The Review at a Glance: (max score: 5 )
Audio/Video total rating:
( Max score: 100 )
Studio and Year: Warner Brothers - 2008
MPAA Rating: NR
Feature running time: 325 Minutes
Disc Format: BD-50
Video Aspect: 1.85:1
Audio Format(s): English Dolby TrueHD 5.1, English Dolby Digital 5.1
Starring: Tom Stechschulte
Directed by: Jake S. Hughes
Music by: Lennie Moore
Written by: Alan Moore & Dave Gibbons
Region Code: A
Blu-ray Disc release Date: March 3, 2009
"The entire Watchmen graphic novel comes to life"
Watched any great books lately? Now you can. 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. With Watchmen: The Complete Motion Comic.
My Take:Watchmenis 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 Dr. Manhattan. 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 a former costumed avenger turned rogue, 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.
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.
This contains 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.**
(Each rating is worth 4 points with a max of 5 per category)
- Low frequency extension:
- Surround Sound presentation:
- Dialogue Reproduction:
(Each rating is worth 4 points with a max of 5 per category)
- Black level/Shadow detail:
- Color reproduction:
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 360 degree sound but it delivers an invigorating presentation that blends perfectly with the source.
- (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 – Additional content includes a look at a scene from the upcoming Watchmen motion picture and a BD trailer for Tales of the Black Freighter
- Digital Copy Bonus Disc – A standard definition version of the film that can be downloaded from a compatible PC to a portable playback device.
Watchmen: The complete motion comic represents my introduction to this excellent graphic novel. I found the story to be interesting, conceptually strong, and engaging. Presenting it in a motion comic visual form enhanced the experience and this high definition Blu-ray release from Warner took it the rest of the way. Audio/video quality is strong as all 12 chapters/episodes looked incredible and sound great. The bonus supplements are on the slim side but with content this good it’s of little consequence. My copy included movie money ($7.50) which can be applied toward the purchase of a ticket to see Watchmen the motion picture which will be in theaters March 6, 2009. I am not sure what to expect from the upcoming film release but I now look forward to checking it out. Recommended.
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JVC DLA-RS20 1080p High Definition Front Projector
Carada Precision Brilliant White 96" Screen
Oppo 970HD universal disc DVD Player (480i HDMI)
Toshiba HD-XA2 HD DVD Player (HDMI Audio/Video)
Panasonic DMP-BD55K Blu-ray disc Player (HDMI Audio/Video)
Sony Playstation 3 Blu-ray disc Player (HDMI Audio/Video)
Marantz DV7001 Universal Disc Player
Denon AVR 5308CI THX Ultra 2 Preamp/Video Processor
B&K Reference 200.7 Series 2 seven Channel amplifier
Philips TSU9400 Pro Series Touch Panel 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
Furman SPR-20i Stable Power Regulator
Wireworld, VizionWare, Audioquest, Best Deal Cables - Audio/Video/Speaker Cabling
Cool Components - CP-CP102 cooling package