Tuesday, July 28, 2009


Written by David Hayter and Alex Tse
Directed by Zack Snyder
Starring Billy Crudup, Patrick Wilson, Jackie Earle Haley, Matthew Goode and Malin Akerman

Early on in WATCHMEN, a store front window is defaced with spray paint. The words read, “Who watches the Watchmen?” The question, in the film, is asked by the general public as a serious concern that no one is policing the super forces that the government has hired to police the people. The answer here is rhetorical of course. The question, when asked out of context, is of course completely different but somehow, just as rhetorical, depending on how you see it. Last spring, WATCHMEN quickly went from one of the most anticipated films of 2009 to a supposed disappointment with very little explanation. The easiest explanation is that there had been a backlash to the hype; that fans of the iconic graphic novel had flocked to the film but they brought no one else with them. Now given the royal BD treatment, WATCHMEN can go direct to the basements where its true fans have been lurking and waiting all this time.

Clocking in at just over three hours, Zack Snyder’s director’s cut is a lot easier to stomach in the comfort of home. WATCHMEN is a bleak film, very dark for the superhero genre. It was possibly too intense to cross over in theatres but, on a rainy summer night, it will thrill lucky renters. This epic comic book picture spans decades and weights itself in a dense but intricate recreation of history, one which includes all of these supposed heroes and makes them an integral part of humanity’s progress. An immense amount of effort was made putting all of the tiny details together when making this movie and that same effort was used when putting this BD together. Aside from a number of interesting documentaries on varying elements of production, there is also the BD exclusive, what is being called the maximum movie mode. To watch the film in this mode is to watch a guided tour. The guide is Snyder himself and he interrupts the film intermittently, even going so far as to pausing it, so that he talk to us about what shooting was like and point the details we might miss. This is accompanied by graphic novel illustration comparisons, as well as storyboard comparisons, in a picture-in-picture option. You can even leave the film to watch an appropriate extra when you are prompted. It truly is unlike anything I’ve experienced on BD thus far.

I admit to not loving this film but I can also admit that I can see why many people would and those people should feel very happy with what is included in the BD release. The only thing that might upset these people is that there is an ultimate edition coming this December.




Anonymous said...

Having read the novel before seeing the movie, I was impressed by the translation of the book onto the big screen. The opening scene is incredible, and many of the shots are straight off the pages. That said, the movie was a bit too dark to garner the type of appeal that other superhero movies have received in recent years, and I doubt that adding BD really enhances the experience. It does deserve credit for sticking to its guns, however, and it may receive more cult appeal on DVD/Blu-ray than it did in theaters.

Black Sheep said...

The BD experience, not the live one but the features exclusively on the BD, actually do a lot to enhance it. You can see exactly how and why everything translates so well from page to screen. It didn't do anything to change my feelings on the film but it gave me the opportunity to respect it more.