really is quite good. One thing, though: do keep in mind that this is not your typical, happy-ending superhero film. It’s a dark, dismal, serious movie – darker than what Batman films are supposed to be – and if you don’t go into the cinema expecting that, you probably won’t enjoy it as much.

[For more on the music used throughout the film, check out the Reel Soundtrack Blog’s feature on the Watchmen Soundtrack or the film’s Wikipedia page.]