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July 28, 2009

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DVD of the Week – Watchmen (2009)

by HELEN GEIB

If you want to own, or for that matter to rent Watchmen you have several options. If you’re simply looking for the movie you saw- or missed- in the theater, there’s a bare bones single disc DVD release of the theatrical cut. If you’re looking for the director’s cut or you like some special features with your movie, there’s a two disc DVD release.

The two disc DVD doesn’t have a whole lot of features, but it does include a music video by the group My Chemical Romance, a short documentary on the graphic novel that inspired the film called “The Phenomenon: The Comic That Changed Comics,” and another short feature called “Watchmen: Video Journals,” whatever that might be. Unfortunately the theatrical cut is not an extra on the two disc set, so if you decide after watching the director’s cut that it isn’t an improvement, you’ll have to buy the other DVD. The single-disc DVD release also comes in a full-screen version, although I honestly can’t imagine why anyone would want to watch this movie with the sides of the frame chopped off.

Blu-ray owners are in luck, as the Blu-ray version of the two disc release comes with additional special features, although I can’t tell what they’re about from the titles: “Warner Bros. Maximum Movie Mode;” “Real Super Heros, Real Vigilantes;” “Watchmen: Focus Points;” and “Mechanics: Technologies of a Fantastic World.” Oddly enough, the Blu-ray release doesn’t appear to include the “Video Journals” feature that’s on the two-disc DVD release.

The director’s cut is about 25 minutes longer than the theatrical release version and apparently incorporates extended versions of most of the flashbacks, includes a significant new scene with Hollis Mason, adds some dialogue by Rorschach, and slightly lengthens a number of other scenes. I’m just going by what I’ve read on-line- I want to see the director’s cut, but haven’t yet. Anyone who’s seen it is invited to post a comment with a better description of the differences between the versions. Personally I’m most intrigued by the extended flashbacks, the flashbacks being a part of the film I especially liked.

Original Commentary Track review of Watchmen by Rishi Agrawal.

New releases this week: Fast and Furious, Miss March, Dragonball Evolution


4 Comments Post a comment
  1. Nir Shalev
    Jul 29 2009

    How famous is Watchmen, really? I have been reading comics since the early 90’s and had never of Watchmen until the first film trailer.
    Having read the comic a month before seeing the film I was intrigued, but would have enjoyed it more if I was 27 years old back in 1985.

    I saw the film in theatres and is still amazed that no one the same film I had: the fight sequences were cheesy and the sound effects were cartoony, the ending was changed (and I prefer the original), the performances were weak (save for Patrick Wilson’s Night Owl 2 and Billy Crudup’s Dr. Manhattan), and so was the CGI.
    I still think it’s a decent film and an accurate adaptation but the costumes are very rubbery and fake and the film’s too glossy and colourful.
    People that hate the film hate it for its length and claim the story sucks but no one thinks it cheesy.
    Hmm, curious.

    A side note: I watched the Director’s Cut on blu-ray and only noticed 2 new scenes; personally, they were unnecessary. One of them is the aforementioned sequence with Hollis Mason but it mad me laugh. I wanted to love Watchmen and I still want to like it but even though the substance is good, the overuse and constant stylized super slo-motion was ridiculous.

    Am I alone here? CT staff, I’m calling you out.

  2. Helen
    Jul 29 2009

    I haven’t seen anyone claim that “Watchmen” the graphic novel is famous outside the graphic novel/comic book subculture. When the trailer started playing I asked a friend who’s been reading graphic novels for 20 years if there was truth to the marketing claim that “Watchmen” is, to paraphrase, the biggest graphic novel of all time, and he said yes. However, even that only makes it the subject of a fervent cult following. There are only a handful of comic book characters that I would consider famous (e.g., Superman, Spider-Man, Batman), and their fame arises from decades of exposure in comics, serials, TV shows, advertising, movies, and so on and on. The Watchmen movie may have elevated its source to well-known, but I wouldn’t go further than that.

    I don’t think the movie is too long. There was a huge amount of story to tell and Watchmen took the time to tell it. That’s not to say I don’t have some criticisms of what was left out. I would gladly have traded some of the action scenes for an Ozymandias flashback; I don’t particularly dislike slo-mo action per se or as it was executed here, but the action was unimportant compared to knowing what made Ozymandias tick. I had some issues with the ending as well.

    Overall I enjoyed the film quite a lot. I liked the performances (which I think are strong except for Matthew Goode, who didn’t have enough to work with, and Malin Akerman, who’s acted off the screen by Carla Gugino); the loving attention to detail in the creation of the dystopian alterna-1980s America; the cgi, espeically Rorschach’s mask; and the languid pacing that allows the film to linger on the characters’ emotional lives.

  3. Nir Shalev
    Jul 29 2009

    Yeah, pretty much what I liked. The original source material WITHIN the film but not the film as a whole. And I also think Ozzy is basically missing from the film.

    I think that Zack Snyder was a bad choice as the director for the film because he’s overusing personal style, and it grossly overlaps the substance.
    If there was one director in the world that I think could do the comic true justice it’s Stanley Kubrick. I would pay a lot of money to resurrect him and see his version. 0_<

  4. Aaron
    Aug 13 2009

    As a literature fanatic, I have to say that Watchmen (as a graphic novel) trumps most books today. It has a complexity in philosophical themes, symbolism, and character development that is rarely met today.

    As a movie, I felt that Snyder amped up the cheesiness of it too much. I still love it, but I could have done without some of the ultra violent battle scenes or the sex scene between Laurie and Dan aboard Archie. It seemed like Snyder didn’t have faith that the movie would do well enough if he didn’t amp up the action and sex for the less intelligent audience out there.

    Performance wise, I enjoyed most of them, except for Malin Akerman. Jackie Earle Haley deserves props for brining an excellent tragic dimnesion to Rorschac’s character when he caould have played him as an entirely hate obsessed vigilante.

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