>>Please take note that this article contains spoilers.<<
I did a review on Watchmen back in March in which I made note of the inevitable extended cut/director’s cut and here it is. I’m going to expand upon my feelings and opinions on Zack Snyder’s adaptation of Alan Moore’s masterpiece and in doing so I won’t say this article is another review of the film, more like ‘Watchmen Revisited’. The director’s cut is an entire 24 minutes longer than the theatrical version with a total running time of 186 minutes. So was it worth it?
The only significant extra in this version of the film is the brutal slaying of Hollis Mason, and in case you were wondering Snyder sticks with the Dr. Manhattan frame-up and there’s still no giant squid. The exclusion of the squid annoyed many die-hard fans of the classic graphic novel but I think Snyder’s decision to do so was a necessary one. A giant creature such as the squid would not be feasible in the realistic world that Snyder has created, after-all the film is not the comic as so many people fail to realize. Another ‘extra’ was more screen time for the newspaper vendor as well as the kid who’s reading Tales of the Black Freighter. Interestingly enough, when seen reading it, it’s not Alan Moore’s version but Snyder’s animated version that’s been transferred to the pages. As great as it would’ve been to see a few pages of the original Tales of the Black Freighter, Alan Moore did not want the film/s to be associated with him in any way.
Generally I don’t like director’s cuts, I mean films are presented in their theatrical form for a reason and sometimes it’s best to leave certain things out that may have been great on paper but ineffective on the screen. I don’t have a problem with filmmakers adding to the package but what really irritates me is when they exclude certain scenes, such as what was done with Chronicles of Riddick – Director’s Cut and Spider-Man 2.1 (specifically the elevator scene). Having watched this film three times now, you start to pick up on more and more inside jokes and scenes that were present from the graphic novel. While Watchmen was considered to be ‘unfilmable’ as the story was deemed too complex, I think Zack Snyder has done an admirable job. He has been very faithful to the source material but at the same time, he hasn’t followed it verbatim adding a bit of himself into the story (the nod to 300 at the beginning, the brutal fight scenes and of course the climax of the film) and taking away certain aspects that wouldn’t work in a film. Snyder’s Watchmen is also an extremely bold film, containing full frontal nudity (Dr. Manhattan) which raised an eyebrow or two as well as being beautifully violent with slick and polished fight scenes, Watchmen is a thing of beauty to behold and a feast for the eyes. It’s a complex tale and thankfully doesn’t have the typical Hollywood, happy ending because in essence the ‘bad guy’ wins as his plan reaches fruition and the heroes who stand in his way are eliminated. Another thing that impressed me was the fact that Zack Snyder didn’t ‘modernise’ the film like the Wachowski Brothers did with V for Vendetta. The graphic novel was set in the mid-eighties and so is the film.
This director’s cut Blu-Ray version is packed with special features which are as follows:
- Maximum Movie Mode (BD Exclusive)
- Watchmen: Focus Points
- The Phenomenon: The Comic That Changed Comics
- Real Superheroes, Real Vigilantes (BD Exclusive)
- Mechanics: Technologies Of A Fantastic World (BD Exclusive)
- Music Video: Desolation Row – My Chemical Romance
- Digital Copy (Theatrical Version)
The Maximum Movie Mode will allow split-screen viewing of “Watchmen” to focus on elements in director Zack Snyder’s on-camera commentary.
So yes overall the director’s cut was worth it. Watchmen is a great film, thought-provoking, action-packed and highly polished and this Blu-Ray edition is well worth your cash if only to see the very cool and at the same time tragic, depiction of Hollis Mason’s murder.