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Watchmen (1-Disc) [DVD]
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
VINE VOICEon 8 April 2012
I read the original graphic novel by Alan Moore and Dave Gibbons not long after it came out, as I was an avid reader of 2000AD. Of course, Watchmen blew me away with it's ambition and depth; there had literally been nothing like it before. Fast forward twenty years and several aborted attempts and the film version finally gets released, to Moore's usual disdain (but not Gibbons' who was an advisor on the film).

The film version of Watchmen - and it has to be the Ultimate Cut that you see - still retains much of the original source material, so much so that it is quite reverential, almost shot-for-shot in some places. What this means is that the time frame of the original book (1945 to 1985 or thereabouts) translates to a film of roughly three and a half hours. So this isn't a punchy action film but rather a psychologically driven detective story, which has more in common with David Fincher's Zodiac than it does with, say, Kick Ass.

Back in the mid/late 1980s, a graphic novel that gave depth, psychology, sexuality and politics to caped crusaders and masked vigilantes, was quite a radical move. It opened the door, of course, for Frank Miller's brilliant first two Batman graphic novels and many others riding in on their coat-tails. However, after Tim Burton's and then Christopher Nolan's Batman films, this is not such an innovative thing to be seeing on the big screen. In some ways, the Watchmen film could be seen as having missed the boat by quite some distance.

That said, Watchmen The Ultimate Cut still ultimately delivers on its premise of a massively ambitious film about the hunt for a killer of masked superheroes that spirals into the JFK assassination, Vietnam, Nixon, prison riots, a trip to Mars and that ending. Like Oliver Stone's Alexander, Watchmen's reach outstrips its' grasp but surely we shouldn't be criticising film makers for being too ambitious?
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on 26 December 2011
I think my own personal yardstick on a movie is if I can watch it more than once. When I first watched "Watchmen" I hadn't read the comicbook, and on a first viewing I felt like I was running to catch up with a plot that was leaving me trailing in its wake - it's quite intimidating first time around, and a complete opposite to most lightweight superhero films. Now it's something I'll choose to watch often, and I feel I take something away from it with every watching.

It's not for Joe Popcorn who wants a lightweight superhero SFX-fest, it's more about exploring the social context of the superhuman, but in a dark and sometimes scary contrast to mainstream stuff like "Spiderman". It's rich, profound and complex with uncompromising violence, and heroes who often seem to stray into villainy. The plot links a series of beautifully-shot stylish slo-mo set-pieces tied together with a story that's often bleak, violent and bloody. It's not just peachy-keen young men putting on a suit and smacking up melodramatic villains with many a *biff!* and *ka-pow!*, these are real characters with scars, weaknesses and backstories that are often grim and shocking, and who walk the line between right and wrong very shakily.

The violence isn't the cartoonish biffing you get in mainstream superhero flicks either, it's often graphic and shocking, but no doubt it's intended to bridge the gap between the traditional comic portrayal and reality. There's sex and romance too, but it's keenly observed and much more "real" than Spiderman's upside-down preppy kissy-kissy. The superheroes themselves are more "real" too - sometimes terribly dark, sometimes effortlessly heroic, sometimes monstrous, sometimes impotent - there are some wonderful parodies of some one-dimensional classic comicbook characters. As someone who grew up in the bleak 80's, the alternate 1980's setting was incredibly powerful for me too.

On the whole it's not a superhero pic like any other, and won't appeal to a casual viewer who thought "Spiderman" or "Batman" were overly dark and complex - "Watchmen" is on another level, much more challenging and cerebral, sometimes uncomfortably so. It's terrifically stylish, making an art of slo-mo bloody destruction, and puts a huge amount of effort into developing the characters beyond their super-powers and super-suits. It's violent and graphic sometimes, but thoughtful and intricate too. It's not a lightweight piece of Hollywood popcorn trash, it's a sometimes-disturbing cerebral slow burner that's intimidating first time but definitely improves with every watching.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
An interesting idea this. The genre of superheroes updated for a more grown up age, showing them with all their character flaws and moral dilemmas. An even more grown up film than `Dark Knight', unflinching from the evil that must be done in the name of good, and showing the struggle to decide what is, ultimately, good and just?

A lofty aim, and with a decent script, direction and actors one that could have made for a great film. However, it was not to be.

The main problem with the film is the lack of clear narrative. You spend most of the first 2 hours trying to work out who is who and what the story is. It is presented in a bewildering welter of images and snapshots, trying to give back stories to set characters up. It is slow moving and not that interesting. Then, when it all comes to a head for the showdown that occupies the last half hour of the film, you really don't care too much about the characters or the dilemmas they are trying to work their way through. At 150 minutes the film is too long. It could have been cut to 90 minutes without losing any of the plot, such as it was. The extraneous time is spent in character development which really does not work.

There seems to be afault line developing between those who have read the comic and those that haven't. Those that have seem to enjoy the film, those that haven't tend to dislike it. I haven't read the comic, and disliked the film.

A long and tedious film, one which I will not be watching again
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
This is a brief review of the Director's Cut in Blu-ray, rented from Lovefilm (1 disc only).

Words that spring to mind immediately after watching it are: impressive, but for me much too long. I know absolutely nothing about the comic strips on which I assume it is based, but generally speaking it feels as if it's a very serious and faithful adaptation. There's enough sex, nudity, violence and bad language to merit its 18 certificate, but beyond that it's a storyline and script that will probably appeal to the over 18s anyway. Among its many themes and sub-plots are nuclear war, romance, mother-daughter relationships, self-esteem and insecurity issues, erectile dysfunction, revenge and vigilanteism, crime and punishment, nepotism, time-travel, science fiction and even touches of soap opera. Despite this it's not complicated, but the one thing it lacks that could have made the experience more fulfilling is a sense of humour. It's there in very small, random doses but overall it's a film that takes itself seriously and feels as if it was written and directed by comic-book superhero buffs for their fellow enthusiasts to watch.

If it falls into the same genre as Batman, Spiderman and such-like then it will appeal to a much smaller audience, as in the Watchmen these are mostly flawed and vulnerable superheroes, indeed it is questionable that one or two of them should be labelled heroes at all. One, for example, is known to have committed sexual assault, so while the tone and script is dark and 1940s action-comic noir in mood, in places it is below dark in ways that are never intended to amuse and could be said to be repellent. Fortunately it's not a story of confusing or conflicting moods and the whole thing does gel quite well, but the conclusion I drew before it was even halfway through was that this is a film that will be enjoyed most by hardcore action comic fans, while the rest of us - like myself - who are either inexperienced or naïve when it comes to such genres will merely find it good to watch but vaguely forgettable. I wouldn't be in a hurry to see it again, that's for sure, although I'm glad that I did.

While most of the film was set in 1985, I found it slightly odd that several of the songs - from artists such as Bob Dylan, Simon & Garfunkel and Jimi Hendrix - were clearly from the 1960s. The soundtrack is very good though, as is the sound quality too.

As a Blu-ray disc I thought it was just about passable, which is a bit of a disappointment given the opportunity, in theory, to make a really spellbinding screenplay with such fantastical subject matter and the freedom to create almost anything the director wanted. I'm tempted to say that if you're thinking of buying it, go for the cheaper standard-def option, because I have seen better Blu-ray transfers than this (and others not as good, to be fair). Audio options and subtitles were English only.

It's a good film but could have been better with some infusion of ironic humour.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
We got this movie as blue-ray, the first to be watched on out new blue-ray payer because we thought from the clips we had seen it would be a good film to see in the ultimate HD.

I will completely honest neither me or my husband knew much about the movie or knew the comic books. And we spent about the first 20 minutes of what is a 162 minute movie completely lost, even though we were concentrating hard to keep up with where the story was going. On reflection this was because the the history of the characters was being compressed at the same time as the events that shape the rest of the story are being laid down for us.

But once the film starts to settle down and develop the plot at a more understandable speed, you realy start to pick up on the action and get a feel for the characters and what drives them.

As I said my husband and I really had no notion of what this film was about at all. And to be honest it wasn't long in to it before we were talking about not watching it through to the end. However, something kept us watching and we did see it all and I am so pleased because it was a really enjoyable film that kept our attention and made us want to know what happened next.

It is quite gorey in places, but this no more so than the likes of Saw and certainly not as much of it. And it is all done in a kind or dark humour that made it easier to witness.

Not sure when I'll watch the film again - as I don't often have 162 minutes to spare in one go. But I'm glad we bought it and I will make the time to watch it again in the future.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on 8 October 2009
... not the Blue Ray is what I'm outlining here.

Let me say that I'm not a comic book fan in general, and - with the exception of Dan Dare (obviously) - own no comics other than those by Alan Moore. So that should put my review in a little context.

Moore's a genius, there is no doubt, but a pretty painful one to be around or work with, by all accounts. With the exception of V for Vendetta, I think all of the attempts to put his work onto the big screen have been fairly awful and so I didn't hold out much hope for Watchmen (and - of course - Moore has famously distanced himself from all of these transcriptions [and for the most part, I don't blame him...])

But...

The film was very good. But the directors cut is much better. I for one don't object to the Pirate material being removed and I think making a separate animation of it that you could watch on your lap top while you watch the main film on a big TV is a masterful decision. I also don't object to the Alien Squid versus "It's all Doc Manhattan's fault" ending that the directors and writers substituted on this film - I think it works excellently and makes as much sense - if not more - than Moore (if you see what I mean).

I applaud the book and the film for being pretty uncompromising in terms of both violence and its overall premise. What a fantastic luxury nowadays, in a world of 12a movies used as creches for children to watch highly inappropriate films while annoying the few adults in the cinema while the film is on, to see The Watchmen with my partner and a financially crippling (in the short term) very few other people in the audience.

That this 'adult' film is then available - in an even more impenetrable and violent - and therefore even more 'adult' - version on extended DVD is to be applauded.

An excellent graphic novel and a great film with a superb directors cut.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on 1 September 2009
First off, this is a review of this film, not some other version as that should be on another page that is for another version of the film! I haven't seen the 'Director's Cut' so the review is based on what I've seen.
Is it any good on Blu-Ray? Is it worth watching? Yes and Yes.

It was always going to be a signature movie for Blu-Ray. The first scene echoes all that is to come in standards as crisp outlines bedazzle and the special effects excel. This could have been the type of film Blu-Ray was made for.

Despite not being the best film ever the characters are intriguing and different as is the plot that doesn't rush to hammer home it's web of details. You spend enough time with each character to get to know them, there's action that is well choreographed, set pieces that keep you transfixed and plot twists that hit you on the blind side. It's not a superhero movie that compares to Spiderman or Batman, it's tries to be deeper than those. Whether it works or not for you will be for you to decide. Snyder has made a bold statement in his work here, taking a risk by making it so unique that you could love it or hate it. For me as an interpretation it's pretty good and as a film, yeah, it works real well too.

If there was one film I'd prefer to have on Blu-Ray it would be this one. Director's Cut or not.
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22 of 25 people found the following review helpful
on 29 September 2010
Not a review, but just a quick note for those thinking of buying the digital copy version of Watchmen on blu-ray - the digital copy redemption code expired on 27 July 2010 so don't waste your money, you can't use the digital copy any more. Get the normal Watchmen blu-ray instead. Great film by the way!
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on 22 August 2009
I watched this film with a few beers late one night, and 2 hours in I was thinking 'this is probably better than the Dark Knight'. And then we came to Antarctica, and this serious, very dark film became fluffy and silly and confusing.

The city destruction felt like it didn't need to happen and made the film seem like some dumb sci-fi 'Day After Tomorrow' flick. The twist made me go cold- yes I was suprised by who the bad guy was, but not plesantly. And then it just peetered out, with people moping around and agreeing and looking sad, and Dr Manhattan not doing much.

All I have done here is tell you some of the bad points in this film. Let me stress again that the first 2 hours, in my opinion, where BETTER than the Dark Knight... The last half an hour was worse than Batman and Robin.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on 22 July 2013
At first I got the impression it was a grown up version of the incredibles but it got very grim gritty and real. It gave you the impression it is how the real world would affect those who would be superheroes. Very different from the comic book images of super heroes but one that some comic story book story lines hinted at. I never read any of the watchmen comics and found the film to be a real surprise with its grimy realism and graphic violence It seriously alters your ideas about superheroes. Will it did mine. It was entertaining to watch and quite thought provoking about many issues contained in the storylines within the film. So if you are looking for a good film then get it but if you are looking for a more traditional superhero story then keep on looking.
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