Warner Bros. has released the 4K UltraHD version of "WATCHMEN: THE ULTIMATE CUT." This release features the longer director's cut(with 24 minutes of additional material not offered in the theatrical release)along with the animated "The Tales of the Black Freighter," incorporated within it.
This longer version is superior to the theatrical version, offering not just more footage, but more depth.
"WATCHMEN" is set in an alternate version of America. How different? Well, the United States has won the Vietnam War and Nixon is so popular he's serving his 4th term! The perception of what's criminal and what isn't has been altered greatly in this America. After decades of citizens going after criminals on their own, while costuming themselves, times have changed and all forms of vigilantism are illegal. Some of those vigilantes have been forced into hiding and/or retirement, as the world has gotten closer to doomsday.
In 1985, wherein the plot is focused, Rorschach(Jackie Earle Haley), a creatively masked avenger investigates the murder of Edward Blake, the alter-ego of "The Comedian" a heroic avenger/secret operative for the government. Sensing a much larger conspiracy, Rorschach ventures forth to warn fellow crime-fighters, Ozymandias, Silk Spectre, Doctor Manhattan, and Nite Owl. As the layered plot unfolds, an evil aim more disturbing than originally thought is revealed.
While some may be turned off by the lack of action so often part of the comic-to-film repertoire, as well as an ending that intentionally feels anti-climatic, "WATCHMEN: THE ULTIMATE CUT," is arguably a masterpiece.
WARNER BROS. has provided an upconverted 2K DI for this presentation. While not as notable an improvement over the blu-ray version(also included), as some other superior 4k releases from WARNER BROS, there are some genuine improvements in detail and contrast.
There is an intentionally dark design to "WATCHMEN" and in comparison to its blu-ray counterpart, the 4K offers much more distinction to buildings, clothing, facial features, etc., even within the darkest of settings. The overall image is extremely clear.
The varying gradients of black levels stand out far better than the blu-ray as well, offering better detail in shadow than the regular blu-ray. While the detail is outstanding, contrast tends to be restrained, rendering the image flat in terms of depth.
Colors are intentionally limited in terms of breadth and richness, however there are scenes wherein the various hues are extremely impressive and vibrant.
While some may be disappointed this release doesn't offer a Dolby Atmos mix, the Dolby TrueHD mix is spectacular! From beginning through the end credits, this is a thoroughly immersive environment. Discrete effects and LFE moments are plentiful but the more nuanced moments are equally impressive. The score is just as impressive in its directionality as the rest of the mix, offering a grand presentation encompassing all speakers with perfect aggressiveness and restraint, as needed. Dialogue is perfectly balanced within the layers of effects and always discernible.
Along with "THE ULTIMATE CUT" in 4k, a UltraHD code for Vudu, and the director's cut on blu-ray, is offered. The Blu-ray comes with an option for a greatly enhanced viewing experience due to Warner Bros offering "IME," a feature that allows pop-up trivia, picture-in-picture commentary and much more!
Yet another disc offers a music video and extensive featurettes, all in HD.