Iâ€™ll admit, I didnâ€™t check out the Watchmen Motion Comic on iTunes when it debuted a little over a year ago. Just reading about, I didnâ€™t think I would like the format. After checking them out on DVD, Iâ€™ll admit I was wrong.
Watchmen: The Complete Motion Comic (in stores March 3, 2009) is as near as youâ€™re going to get on a 100% adaptation of the series. You can complain all you want about what was omitted from the film (out March 6, 2009) or what was changed. If that bothers you too much, this DVD will salve that wound.
Similar in style to the old Marvel superhero cartoons from the mid-1960â€™s, this series of 12 animated episodes uses the beautiful Dave Gibbons art as the groundwork for the animation. Panels from the comic are zoomed, faded and transitioned on the screen. Word balloons are animated and fade in and out with the dialog.
Much like the Watchmen series itself, the animation is full of little details and nuances. Background elements move and change. Characters appear and disappear. For as simple as it is, the animation is amazingly well done. Anytime Rorschach is on the screen, his mask undulates and changes.
The entire series of shorts are narrated by Tom Stechschulte. He changes his voice subtly and sometimes greatly depending on the character. His Ozymandias is perfect and manages to capture the menace and false importance the character has created for himself. Similarly, his Walter Kovacs is a common, almost unassuming voice. But when he puts on the Rorschach mask, his voices changes to something deeper and gravelly.
Itâ€™s a subtle line between voice-acting and narration. While he does change his voice, the voices are never over-the-top or overplayed. I think itâ€™s the perfect choice for this series of shorts. A complete voice cast would take away from the inherent beauty of the words Alan Moore has written. As it stands, with the â€œsingular voiceâ€ and the onscreen accompaniment of the text and world balloons, youâ€™ll find yourself absorbed into the series and hanging on the words as they are read.
The only minor complaint I have is his voice work for the female characters in the story is a little off. He attemptsâ€”at timesâ€”to sound feminine, but it just seems off. Iâ€™m not sure what the solution would have been, but itâ€™s the only thing that bothered me in this series.
While I donâ€™t think youâ€™ll get the same experience from this as you would from reading the comic, I think this is a great way to explore Watchmen. I sat down originally intending to watch and episode and see what it was like and I found myself engrossed and watching several in a row.
At 325 minutes, nothing but the subtext has been left out and that is the only true flaw I can find with this version. The forced pace of the audio/video version doesnâ€™t give you time to see the clues that Moore and Gibbons plant through the series. You canâ€™t reflect on what youâ€™ve â€œreadâ€ and youâ€™ll likely miss so many of the clues and hints that are dropped from issue 1.
The DVD has a preview of the Wonder Woman animated feature from DC and thatâ€™s it as far as extras go. With all the content thatâ€™s on these two DVDs, I donâ€™t think you need anything extra.
Watchmen: The Motion Comic Preview Video
One great bonus that comes with the DVD is a $7.50 coupon for a Watchmen movie ticket. That will come in handy this weekend. Check out www.watchmenmovie.com for more video and previews of the March 6 theatrical version of this classic comic series.