Who Watches the Watchmen?
Watchmen: Midnight is a unique and enjoyable take on revitalizing what made the graphic novel so breathtaking..
I am a massive fan of the Watchmen graphic novel and Alan Moore (and Dave Gibbons) work and love the original films greatly. I know the ins-and-outs of everything Watchmen - so I decided to dedicate 3 and a half hours to revisiting it in this masterfully crafted ode to the graphic novel, Watchmen: midnight.
Straight off the bat, the cutting in the opening sequence had me impressed. It tightened the scene and began instead on the investigation/crime scene and dialogue between the detectives. I think if this was my first time watching, I would be extremely invested in finding out what exactly happened - and the intertwining with The Comedians fight was suburb.
The first major difference with the edit I noticed right away was the removal of most graphic violence and gore aspects to fight scenes etc. I understand the reasoning behind removing them, but for me personally, I prefer seeing some blood and guts in action and hard hitting scenes. I feel it worked best during the Dr.Manhattan interview and alleyway fight better than the original however, due to the overall tone that takes place with the cancer plot arc reveal. So bravo. The weakest for me though, was definitely the 'Child Murderer' scene, I think the directors cut with the meat clever was a hard hitting conclusion to a very dark and emotionally engaging scene.
The second huge difference, as stated in the 'changes section', was the musical score. This version rocked it. I loved the removal of most of the songs as well as the ones kept (99 red Balloons is great!) However, one flaw for me was removing 'The Sound of Silence' which I thought fit the funeral scene and tone much better. The Vietnam scene was gripping and horrific - much like the visuals, so props there. Overall, the music score changes we're a great touch.
The film seemed more tightened at crucial parts. Ie. The Ozymandias fight at the end flowed better with the dialogue when compared to the original and the removal of the cheesy action moments and sex scene was a good move.
The last note on the edit would be my biggest grievance, and although not a massive issue, the opening Title Sequence with 'Time are a Changing' being replaced to the end of the film was not something I was a fan of. I love the opening title sequence and think it's one of the best opening sequence to any film and the song choice is perfect. I think leaving it would also enhance the 'Under the Hood' inserts a bit more - which at times, especially the first, felt a bit out of place. (But very unique and the idea is excellent. So thanks for keeping it in)
Overall, Watchmen: Midnight was a blast. I love Watchmen to Mars and back and will be recommending this edit to everyone who is as big a fan as I am.
Watchmen: Midnight scores,
- 8/10 -
reviewed by Ryan Michaels. (0zymandias)
This edit has been my first encounter with the Watchmen movie. (Before this raises suspicions let's remind that we're required to *own* the original DVD, not to *watch* it!) I'm a big fan of the graphic novel, but my extreme dislike of Zack Snyder's style more than anything made me avoid the movie until now. Won't waste much space in my opinions on the non-edit aspects on it other than saying that I found it just as ugly and mediocre as I expected from its director, liked some bits, disliked others, but the worst thing was not what was left out or the changed ending, but Snyder's approach with the music video/commercial aesthetic and all that goddamn slow motion.
Still, reading about this edit's changes, I seem to agree with all of what was cut, and that this is probably much improved over any theatrical cut. I agree that Black Freighter has no real purpose without the squid, I agree that without Under the Hood Hollis Mason seems to be pretty much superfluous. And all what was cut looks like disposable filler, resulting in a well paced and reasonably entertaining edit (I say reasonably because every time I started enjoying the narrative, along came a damn slo-mo shot that ruined everything and annoyed me to no end). Given the circumstances, and as a fan of the graphic novel, I enjoyed it a lot as an edit, if not as a movie.
But, I think more could, and should, have been cut or modified. For starters, I'd like to see the opening credits sequence gone. I understand it has a lot of fans, but to me is an interminably long exercise in Snyderness that not only is unneeded for the narrative but contains a pair of howlers. Silhouette kissing a woman in the middle of a crowded street, in plain sight for everyone, in front of a photographer, in 1945? The Comedian murdering Kennedy, without any ambiguity whatsoever, shown to us even before we know who the Comedian is? Please. The movie would be better served by starting directly with the Comedian's button on the street, just like the source. Also, the Snydermotion should have been fixed or minimized whenever possible, particularly the changes of speed within the same shot. I feel this is possible in most cases. I'd also suggest minimizing distractingly obvious CGI such as Rorschach's grappling hook, and as much of Nixon as possible given that his makeup is a complete joke. And in this case, many scenes that are lifted verbatim from the graphic novel but didn't work as cinema, should go (all through the movie, but I'm thinking particularly of much of the climax in Ozy's lair).
Am I being too harsh? Maybe, in the sense that it's a matter of personal taste about a style I don't like. If you like Snyder, you'll probably love this cut. If you don't like Snyder, I still think it's worth watching, but know how to expect. As for me, I'd love to see a version 2 that at least fixes the slo-mo.
Video and audio quality was good enough, though the video showed a bit too much artifact and obvious compression, even for a 3 hour movie it could look a bit better since it's a DVD9 and bare bones. The editing itself was masterfully done and indetectable.
So I insist, anything bad I can say about this is the fault of Snyder, not Flixcapacitor. Overall, a strong firstling and a recommended edit.
July 29, 2012 @ 3:10 am
Not sure why it took me so long to get around to watching this,
but I am glad I finally did!
The original WATCHMEN comic mini-series is considered by many as a seminal piece of work, forever influencing how comic tales are woven and presented. I read the Watchmen series when it was first released, and while I acknowledge it is an amazing piece of graphic literature, it never held a fond a fond place in my comic book library… its superhero world a bit too grim and gritty, too fatalistic and cynical for my personal tastes.
That said, the idea of translating it into a motion picture I found to be a fascinating one, and over the years I followed its many starts and stops in movie development with great interest. When Zac Snyder’s opus finally arrived on screen in 2009, I was there on opening night filled with curious anticipation. When the movie ended two plus hours later, and the lights came up and my buddies asked what I thought, I just sort of shrugged “meh”.
I did not hate it. I did not love it.
It had some great moments. It had some very dull moments. And some very “nuking the fridge” moments.
But mostly, it felt lacking in characters development. I never truly felt connected or invested in the characters’ journey.
So when reading Flixcapacitor’s intention was to try to improve the overall depth of the characters, I was very intrigued. And now after watching this epic edit, I think for the most part, he was very successful.
I very much enjoyed the new structure of the story with it’s chapter breaks and “Under the Hood” segments. For me, it gave the narration a more “episodic” feel, almost as though each chapter was an issue of the comic book. It also a lent a greater dramatic quality to many scenes, that for me, were lacking in the original.
I know much has been made of the music replacement in this edit. For me, 90% of the new music worked. But as some other reviewers pointed out, some of the music scenes could have played better if the editor had recut them tighter to time with the replacement tracks. Though the new version of the Archie love scene is a vast and superior improvement. For as much as I love Leonard Cohen’s “Hallelujah”, when that song played during the love scene, the movie officially “nuked the fridge” for me!
The editor shows a great talent for storytelling, as the restructured and added/deleted scenes all work very well and improve the over all viewing experience considerably.
The technical work is excellent. Picture quality is equal to the original source material. The audio work is very well done. All the cuts are clean. The only thing I noticed was one ghost frame of the Intermission title card.
So all in all, I found this edit to a significant improvement over the original version. It is still a flawed and shallow movie for me, but this is no fault of the editor, as he can only work with the material available. And while still not a “must see” movie experience for me, it is definitely my now preferred version of the story.
View all my reviews (1)
December 31, 2011 @ 10:12 pm
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)
Keep on editing and I’ll keep on watching!
November 19, 2011 @ 10:07 pm
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.