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The Review at a Glance: (max score: 5 )

Film:


Extras:


Audio/Video total rating:

( Max score: 100 )

83






Studio and Year: Warner Brothers - 2008
MPAA Rating: NR
Feature running time: 325 Minutes
Genre: Animated/Action/Adventure

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


Audio Format(s): English Dolby TrueHD 5.1, English Dolby Digital 5.1
Subtitles: English
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"



Film Synopsis:


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.








Parental Guide:


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)


Audio: 80


  • Dynamics:

  • Low frequency extension:

  • Surround Sound presentation:

  • Clarity/Detail:

  • Dialogue Reproduction:





Video: 86


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

  • Resolution/Clarity:

  • Black level/Shadow detail:

  • Color reproduction:

  • Fleshtones:

  • Compression:

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.



Bonus Features:

  • (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.





Final Thoughts:


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.














Ralph Potts
AVS Forum Blu-ray Reviews





Reference Review System:



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
 

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Caught some of this on PPV and was duly impressed, but forced myself to click away so I could go into the Watchmen movie cold! I guess I'm just weird that way... *lol*
 

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Actually, in the Watchman story, the only two legal superheroes during the principal events of the graphic novel are the Comedian and Dr. Manhattan, the near omnipotent, demi-god hero with quantum physics based powers. Both of these heroes helped the U.S. win the Vietnam War while the other heroes went into retirement except for the rogue hero, Rorschach, who is considered a vigilante and subject to arrest by the authorities.


Another interesting note is that the Watchmen heroes are based on the Charlton Comics heroes that were absorbed by DC Comics in the 80's. Thus, Dr. Manhattan is the Watchmen version of Captain Atom and Rorschach is the Watchmen version of The Question.
 

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I heard the digital copy cannot be played on an ipod. Is that true?
 

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Quote:
Originally Posted by boxterduke /forum/post/15968600


I can't wait to see the movie, hope it is no The Spirit.

Saw it this morning...and it's very, very impressive. Certainly look forward to it's release on BR.
 

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Quote:
Originally Posted by den110 /forum/post/15971696


I heard the digital copy cannot be played on an ipod. Is that true?

Yes, that is true. It's a DRM'd .wmv file that cannot play on an iPod.
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·

Quote:
Originally Posted by Jack Caynon /forum/post/15971344


Actually, in the Watchman story, the only two legal superheroes during the principal events of the graphic novel are the Comedian and Dr. Manhattan, the near omnipotent, demi-god hero with quantum physics based powers. Both of these heroes helped the U.S. win the Vietnam War while the other heroes went into retirement except for the rogue hero, Rorschach, who is considered a vigilante and subject to arrest by the authorities.


Another interesting note is that the Watchmen heroes are based on the Charlton Comics heroes that were absorbed by DC Comics in the 80's. Thus, Dr. Manhattan is the Watchmen version of Captain Atom and Rorschach is the Watchmen version of The Question.

Greetings,


I tweaked it to read differently. Thanks for pointing that out Jack..



Regards,
 

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I picked this up last night and thought it was great. I'm familiar with the graphic novel, so I knew what to expect going into it. I have a friend who was unsure about seeing the movie, so I had him watch it too. He's now going to see the movie with me at midnight tonight.


I'm hoping this opens the door for other graphic novels to be released on BD. I would love to see The Dark Knight Returns, Batman: Year One, Knightfall, or just about any Batman story. With this format, it's 100% true to the comic and I can convice friends to experience the stories that I can't talk them into reading.
 

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Friend got me the set (one novel) for my Birthday recently. I did not think I had seen it before, but reading it now some parts seem familiar (the bottle of perfume "N" and the big "glass" house......).


The plot is VERY convoluted, but it fits. SOme parts were clicking for me before I even knew them (Rorschach's ID, Certain Lineages, etc). Never the less, they are still rather shocking even though they fit pefectly.


I still have a few chapters to go, but this is definitely a sit down READ if you have the time. LOTS of inter-chapter stories and backgrounds and about the most dialogue I have seen outside of Sandman!


I hope this comic, and this film, are enough to get the message across that not all comics are for kids. They had it when they did the original Batman movie, and the new Batman series, but lost it when they started to go Adam West on us. They did well with 300, and Sin City, and I am hoping that this does not dissapoint.


As for getting a graphic novel on Blu-Ray? This seems a bit odd. It may work in some cases, or provide something interesting, but I, for one, would rather pay $20 to read the original than have it on something that is difficult to curl up with......
 

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A few of my friends are excited to see it but early reviews of the movie aren't too good. I heard its the first big flop of the year.
 

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I have heard teh same, but only from people that do not like the genre (OMGWTF This is not BATMANZZZZ!!?!?! Where'e HUGH JACKMANNNN!!!!!)


Some others are a bit sobering, and I am wondering how they will fit such a huge and complex plot into 2.5 hours of film.


Took me a week (on and off) to read through it.


I am seeing it tonight, if I remember to I will post my impressions (I do a pretty good Kermit.....)
 

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It is very faithful to the graphic novel though the "evil scheme" turns out to be different in the end...in my view it's better than the original from the graphic novel. The actor who plays Rorscharch steals the movie...he's excellent and is the most well-rounded character even though he's completely psychopathic...that said, the movie succeeds in being faithful to the novel but left me a little cold. Some of the fight scenes are very bloody and quite graphic...a sex scene strays very close to soft core porn, so this movie is definitely NOT for kids and probably inappropriate for any kids under 17...it really deserves its R rating. At times the fight choreography strives for artistry over the supposed gritty reality the movie attempts to show during other parts of the film. Supposedly, these "heroes" are much more vicious than their counterparts in the Justice League and think nothing of crippling or killing their opponents. However, in the final fight scene, why do the two protagonists take turns trying various martial arts moves against the single antagonist when they could both simply rush the antagonist, tackle said antagonist roughly and take the antagonist down?



So, on balance, it succeeds as a work of art and as a faithful homage to the original but it doesn't quite hit the mark as a fun movie and makes you feel like watching it is a lot of work. Out of five stars, I'd give it 3 and a half.
 

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Watched it last night on regular screen. I was so impressed I went back again today and watched it in IMAX. The sound effects were unreal. A definite candidate for Blu Ray.
 

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Nice review, at first I was thinking how the heck can you get the Watchmen, it just came out in the theatres, but now I see its the original comic one.

Thanks again
 

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The movie flik is good, but not great.


I like how they used a LOT of the comic in it. Direct quotes and visual cues a plienty. They screwed up a few things (like not having an arc welder and still cutting the bars. You read the comic and you will know why Roar did what he did. Although the book really does not detail why they needed a boxcutter....)


Also, no hacksaw and kerosene.



Ozy was a prude. I did not like his character. He was SUPPOSED to be the guy that you liked from the start, but I don't think anyone bought that in this. He looked fake from the start. He was also a skinny dude. No WAY he would be able to do what he did!


He looked like a cross between Dana Carvey and David Byrne!


With a wig!



Silk was good, but not great. She really could not act very well, neither could her "mother". She handles the actions scenes very well, and was pretty good with the Soft Core, but you never believed she was upset. It just did not work.


Night owl was dead on. A 40-something has been looking to get some excitement back in his life. His look and his acting was perfect. Reminded me a LOT of Chevy Chase in NL's Vacation. (XXX Oswald....).


Jon was just weird. He sounded like HAL. I don't think that fit quite right.



Bottom line is this. It is a decent movie with some great visuals. Some of the fight scenes are a little off (we do not need to see that many broken limbs, and when you kick someone's foot, you both don't go flying off), but they were mostly entertaining.


The end drags a bit, and some lines from the book do not translate well to the screen (Condone or Condemn...).


As a STAND ALONE flik, I would only give it a 4-5 out of 10. Reading the book boosts it up to a 6 or maybe 7 (we are talking about Godfather II, The Usual Suspects and Clockwork Orange keeping the 9/10 spots here!
).


I think it could have gone maybe 7/8 tops with some tweaking, but the book was just too big to fit in even a 3 hour movie.




BTW, Max Headroom makes an appearance.
 
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