[img]http://onemoviefiveviews.files.wordpress.com/2012/11/the-watch-blu-ray-cover.jpg[/img]Studio(s): 20th Century Fox
Disc Release Date: November 13
Running Time: 102 Minutes
Disc/Transfer Information: Region “A” (U.S.) Disc Tested;1080p High Definition 2.35:1 (Original Aspect Ratio: 2.39:1)
Video Codec: MPEG-4 AVC
Tested Audio Track: English DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1
Director: Akiva Schaffer
Starring Cast: Ben Stiller, Jonah Hill, Vince Vaughn, Rosemarie DeWitt, Will Forte, Richard Ayoade
RUDER, CRUDER & LEWDER VERSION; BLU-RAY + DVD + DIGITAL COPY
I didn’t know The Watch had anything to do with aliens until I watched it last night – for all I knew, this was a ridiculously funny romp about some suburbanite idiots, normally played so well by the cast here including Stiller, Hill (who has slimmed down considerably since the last film he was in and this, and which has, so I have heard, turned him into a complete and total dick) and Vaughn, that decide to take policing of their podunk town into their own hands with a neighborhood watch, which goes obviously and hilariously sour in the tone of other great comedies like 40 Year Old Virgin, Forgetting Sarah Marshall, Knocked Up and The Sitter. While the film had those elements, a subplot involving an alien race and their plans to take over the Earth by setting up camp in Stiller’s character’s Costco store he manages just plain ruined the experience and threw the whole thing off canter; if the plot would have stuck with just the suburban nitwits and their night patrols, this could have been much better than Mall Cop or films like that – it had the potential.
I am a huge Jonah Hill fan; I think he’s just hysterical and the way in which he delivers his lines in his comedies are downright gut-busting in my opinion. I thought he was side-splitting in the aforementioned Knocked Up and Forgetting Sarah Marshall, and I loved him in the lead role of The Sitter which I still have to get around to picking up used on Blu-ray. If only for the reason he was co-starring in The Watch, I wanted to check the film out; I recalled the trailers looking really funny, what with Stiller and him “interrogating” some kid from their neighborhood that just egged the two of them during their neighborhood watch duties and some other clips. Unfortunately, like is normally the case, the actual film itself, after watching it in its entirety, wasn’t nearly as satisfying and bordered on the downright stupid. The story has Stiller, Hill and Vaughn as everyday suburbanites living in a sedate Ohio town in which Stiller manages the local Costco superstore. Stiller’s character is sterile and cannot have children with his cute wife whose only defect is the need for a good nose job, while Vaughn lives like a bachelor in his man cave basement, his main focus to lock his hot teenage daughter’s pants up for any guys from her high school trying to get in there – Hill portrays the character he always portrays, living at home with his mother while muttering ridiculous, off-the-wall rhetoric under his breath in any situation he finds himself in. The somewhat dumb, for lack of a better word, plot unravels in which Stiller’s Hispanic overnight security guard at his Costco, who was just made an American citizen and flaunts it with a new, still-wet “Proud to be an American” tattoo on his arm, is brutally murdered by something that attacks him inside the walls of the store. Whatever this is leaves a green slime in its wake, introducing us to the alien edge to the film – which, in my opinion, was completely unnecessary and ridiculous. Still, before the Hispanic security guard meets his maker at the claws of whatever this thing is, we are treated to some great throwback NWA and Eazy E music when the idiotic guard goes buck wild during his overnight shift, cranking up the surround receivers in the barren, empty store and acting like a total moron because he thinks he’s alone. When Stiller arrives the next day, he finds police have roped off the store because of the murder, while meeting the town’s idiotic cops handling the investigation. When he learns his security guard has been killed, he goes into a bit of a depression, cries and listens to “Sounds of Silence” in Spanish on his car radio. I know…believe me, I thought it was stupid too.
At a local high school football game, Stiller then grabs the microphone and makes an announcement that he is beginning a neighborhood watch program to help catch whoever killed his employee. At the game, Hill and Vaughn’s characters sit up and take notice, and decide to come to Stiller’s character’s house for the initial sign-up meeting for the watch program; unfortunately and rather hysterically, they are the only two that end up showing, until a strange British light-skinned black guy knocks on the door to join the group as well. When Stiller’s “Evan” character’s plans for a neighborhood patrol group begin to bore the other three, they pick themselves up and head over to Vaughn’s crib, where he invites them into his basement man cave for drinking, flat screens and pool tables. Evan attempts to start the neighborhood watch presentation over again at Vaughn’s character’s house, but the guys aren’t interested, instead fantasizing about Asian housewives and other great stuff, and as such Evan leaves.
Eventually, this group of oddballs gets it together enough to plot their first stakeout in front of Costco where the murder took place, armed with silly nylon jackets that announce their neighborhood watch program and Evan’s soccer mom mobile in which they are caught by the local cops drinking beers in. They get a tip that there is “noise” at the local high school’s football field, and when they “investigate,” they are pelted with eggs by some of the school’s moronic younger students in an effort to discredit and make fun of this neighborhood watch squad. However, Evan and Hill’s “Frank” character drag one of the kids in to the police station, where the aforementioned “interrogation” from the two of them takes place, which is pretty funny, before he’s turned into the real cops…who, of course, let the skateboarding punk go due to the fact they think Evan and his bunch are a group of jokes. When the kid is set free by the cops, he stumbles upon, apparently, the same alien creature that killed the Costco guard when he skateboards through some town streets. Meanwhile, the boys arrive at the house of an elderly nut job (played by the great R. Lee Ermey) who wields a shotgun in his house robe and insults the group of neighborhood watch nitwits – but when the boys make contact with the hostile alien in their town, who is hiding in the guy’s bushes, and discover an alien weapon that appears in the shape of a ball but possesses wildly powerful disintegrating abilities, the film really gets wacky. An unsuccessful attempt at peacefully communicating with the creature in the bushes by Evan leads to an attack by the Predator-like alien, but the boys end up capturing it and bring it to Vaughn’s character’s basement. There, they proceed to act like total and complete imbeciles, tying it up to a chair and taking pictures with the creature in crazy poses while puffing on cigars and behaving like pimps on crack. To be honest, I didn’t know what was going on here; the sequences were so stupid and out-there, it was almost embarrassing to watch. To their dismay, the alien pops back to consciousness and attacks the guys, eventually busting out of the basement and on the run again.
Stiller’s Evan character, meanwhile, has met a new neighbor of his that isn’t what he seems – the film sets the viewer up to believe this guy is another alien living in this town’s midst…but things couldn’t be further from the truth. Turning out to be the ring conductor of an Eyes Wide Shut-like swingers club that meets in his basement, Evan, Frank and the weird Brit are lead by this strange neighbor of Evan’s to a room in which people are performing mind-blowing lovemaking in every corner. Vaughn’s character has temporarily had an outing with the rest of the neighborhood watch guys due to the fact that he deems his daughter’s premarital escapades on Facebook with her new boyfriend more important than finding an alien in his town. As such, he and Frank bust in on a party she goes to in which, wearing an eye-opening low-cut red minidress, she’s forced upon by this tall idiotic jock; Frank and Vaughn’s character come to her rescue, but after the boyfriend man-handles Vaughn’s character like he’s a rag doll, we know something isn’t right…
Anyway, if you’re still with me, a plot unravels in which the neighborhood watch guys discover the alien race is planning an invasion of this Ohio town – and, presumably, Earth – right from Evan’s Costco courtesy of a tip-off by a character I won’t divulge here. Suffice to say, the boys plan on getting beneath the floors of the store, where supposedly the aliens are hiding with their equipment, and stopping them. The whole notion was ridiculous and this end sequence, involving the neighborhood watch crew, the idiotic cops of the town and a species standoff with the creatures, was beyond stupid; as I stated earlier, if the plot would have just concentrated on a group of suburban misfits that think they’re cops while they attempt to round up criminals in this tiny town instead of dipping into Men in Black territory, The Watch would have been much better off for it.
But some notable moments to look for: Stiller’s Evan character busts in his house one night, with the other guys from the watch group behind him, to find his wife in wow-inducing lingerie complete with black thigh-high stockings, heels, garters, the whole nine, with one of her legs up on the dining room table in an attempt to seduce him into a night of romance given their history of attempts at having having children…if the sight of his rather cute wife decked out in the lingerie and sheer teddy isn’t enough to get your heart racing and leads you to pick this as a favorite scene, then the hysterical shenanigans that follow when Hill’s Frank character busts in the door next to find her like that and immediately become infatuated with her definitely will. Frank simply cannot keep his hands – and mouth – off Evan’s wife from there on in, and it leads to some side-splitting antics along the way.
[img]https://encrypted-tbn3.gstatic.com/images?q=tbn:ANd9GcTnoMnT6sHp0KFXSob8H6xyjm_8_MSaBkqUJ4yZLFNsyyp_eX1Yag[/img]VIDEO QUALITY ANALYSIS:
Wow. Was this a wildly drastic and refreshing change from the last Blu-ray I reviewed, The Expendables 2. The level of detail here, coupled with the off-the-wall rendition of the eye-searing colors, was demo-worthy…everything this format is capable of delivering. The outdoor sequences depicting and featuring the suburban neighborhood in this corner of Ohio, USA was replete with bright, vivid green grass; eye-popping levels of detail in the house and building structures; a sensation of three-dimensionalism from the sheer clarity of the image and much more. This was pure eye-candy from beginning to end, shortchanged only by some interior and facial close-up shots that dipped into the soft and detail-less arena; some moments of contrast pulsated and got blown out a bit, but the moments were rare, and it was more than made up for by the in-your-face quality of the alien images, foliage detail and nearly surreal depth of field.
A great job by Fox here on a film that didn’t really deserve it…but isn’t that all too many times the case?
AUDIO QUALITY ANALYSIS:
Par for the course with films of this genre, the English DTS-HD MA track on The Watch was quiet for the most part, with dialogue locked firmly to the center channel position and music – including the aforementioned great throwback NWA stuff – spread to the two main front channels, accompanied by some satisfying if not gut-wrenching bass. There were brief moments of surround activity accompanying various scenes, but nothing to really get excited about.
This was pretty stupid. If there’s nothing out there to rent, give this a try – but it did have so much potential if it would have just concentrated on Hill, Stiller and Vaughn as perhaps the town idiots getting themselves into bizarre situations as wanna-be cops, helmed by a director that is seasoned in this kind of off-the-wall comedy; Judd Apatow comes to mind here.
If anyone has seen The Watch, or has any pre-viewing sentiments based on this review, please share them and let’s discuss!
I will have my exclusive “preview” of The Dark Knight Rises on Blu-ray up soon...