Tuesday, July 21, 2009

The Watchmen Dilemma

What to do, what to do? I want to have Watchmen available to see in my home immediately, but I don't want to shell out the money multiple times when each new, exclusive version of the movie is released on DVD, Blu-Ray, et. al. and be left with a disc that I no longer want. The "ultimate" edition of the film is supposed to be released around the holidays, intercut with the "Tales of the Black Freighter" animated video, and clocking in at around 3.5 hours, with documentaries and motion comics and presumably everything else involved with the movie. For the "director's cut" being released today, which is still longer than the theatrical release, I understand that the Blu-Ray has a special commentary feature with picture-in-picture commentary, which sounds really cool. The only problem is that I don't have a Blu-Ray player, nor do I plan on buying one before Christmas, when we are thinking of getting a Playstation 3. So, when I received the email from Fandango suggesting that I download the movie on iTunes, the solution presented itself. In the short term, I can download the movie to my video iPod and plug it into my TV to view. Magi hasn't even seen it yet, so it will be immediately viewable. Then I simply have to wait until we have the correct player for the "ultimate" Watchmen home-viewing experience, and hopefully have the equipment to support that experience. And the best part is that I won't have an annoying, inferior disc taking up space in my video cabinet.

Anyone want a previously viewed copy of the first version of "Serenity," by chance?

Update--I just read that this version of the director's cut comes with a $10 coupon for the ultimate edition to be released later, so if you're considering doing what I'm doing, I just wanted to make you aware that the inferior version won't be worthless.


KC Ryan said...

You know, Jim, sometimes a little editing can be a good thing.
I'm tired of newer editions put out on DVD, too, but mainly because they just seem to offer up more clutter - there's a reason they got cut, if only for time.
Personally, I really don't want to sit through hours more stuff like the pirate cartoons and such, any more than I wished to sit through the end-all-cut of Lord of the Rings.
But, that's just me.

Jim McClain said...

In most cases, especially the Lord of the Rings movies, I would agree. But I want every bit of the Watchmen movie that I can get.

The reason why this movie was cut down was because movies of this length tend not to do as well at the box office because you can get fewer showings out of them if they are too long.

Michael O'Connell said...

Saw the director's cut today. Wow. Very pleased. All of the included scenes helped make it a better film. This is NOT always the case with director's cuts. But as you said, Jim, this is a different film. Any cut scenes are going to be stuff from the original source material, so it's stuff we're going to want to see. And it's all great! A.T. and I each loved it all over again.

Director's cuts are touchy business. I'm one of those people who love long movies. Some people don't - seems no matter what film I'm seeing with Tim, for example, I notice him checking his watch at least once near the end. This is a nice reason for director's cuts being a thing of DVD. This way, you're not stuck with it - you bought/rented it specifically to get more stuff.

Sometimes it's just a marketing trick. Don't know how you felt about it, Jim, but I found myself watching the DC of "That Thing You Do" and thinking, "Oh...THAT's why all those scenes got cut". I still wanted to see them all, of course, and had a great time getting more of the story. But I was able to see why the choices were made to trim them.

I feel that the extended versions of the LoTR films are the real films, and I feel people only seeing the theatrical versions got ripped off. Most (not all) of the added footage added so much to the story and the characters. These were a win for me, but that's just my opinion.

While there are valid reasons to cut scenes, KC, I myself don't consider time to be a valid one - story-telling-wise. For practical reasons, yes - trying not to bore the average short-attention-span theater-goer is a reality, as is needing to get as many showings a day in the theater as possible. But that doesn't mean that putting those scenes back in for DVD affects the quality of the film. Studios will often pick an arbitrary number when it comes to viewing time with no concern at all for pacing/story/etc, and often mess up a film. But it, again, depends on the film, and the scene. The DC of "Daredevil", for example, is a much better film, and makes me angry at how they ruined the theatrical cut just to shave time. But like the "That Thing You Do" example I mentioned - sometimes those scenes either blow the story flow or are just plain bad scenes. They're much better used as a special feature for "deleted scenes" than integrating them back in.

In short - in this case, thankfully, the re-cut made "Watchmen" better, so this is one of the good ones. Great stuff!

Jim McClain said...

Mike, I love it when you comment on my blog. You do more writing here than on your blog, and I appreciate your writing!

KC, I appreciate your comments too!