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Watchmen (2009) Poster

(2009)

Goofs

Anachronisms 

(at around 18 mins) [director's & ultimate versions only] The Phil Caputo book, "Equation of Evil" seen in Hollis Mason's apartment next to the television during the Rorschach/Patterson-Gimlin Film news footage, was not published until 1996. Even in the alternate history, this book probably would not have just happened to exist 11 years early.
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Audio/visual unsynchronised 

(at around 9 mins) In the opening credits sequence the stem of the flower disappears and the flowers hover freely.
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Character error 

(at around 1h 8 mins) Doctor Manhattan describes a "circulatory system" appearing on the grounds of a government base. However what is depicted is clearly the nervous system, as it features a brain and spinal cord, but no heart or lungs. (This error is repeated from the novel.)
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(at around 21 mins) When Adrian/Ozymandias is being interviewed in his office the reporter states that he is the second Watchman to reveal his secret identity the first being Hollis Mason/Nite Owl Senior. Mason was a member of The Minute Men (the precursor to The Watchmen) which didn't form until he had retired and passed the Nite Owl mantle to Dan.
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(at around 15 mins) Near the beginning of the movie, Hollis Mason (first Nite Owl) is listing his fellow Minutemen, but forgets to mention the Silhouette.
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(at around 1h 23 mins) A newscast lists the arrested Walter Kovacs' age as 35, i.e born in 1950. However, the opening credits showed Kovacs as a child in the 1940s, indicating that his correct age is 45.
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(at around 1h 20 mins) When Rorschach is tailing Dan and Laurie he VOs that they don't recognize him without his "mask." Rorschach otherwise consistently refers to the mask as his "face."
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Continuity 

(at around 1h 50 mins) In the prison, as Silk Spectre and Night Owl are fighting the inmates down the cell block, Silk Spectre's boots go from high stiletto heels to flats.
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(at around 1h 25 mins) The third and final inkblot shown to Rorschach by the psychiatrist is not the same after his flashback.
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(at around 1h 50 mins) When Nite Owl and Silk Spectre II first arrive at the prison riot, the first one to run at them is an inmate with long hair. Silk Spectre II kicks him to the ground. As they fight their way down towards the guard, the same man is seen again and he is then swept off his feet and clotheslined to the ground by Nite Owl.
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In several fighting scenes, Silk Spectre II's boots switch back and forth from flat boots to high heeled boots.
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(at around 36 mins) When Silk Spectre I is getting undressed in her 1940's flashback, her black glove disappears when she clips open the neck of her dress.
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(at around 48 mins) Moloch's copy of Allen Ginsberg's "HOWL" on his night table briefly changes orientation. Initially, you see the letters right side up; then upside-down (and closer to the bed); then back again.
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(at around 6 mins) In the main titles, Nite Owl stands up and his head completely covers the "1940" on the sign behind him. In all subsequent shots of the photograph of "Minutemen 1940" the banner hangs unobstructed above his head.
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(at around 20 mins) In Dan Dreiberg's underground laboratory, Rorschach rather pointedly drags his finger through a thick coat of dust over a cover on his work bench to indicate its lack of use. Later when Laurie Juspeczyk pulls the dust cover off of the "Archimedes" ship (at around 1h 30 mins), there is no cloud of dust.
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(at around 5 mins) In the beginning of the movie when the Comedian (Edward Blake) is thrown through the glass window, midway down his body turns face down to the concrete (which matches how he dies in the comic book). Yet when the camera shows the Comedian he is lying on the concrete face up instead of face down.
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(at around 33 mins) The position of the flag on the coffin reverses between the removal of the coffin from the hearse to the arrival at the grave site.
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(at around 1h 21 mins) When we first see the cigarette in Moloch's hand it is burnt almost all the way down. When we see it again from another angle it is about halfway.
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(at around 21 mins) When Rorschach starts to walk down the tracks out of Dan's secret lair, he puts his hands in his pockets twice.
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(at around 1h 19 mins) When Dan and Laurie leave the diner, some of her hair is alternately (not) hanging over the front of her left shoulder.
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(at around 1 min) During the McLaughlin group discussion John McLaughlin has his hands in his lap. After a camera angle change his hands are raised.
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(at around 13 mins) When Rorschach searches the Comedian's apartment following the crime scene investigation, after jumping from the window he searches the place with his flashlight. He shines his torch to his left (towards to kitchen), but the next shot shows the light shining over the picture of Sally Jupiter with the knife stuck in it (the opposite side of where he points his flashlight).
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Crew or equipment visible 

(at around 5 mins) During the opening fight, as the Comedian is thrown across the room, Director Zack Snyder can be seen huddling between the drawer and brick wall, lower, left-hand corner of the screen. (Snyder points this out during his "live" Blu-Ray commentary.)
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At Karnak in some close ups of Nite Owl's face, the reflection in his goggles shows actor Billy Crudup in his motion capture suit covered in blue dots, instead of a full rendering of Dr. Manhattan.
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Errors in geography 

In the Mars scenes, two moons of approximately the same size as ours can be seen in the sky. However, the larger moon, Phobos, is 1/4 the apparent size of our moon when viewed from Mars, the other moon, Deimos, is much smaller - 5% of our moon's apparent size. Neither moon is as spherical as depicted, nor clearly visible from the surface.
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(at around 9 mins) In the opening scene there is a clip of Leonid Brezhnev and Fidel Castro reviewing a military parade across Red Square from atop Lenin's mausoleum. However the vehicle traffic is moving in the wrong direction. It should be proceeding southeast along the square (left to right) with the GUM department store in the background as a reference.
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(at around 1h 6 mins) During the 1959 accident at the Intrinsic Field Laboratory, the door lock time mechanism uses a Nixie tube digit display. The '5' digit can be seen to be an upside-down '2'. This is a characteristic of Russian (or Soviet) Nixie-tube displays and therefore would not be used in a U.S. scientific facility.
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Incorrectly regarded as goofs 

(at around 38 mins) When the coffin is being lowered into the grave, Dr. Manhattan's glow is not reflected off of it. This is because Dr. Manhattan can turn off the glow if he so chooses. One would not be glowing at a funeral, so Dr. Manhattan in turn is not.
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(at around 56 mins) Dreiberg microwaves a carton of Chinese food with its metal handle still attached. While microwave instructions commonly prohibit customers from placing metal inside them for safety reasons the dangers of doing so are greatly exaggerated in the public mind. Small amounts of metal, like the handle from a Chinese food container, will likely not cause sparking and will generally, at most, cause damage to the microwave not a larger fire or an explosion.
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(at around 2h 10 mins) In this movie, the United States won the Vietnam War. However, one of Veidt's monitors is playing Rambo: First Blood Part II, a movie about avenging America's losses in Vietnam. In Veidt's world, Rambo must be regarded as an imaginative science fiction movie set in an alternate universe.
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(at around 10 mins) Some of the floating credits are reflected in Neil Armstrong's helmet. The back of the letters (or the reverse side) is what is facing the helmet. The reflection of the reverse side (or, the reverse of the reverse side) would show the text properly oriented. Therefore, both the credits and the reflection should appear as readable; the reflection should not appear backwards.
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If you look closely at all the framed newspaper articles, especially in the opening credits, the articles themselves are just series of repeating texts and paragraphs. However, this may be intentional, as it is a convention in comic books/graphic novels for "minor text" to appear as scribbles or repeating text.
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The movie is set in an alternate history which diverged from ours in 1938. In many ways that reality is more advanced than ours, due to the inventiveness of Dr. Manhattan and other geniuses. Most apparent anachronisms and factual errors in technology, design, fashion, music, communications, weaponry, uniforms, and other areas, cannot be counted as goofs for this reason. Any internal inconsistencies should be regarded as plot holes at best, and redundant at least.
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(at around 1h 45 mins) While it seems a continuity mistake, we can hear the bald thug drop his rotary saw, and the other thug pick it up all in the shot where he grabs the bars.
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(at around 21 mins) When the reporters are talking to Veidt in his office, they refer to him as being only the second hero to reveal his identity, after Hollis Mason. It is true that in the opening montage, a bomber is seen with Silk Spectre's alias "Sally Jupiter" emblazoned on its side. Her real last name was Juspeczyk. She assumed the name Sally Jupiter because she did not wish to be known as being Polish. No one would be able to just look her up in the phone book so she did not really reveal her true identity.
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The director's cut, and the source novel, show how people know that Doctor Manhattan has gone to Mars, and eliminates "continuity errors" regarding his and Laurie's poses there.
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(at around 8 mins) The scene of the JFK assassination (1963) is not wholly consistent with footage of the event. However, this movie is set in an alternate reality whose time line diverged in 1938, so "butterfly effects" are allowable.
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(at around 1h 1 min) During his television interview, Dr. Manhattan mis-pronounces the location of his lab, Gila Flats. While Gila is most-commonly pronounced in English as "heel-ah", the "Geel-ah" pronunciation has crept into common speech due to language shift, and may also be the preferred version in the alternate universe of the film.
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Plot holes 

Rorshach's mask works because of a gelatinous ink moving within a fine, almost plastic, fabric intended for Kitty Genovese. However, there is no reason why the patterns should be symmetrical.
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Even allowing for the differences in the time line, it seems unlikely Blake's body would be released from an active murder investigation in time for him to be buried only 4 days later, much less have a finished grave stone in place at the cemetery by then. (This plot hole is copied from the book.)
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There is no reason given for Dan, Lori, or Dr. Manhattan to be at Blake's funeral. Since Blake's identity as a hero has not been publicly revealed there would have to be some other, unrevealed, connection between them. Given the high-profile guests in attendance, it is also odd that Hollis Mason did not attend. (This plot hole is copied from the book.)
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(at around 15 mins) [director's & ultimate versions only] While Rorschach is exploring Blake's apartment, he hears the "ding" of an arriving elevator, which seems to produce two police officers. One says he "heard something", but if they were on a different floor, they wouldn't have heard Rorschach in the apartment.
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Revealing mistakes 

(at around 1h 35 mins) When Dreiberg is in his secret basement with Jupiter, showing her the night-vision goggles he wore as Nite Owl, he turns the lights off while she's wearing them, and approaches her. His pupils are not dilated, like they should be in the dark.
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(at around 1h 27 mins) When Rorshach kicks in the door at the child murderer's house, the door bounces several times against the wall, showing a spring is holding it open so it won't swing back in the actor's face.
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(at around 58 mins) When Dr. Manhattan is dressing, as he turns his head at the end, his CGI neck can be seen going through the collar of his shirt.
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(at around 18 mins) When Dan meets Rorschach for the first time, his glasses are wet due to rain but not his face or hair.
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(at around 12 mins) As the camera zooms out from the crime scene at The Comedian's apartment, the Chrysler Center is visible in the reflection of the glass, but is not visible as the camera zooms out far enough to be able to see where it should be.
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(at around 2h 10 mins) In Antarctica, as Rorschach and Nite Owl II slide open the doors when entering the facility, there are conduits and pipes on the right side of the screen that should continue through the wall but do not go anywhere. The sliding door passes through the wall where the pipes/conduits should be going. Also, the large pipe has a match outside but the perspective is not correct to have it meed up with the pipe from inside.
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(at around 33 mins) When the coffin is brought to the graveside there is no vault or frame to place it on prior to lowering it into the hole.
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(at around 1h 19 mins) When Laurie and Dan talk inside a coffee house, you can see people outside through a circular window. A woman and other people appear and disappear suddenly.
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If you watch the shadows on Dr. Manhattan carefully, it appears that the blue light is coming from an off-camera source, not his body. When he turns his head, the side of his face that is in shadow will change. When he is sitting on the bed holding the bra, the shadow of the bra on his chest indicates this as well. (Note: while Billy Crudup was emitting blue light from his motion capture suit during production, the computer model of Doctor Manhattan must be lit independently by animators.)
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Spoilers

The goof items below may give away important plot points.

Audio/visual unsynchronised 

(at around 2h 20 mins) When Veidt drops the bullet he captured in his hand, it makes the distinctive sound of an empty shell casing hitting the floor and not the heavy clicking of an actual bullet being dropped.
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Continuity 

(at around 2h 20 mins) When Ozymandias captures the bullet shot by Silk Spectre II, he rotates clockwise capturing the bullet with his left hand and falling. In the next shot the bullet is half inside his right hand.
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(at around 2h 15 mins) After the fight between Veidt, Rorschach and Nite Owl II, Rorschach helps up Nite Owl as Veidt starts heading up the stairs. Rorschach had his hands at his sides, then the angle changed to over Veidt's shoulder and Rorschach's hands were inside his coat's pockets.
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Incorrectly regarded as goofs 

During the final battle in Adrian's Antarctic base, Laurie shoots Adrian with a pistol. It is hard to catch, but she takes this from a guard at Sing Sing during the breakout of Rorschach. Later it can be seen tucked away in her belt.
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Veidt uses energy from Dr. Manhattan to destroy major cities across the world in order to end war. If he was able to do this, he might have been able to complete his original stated goal of creating renewable energy to end war. However, there is a big difference between using a physical process as a weapon, or as a useful energy source. In a real-life example, nuclear fusion was made into a weapon (a hydrogen bomb) in 1952, but despite all efforts, even 60 years later, the best fusion reactors are still too inefficient to be a practical energy source. So Veidt's original plan wasn't an option in the time frame he was given.
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(at around 2h 15 mins) The American cities destroyed at the end are New York and Los Angeles, notably NOT Washington D.C., the seat of government. However, Moscow and Paris ARE destroyed. New York was shown to have not been destroyed entirely, thus it is reasonable to believe that the other cities were not destroyed entirely either, and the Soviet premier did survive to make peace.
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(at around 2h) The particle accelerator is used to kill other characters, but why wouldn't they come back like Dr. Manhattan did? The other scientists had been killed by poison before being disintegrated. Dr. Manhattan was alive and conscious when he was disintegrated. His backstory also makes it explicit that he was taught how to recreate complex structures starting in his youth.
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(at around 1h 21 mins) When Rorschach is trapped in Edgar Jacobi's apartment, surrounded by SWAT teams, Jacobi's corpse blinks. However, recently deceased corpses will oftentimes show muscle reactions: twitches, gasps and flexing are not uncommon.
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Plot holes 

Veidt's plan was to mimic Manhattan's power and use it to scare the world into peace, but Manhattan leaves immediately after Veidt unfurls his plan. Earlier in the movie, the Russians were testing the waters after Manhattan was gone for just two days.
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Revealing mistakes 

(at around 2h 15 mins) The New York blast's epicenter is Times Square, but the top-down view of the explosion is just a random 3D composite of various skyscraper models, including several slightly modified but recognizable buildings from lower Manhattan (e.g., 20 Exchange Place, 120 Broadway and 55 Wall Street).
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See also

Trivia | Crazy Credits | Quotes | Alternate Versions | Connections | Soundtracks

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