Cover Art and Menus: 7/10
Every week when I come to write these reviews each section of the template is filled with “blah blah blah blah blah…etc.” as a place marker before I come in and fill it with some other words. Today I feel like leaving the blah blah blah for this cover, but I will be good and add my other words instead. I really enjoyed the movie, but this cover is lame folks. I know some people like the whole hologram, 3D, lenticular thing that makes those pieces of glass seem like they are floating, but I don’t like it. It’s getting a bit old hat for me. As I look at the image of the cover here it looks fine, boring, but understandably heroesque. I would appreciate more effort on the design and unique images than the fancy freaky stuff.
The menu is pretty cool, so that’s the good news. The background is an image of Rorschach standing in the street, back to us, in the style of a very colorful graphic novel. The navigation is simple, but functional, at the bottom.
- Immersive WB Maximum Movie Mode – The director comes on the screen talking us through the making of the movie along with a lot of other goodies like a time line that shows the differences between the Watchmen world and the real world, concept art, storyboards, comparisons with the graphic novel, and up close looks at how many of the stunts and special effects were done. I really enjoy this kind of extra, so movie people, let’s focus on this for a while.
- The Phenomenon: The Comic That Changed Comics – The original graphic novel’s groundbreaking impact – Talking heads talking about the graphic novel, including one of the original artist/writers.
- Real Super Heroes, Real Vigilantes explores how the saga’s characters are mirrored in historical and contemporary real-life behavior – Experts round down the reasons why people become vigilantes and when they seem to crop up through history, when, why, where.
- Mechanics: Technologies of a Fantastic World – How do the physics of a super hero world match up to the real world? It takes a Physicist to tell us, and it’s really really good. I love this extra. A professor of Physics teaches with comic books, so this is right up his alley.
- Immerse Yourself in All 11 Watchmen Video Journals – Animated versions of the comic, pretty cool. I like it, but I would rather read the original first, and then come back to check this one out fully.
- My Chemical Romance “Desolation Row” music video – Not into videos.
- Exclusive Features via BD-Live – More making of extras to be found here if you like to go on that big internet thingy with your blu-ray player.
- BD-Live Exclusive Features can now be shared on Facebook – As you watch you can post on your facebook page to all your friends who also happen to have a blu-ray player, and the Watchmen disc that they can put in at the same time and watch “with” you.
- Digital Copy – A copy of the movie for your portable device, oh, but not MY ZUNE.
The Movie: 8/10
I really love an epic adventure movie. Three hours is fine with me, and with so much to see, such a good story to absorb, and awesome music, it was destined to be one of the most satisfying movies of the year (so far). Watchmen isn’t something I had ever even heard of. I am not a comic book reader, and in the 90’s I wasn’t paying that close attention to popular culture so it breezed past me while I sat in grubby bars drinking beer. Imagine my happy surprise to now experience it all for the first time, and loving it.
The story is brooding, crime in the streets, bleak cities full of stinky evil gangs and corrupt officials. It all sounds a lot like other super hero cityscape s, but this one is just enough darker to make it compelling above the rest. The time is set in 1985, sort of. The style is a mix of ultra futuristic with some 50’s tossed in with the 80’s just to keep it interesting. It’s a good look, not stuck in one time period, but clearly a nod to the 80’s that mark the apex of the cold war.
That leads to part of the heart of the story. The world is at odds, The Soviet Union and the US are on the brink of nuclear war and everyone is on edge, some chaos reigns, fear and hopelessness is everywhere. That’s part of what makes a gang of vigilante superheroes so appealing. The thing is, we have entered the story after this group of Watchmen have had their day and have been outlawed. They have all fallen to either rotten deaths, low roads in their lives, or just faded away with memories of having been heroes at some point in their lives.
Well, the time has come for the gang to reunite, sort of, when one of them is murdered. The search for his killer brings them together again, and into a new world of need, crime, bad guys, corruption, and pain. I won’t go into each character, they are best explored through watching the movie, but I will say that Dr. Manhattan is awesome. Even if I think the concept is flawed, I mean, a man who can change the molecular structure of things, can go to Mars and stand on the surface, can walk on the sun, can change walls to glass, air to gold…this dude could save the world at any moment, or destroy it. I’m not sure how to write a character like that into the world very convincingly. I mean, what’s holding him back, love? It’s a hard one for me to sort through, I love the idea, but putting an all powerful, undefeatable entity in the mix kind of takes away anything the others can do, or make it all seem a bit feeble.
The other thing I will mention is that these are mostly anti-heroes. It’s not a new concept, but it’s often done in a way that leaves you more sympathetic to the character than thinking of their evil deeds. Watchmen isn’t like that at all. I clearly do not admire or cherish these characters for their good deeds. They are flawed, more than even a lot of ‘bad guys’ from movies and stories we see all the time. Silk Spector is the one I am the most disgusted by, but understand, it’s a tough thing to want to hate someone for their choices but still see the value in them as a person. She was nearly raped by The Comedian years ago, but then had a brief affair with him and still has that love/hate thing for him. It’s vile and disgusting and I truly despise the weakness of how she has clung to the relationship with him through the years, but that’s the beauty of the characters, they bring out so many real emotions.
The action sequences are awesome. The fights are severe and powerful. The music is incredibly perfect. I don’t have anything bad to say about this movie..let me think….nope. The only thing is my thoughts on Dr. Manhattan as a viably controllable character, other than that, it’s one of my favorites for a long time.
Now, onto the graphic novel!!
Audio & Video: 9/10 (By Ascully)
Before I go into Audio & Video I want to say Watchmen is a FANTASTIC movie. If you are into superhero/Sci-fi in any way shape or form don’t listen to the fan-boys on the internet who say this movie is the biggest pile of crud ever, THEY ARE WRONG.
OK rant over, I was a little worried Warner would mess up the transfer on this movie as it does last over three hours. Three hours of 1080P video is pushing even what a BD50 is capable of storing. Worry not though, Warner has done a fantastic job here with deep blacks (the movie like 300 is bathed in deep black to give it a stylistic look) great colors, and a three dimensional image that really looks like a theatrical print. I did notice a tiny tiny bit of haloing around the edges of Dr. Manhattan in a couple of shots but only the ultra picky will notice.
For the first time in Warner’s Blu-Ray history they have switched over to using the DTS HD Master Audio codec, and I wish they would have done this earlier as it adds a lot more life to the uncompressed audio especially the lower frequencies. Watchmen is not your typical super hero action movie but the action sequences really come alive with a vibrant sound stage that really wows at times. Special mention should be given to the musical soundtrack which includes Jimmy Hendrix, Leonard Cohen, & Bob Dylan to name a few.
There is a ticket in the box to upgrade your Watchmen Director’s Cut to a super duper ultimate cut in December. For the first time ever I think I will take them up on that offer, the movie is so good. Overall Watchmen is an amazing movie and one of those movies that doesn’t come along that often. HIGHLY RECOMMENDED!!!!!
Buying a movie on DVD these days (or Blu-Ray as the establishment demands we call it…whatever) is like a major investment. I don’t want to spend money on something I will only enjoy once and then it sits on my shelf forever. And then there are the ones I WILL watch again, Watchmen is one of those. I will watch this movie again, with the director’s display thingy, and then again just to soak up anything I missed. You can find this 3 disc set for around 20 dollars, and while that’s a good chunk of a paycheck, I will get my money’s worth with all the extras and such a fun satisfying movie. I will even go buy the graphic novel, so my spending is out of control on this one!! 🙂
Overall Score 8/10