I always thought that the "Under the Hood" bonus featurette was the best part of the whole Zack Snyder Watchmen project (along with the opening/now-closing-credits). This cut's choice to integrate that featurette alongside the chapters of the story bring the whole movie closer in line to the comic, which can only be a good thing, adding emotional depth and pathos to a movie that needed them, given how many moving parts there are to the plot. The music, colour grading and sequence of events all add to the film, and the only thing I can hope is that somehow someone manages to integrate the alien invader footage from the TV show into this cut, and then we'll just about have a perfect Watchmen movie. Until then, this one is damn close.
Watchmen Midnight is a 3.5 hour magnum opus and easily my new preferred way to watch the Watchmen (which I haven't seen since theaters).
Much of the stated purpose is to bring the film closer to the original graphic novel, and it achieves that in spades. Re-editing the film so that the Black Freighter and pieces of the Under the Red Hood documentary at the end of every chapter, the depth and density of the novel and it's themes are fully encapsulated. We look back into the past as well as the present, we fully understand this world and the pull of vigilantism on the greatest generation. It's not unlike looking at WW2 and Vietnam, the original minutemen of WW2 era had it cleaner, simpler, good vs. bad, while this new world is gray. The film jettisons some weak pop cultural music choices (Halleluiah and the gratuitous sex scene is gone) to make this whole thing more powerful. Also gone are the feats of superhuman violence, everyone here is human except the one and only super, Dr. Manhattan.
The meta commentary on superheros, along with commentary on media, politics, and society all come to a head far better in this version. Certainly the Black Freighter material still feels superfluous and primarily it's because we rarely see the character who the allegory is about. But once one extends that allegory to represent the world rather than a single character and some neat intercutting with the world helps, it becomes a bit more powerful, but only a bit. The added depth of more scenes with the original Nite Owl, and the history of the superheroes in this world with the mockumentary, show how we move through both the past, present, and future, not unlike Dr. Manhattan, seeing all things at once.
The movie is so much stronger for many of the changes, Jackie Earl Hayley and Jeffrey Dean Morgan stand out the most as the two most bizarre characters, but the rest of the cast is also very strong in their roles. By re-editing the whole sequence on Mars with Silk Spectre and Dr. Manhattan as one sequence rather than intercut with other activities it works far better. And people don't give enough credit to the Dr. Manhattan scenes in general, his origin in particular. Jeffrey Dean Morgan's The Comedian is an enigma, a scary one, a psychopathic killer and rapist that got caught up in his own power and the scenes with him are powerful. And obviously Rorschach, the man who only believes in justice, to the bitter end. Nite Owl and Silk Spectre's relationship is also stronger and in a way sweet, Dan's neuroses really coming through, the only regular guy in this wacky bunch of weirdos. This is an incredibly dense psychological and sociological study of the world of vigilantism and it remains fascinating.
Certainly this film is a bit slower, as we extend a lot of scene and lose some of the action, so from a pacing perspective there's something to be desired. But I loved every minute of it, because it's absolutely so thematically dense, that if you're paying attention there's just so much to see and unravel. The juxtaposition between the Under the Red Hood mockumentary and the present is just so vivid, and the different characters' neuroses and issues - just so beautifully realized. I love this version.
One thing that didn't work for me, were the titles, I didn't like them overlayed in the movie itself. It didn't feel necessary.
Finally the beautiful opening credits are popped in at the end, it's the one choice that I'm not a fan of (especially since we lose The Comedian killing JFK), but I understand it and can appreciate the execution, particularly that now we have the context we review everything that happened that got us to this point, much like Dr. Manhattan.
What a movie. I'll probably try and watch my blu-ray of the Director's Cut at some point to compare as I haven't seen a version of this film since theaters. But thank goodness this version exists!
Straight out the gate. This fan edit has its spot in the magnum opus fan edit universe.
The TV show is miles away better than the movie. But also it's not the same, it has a different story and acts as a sequel to the movie.
So let's go back to our review. This fan edit has been more globally comprehensive and attempts to reshape the theatrical version of Watchmen to more closely resemble the narrative structure and characterizations of the comic book.
Regarding the editing, I really enjoyed the new from “chapter” narrative structure of the original comic book. Also, the colors have been heavily changed to be more like in the comic book.
Finally, the Tales of the Black Freighter edited was well dispersed throughout the movie.
Fantastic job. Just wish there as an HD version :)
There have been some very detailed reviews of this edit already, so I will try to keep this short.
Does this edit do what it sets out to do? Absolutely! This follows the flow of the book as perfectly as you can get! I loved the edit over all and would highly recommend this for sure!
Subjectively, there are things I could do without, but everyone is going to have there own feelings on things. So if there was anything I would change personally it would be: 1. I don;t think the Black Freighter needs to be in the movie. I think it's more if a distraction and takes away the focus from the main story. 2. The chapter subtitles are not necessary. People who are watching this and not realizing that it's just more closely following a comic wouldn't understand what that is for.
Things I liked a lot: 1. The overall flow of the main narrative is just way better. 2. I also like the addition of the documentary in the movie. It's a nice way to add context to the story. 3. I even enjoyed the addition of the black title cards throughout. 4. The musical changes were great! 5. The general snips that were made were perfect. Not too much and not too little. Even the (for lack of a better term) slow-fast-slow-fast fighting has been cut back. That always kind of bothered me in the original cut. I think it works well in 300, but not in this movie.