The greatest comic book movie of all time? Yeah, I do think so. I've seen a lot of them. There's quite a few I haven't seen as well, but from Watchmen to Spider-Man to Ghost World to even spoofy things like Comic Book: The Movie, nothing has satisfied me like the Ultimate Cut of Watchmen.
I won't get too much into the movie itself -- check out reviews of the regular DVD editions for that. (I can't sum up a story so rich in just a few sentences, and I want to discuss what makes this set special.) I will say, being a fan of the graphic novel, that I was very happy with the way that Zack Snyder captured Watchmen. It was done with love and care. The things that are discarded, I didn't miss so much. The things that he changed, I understand why it was done. The things that are reverently exactly the same made my jaw drop in awe. And the soundtrack is one of the best in recent memory. Outside of Wes Anderson, I haven't loved a soundtrack this much in a long time. The acting performances are what they are, but I have to give special mention to Jackie Earl Haley as Rorschach.
This ultimate cut weaves the comic-within-a-comic, "Tales Of The Black Freighter" (previously available on its own) into the main body of Watchmen. Also included are live action linking segments so that you go to the animation (voiced by Gerard Butler) to the main story much like it worked in the graphic novel. People who haven't read the graphic novel might not understand what "Black Freighter" is doing there, but be patient. It will make sense by the end. Essentially "Black Freighter", aside from being a really cool and gruesome pirate tale, echoes the journey of many characters in the main film, such as Ozymandias and Rorschach.
Five discs, beautifully packaged. Hardly a complaint to be registered. The box is heavy and sturdy. Also included is Watchmen: The Motion Comic, packed in its own case, 5 hours long, and taking up 2 of the 5 discs. One disc is the digital copy of the theatrical cut (digital copies don't interest me) and another disc is loaded with special features. Best of these is Under The Hood, which is based on the graphic novel segments covering Holis Mason's (Nite Owl I) autobiography. It is presented as a television program from 1975 and 1985 including comercials and scratchy footage. At 35 minutes, this is an absolute must. Other special features include brand new audio commentaries, although I haven't delved into those yet. This set is just loaded.
Having said that, I'm not going to discard my Director's Cut of Watchmen. Clocking in at almost four hours, watching this version is a commitment. I know that occasionally, I will want to watch the "shorter" version of the film. Having said that, since a digital copy of the theatrical (shortest) cut is included here, maybe you won't feel the need to double up on Watchmen purchases.
This set is essential to all fans of the film and graphic novel. If you hated the film, then avoid this -- you'll probably hate it even more. For an enriched viewing experience, set aside the four hours one afternoon and enjoy.
One little side note: For me this set was extremely hard to find. Everywhere I went, I was told:
"It's not out yet."
"It only exists on Blu-Ray."
"We don't have a listing for it."
I had to order it in from the States.
Good luck getting yours. Enjoy! Five stars.