The Watchmen (2009) (Ultimate Cut) (4K Ultra HD/Blu-ray Review)
Directed By: Zack Snyder
Starring: Malin Akerman, Billy Crudup, Matthew Goode, Jackie Earle Haley
Rated: R/Region A/2:40/4K (2160p)/Number of Discs 3
Available from Warner Bros.
In an alternate reality, it’s 1985, costumed superheroes are part of the fabric of everyday society, and the “Doomsday Clock” – which charts the USA’s tension with the Soviet Union – is permanently set at five minutes to midnight. When one of his former colleagues is murdered, the washed-up but no less determined masked vigilante Rorschach sets out to uncover a plot to kill and discredit all past and present superheroes. As he reconnects with his former crime- fighting legion – a ragtag group of retired superheroes, only one of whom has true powers – Rorschach glimpses a wide-ranging and disturbing conspiracy with links to their shared past and catastrophic consequences for the future. Their mission is to watch over humanity…but who is watching The Watchmen?
The Watchmen is a pretty popular movie nowadays from a cult standpoint, but it really is a movie that should have been a lot bigger than it was. As a fan of the short run comic series, I couldn’t wait to see this movie. Needless to say, I loved it. It stuck pretty close to the comics with just a few changes and those changes were needed for the time. However, I was very happy to learn that a complete story existed and later on that edition would see the light of day on home video with the black freighter placed back inside the story like it was in the comic books and like it was meant to be. As far as I’m concerned, this movie tops The Dark Knight as being the greatest comic book based movie we’ve ever seen. A perfect movie that shows all the good things about director Zack Snyder. Sure, it can at times perhaps miss his mark here and there, but rest a sure he’s on point from beginning to end with The Watchmen. It is a very adult comic book story brought to life and while I can see where some folks might not “get it”, those who love the comic already will be blown away by this movie. If you want to most of your viewing experience and you do indeed love the comics, then you need to see the complete story version. Sure, it is a long movie but it is very much worth every minute you will spend watching it. This is also a movie that brings some great characters to life. Night Owl, The Comedian, Silk Spectre, Dr. Manhattan, and of course Rorschach are all brought to life on the screen with great actors, making it a rare case of perfect casting for such characters.
Here we get the story told in the new 4K format. I’ve heard rumbles of this being basically an upconvert but as far as my naked eye can tell, this is the best we’ve ever seen this movie look and I don’t see anyone complaining about what they get with this new 4K complete version of The Watchmen. Also, with this release you get two BD-50 discs. One with the Director’s Cut of the movie on it and the other with a whole list of extras. We’ve seen these extras before, but you can’t beat seeing all of this stuff together in one set. Really, the only thing you’ll find missing from this release is the motion comic that you could find packed with some releases of this great movie. That might not be here, but everything else is and if you are going to hop on over to the new format then you’ll want to have The Watchmen in that collection. All in all, I’d say this is a great release by Warner. They seem to know what they have with this movie and the proof is in the countless releases this movie has gotten. Will this be the last release? Well, who can say, but I do think this is very much a worthy purchase for anyone looking to add the complete Watchmen experience at its best as far as looks go to their movie stash. Sure, some folks out there seem to have some issue with this release and maybe that goes into more technical stuff that I’m not on top of. This is a new format and I’m just now learning the ropes of it but I think it looks good. Could it look better? Well, when compared to other 4K discs I have I suppose so. But you got to also look at the source of the film. This wasn’t done on digital and perhaps any limits to the look are based on as much detail as possible being dragged out of the source? Either way, The Watchmen is one of the best movies that I think has ever been made and this is a great way to experience it.
Disc 1 (4K UHD Disc)
– The Ultimate Cut
Disc 2 (Blu-ray)
– Director’s Cut
– Maximum Movie Mode
Disc 3 (Blu-ray)
– Under the Hood
– Video Journals
– The Phenomenon: The Comic That Changed Comics
– Real Super Heroes: Real Vigilantes
– Real Super Heroes: Real Vigilantes
– Story within a Story: The Books of Watchmen
– Mechanics: Technologies of a Fantastic World
– Music Video
Quality of Transfer: 98%