As a new generation hits our TV screens, Zack Snyder’s 2009 movie take on Alan Moore’s Watchmen arrives on 4K Ultra HD. So, how does it shape up on the format? Is it arresting, or should it be put down?
The story: Are you sitting comfortably? Good, for you’re in for a 3.5 hour roller coaster with this “Ultimate Cut” of the movie, which delivers the original “Director’s Cut” of the film with the animated Tales of the Black Freighter storyline interwoven into proceedings.
Set in 1985, many of society’s now outlawed superheroes find themselves in peril after one of their number, Comedian, is murdered. Vigilante Rorschach sets out to investigate, and ends up uncovering something that jeopardises not only superheroes, but the entire planet.
“None of you seem to understand. I’m not locked in here with you – you’re locked in here with me!”
The 4K disc: Originally released on 4K Ultra HD a few years ago in the US, good news is that this local release adds Dolby Vision processing to the mix. Otherwise it – not surprisingly – appears to have been sourced from the same 2K transfere and subsequently upscaled. Watchmen is a a very dark film, and that happens to be both story-wise and visually, with this transfer really bringing serious levels of blackness. Perhaps as a consequence of this, grain can be quite obvious at times, while slinking into the background in other instances. Most importantly, this presentation delivers a vast visual improvement over the previously released standard Blu-ray.
Audio comes to us via the rarely used Dolby TrueHD 5.1 format, delivering uncompressed oomph throughout the movie’s marathon running time. It’s a joy to behold, too, despite the lack of height channel action that Atmos or DTS:X would have delivered. Bass booms through the room, battles surround the viewer, music rocks and dialogue remains clear throughout.
Extras-wise, beyond the 4K disc featuring the 3.5 hour full enchilada, the bonus standard Blu-ray gives us Snyder’s original cut of the film.
Release date: December 11, 2019
Format: 4K Ultra HD
Starring: Jackie Earle Haley, Patrick Wilson, Carla Gugino
Want to know what to get next? Check out STACK‘s 4K Ultra HD specifications guide.