When The Comedian, a masked crime fighter, is brutally murdered, the Watchmen must come out of retirement to try to find the culprit and are thence drawn into a worldwide conspiracy.
Watchmen is a film that is very divisive among fans of the original graphic novel and moviegoers in general. This is either a love it or hate it kind of film. I fall firmly on the side of love it.
The graphic novel this film is based on is one of Time Magazine’s 100 all time top novels. And it is certainly heads and shoulders above most everything else out there. While the film doesn’t quite live up to the high standards of the graphic novel, it is a very well done, fascinating film. If you can wrap your head around it.
When I initially saw this in the theater, I was not that impressed with it. The reason being that there is so much information thrown at you that you cannot be a passive observer. With a comic book film like this, you are usually there to turn your brain off and watch the pretty computer generated spectacle. This film, while having pretty computer generated spectacle, requires that you focus on what is actually happening. At times the story is overshadowed by the flashiness.
While the performances are solid throughout, Billy Crudup as Dr. Manhattan and Jackie Earl Haley as Rorschach stand out. Crudup does a phenomenal job as the godlike superman who is disconnected with the world due to his extreme power. Haley is the exact opposite, right is the fray in the streets and gutters and extremely angry because of that connection. 3 years later, I am still upset with the Academy Awards for not nominating Jackie Earl Haley for best supporting actor.
Make no mistake, this is a gorgeous movie to watch. While there are moments of extreme graphic violence and nudity, the highly stylized world is gorgeous and gritty and dirty. Taking place in an alternate 1985, where Richard Nixon is still president and Vietnam is the 51st state, the grungy environments surely help the film achieve it’s look. On blu-ray, this is one of the titles you will bust out to show your friends how much better blu-ray is than dvd. One of the best titles out there.
This film is also a sonic assault. If you have a surround sound system, you must crank this one. This has the best sound mix I have ever heard. Yes, I said it. Kiss my booty, Avatar. You are good, Watchmen is better. The sound separates cleanly throughout all 5 speakers, completely immersing you in this world. Your .1 subwoofer will get a thorough workout as well.
Special features may appear sparse on this disc, until you dig into Maximum Movie Mode. This is a feature that plays while you watch the film and gives you commentary by the director, storyboard comparisons, comparisons with the graphic novel, alternate world timeline and more. This is a monster feature and should be utilized in other releases.
One last note, this is NOT a film for children. It may look like it on the cover or the posters but it is a very adult, very thought provoking film. Be warned.
Blu-Ray **** out of ****
Movie ***1/2 out of ****