The Watch (Blu-ray)

July 2, 2013 6 Min Read

Review by: Matt Malouf

Plot: What’s it about?

Probably (and sadly) best remembered for its title change in lieu of the Travon Martin murder last year. Originally titled Neighborhood Watch, The Watch was virtually D.O.A. when it arrived in theaters last summer. Critics weren’t particularly fond of the film and audiences didn’t respond well either. It didn’t help that the Colorado theater shooting also occurred around the time this hit theaters. The big shocker, however is that The Watch is actually quite funny. It won’t go down as comedy of the decade, but it generates more than enough laughs in its running time. Ben Stiller (Evan) is the leader of the gang and the most stern. After a security guard is brutally murdered at the Costco where he is a manager, he sets up a neighborhood watch. He holds the first meeting at his house and this is where we meet the other three characters.   Jonah hill shows up as a knife-wielding wannabe officer. Vince Vaughn is doing what he does best, talking faster than a speeding bullet all while wanting to just have a good time. I had never heard of Richard Ayoade before I saw this film, but he also does good work here. He and Stiller play the more straight-edged characters ofthe pack, while Hill and Vaughn are the more outrageous.

This is one of those rare comedies where the audience has as much fun as the cast did making it. There have been several comedies that overstay their welcome and beat a joke to death. The Watch succeeds in that these characters are all good at playing off each other. Sometimes too much Vaughn can be overkill, but here he gives a slightly more restrained performance and that works well. Stiller is doing what he does best. He is the most serious of the bunch and his worrywart antics are in full force here. It also helps that director Akiva Schaffer doesn’t let the actors overindulge with their improv antics. The best comedies have a sure hand director who knows when it’s time to cut. There are also a few funny twists in the story.  Billy Crudup (un-credited) shows up as auspicious neighbor whose abundance of batteries leads to the group thinking he’s up to no good. The punch line may surprise you. We also learn why the Stiller character is the way he is as well. I won’t spoil the surprise there either. There are a few other surprise cameos as well. The film clocks in around the 90 minute mark and thankfully doesn’t overstay it’s welcome like so many comedies do lately. The film falls in the sci-fi/comedy category but thankfully the comedy elements surpass the science fiction ones. The film has a Ghostbusters vibe as well.

As I mentioned, The Watch may not win comedy of the decade, but the laughs are in full force and all of the characters are given something to do. The film is rated R, but doesn’t drown in gross out jokes like so many comedies do. Oh, there are the typical penis jokes, among others, but this film has wit to spare. You could do much worse. It’s at least deserving or a rental. For fans, the Blu Ray should please you as well.

Video: How does it look?

The Watch comes to Blu-ray with a 2.35:1 AVC-1080P encode. It looks quite nice for a comedy as well. It’s not an overly flashy film, but the detail is all there. I could make out more than a few gray hairs on Vaughn’s head. There are really not flaws in this transfer at all. I could detect not a trace of grain either. This is a 50 GB disc and there (sadly) aren’t many features to get in it’s way. This should please most fans of the film. The alien ooze is also quite detailed as well.

Audio: How does it sound?

This is a standard 5.1 DTS-HD master. When it needs it, the rear channels really kick in and give a nice boost. This is a comedy, so it’s not going to be an robust as a lot of action films, but it gets the job done. This is also a clean and well balanced track. All of the dialogue remained loud and clear throughout.

Supplements: What are the extras?

Surprisingly, there isn’t an unrated cut on the disc. The front cover art might lead you to believe otherwise. It has a yellow banner resembling police tape. The special features are unrated, but we should always expect that. We start with about 25 minutes of deleted and alternate scenes. There are quite a few funny moments here. I don’t think anything should’ve remained in the film, but they’re fun to see. Next we have a brief gag reel, pretty standard stuff. We are then treated to 5 minutes of alternate takes with star Jonah Hill. There is a 12 minutes Watchmakers featurette. It has the usual talking heads. There are two other short features about the alien invasion and creating it. Lastly, we have thefilm’s trailer and a few sneak peeks. The disc also comes with a DVD/Digital copy disc. This can be transferred to ITunes. There’s also a code for a UV version of the film. The disc comes housed in a paper slipcover repeating the cover art below. Note: There is also a single disc Blu-ray version which, from my understand has none of the features as this version.

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