Thursday, July 30, 2009

So...about that Watchmen director's cut DVD review

Well, folks, the short version is that the DVD makers saved all the (current) goodies for the Blu-ray edition, and I don't have a Blu-ray player, so I'm just right out of luck. But I got an e-mail this morning from Callidus telling me some of what I'm missing out on, like the director's commentary and the little frames in the corners of the screen that show you how certain effects were accomplished.

Unfortunately, Callidus and I are both missing out on even more goodies, because packaged inside each of our boxes were little flyers advertising a 5-disc "ultimate collectors edition" that will be coming out in December. Fucking marketing leeches.

Oh, well, here's my review of the non-Blu-ray edition of the director's cut, along with some screen grabs I've taken from two different scenes and completely out of context, just to give you something to build a few MC fantasies around. And just as a reminder, I've already reviewed the director's cut of the movie itself here and the "Black Freighter"/"Under the Hood" DVD here.

So, what's on the 2-disc director's cut DVD besides the movie? Not a whole hell of a lot - and not a single Easter egg, as far as I could tell. But in order of least interesting to most interesting....

There's the "Desolation Row" video from My Chemical Romance, which you can also find for free on YouTube.

There are 11 video journals of about 3 1/2 minutes each, all of which you can also find on the official movie site. I watched several of them back there, when they first debuted; and I can see that they've been updated a little for the DVD: adding in snippets of scenes that would have been spoilers if they'd appeared online at the time, but that don't matter one way or the other now. So overall, the video journals are sort of "meh," although the one about the Owl Ship features a cute bit where Patrick Wilson tells Zac Snyder that in the Millennium Falcon, you push this lever the other way.

Most interestingly (to me, anyway) is a featurette about the Watchmen graphic novel and how it was adapted for the screen. This isn't just (or even mostly) a "making of" documentary; it really is an homage to the graphic novel. It does an excellent job of explaining the subtleties of the story for people who know they're reading something great but don't entirely get it; and it also helps people like me, who don't understand the finer points of comic art, to see how brilliant Dave Gibbons' illustrations were (BTW, I found a set of annotations for the Watchmen graphic novel online once. They're only so-so, but if you want a glimpse of what you might be missing without buying the DVD, they make a nice start).

Oh, and of course, it's hilarious to watch all the people being interviewed in the featurette and the video logs as they try to tiptoe around the subject of Alan Moore, the writer who famously disowns every movie made from his graphic novels - and justly so, in most cases. And wouldn't Moore be rolling over in his grave* if he knew that the DVD actually starts with an anti-smoking commercial?

*if he were dead ;-P

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