(DIRECTOR'S CUT) (DIGITAL COPY AND BD-LIVE) [BLU-RAY] (2009)
Watchmen (Director's Cut) (Digital Copy and BD-Live) [Blu-ray] (2009)
Actors: Billy Crudup, Patrick Wilson
Directors: Zack Snyder
Format: Color, Director's Cut, Special Edition, Widescreen
Subtitles: English, Spanish, French
Aspect Ratio: 2.35:1
Number of discs: 3
Studio: Warner Home Video
DVD Release Date: July 21, 2009
Run Time: 186 minutes
Disc 1 (BD-50):
Director's cut of the film (186 minutes)
Interactive "Ultimate Watchmen Experience"
Disc 2 (BD-25):
The Phenomenon: The Comic that Changed Comics (30 min.)
Real Super Heroes, Real Vigilantes (27 min.)
Mechanics: Technologies of a Fantastic World (27 min.)
Webisodes (38 min.)
Music Video: My Chemical Romance Desolation Row (3 min.)
Disc 3 (DVD):
Digital Copy - Theatrical version
so apparently the world wasn't ready for Dr. Manhattan (Billy Crudup) and
his giant blue wang. No matter. Watchmen
remains a stunningly impressive work, aptly capturing the essence of the
seminal graphic novel with the right blend of affection and energy.
seen it under-perform at the box office, Warners likely rests its hopes on
strong DVD and Blu-Ray sales - especially from the hard-core fans, who are
more apt to buy multiple copies. The initial round started in March with the
release of Tales From The Black
Freighter and the Watchmen
motion comic. But the first serious volley arrives this week, with a Blu-Ray
edition that takes brilliant advantage of the film's thematic density.
Naturally, the Blu-Ray features the director's cut as a
centerpiece, with about 24 minutes of additional material not seen in the
theaters. While it doesn't include the Black Freighter animation
(promised for a future release), the new material proves extremely
enlightening, both in terms of the overall story and in the way director
Zack Snyder reduced the running time for the theatrical version. Only a few
scenes were flat-out cut - notably the death of Hollis Mason (Stephen
McHattie) and a scene in which Silk Spectre (Malin Ackerman) is interrogated
following Dr. Manhattan's disappearance.
The remainder appears in little bits and snippets -
expanding and enhancing existing scenes rather than creating any new ones.
Snyder apparently didn't wish to flat-out drop anything, and so reached the
required running time by paring down certain sequences.
The additions bring a few new wrinkles to Watchmen's
alternate universe of has-been heroes and encroaching apocalypse, yet
Snyder's vision was realized with the theatrical release. While the
director's cut expands upon it, the excised scenes were not unduly missed
The film's brilliance shines through in both versions - the complex
pop culture references, the dizzying storyline, the celebrated clash of
four-color heroics and messy real-world politics - topped by a performance
from Jackie Earle Haley (playing the damaged vigilante Rorschach) as
memorable as Heath Ledger's Joker. Its lingering flaws remain small, but
notable, and yet they never diminish the final results. Indeed, amid the
detritus of a fairly disappointing summer, one wonders why
Watchmen couldn't have
come along in June instead of March.
Its intelligence, sophistication and go-for-the throat
commitment to its chosen subject would make a great tonic for the thundering
idiocy of the season. Its box office figures proved greatly disappointing,
but the director's cut suggests that this particular "failure" will age like
a bottle of fine merlot.
DISC: Rarely has a film cried out more for the Blu-Ray treatment, and
Warners takes full advantage of the opportunity. Snyder himself hosts an
ongoing commentary - "The Ultimate Watchmen Experience" - featuring
behind-the-scenes shots, a timeline covering the history of the
universe, remarks from the director himself and (best of all) a side-by-side
comparison between shots in the film and frames from the graphic novel.
all runs concurrently with the movie itself, allowing you to switch between
a straight screening of the film and all the bells and whistles. The Blu-Ray
also contains a number of lengthy documentaries, including one delineating
the impact of the graphic novel and another discussing the technology of the
Watchmen universe. A digital download lets you transfer the film to
your computer or iPhone (though it's only the theatrical version, not the
director's cut), and of course the audio/video transfer is absolutely
gorgeous. Even the slipcover is forty kinds of cool, and how often can you
Watchmen marks one of
those efforts that justifies pulling the trigger on a Blu-Ray player. It
enhances the original release while still allowing minimalists to enjoy the
best viewing experience possible. The presentation can be a little ADD
sometimes, but that doesn't detract from its status as a must-buy for anyone
serious about Blu-Ray.
RECOMMENDATION: Fans should run, not walk to pick up a
copy, while those who didn't care for the film the first time around should
use this platform to give it a second chance. The Blu-Ray demonstrates not
only the enormity of Snyder's undertaking, but the ways in which he
succeeded that newcomers to Watchmen may not have fully realized before.
- Rob Vaux