This movie was made for the Blu-ray experience.
Sometimes there's too much tech when clarity of presentation is all that's needed.To try and describe this film or tell the story of it's plot would be doing the Watchmen disservice. While Zack Snyder's film might ultimately seem, like Apocalypse Now before it, a brilliant but flawed masterwork, one must give this movie credit for broaching ideas and topics that many other films wouldn't have even come close to touching. Considering that this movie had a budget of $138 million that is definitely saying something, right? How many major corporations are going to support making a film that basically justifies the annihilation of the world (well, at least that's how this writer saw it).
Watchmen is set in the 1980s. The time is not historic yet it plays with history and has Richard Nixon installed as President for a fourth term. We open with the killing of a man called the Comedian (Jeffrey Dean Morgan). His death seems almost routine in these crazy times, but to his superhero pal Rorschach (Jackie Earle Haley), he sees it as a strategic plan to kill off many more people who have superpowers. Taking matters into his own hands, Rorschach goes about warning other superheroes Nite Owl, Silk Spectre, Ozymandias and Doctor Manhattan. In the process Rorschach uncovers an even deeper plot that ultimately looks at humanity, the way we live, and how the human race seemed almost destined for extinction from the beginning.
Maximum Movie Mode
This is one helluva way to watch this movie!
Basically, one can access any piece of information about this film at any time. Zack Snyder is seen in front of 2 large screens that has both the feature and the behind the scenes featurettes going simultaneously. Sndyer watches the film with viewers and points out little things that viewers may or may not have caught when they first screened this film. It is as if we are taken into Snyder's brain and given a glimpse of his thought process. We get trivia, timelines, featurettes and everything else that this Blu-ray disc has to offer. In so many ways, this featurette allows viewers to make Watchmen their own.
The Comic That Changed Comics
Real Super Heros, Real Vigilantes
Now I was not expecting this... it is a examination of vigilantism in America. The time period that it focuses on is the 1970s and 1980s. While I could've done without some of the theatrics, I really did like learning about people like Bernard Goetz. Vigilantism is such a tightrope to walk. At times it seems justified, but then what separates the vigilante's from the villains? While this featurette merely presents the situations and doesn't take any sides, I think one would be hard pressed to watch this without feeling something for the actions taken by such people.
11 Watchmen Video Journals
With these features we get a little bit more of a glimpse into the world of Watchmen but I don't know how necessary they really are. Also, one can share these features via Facebook (whatever that means). Here is an open appeal to Blu-ray disc makers the world over, rather then make features available that users have to labor to get to, why not either A) have them on the discs themselves or B) put more time and money into really making the content unique.
Mechanics: Technologies of a Fantastic World
1080p High Definition. 16x9 - 2.4:1. Special Features are in 1080p High Definition. 1080p/VC-1 transfer. There are some people who might think I am crazy, but I thought that this movie looked much better on my HD TV than it did when I screened it in IMAX. There was just something to be said for how all the colors, all the details inherent in each scene, and everything else that Snyder and Director of Photography Larry Fong put up on screen. No matter how dark the picture got, nothing ever played as overly baked and I loved how incredible the CGI looked. This film is so futuristically dirty in parts that at times I thought I was watching a documentary.
DTS-HD Master Audio: English 5.1, Dolby Digital French 5.1 (Dubbed in Quebec). Subtitled in English, French and Spanish. The special features are in stereo and they are subtitled in English and French. I felt pretty darn immersed in this movie with the size and scope of this soundtrack. I felt that I was able to hear the many layers that have been employed, and at the same time I thought the mix was spot on. Sometimes with these big budget, blown out movies there is a tendency for the spoken dialogue to compete with the soundtrack. There were some instances of that here but all in all everything played much like I thought it would.
Rorschach is placed in this middle of this Blu-ray cover with all the other superheroes surrounding him. There is a slip that goes over the actual cover that creates the illusions that these images are moving (the real cover is the same, but doesn't have this illusion). The back features a shot of Snyder during the Maximum Movie Mode, a Special Features description, a credits list and technical specs.
I loved Watchmen when I saw it in the theater. I took the train from Long Beach to Universal to see the movie and it was nothing short of a spectacular experience. I watched it on an IMAX screen so I went into my Blu-ray screening with lowered expectations. What I was the most taken with was how different the extras were. I never felt like I was watching something that was simply slapped on this Blu-ray release to give it more features (aside from the BD-Live content which doesn't count). Everything played strongly and I have to give Zack Snyder and his team a lot of credit for going out of their way to make this release stand out.
I was actually surprised that this movie didn't fare better overseas. With all of its political overtones and the way it examined today's multitude of situations, I would have thought that it would have brought in a bit more than $77 million overseas. Perhaps people saw that it was from Warner Bros. so they knew that it was somewhat safer in that way? Whatever the case, Watchmen is an imperfect movie filled with colossal ideas. I give this movie credit for everything it tries to do and as I have often said, I would rather see a movie try and miss the mark, then get some regurgitated pap that will be forgotten shortly after it plays.
Good work, Warner Bros.