Just finished watching this last night, and I wanted to put in a few words about what I liked and didn’t like. Please don’t expect a review per se, I can only speak to my response to the fanedited movie.
First off, I did watch the original movie first, then the fanedit, so I think I got a good before and after look. I thought the original movie, while the most interesting and different superhero story I’ve ever seen, was about a B+ as a movie. Maybe a straight B. After watching the fanedit, I wobbled a bit, but eventually settled on B+ as well. It’s different, and much is improved, but some things don’t play as well too, so in the end, it kind of evened out.
Here’s the things I really liked about the fanedit:
1. The recut of the opening and further exposition during the movie. Brilliantly done, it was much better than the original.
2. The cuts to the sex scene and some of the violence. I couldn’t watch the original with my friend, as he has teenage kids who are too young for that kind of graphic sex scene, so removing that put the movie right back into their range. The exclusion of the extremely graphic arm scene in the prison was a great choice too, and the way you did it was perfect.
3. The added non-backstory footage about the original Night Owl. Why did they cut that? It was amazingly well done and one of the most powerful scenes in the entire movie. Kudos for putting that back in!
4. The additional dialogue and footage throughout the movie. I didn’t see anything that didn’t work perfectly well. I’m assuming it was all cut for reasons of viewing time and theater scheduling.
Now, here’s the things I didn’t like so much:
1. Not sure what you call them, but the black screen and white-letter messages that were shown fairly often seemed to me like “editorial comments”. They broke up the flow of the movie and (no offense) seemed very heavy handed, like planting a sign saying “BTW THIS IS WHAT THINGS MEAN RIGHT NOW, JUST IN CASE YOU DIDN”T CATCH IT”, when in reality, I think most people would have the sense of what was happening. Those dropped the movie one full grade for me :(
2. Not your fault on this, but the additional backstory provided by the TV set, while a great addition to the movie, had no means of connection to the movie. I didn’t realize it at first, but I found myself wishing those were in the context of a scene where a character were watching them, so the flow of the movie wouldn’t be interrupted. No points off though, it was a wash.
3. The removal of some of the action, in particular the all-out SS+NO vs everyone in their way scene in the prison, really stood out to me as a loss. Except for that, we never really see SS or NO as “real” superheroes, costume and all, going all out kicking bad guy butt, and I think that was an important scene. It just seemed to clinch the deal for those two as partners, as well as setting the bar for the future fight with the big O and being pretty exciting in its own right. Also, it seemed like some of the Big O fight was missing. Maybe just me since I only watched the first movie once, but I didn’t really get the same tension and suspense from the fight as I did the first time.
4. Back to the sex scene, while much improved as I said above, I did think that it came off as very rushed. The beginning of the scene, where the characters meet eyes and connect through the charge of the experience they just had, was a good moment and a defining one for their relationship. A more paced beginning would have been good, before the cutaway that brought the show into PG territory.
Those are my thoughts. I’d like to thank you for making this fanedit, it must have been an incredible amount of work, and I did enjoy it very much. Re the rest of the review ratings, here they are:
VIDEO PRESENTATION: Beautiful, couldn’t tell it from the original. (5/5)
AUDIO PRESENTATION: Perfect to me. I know music was replaced, but I noticed no distracting cuts and the music worked fine for me. (5/5)
EDITING: Technical perfection. Couldn’t tell a bit where things were added/removed. (5/5)
STORY PRESENTATION: Plus six of one, minus a half dozen of the other, plus .5 bonus points for the additional footage of the (major) story point about the original Night Owl. (4.5/5)
OVERALL RATING: WATCHMEN: Better than the original for storytelling and character development, but lack of context for the backstory footage and some directorial editing choices that didn’t work for me take it down two notches. (8/10)
WATCHMEN: MIDNIGHT is an interesting take on Snyder’s Watchmen. It improves in many ways by trimming down extraneous scenes (that I, while watching the film in theaters, found awkwardly lengthy), adding in extra material, and segmenting the film into chapters.
Below, I will focus on each of the major changes that set Flixcapacitor’s interpretation apart from other fanedits. If you don’t want some of the changes and cuts ruined for you, please scroll down to the Final Verdict.
THE UNDER THE HOOD SEQUENCES —————————————————————–
While I understand that Flixcapacitor was emulating the supplementary material of the Watchmen graphic novels, I found the Under The Hood sequences to be interrupting the flow of the film rather than adding to it.
Admittedly, some portions of Under the Hood nicely parallel what the viewer should be focusing on (Rorschach and the other Watchmen in 1985), such as Hollis’s attraction to the first Silk Spectre. Unfortunately, Flixcapacitor shows more than what I felt was necessary to contribute to the atmosphere of the movie during the Under the Hood segments, and prolongs the progression of the plot.
Their inclusion can be forgiven on the grounds that they give the viewer an experience more like the graphic novel. Personally I feel as though the interludes would be a more welcome addition if they had taken place during the lulls in the pacing of the film instead of after every chapter pre-intermission.
THE CHAPTER SEGMENTS AND EPIGRAMS ————————————————————
The faneditor shows a perfect sense of timing on this one, displaying the chapter titles and concluding scenes at exactly the right time. The inclusion of the midnight clock and epigrams helped set the scene for each preceding chapter, just as intended in the graphic novel. Putting them into the movie was a smart, logical addition that the faneditor implements seamlessly, and for that I really do applaud Flixcapacitor’s genius.
My only reservation over the segmentation is that the scene immediately following the intermission begins suddenly and abruptly, jumping directly into Big Figure’s introduction without giving the viewer time to recuperate from the film’s hiatus. Because of this, I found the intermission to be unnecessary as it only serves as a stopping point for the Under The Hood material, and doesn’t bridge a time cut or separate two radically different moods of the film.
Ultimately, segmenting the film into chapters and including the post-chapter epigrams are what I’ll remember WATCHMEN: MIDNIGHT for. It really contributes to the film and adds an extra dimension that is more like what Alan Moore intended in the original graphic novel. Excellent fanediting.
CHANGING/REMOVING MUSIC IN CERTAIN SCENES —————————————————-
The music of Watchmen was a large part of the movie’s appeal to me, and their removal seemed unneeded. The scenes are filmed to be structured around the music playing; replacing them without re-editing the scene to fit the added score is like taking a music video and changing the music, hoping no one will notice.
While Flixcapacitor excises “Ride of the Valkyries” for reasons I can get behind, the quiet music he replaces it with fails to capture the impact of the scene. This, I believe, is due to Glass’s score’s quiet, subdued nature. If I were able to hear a little bit of what was going on in the scene (explosions, helicopter rattle, screams), even muffled, I would gladly welcome the switch. However, the scene plays almost like a silent movie and distances the viewer from fully engaging themselves into the scene.
Adding score where songs were meant to be causes a dissonance in the film and leaves the viewer feeling very far away from what is happening. While most songs he replaces have good reasons behind them (removing “Times They Are a-Changin’” because the opening credits now begin the movie, removing “The Sound of Silence” because it’s too much like The Graduate), it’s important to remember that the scenes were designed to be set to those songs for a purpose.
OVERALL EDITING ——————————————————————————
All-in-all, the faneditor exhibits absolutely flawless editing skills. All scenes removed I didn’t miss or even notice they had been removed. Flixcapacitor’s changes are well-made and undetectable– the mark of a good editor. Cutting Rorschach’s run-in with the police? Shortening the awkward Nite Owl/Silk Spectre love scene? Reducing the prison riot sequence? Removing all mention of the Watchmen by name? All great calls.
Flixcapacitor’s good editing decisions in WATCHMEN: MIDNIGHT are numerous… and you’ll never even notice he made them. An excellent example for future faneditors.
THE FINAL VERDICT ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
VIDEO PRESENTATION: Exactly like the DVD, no fuzzy conversion. Perfect. (5/5)
AUDIO PRESENTATION: Overall quality clean. The replacement of score where songs were purposed distracts greatly. (3/5)
EDITING: Flixcapacitor demonstrates high editing competence, his changes are unnoticeable and improve the film. (5/5)
STORY PRESENTATION: The Under The Hood material detracted from the flow of the film, but the addition of chapter segmentation and epigrams really contribute. (4/5)
OVERALL RATING: WATCHMEN: MIDNIGHT is more like the graphic novels and though I have some issues with the Under The Hood material and the replacement of songs, it’s chaptered layout and seamless editing make this one well worth your download.
Firstly I want to say say how disappointed I was with Snyder’s Watchmen. He completely missed the point of the comic and tried to make an ultra-super-look-how-bad-ass-I-am-movie. My brother-in-law loved the movie though and bought me the Ultimate Cut to try and prove how awesome it is. I never watched it.
Now, onto the real review:
Video/Audio quality: Perfect. Nothing looked or sounded off at all. 10/10
Editing: Nearly flawless. Seemed pretty damn seamless. The only noticeable error was a quote title card fading away too fast. I believe it was the quote at the end of “Watchmaker”. On a personal note, I would have enjoyed fading in out between the title cards instead of cutting to/from black, but it didn’t detract from it at all. 9.5/10
Entertainment: Without going into too much of what scenes I liked and didn’t like, I’ll say that there were still a lot of scenes that made me shake my head. I was VERY happy to see the deletion of the opening scene with Nixon and the fight scene in the Comedian’s apartment. As well cutting the overlong prison riot/fight scene was excellent. IMO you could have cut Night Owl swooping out of Archie as well, but that’s my opinion.
I really enjoyed the Under the Hood segments intercut between the chapters. And you stopped that style at the correct point in the edit, letting the second half play out naturally.
I still feel that Watchmen is pretty terrible, but at least I was able to get through the whole movie and after two hours found myself just watching it without my inner commentary.
7/10 (original theatrical cut was 1/10)
Presentation: I loved the scene selections. Makes complete sense to break it up by chapters. 10/10
Summary: Technical quality was superb. Even though I still hate the movie, I hate this one way less.
I really enjoyed this edit. The editing together of under the hood and the extended cut did indeed feel more like the graphic novel, and i appreciated the changes in music, although only the opening credits felt weaker to me. I really liked Bob Dylan there, but maybe I'm alone in this. Regardless, great choice using Phillip Glass and his haunting music.
The film felt better fleshed out, and I didn't find the headings/cuts to under the hood too distracting. The intermission felt unnecessary though. I just fast forwarded it, as others may do as well. We're used to long dvd's (aka lord of the rings) and I also found it odd that the under the hood segments abruptly ended. Did you try spreading them across the whole film? Perhaps that was distracting in the climax of the film. Removing the super human feats was also appreciated, and thank you very much for getting rid of the Halleluia sex scene! Talk about unintentional laughs.
One more thing, I would have removed the line after Rorschach says "gotta use the men's room", and silk spectre replies "aww you gotta be kidding me". Bad joke, poor delivery. But that's all. Very enjoyable edit, improved the original. Great work and congrats on Edit of the Month!