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Blu-ray Reviews

HTF BLU-RAY REVIEW: Watchmen: The Complete Motion Comic



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#1 of 2 OFFLINE   Cameron Yee

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Posted March 07 2009 - 09:54 AM

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MAIN FEATURESPECIAL FEATURESVideo1080p high definition 16x9 1.78:1480i or 480p standard definitionAudioDolby TrueHD: English 5.1 / Dolby Digital: English 5.1StereoSubtitlesEnglish SDHNone

The Feature: 3.5/5
"Watchmen: The Complete Motion Comic" takes the acclaimed Alan Moore and Dave Gibbons graphic novel and turns it into a sort of audio book crossed with a sort of animated storyboard, or animatic. Typical of such work, the animation is rudimentary, but effective. Once static panel elements are put in motion through various methods, though the artwork itself - its style and sensibility - appears uncompromised. Audio is equally basic with simple sound effects mixed with an appropriate, if unremarkable, orchestral score. Actor Thomas Stechshulte handles all reading and voice acting, which, despite the accompanying visuals, gives the presentation a decidedly audio book flavor.

Divided into 12 chapters and running almost five-and-a-half hours, it probably takes a person less time to read the original, printed work. And the less-than-hardcore "Watchmen" or animation fan may opt to do just that. For the deeply committed, however, the motion comic treatment offers a somewhat novel and visually appealing take on the familiar, though Stechshulte's voice acting for the female characters could have stood some refining. His portrayal of the Silk Spectre is bound to induce giggles at times, though the rest of the characters come off great, in particular Dr. Manhattan. His origin story is featured in the fourth chapter, "The Watchmaker", and proved to be my favorite of the 12.


Video Quality: 4.5/5
The film is accurately framed at 1.78:1 and presented in 1080p with the VC-1 codec. Blacks are stable, deep and, given the source material, appropriately inky. Colors are equally impressive, showing great depth, saturation and integrity with no signs of bleeding or banding. Fine object detail is hard to judge at first, but Dr. Manhattan proves to be a great example. The animators applied a static noise effect to his skin and the definition and clarity of the pixels is pretty remarkable with no indications of any related motion or compression artifacts. The only complaint I have is there's frequent ringing along high contrast edges, most prevalent with the ever-present black and white text balloons.


Audio Quality: 3.5/5
Center channel activity dominates the Dolby TrueHD audio mix with consistently clear and intelligible dialogue. Surrounds and the front mains are mostly used for soundtrack support and some minor environmental and panning effects. LFE is essentially non-existent, but there's good bass response and depth with the orchestral score and foley effects.


Special Features: 1.5/5

Behind the Story (2m47s): Artist Dave Gibbons talks enthusiastically about the faithfulness of the live action movie to the source material. In high definition.

"Wonder Woman" Sneak Peek (10m26s): Cast and crew share the history of the Wonder Woman character and the features of the upcoming "Wonder Woman: Amazon Princess" direct-to-video movie. Unfortunately, the majority of the visuals are of storyboards with no completed animation samples. In standard definition.

BD-Live: Includes a streaming video trailer for the motion comic video release and a preview of the prison break scene from the live action film.

Digital Copy: Download a digital copy for playback on computer or portable video device. Compatible with Windows only.


Recap

The Feature: 3.5/5
Video Quality: 4.5/5
Audio Quality: 3.5/5
Special Features: 1.5/5
Overall Score (not an average): 3.5/5

An acclaimed graphic novel, read aloud and given rudimentary animation, gets an excellent video presentation, respectable audio, but a meager set of special features. Die hard fans of the source material will probably enjoy the presentation, but anyone new to the story is probably better off picking up the original novel and reading it for themselves.
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#2 of 2 OFFLINE   Mark Zimmer

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Posted March 12 2009 - 08:29 AM

I watched this over a couple evenings and was pleasantly surprised by how well it flowed (even with a single person doing the voices). It's a different dynamic than reading the GN, since you can't really pause on things, but it also prevents one from getting bogged down too. I liked it, and the visuals come across very well indeed.