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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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on 7 October 2009
THE MOVIE:

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'.

THE EXTRAS:

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.

The Video Journals deal with the making of the movie but (putting the lack of a PLAY ALL option aside) it would have been nice if there was a more in-depth making-of feature to take us through all the stages of this ambitious production - Especially one that covered the casting of the movie, its troubled release and the abandoned previous incarnations. (The inclusion of a few trailers would have also been welcome.) So this cynic suspects a Deluxe-Ultimate Anniversary Edition in the pipeline at Warners.

Instead of the obligatory, annoying Digital Copy, just a simple DVD of the Theatrical Cut would have been better (like Disney includes with all of their blu-rays), or even nothing at all. Hopefully film companies will abandon the Digital Copy fad altogether. Personally, I'd prefer no additional copy and a few pennies shaved off the price instead.

Rounding off the package, at 325 minutes, is the exhaustive (arguably gimmicky) Motion Comic - But at least it's broken into 12 episodes, like the 12 chapters of the novel, and should satiate completists' appetites.

On a final note, the 3 main discs come packaged in a fold-out card case (with the Motion Comic in a slim plastic blu-ray case) inside a card box. The only problem with this nifty packaging is that the matt finish tends to flake away on the edges and creases of the box. ("Somebody call Quality Control!")

These disappointments aside, Watchmen: The Ultimate Cut is definitely the version fans have been waiting for and as all of the discs are REGION FREE, it is available for everyone to make up their own minds. It is certainly an adaptation Alan Moore should be pleased with...but he probably won't be.

DISC 1 - THE MOVIE

- Commentary track by director Zack Snyder
- Commentary track by graphic novel co-creator Dave Gibbons
- Video - 1080p High Definition 16x9 2.4:1
- Audio - Dolby TrueHD: English 5.1, Dolby Digital: English 5.1
- Subtitles - English SDH, Francais & Espanol

DISC 2 - SPECIAL FEATURES IN HIGH DEFINITION

- Under the Hood
- Story Within a Story: The Books of Watchmen
- The Phenomenon: The Comic That Changed Comics
- Mechanics: Technologies of a Fantastic World
- All 11 Watchmen Video Journals
- My Chemical Romance Music Video

DISC 3 - DIGITAL COPY OF THE THEATRICAL FEATURE

DISC4 - WATCHMEN THE COMPLETE MOTION COMIC
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This U.S. Blu-ray release is a 3-disc set. Disc 1 has the extended version of the movie with 24 minutes of extra footage taking it to 186 minutes. The additions simply move the movie closer to the graphic novel with extra dialogue between characters, more explicit violence and the added scene in which Hollis Mason dies. The Maximum Movie Mode enables viewers to view timelines, behind-the-scenes footage and director and actor insights while watching the movie. Storyboard comparisons and inserts from the graphic novel are also included.

Disc 2 includes three documentaries. The Phenomenon is a 29 minute feature exploring the Watchmen graphic novel. Real Super Heroes is a 26 minute feature about real-world vigilantes. Mechanics is a 17 minute feature exploring the science behind Watchmen. Disc 3 is a digital copy of the director's cut. You will need a PC with DVD-Rom drive. This digital copy may not be compatible with U.K. systems so check your systems spec.

It must be said that the theatrical release is no less enjoyable without the additional footage. The Director's Cut is probably for completists only. Although a five disc set is due for release in December 2009. This must cater for the ultra-completists. If you are going to buy The Director's Cut, Amazon.com is the way to go. There were no import charges and it works perfectly on my U.K. PS3.
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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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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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on 24 January 2016
WATCHMEN subverts the traditional superhero movie genre by portraying its heroes as deeply flawed and complex. Indeed, they are as much antihero as hero. And these heroes inhabit a very dark and troubled world teetering on the brink of Armageddon. The movie is visually impressive and it’s scale is epic while maintaining a grip on the character’s inner struggles. It is long, and sometimes the dialogue is a little cheesy and the recounted exposition a tad clumsy, but it’s never tedious. Snyder, Hayter, and Tse have succeeded, for the most part, in adapting what I gather is difficult source material into an utterly compelling movie. If you like your superhero movies to be breezy and intellectually light this might not be for you, but if, like me, you prefer something more challenging and provocative you should enjoy this movie. And one final thought: Dr Manhattan has got to be the coolest superhero ever.
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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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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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on 10 August 2009
Full of dark brutality, black comedy and stark, visceral human truths, this film remains reverent to the imagery of the celebrated graphic novel.

Who cares if wilfully obtuse Northampton Crusty Alan Moore doesn't like it. His frankly ridiculous 'comic' book deus ex machina - a giant squid attacking New York - is well forgotten here for a much more relevant, believable and frightening denouement. Dave Gibbons' prominent opening credit is perhaps a sly middle finger to Moore.

Snyder captures perfecty the portrayal of a decaying, dystopian world. And it is certainly our world. You can almost smell this film. This is the dark, seedy underbelly to Chris Nolan's yuppie Gotham and 'Watchmen' makes 'The Dark Knight' look like Cagney and Lacey.
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on 10 September 2009
I have little to no history with comics so it was very unusual for me to read one. It has the reputation for being the Citizen Kane of comics. So I thought it would be better to read it then it would be to watch a bland, simplified and shortened movie version.

So I bought the graphic novel and I really liked it. Well worth reading. I also agreed with Alan Moore, the creator and a noted hater of Hollywood, that a movie adaption was not needed. The book was complete in and of itself. It was not a blueprint for a future adaption in a different media. It was the definitive version. It was not a comic by default, it was a comic because it was meant to be a comic. A movie version was as needed as a musical version on ice - potentially interesting but pointless.

So I had low expectations when I finally watched the movie version. I initially wanted to get up and walk away from it in "disgust" but I sat it out. After the first half hour I relaxed into it and started to enjoy it. I don't think the first half hour is bad, more that it just took me that long to adjust to the acting style and the over-busy camera work, both of which were not what I was expecting.

I'm very surprised that so much of the book got into the film. Very little of note has been chopped. I would go as far as saying that I missed nothing from the comic. What little didn't make it onto the screen was of no great loss (I disliked the comic within a comic Tales of the Black Freighter and I'm glad it was removed). If you've seen the movie then essentially you've read the comic in its near entirety, which I'm very surprised to say.

If you're looking for an action movie then forget it. This is a talk-a-thon. There are only a few scenes of brief violence, none of which will satisfy anyone looking for large scale action thrills.

I liked the film and it's probably about as good an adaption as they could have made. No major mistakes have been made in my opinion (the contentious casting of the Veidt character didn't bother me). Also not one thing appears to have been invented for the movie, no new characters, new dialogue, new scenes etc. Everything seems to have come directly from the comic. The only alteration of note are the specific details of the climax. That major alteration works well and is perhaps more sensible and logical than the events in the comic book.

I don't think it matters what version you experience, the comic or the film, as they're pretty much the same thing. Neither has a significant edge over the other.
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