Warner Bros’ latest superhero epic packs and even bigger punch on DVD and Blu-Ray.
Last year, when I heard a new superhero movie was coming out, I shook my head at how much Hollywood latches on to trends with their movies. Just look at the last few years, when one hyped movie is about to come out, 3 others with the exact same premise get released as well. 1997 had “Dante’s Peak” and “Volcano,” 1998 had both “A Bug’s Life” and “Antz” and “Deep Impact” and “Armageddon.” The trend continues. When someone lands on a good idea, four other people jump on the money train.
This is not the case with Warner Bros’ latest release to DVD and Blu-Ray, “Watchmen.” This is not some last-minute jump on the bandwagon to success and riches, but a 23-year journey from print to the silver screen. Previous to the film, I had never heard of or read the graphic novel, and wasn’t sure what to expect, but I was in for quite a ride. Directed by “300” director, Zack Snyder, “Watchmen” follows an alternate reality where masked vigilantes exist and have had their effect on America’s history since their emergence in the 1930s. Now, these are not the superheroes that the general public is use to seeing in movies. Watchmen, while part of the DC Comics’ universe, does not have any mention of the more widely recognized Superman, Batman, and Wonder Woman. This is not a world of superheroes as we know it, but more of a world of masked crusaders with exaggerated abilities.
The movie, based on the 1985 graphic novel of the same name, follows our heroes following their forced retirement as the U.S. moved into the cold war with Russia, and how they manage to overcome the stigma placed on their vocations by society to come around save the day, though not in the usual frosted Hollywood happiness. Applauded and panned by critics alike for its much darker portrayal of the superhero genre, “Watchmen” draws you into this world with exceptional ease, catching you up to date with the storyline that very few are familiar with prior to watching and pushing you down further into the action, emotion, twists and turns while dazzling the viewer with cinematic beauty.
Much like his previous film, “300,” Snyder based many of his shots directly from the graphic novel, giving it a very authentic look that matches so well with the plot that follows the original so closely. Though the film had to take some liberties and adjust some plot points, a reason why the project was released in 2009 instead of the original goal of 1986, the end product is hailed by most as the perfect screen adaptation of the revered graphic novel.
When I first watched it in theatres, I was blown away and had to take a couple days just to process what I had seen. I didn’t know if I even wanted to see it again. However, skeptics and fans alike can rejoice at the release of the director’s cut of the DVD, which, among many other bonus features, has 24 minutes of bonus footage that wasn’t in the theatrical cut. These scenes, like the glorious battle sequence leading up to Hollis Mason’s death and the proceeding scene where the new Night Owl discovers this turn of events, are all parts from the graphic novel that have been seamlessly reintegrated into the film so that the viewer is just greeted by a fuller viewing experience.
The director’s cut of “Watchmen” will be released on DVD and Blu-Ray on July 21st, 2009.