WATCHMEN DIRECTOR'S CUT (BLU-RAY)
Reviewed by: Andre Manseau
Jackie Earle Haley
Jeffrey Dean Morgan
What's it about
In a gritty and alternate 1985, the glory days of costumed vigilantes have been brought to a close by a government crackdown, but after one of the masked veterans is brutally murdered an investigation into the killer is initiated. The reunited heroes set out to prevent their own destruction, but in doing so discover a deeper and far more diabolical plot.
Is it good movie?
When this one came out on Blu-Ray, I immediately sent a request to my handsome and rugged boss (dude I ain't gay, I'm just sayin') asking for this film so I could have the opportunity to review it, and I'm so glad to say that Fallon came through, as usual.
I absolutely loved Watchmen. I'm thrilled I'm getting to review a movie I love, and it's movies like these that really make me happy to be a reviewer. If you're the kind of person who likes Fantastic 4, you should probably avoid this. The other day in the video store, I had someone ask me if this movie was 'The new Batman show'. It's not. A big part of the reason I like Watchmen is because it's ambitious, meticulous, faithful to the source material and it's got a set of balls on it.
It's hard to review this film without giving away most of the plot, so I'll assume you're all just massive fans of either my opinion or this flick and have already seen it. Adapted from Alan Moore's wildly successful and critically acclaimed graphic novel, Watchmen is not a typical slam-bang superhero movie. Don't get me wrong, there's some action in there, but this movie is all about character. This film is a deep, dark look at the scrutinization of what a superhero actually is, based in a skewed alternate universe where Nixon still reigns as president.
Watchmen paints these heroes with a very human brush. Each of them are fractured in their own way, and stuck deep in a thick plot that forces them to take action in a city that has banned it. These characters are tortured by the atrocities from their past and feel cast out from the very city they were once sworn to protect. The most interesting part of this film is essentially seeing how the characters adapt to having to lead pedestrian lives, if they can adapt at all.
You've Rorschach, the deeply disturbed man who idealizes his own fight as a battle that he must win- he never gives up and never lies to himself. You get Silk Spectre, who struggles with her relationship with Dr. Manhattan, a god-like being who has become so far removed from the human way of life that he wants to abandon it altogether. There's also Nite Owl, a meek man who has never been able to stand for what he truly wants, and Ozymandias, the brilliant man who has come out about his past and become a wildly successful businessman.
But this is just the tip of the iceberg folks. I'm not going to spoil anything for you because its all in the details. This movie had me from the incredible opening credits until the very last moment and didn't let me go.
Enough gushing, let me just get a few critical statements in before I wrap up here. This isn't a film for everyone- if you like nothing but action and explosions, you will likely be bored here. This director's cut runs over three hours long, and that's not something everyone will be interested in. Personally, I could have added another hour to try to fit more detail in, but that's give or take.
Also, fanboys tend to bitch about certain aspects missing from or added to the movie. Let me tell you this- don't let that stop you, this film is still worth watching. I have read the novel too and nothing really bothered me. Some things seemed strange in their inclusion (the cat-creature), but it's mostly hit rather than miss.
The acting is fantastic as well, especially Jackie Earle Haley as Rorschach, and Billy Crudup's Manhattan. The only sore spot is Malin Akerman, whose portrayal of Silk Spectre felt wooden and sort of lame. As a final point, Matthew Goode's Ozymandias was a little hammy and sort of disappointing too, but that's picking nits.
Video / Audio
Video comes to us in a 1080p/VC-1 encode (2.4:1 Widescreen), and is just jaw-dropping, reference material stuff. This movie drenched in visual style and the details are all here in incredible texture. Arguably one of the best blu-rays I've ever watched.
Audio is also reference quality, using DTS-HD sound and again, really just about flawless.
First up is The Phenomenon: The Comic That Changed Comics, a half hour piece that interviews everyone from the film crew to the suits at DC comics. It's a bit of a fluff piece but it has just enough depth to keep you interested.
Maximum Movie Mode/Focus Points are what you really came for. If you're up to it, watch Maximum Movie Mode. It integrates all of the focus points together and adds a timeline to everything to give an experience unlike anything else offered as an extra. This one will actually branch away to a PIP view with Zack Snyder as he literally compares comic to screen and just gives fans all the detail they could possibly want. If you're really not up for that, you can just watch them separately as focus points.
There's also Real Super Heroes: Real Vigilantes, another half hour piece detailing the lives of REAL super heroes! This is a great piece, I loved watching it- who knew?
Mechanics: Technologies of a Fantastic World is a 17 minute bit that goes deep into the science of this flick and is hosted by Dr. James Kakalios, Professor of Physics at the University of Minnesota, who served as an advisor on the movie! This just gives a small hint at the crazy amount of work that went into this flick.
Finally, there's a digital copy and a crappy music video from My Chemical Romance on there too. Whew!
People have said for years that this movie could not be made because it is too ambitious and audiences won't understand it. Those people are half right, because a lot of people say "I don't get it", which drives me insane. This is a fantastic edition of a fantastic movie that will make you think and connect with you emotionally. On top of all that, this is a gleaming gem to add to any HD collection you might have going. Have you bought this yet?