Saturday, 1 August 2009

WATCHMEN ON BLU.



I've never been a fan of graphic novels. No real reason for this. Just something I've never took the time to get into. Happily, this situation changed a couple of months ago when I finally decided it was way past time to check out the 'Gone With The Wind Of Graphics'.
My interest was sparked by a trailer for Zack Snyder's feature film, so a quick purchase on eBay's home shopping site and a copy of Alan Moore and Dave Gibbons' revered book was soon nestling on my lap. To say I was blown away would be an understatement! This alternate history 'lesson' - full of costumed vigilantes and extreme social and political turmoil - WATCHMEN proved to be the most engrossing page-turner I'd encountered in many a long day.
I'd been unable to catch a theatrical screening of Snyder's film, and eagerly awaited the DVD release which, in the UK, turned out to be the version seen at cinemas.News soon came through that the US would be getting Snyder's director's cut, and the Blu-ray would not be region-locked.

Running at 3 hours 6 minutes (some 24 mins longer than the theatrical cut), Watchmen is, in my eyes at least, an absolute triumph.
Here, characters are brought to life by several excellent performances, caught in an intoxicating mix of past, present and future.
Moore & Gibbons' dark world sees President Nixon serving a fourth term of office in a world where costumed crime fighters are outlawed by the Keene act and the tragic figure of Dr. Manhattan who finally abandons humanity. From the opening demise of 'The Joker' and wonderful opening credits sequence, through to the final line of dialogue, WATCHMEN had me gripped and left me regretting I'd missed those theatrical screenings.

Warner Bros Blu-ray contains 3 discs, with one disc full of extras and a digital copy of the film. Picture quality is hard to fault, with nice inky blacks, excellent shadow detail and striking skin tones, with only the blue glow of Dr. Manhattan exhibiting issues.
Snyder's Maximum Movie Mode (found on disc one) will surely be well received by fans of this film, revealing two screens in between Snyder who delivers a ton of information, backed by storyboards, comparison of scenes to comic book panels and behind the scenes info.
Fans will already be aware of the forthcoming 5 disc version, due in December. This will contain the film with TALES OF THE BLACK FREIGHTER woven in; over 2 hours of bonus footage including Hollis Mason's TELL ALL UNDER THE HOOD; commentary by Dave Gibbons and Zack Snyder and The Complete Watchmen Motion Comics.
Put me down for one of those!

3 comments:

  1. I never saw this when it hit theaters. My bro did and loved it. I definitely want to see it now that it's on DVD.

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  2. Being a devotee of the graphic novel, I approached this film with a certain amount of trepidation. How would Snyder, a filmmaker not known for having any real substance in his films, pull of adapting one of the most complex comic books ever?

    The theatrical version was good, but not great. It certainly wasn't bad as, say TANK GIRL, but certainly not as great as THE DARK KNIGHT. I think that the Director's Cut is a definite improvement. It fleshes out some characters and lets the story breathe by putting more of it back in.

    It still doesn't cover up some of the flaws, like the musical miscues ("Ride of the Valkyries" over Dr. Manhattan blasting Viet Cong is a little too cute a reference to APOCALYPSE NOW and do we really need have Leonard Cohen's "Hallelujah" played YET again in a film? Time to give that song a rest) and the weak performance by Malin Akerman.

    But watching the film again, did give me a chance to stop making a mental checklist of all the things that were omitted or changed and just enjoy the film for what it is instead of what it could have been.

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  3. Thanks, Keith. Bet you have this one on your Netflix. Hope you enjoy it.

    Thanks, JD. Be interesting to see this again with the Black Freighter incorporated.
    Agree with you re the cues you mentioned. Overall, I think the rest of the music worked well.

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