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Appallingly incomplete DVD of a classic : Wait for the 5DVD Megaset!
on 10 July 2009
The film is great. This DVD is not, by any standards, recommended. The uS DVD contains a 178 minute Directors Cut : THIS DOES NOT. There will be a 5 DVD SuperMegaUltraSet near Christmas with alternate versions and a ton of documentaries - wait for that if you want to see this film as it was shot and intended for home release. BUY THAT, NOT THIS CASTRATED SET.
The film? Yes, it's great. But this DVD is abusive, incomplete, useless double-dipping. Wait for the 5DVD set due at Christmas. UPDATE : The DVD version of this product lacks several features and about an hours worth of bonus material only available on the Blu-Ray. The Industry may think it's pushing us to buy fancy new expensive player - this kind of abusive practice, in delibrately crippling and stunting the product, and penalising/punishing those of us who do not have Blu-Ray players is costing them sales. We're waiting. Treat your customers with respect, not contempt. A business without sales goes out of business.
And of the film? It's 85% Genius, 15% Zac Snyder.
Considering it is the only comic, sorry, graphic novel to ever make Time Magazines "Top 100", it must have something great at the heart of it. And it does. And this is all up there on the screen.
But is The Watchmen any good? In a word, yes. But also, no. Above all, it is, unfortunately, a Zac Snyder film. There are only three directors worse than him on the face of the planet : Uwe Boll, P Anderson, and the risible McG.
At best, and I try to see the best in everything, Watchmen is 85% as good as the novel. The 15% that is missing? It's all Zac Snyder. There's blaring, wildly inappropriate music, shoehorned song choices, constant, and alienating jumpcut slo-mo/hyperspeed action sequences devoid of context and style, and an overall feeling of someone grasping to reach a level far beyond their artistic ability. Still, with source material this good you can't mortally wound it, and the film is overall a very good adaptation of a brilliant book. These moments rip the attentive viewer out of the film, where you become aware that you are watching a film, and not an experience. The slo-mo should only used once, during the apocalyptic finale, not every 192 seconds.
The 85% that is perfect? Everything else. The casting feels right, and to the novice, the casting is sufficiently loaded with talent so that the disconnect between the screen and the action does not happen. Put it this way, in some films, you know you are watching Al Pacino pretending to be someone else. In this, you aren't watching Billy Crudup, but you are watching Dr Manhattan.
Still, this gritty remake of The Incredibles is something to behold. In effect it is a grand who-dunnit, revolving on a conceit that thankfully eschews the usual narrative closure and happy ending in favour of a darkly naughty theme tailored towards a Black Ops conspiracy theory. That said, the ending is a rather different experience. I prefer the comic book ending, but the filmed version works effectively in the context of the film and is an acceptable and effective alternative.
Well, lets be honest. There are moments where the film veers off the path. Unfortunately, what this does mean is that film does itself no favours because there are two useless, if not utterly boring, sex scenes that could be truncated to a fraction of their current length and are gratuitous and tedious.
It's a bloated mini-series of a film, clocking in at 161 minutes (and that's the shortest version of the film that remains cohesive). Given the large amount of material cut from the page, it's still surprising that the movie is still, in my eyes, at least four minutes too long. (We'll get to those four minutes later). I've always found sex scenes boring mind you, unless they actually communicate something to advance the plot. Hallelujah.
Like 300, Watchmen is a faithful but also faithless adaptation. Like the book, it's insane and far beyond the rational, but also, it only goes halfway balls out to bugnuts. It is a great experience and one that has so much going on within it it's probably impossible to fully grasp until you are on your third viewing... but still, there's an awful there to admire at even one glance. A very good adaptation of a brilliant book slapped into a careless and incomplete DVD.