Watchmen (2-Disc Special Edition) [DVD] 
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An adaptation of Alan Moore's landmark comic book series, Watchmen is a story set in an alternative 1985 where a group of heroes, fo rced into retirement a decade before are called together once again to investigate the murder of one of their own. What they discove r an age-old conspiracy to change the balance of power
Everybody's favourite graphic novel comes to the screen (after years of rumours and false starts), less a roaring work of adaptation than a respectful and faithful take on a radical original. Watchmen is set in the mid-1980s, a time of increased nuclear tension between the United States and the Soviet Union, as Richard Nixon is enjoying his fifth term as president and the world's superheroes have been forcibly retired. (As you can probably tell, the mix of authentic history and alternate reality is heady.) Things begin with a bang: the mysterious high-rise murder of the Comedian (Jeffrey Dean Morgan), a masked hero with a checkered past, puts the rest of the retired superhero community on alert. The credits sequence, a series of tableaux that wittily catches us up on crime-fighting backstory, actually turns out to be the high point of the movie. Thereafter we meet the other caped and hooded avengers: the furious Rorschach (Jackie Earle Haley), the inexplicably naked Dr. Manhattan (Billy Crudup, amidst much blue-skinned, genital-swinging digital work), Silk Spectre II (Malin Akerman), Nite Owl II (Patrick Wilson), and Ozymandias (Matthew Goode). The corkscrewing storytelling, which worked well in the comic book, gives the movie the strange sense of never quite getting in gear, even as some of the episodes are arresting. Director Zack Snyder (300) doesn't try to approximate the electric impact of the original (written by Alan Moore--who declined to be credited on the movie--and illustrated by Dave Gibbons) but retains careful fidelity to his source material. That doesn't feel right, even with the generally enjoyable roll-out of anecdotes. Even less forgivable is the blah acting, excepting Jeffrey Dean Morgan (lusty) and Patrick Wilson (mellow). Watchmen certainly fills the eyes, although less so the ears: the song choices are regrettable, especially during an embarrassing mid-air coupling between Nite Owl II and Silk Spectre II as they unite their--ah--Roman numerals. In the end it feels as though a huge work of transcription has been successfully completed, which isn't the same as making a full-blooded movie experience. --Robert Horton
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Top Customer Reviews
Set in an alternate 1985 where costumed crime-fighters stalk the streets and the Cold War is on the brink of nuclear armageddon, Watchmen portrays a society that is more morally complex than depicted in traditional superhero fiction, a society where it is more difficult to tell the difference between right and wrong, good and bad.
Whilst the Theatrical version of Watchmen was still a faithful rendering of the source material it omitted several integral elements, most notable the book-within-the-book concept: `The Tales of the Black Freighter'. By re-integrating `The Tales of the Black Freighter' as animated interstitials into the Director's Cut of the movie, the Ultimate Cut is a much more layered, satisfying and complete adaptation of the landmark graphic novel that deconstructed the superhero genre. This creates a truly remarkable vision that is something more special than the previous versions. In this respect, the Ultimate Cut should be considered the "Definitive Edition" - if not quite the masterpiece for which we were hoping. The main thing that spoilt the suspension of disbelief for me were Moloch's massively distracting Orc-like ears: 'Spock meets Nosferatu'.
Disc 2 imports the bonus material provided with the Theatrical and Director's Cut releases. The Four main documentaries are all worthy of inclusion and concentrate on the origin of the graphic novel, its themes, and subsequent impact.
The pseudo-documentary `Under the Hood' is a fun 60-Minutes-style pastiche that provides more backstory and details from the graphic novel that are missing from the feature films.Read more ›
Essentially, most of the extra running time is made up of 5 seconds here and 10 seconds there. The most prominent additions are, a battle scene with the original Nightowl when thugs go to his home. This is superbly merged with flashbacks of fights from his heyday. As a result of this the bar scene with Nightowl and Rorschach is extended. I did enjoy this violent scene but I can see why it was cut, it didnt really fit in with Nightowls character at all, neither did Rorschach's reaction come to think of it.
There are extended/extra scenes of Rorschach without his mask as he watches his fellow Watchmen. He's much more prominent at the funeral and we see him taking his "face" out of a dumpster after watching Daniel. I imagine these scenes were removed as it takes away any mystique of who Rorschach is under the mask.
Laury has a few extra/extended scenes, and almost a subplot where the FBI are always keeping tabs on here to ensure Dr Manhatten is kept happy.
Also, there are a few moments of extra gore, which is always nice. We see more footage of the newspaper stand where a young man is reading the Tales of the Black Freighter comic. Overall though, the rest is mainly an extra line here and there. A few are superb, others not so worthy. Rorschach is certainly the main beneficiary of these added scenes, and seeing as he was most peoples favourite, thats not a bad thing.
Is it worth importing though?Read more ›
As soon as the opening credits had finished rolling I was hooked! I've now watched it over 10 times and still notice new things I missed before. I also bought the ultimate cut and it explains the story better.
Whether this purchase is worthwhile depends on what you have. Avid fans who bought everything as it was released will benefit only from the commentaries and the extra few seconds integrated back in. If you've bought everything else, the only `new' content is on the first disc ; all you get extra is a fraction of new footage and two commentaries for your big splashout. If you have no release of "Watchmen" at all, or held out, then this is the Big Enchilada, and get it now.
Britain, and the DVD format, get a bum deal. Britain isn't important enough to get the luxurious 5DVD set of "Watchmen : The Ultimate Cut". So in the end, I had to wait until the transatlantic postmen crawled through the snow to deliver this epic, but short-changing set.
THE ULTIMATE CUT
And what a Cut it is. The Ultimate Cut is exactly that : an enormous ambitious film that is, by any standard, a classic. It's not perfect in the slightest, but what it lacks in narrative it makes up in big brass balls. The pacing is often erratic, but then again - so was the original novel - and the small cinematic conceits of pacing and re-ordering of the narrative are for the benefit of the film.
What's different? Most of the "Black Freighter" is integrated back in, alongside some touching dialogue between the two Bernards that turns their previous cinematic incarnation - as two extras - into a symbolically important, wider universe.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
WATCHMEN subverts the traditional superhero movie genre by portraying its heroes as deeply flawed and complex. Indeed, they are as much antihero as hero. Read morePublished 18 days ago by sft
A really interesting film, I bought only because I had read the original comic book. Worth watching.Published 1 month ago by D. A. Seargeant
fans of the theatrical release will be confused!
I didnt read the novel so unsure how close to the book this is. Read more