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-   -   Watchmen Collector's Edition (Blu-ray) Official AVSForum Review (http://www.avsforum.com/forum/187-official-avs-blu-ray-disc-reviews/1439535-watchmen-collector-s-edition-blu-ray-official-avsforum-review.html)

Ralph Potts 11-16-2012 10:34 AM

700
The Review at a Glance: (max score: 5 )
Film: attachment.php?attachmentid=109946&d=1210373692
Extras: attachment.php?attachmentid=109948&d=1210373699

Audio/Video total rating:

( Max score: 100 )
89



Studio and Year: Warner - 2009
MPAA Rating: PG/R/NR
Feature running time: 215/325 minutes
Genre: Action

Disc Format: BD-50
Encoding: VC-1
Video Aspect: 2.40:1/1.85:1
Resolution: 1080p/24


Audio Format(s): English Dolby TrueHD 5.1, English/French Dolby Digital 5.1
Subtitles: English SDH, French, Spanish
Starring: Patrick Wilson, Malin Akerman, Billy Crudup, Matthew Goode, Carla Gugino, Jackie Earle Haley, Jeffrey Dean Morgan, Gerard Butler (voice)
Directed by: Zack Snyder, Jake S. Hughes
Music by: Tyler Bates, Lennie Moore
Written by: David Hayter & Alex Tse (based on the graphic novel by David Gibbons), Alan Moore & Dave Gibbons
Region Code: A,B,C

Blu-ray Disc release Date: November 13, 2012







"For the Ultimate Watchmen Fan"


Film Synopsis:

Watchmen: Someone’s killing our super heroes. The year is 1985 and super heroes have banded together to respond to the murder of one of their own. They soon uncover a sinister plot that puts all of humanity in grave danger. The super heroes fight to stop the impending doom only to find themselves a target for annihilation. But, if our super heroes are gone, who will save us?

Watchmen: Tales of the Black Freighter: Tales Of the Black Freighter brings to strikingly animated life the graphic novel's richly layered story-within-story, a daring pirate saga whose turbulent events may mirror those in the Watchmen's world. Stars from the Watchmen movie team up in the amazing live action/CGI Under The Hood, based on Night Owl's powerful firsthand account of how the hooded adventurers came into existence.

Watchmen: The complete motion comic: The most celebrated graphic novel of all time that broke the conventional mold continues to break new ground WATCHMEN illustrator Dave Gibbons oversees this digital version of the graphic novel that adds limited motion, voice and sound to the books strikingly drawn panels. All 12 chapters of the story are here nearly 5 hours spanning everything from the mysterious demise of the Comedian to the crisscrossed destinies of loosely allied superheroes to their fateful impact on the world. Be in the know. Be watching.


My Take:

Watchmen: Collector’s Edition is the most complete Watchmen package ever released. The four disc set includes the previously released Watchmen: The complete motion comic Blu-ray, A special features Blu-ray containing over two hours of previously released material, Watchmen the theatrical cut DVD, and the new Ultimate cut of Watchmen Blu-ray that integrates the animated Tales of the Black Freighter in the Director’s Cut of Watchmen. The set includes DC Comics first ever hard cover edition of the graphic novel which includes the high quality, recolored pages found in Watchmen: The Absolute Edition as well as selected bonus sketch materials. The entire package comes housed in an attractive, sturdy flip-open cardboard case with a lenticular cover, fitted interior for the book with a cut out for the disc’s case (which is the flimsy fold out type that has separate places for each disc). All in all this is very sweet offering that belongs in the collection of diehard Watchmen fans.


I have previously reviewed the films in this collection and will include many of my prior comments here:

Watchmen: The Ultimate Cut:

Watchmen is a twelve-issue comic book limited series created by writer Alan Moore, artist Dave Gibbons, and colorist John Higgins. Set in 1985 at the height of the cold war between the United States and the Soviet Union, costumed avengers have been banned with the exception of two, the Comedian and Rorschach. During this time the mysterious murder of a U.S. government official named Edward Blake occurs in New York City, possibly by Soviet Communists. It is later confirmed that Blake is actually a costumed avenger – The Comedian. The news of the murder is discovered by his fellow costumed avenger, Rorschach, who sets out to discover the murderer. As Rorschach’s investigation unfolds it is initially unclear whether he is maniacal or has truly uncovered a plot to murder super-heroes and perhaps millions of innocent civilians. He reunites with his former teammates in a desperate attempt to save their lives and the world. What they reveal in the process will shock them to their very core and change the face of the planet. This is a wonderfully developed and complex story that impressed me. Its layers are evenly peeled back to reveal an intriguing plot that I found hard to stop watching.

I love the characters (Rorschach is my favorite) and even though the film can be cryptic in its narrative, it is still quite engaging. Being familiar with what is occurring would be helpful but I don’t see it as a prerequisite. I watched it with my teenage kids, neither of whom was familiar with it, and they both loved it. Director Zack Snyder did a great job in creating the look and feel of the graphic novel.

The interwoven animated Tales of the Black Freighter adds an enriching element that coincides and appropriately compliments the film. The integration takes place at various points throughout and is handled in a seamless fashion that wound up being just plain cool. I found that this three and a half hour blend captured the integral essence of the story and characters which enhanced its retelling. While the film doesn’t stay exactly faithful to the graphic novel I feel that any sticking points that were left out weren’t detrimental.

I thought that the cast did a credible job in their respective roles. Pretty much any film that stars Carla Gugino is worth seeing although Malin Ackerman did her share of scene stealing. Jeffrey Dean Morgan and Jackie Earle Haley (The Comedian and Rorschach) both gave strong performances and stood out well from the pack.


Watchmen - The complete motion comic:

As a kid I loved reading comics. I haven’t read this graphic novel and going in I had no prior knowledge of it or these characters. This is a wonderfully developed and complex story that impressed me. Its layers are evenly peeled back to reveal an intriguing plot that I found hard to stop watching. I wasn’t sure what a motion comic would be like but I found the visual style refreshing. It was like reading a comic without having to turn the pages. The use of word bubbles, variable still/motion sequencing and divergent camera perspectives brought the images within the panels to life. I honestly never felt that it came up short in terms of visual projection.

I liked Tom Stechschulte’s running narration/vocal characterization and thought he did a fine job with the various male voices etc. He shouldn’t have done the voices of the female characters though. It wasn’t that he did a bad job but he sounded like a man trying to do a woman’s voice and it took me out of the story a little. Regardless this was a great way to present this critically acclaimed story that has reached beyond the limits of its comic book medium. Even if you have read it this is a great way to experience it all over again.


Parental Guide:

The R rating is for strong graphic violence, sexuality, nudity and language. The PG rating is for thematic material, violence, language and sexuality that would be inappropriate for young viewers.


AUDIO/VIDEO - By The Numbers:
REFERENCE = 92-100 / EXCELLENT = 83-91 / GOOD = 74-82 / AVERAGE = 65-73 / BELOW AVERAGE = under 65

**My audio/video ratings are based upon a comparative made against other high definition media/blu-ray disc.**


Watchmen: The Ultimate Cut:


Audio: 96

(Each rating is worth 4 points with a max of 5 per category)


  • Dynamics: attachment.php?attachmentid=109948&d=1210373699

  • Low frequency extension: attachment.php?attachmentid=109947&d=1210373699

  • Surround Sound presentation: attachment.php?attachmentid=109947&d=1210373699

  • Clarity/Detail: attachment.php?attachmentid=109947&d=1210373699

  • Dialogue Reproduction: attachment.php?attachmentid=109948&d=1210373699




Video: 92

(Each rating is worth 4 points with a max of 5 per category)


  • Resolution/Clarity: attachment.php?attachmentid=109947&d=1210373699

  • Black level/Shadow detail: attachment.php?attachmentid=109948&d=1210373699

  • Color reproduction: attachment.php?attachmentid=109947&d=1210373699

  • Fleshtones: attachment.php?attachmentid=109947&d=1210373699

  • Compression: attachment.php?attachmentid=109947&d=1210373699


Watchmen: The Ultimate Cut comes to Blu-ray Disc from Warner featuring 1080p VC-1 encoded video that has an average bitrate of 19 mbps and lossless Dolby TrueHD 5.1sound that has an average bitrate of 3.5 mbps.

First and foremost this is a dark film (as it should be) and its ability to clearly render its elements under those conditions is essential to getting the most out of it. Well you can rest assured that this Blu-ray disc delivers some of the richest, deepest and velvety textured blacks that I have seen. The nighttime cityscapes look breathtaking. Images are gradationally adept and three dimensionally depicted so that the long drawn skylines, unevenly lit interiors, and shadow laden environs have a seemingly infinite level of depth. Shadow detail is consistent and is probably as good as I have seen. Images are crisp with subtle refinement, resolute sharpness and exquisite three dimensional definition that can be visually arresting. Contrast is strong and dynamic which energizes colors, empowers whites/grays and engages blacks.

Colors are appreciably delineated with natural rendering and punchy primaries that stood out among those within the varied range used. Fleshtones are beautifully textured with subtle description and lifelike complexional depiction. The video has a pleasing, grain splashed texture, that coincides nicely with it gritty storyline. Other than some very minor banding I found little to complain with respect to fidelity. This plays hand in hand with the film’s stark visual style and provides an incredibly entertaining experience that looks superb regardless of the size of your display. The animated elements of Tales of the Black Freighter look terrific and integrate well with both visually and thematically.


The Director’s Cut of Watchmen on Blu-ray has a 5.1 channel DTS-HD MA soundtrack whereas this Ultimate Cut has a Dolby TrueHD 5.1 channel mix. I didn’t detect any audible differences in the quality of this presentation versus the original. Here are my original comments:

This soundtrack is demonstration quality and is sure to please those who like to play their systems loud. This recording has wide dynamic range and boasts superlative clarity and high level detail that is truly impressive. Dialogue is definitive and appreciably lucid through the center channel as it reaches far into the room. It’s located just slightly in front of the left/right speakers within the acoustic space it occupies in the soundfield. I never had any trouble distinguishing even the slightest changes in the pitch or inflection of voices. Front channel separation and imaging was excellent. This drew out both large and small sound elements and allowed their directional correlation based upon the onscreen events to be definable. The mix makes effective and often aggressive use of the surround channels to elongate the front soundstage and reproduce the spatial and discrete sounds of this demanding soundtrack.

The listening position is submerged into a 360 degree web of sound that is sometimes riveting as it bombards the senses with a combination of well placed sound effects and musical ambience. The low frequency effects are applied authoritatively to underscore the bombastic and aggressive aspects of this soundtrack and it does so quite effectively. This mix delivers bass that extends down into the upper 20 to lower 30hz regions at times. Its palpable presence is never in question as it fills the room with refined bass quality that is appreciably superior. This is a sophisticated sound design that is loaded with various sound effects, spatial cues, music, and dialogue. Each was clearly represented with enriching clarity, detail and appropriate sound field placement.


Watchmen - The complete motion comic:


Audio: 80

(Each rating is worth 4 points with a max of 5 per category)


  • Dynamics: attachment.php?attachmentid=109945&d=1210373692

  • Low frequency extension: attachment.php?attachmentid=109945&d=1210373692

  • Surround Sound presentation:

  • Clarity/Detail: attachment.php?attachmentid=109947&d=1210373692

  • Dialogue Reproduction: attachment.php?attachmentid=109948&d=1210373692



Video: 86

(Each rating is worth 4 points with a max of 5 per category)


  • Resolution/Clarity: attachment.php?attachmentid=109947&d=1210373699

  • Black level/Shadow detail: attachment.php?attachmentid=109946&d=1210373699

  • Color reproduction: attachment.php?attachmentid=109947&d=1210373699

  • Fleshtones:

  • Compression: attachment.php?attachmentid=109947&d=1210373699


Watchmen: The complete motion comic comes to Blu-ray Disc from Warner Brother featuring 1080p VC-1 encoded video that has an average bitrate of 12 mbps and lossless Dolby TrueHD 5.1 channel audio that has an average bitrate of 1.5 mbps.

This video presentation featured crisp, defining resolution that yielded razor sharp and stable images that looked superb in high definition. The secondary pastel color palette used by colorist John Higgins had excellent tonal depth and primary colors were deeply saturated and visually pleasing. The orangy reds, energetic blues, and deep black backgrounds replicated the feeling of looking at a comic book. Contrast and brightness balance was right on target which resulted in punchy whites and rich, stable blacks. The panel layouts had excellent dimension with definition that was rarely questionable. The 1.85:1 framing, deep splashes of color, dynamic blacks and razor sharp text all enhanced the depth of image. It just looked great.

The soundtrack is anchored by Tom Stechschulte’s dialogue which is planted firmly in the center channel. Room penetration, clarity, and vocal intonation are superlative. The intelligent sound design utilizes the entire platform to varying degrees to extend the audio beyond the boundaries of the comic style images on screen. This creates an aural pattern similar to what you might expect if you were inside your thoughts as you read a book/comic to yourself. Obviously this isn’t done with exacting results but dialogue is predominant and sound effects are interspersed with precision so that nearfield pans, ambient background filler and directional cues all provide a subtle acoustic environment that draws you into the story. Punchy dynamics and low frequency impact reinforce the actions based elements giving them appreciable presence. This soundtrack isn’t such that it will consistently fill the room with extended bass or immersive sound but it delivers an invigorating presentation that blends perfectly with the source.

Bonus Features:

  • Disc 1: - Watchmen: The Ultimate Cut


  • Two Audio commentaries with Zach Snyder & David Gibbons

  • Disc 2: - Special Features:


  • (HD)Behind the story: The comic that changed comics - 28 minute featurette

  • (HD) Real superheroes: Real vigilantes - 26 minute featurette

  • (HD) Mechanics: Technologies of a fantastic world - 16 minute documentary

  • (HD) “Desolation row“ - Music video by My chemical romance

  • Under the hood – 37 minutes

  • (HD) Story within a story: The books of Watchmen – 25 minutes
  • 700
  • (HD) Watchmen video journals – 11 segments

  • Disc 3: - Watchmen: The complete motion comic


  • (HD) Behind the story: Watchmen journal # 4 – Dave Gibbons discusses the film adaptation as compared to the original story (3 Minutes)

  • Wonder Woman: Sneek Peek – An inside look at the animated film – 10 minutes

  • Warner Bros. BD-Live

  • Disc 4: - Watchmen: Theatrical Cut DVD


  • Ultraviolet Digital Copy




Final Thoughts:

Watchmen: Collector’s Edition is the most complete Watchmen package ever released. It comes loaded with goodies which includes Watchmen: The Ultimate Cut and the first release of the hardcover edition of the graphic novel. While this release may not appeal to casual Watchmen fans however it offers something viable for enthusiasts and makes for a great addition to their Watchmen collection.





attachment.php?attachmentid=109949&d=1210373731






Ralph Potts
AVS Forum Blu-ray Reviews





Reference Review System:


JVC DLA-RS55 3D Ready 1080p High Definition Front Projector
Stewart Filmscreen - Studiotek 130 G3 100” 16x9 Screen
Onkyo PR-SC5508 THX Ultra 2 Audio/Video Processor
Sherbourn Technologies - 7/200 Seven Channel Amplifier
Oppo BDP-103 Universal Disc/3D capable Blu-ray Player (HDMI Audio/Video)
Panasonic DMP-BDT310 3D capable Blu-ray Player (HDMI Audio/Video)
Toshiba HD-XA2 HD DVD Player (HDMI Audio/Video)
Sony Playstation 3 Blu-ray disc Player (HDMI Audio/Video)
System Controller: Apple iPad/iRule Pro HD Universal Remote Control
Canton "Ergo" Series speakers
Axiom Audio QS8 Quadpolar speakers
SV Sound PB-13 Ultra (Rosenut finish)
APC AV S15BLK Power Conditioner/Surge Protector
Wireworld, Better Cables (Silver Serpent) - Audio/Video/Speaker Cabling
Cool Components - CP-CP102 cooling package

cinema13 11-16-2012 11:33 AM

Just as an FYI, this was previously released and the only new thing to be found in this set is the hard copy graphic novel..different packaging,.and of course, a higher price tag. But it's still a bargain considering that the original release sold out quickly and was going for $100 - $200 on Ebay. Easily the best version of this film...perhaps my favorite costumed hero movie. Many folks have been hoping for a re-release.and, while it once appeared unlikely, it seems everyone now has a second chance to get a copy. So this time around, don't hesitate folks!.

Ralph Potts 11-16-2012 11:58 AM

Quote:
Originally Posted by cinema13 View Post

Just as an FYI, this was previously released and the only new thing to be found in this set is the hard copy graphic novel..different packaging,.and of course, a higher price tag. But it's still a bargain considering that the original release sold out quickly and was going for $100 - $150 on Ebay. Easily the best version of this film...perhaps my favorite costumed hero movie. Many folks have been hoping for a re-release.and, while it once appeared unlikely, it seems everyone now has a second chance to get a copy. So this time around, don't hesitate folks!.

Greetings,

Gotcha. Wasn't aware that the Ultimate Cut had been released previously. Thanks cinema13..smile.gif


Regards,

Reddig 11-16-2012 02:11 PM

I'm excited to get this collectors addition sinceI missed out on it the first time cause I couldn't afford it. I really really love this movie minus the giant blue penis lol.

cinema13 11-16-2012 02:53 PM

I can deal with the member more than that love scene with the Leonard Cohen song. A real groaner. By the way, Ralph's review is also spot-on (as usual) regarding video qualityl. The original UC release looked better to my eyes than the DC or TC.. a bit sharper and slighlty more detailed, with stronger blacks. You're gonna like it!

billybobg 11-19-2012 11:51 AM

Quote:
Originally Posted by cinema13 View Post

I can deal with the member more than that love scene with the Leonard Cohen song. A real groaner.

Agree. The director obviously liked the scene so much that he was willing to interupt the flow of the movie to include it. Must have been some lust for Ackerman. cool.gif

Ralph, Thanks for the review.

Taranteacher 11-20-2012 08:12 AM

Hmmmm ... this version, I had been waiting forever for it to come out -- didn't catch it the first time around, and only own the theatrical DVD ... may sit this one out a while longer, though ...

Thanks again for the review, Ralph!

eweiss 11-10-2013 04:30 PM

Found this new at Costco for $24.99 smile.gif I understand that unlike the Director's Cut it does not include the PIP maximum movie mode, which some people prefer to the audio commentaries. What are your thoughts on the lack of this maximum movie mode feature? Is it worth finding a used copy of the Director's Cut (lacking the integrated Black Freighter) to get it?

cinema13 11-11-2013 08:56 AM

Quote:
Originally Posted by eweiss View Post

Found this new at Costco for $24.99 smile.gif I understand that unlike the Director's Cut it does not include the PIP maximum movie mode, which some people prefer to the audio commentaries. What are your thoughts on the lack of this maximum movie mode feature? Is it worth finding a used copy of the Director's Cut (lacking the integrated Black Freighter) to get it?

You could always just rent the DC.

eweiss 11-12-2013 05:38 AM

I recall having mixed feelings about WATCHMEN after seeing it the first time (via Netflix BD); I don't remember if it was the theatrical cut or the Director's Cut.

I bought the graphic novel and became aware of the differences - e.g., the giant squid monster (which I think I'm glad they changed for the movie).

After watching Under the Hood on the Black Freighter disc (also Netflixed, IIRC), I decided the whole thing was silliness and consigned it mentally to my pile of forgettable items.

But after watching the Ultimate Cut Blu-Ray last night, I have a much higher opinion of the film. I didn't think the integrated Black Freighter sequences caused the film to drag, though they were likely not necessary for advancing or filling in the live-action story.

Yes, this is definitely worth the $25 I paid simply for the UC and hardcover book alone, even if I never look at the Special Features supplements.

cinema13 11-12-2013 09:33 AM

Quote:
Originally Posted by eweiss View Post

I recall having mixed feelings about WATCHMEN after seeing it the first time (via Netflix BD); I don't remember if it was the theatrical cut or the Director's Cut.

But after watching the Ultimate Cut Blu-Ray last night, I have a much higher opinion of the film. I didn't think the integrated Black Freighter sequences caused the film to drag, though they were likely not necessary for advancing or filling in the live-action story.

They may not have been necessary but they do serve to bring the film even more in alignment with the graphic novel, along with paralleling the Ozymandias character, and additional footage enhances the relationship between the news vendor and the kid...especially when the ends comes. I consider the UC version of this to be the best and most ambitious costumed-hero film to date. (Sorry DARK KNIGHT and AVENGERS fans). Sure there are a few flaws (the love scene with the Leonard Cohan song for example) but few movies are without some.


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