Blu-ray widescreen, DVD widescreen and digital copy in one package, 2012, R for some strong sexual content including references, pervasive language and violent images
Best extra: “Casting the Alien,” a mock interview with the movie’s alien star, Doug Jones (Abe Sapien of “Hellboy”)
SOMEHOW THE TRAILER makes this movie look like a comedy. Still, even the midway science-fiction meld doesn’t help.
The movie had its problems getting to the multiplex. It began as a teen flick under producer Shawn Levy and writer Jared Stem. Later, different directors and actors joined the project, becoming more adult-oriented. Originally titled “Neighborhood Watch,” it was changed again because of the 2012 shooting of Trayvon Martin by a member of a neighborhood watch. Reworked to highlight the alien story, the name was changed once more to “The Watch.”
As such, “The Watch” has some laugh-out-loud moments – you can count ‘em on one hand. That’s only natural considering the comic chops of Ben Stiller (Evan), Vince Vaughn (Bob), Jonah Hill (Franklin) and Richard Ayoade (Jamarcus) who make up this neighborhood watch. It goes south as they blow up cows and giant hay bales, then take on aliens hiding out in an Ohio Costco.
Written by Jared Stern, Seth Rogen and Evan Goldberg, “The Watch” doesn’t know what it wants to be. It has an “R” rating so the characters’ reactions could go wild when they encounter a skinny, slimy alien, according to director Akiva Schaffer (known for writing SNL skits). All that means is it ups the quotient of four-letter words and provides an orgy in a suburban basement owned by a creepy character played by Billy Crudup.
Because the high-definition release from 20th Century Fox is so clean and film-like (it was shot digitally) and the DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 ensemble can rock the house in spots, “The Watch” might be worth a rental on a cold, winter night – if you have nothing better to do.
High-definition bonus features offer little to the overall making of the movie. There are 12 deleted/extended scenes running nearly 25 minutes, a gag reel, alternate takes with Hill, who was allowed to ad lib quite a lot as the director tried to figure out his character; a quick interview with cast and crew about how they would deal with an alien invasion, and the theatrical trailer.
Part of the making-of includes an interview with Doug Jones, who has played so many aliens in movies over the past 30 years, he’s lost track. The tall, skinny Jones has quite a sense of humor, which can be seen in the mock alien interview. He plays an alien actor who had to audition for the role of the Alien in “The Watch.” An interviewer asks him questions; answers are translated into English on the screen. When the interviewer starts asking questions like, “Do you eat cats,” the Alien gets mad and walks away. It’s definitely the funniest part of the two-disc set.
— Toni Guagenti