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Watchmen: Tales of the Black Freighter (Blu-ray Review)

20 Mar, 2009 By: John Latchem


Complete the 'Watchmen' Experience

The multi-phased marketing approach to Watchmen continues March 24 when Warner Home Video releases Tales of the Black Freighter on DVD ($27.95) and Blu-ray Disc ($35.99).

Black Freighter is an animated short film that adapts an in-universe comic book from the original Watchmen graphic novel. It tells the story of a sailor (voiced by Gerard Butler) lost at sea who, driven mad by hunger and isolation, makes his way back to his home to defend his family from the attacks of a dreadful pirate ship. The story parallels the events of Watchmen as a parable about becoming the very thing you fear the most.

The clean anime-style presentation does a good job in condensing the Black Freighter narrative into a cohesive story that is just as effective on its own as it is as background material for the graphic novel.

The disc also includes Under the Hood, a fictional biography of the film’s Nite Owl character. The fascinating program, structured as a news magazine report with interviews of several of the film’s characters, is based on the bonus pages included in the back of each issue of the original Watchmen run that would flesh out the background of the Watchmen universe. The Black Freighter/Under the Hood disc serves an analogous role with the Watchmen movie.

The disc also includes an insightful featurette that analyzes the story-within-a-story structure of the Watchmen book. The Blu-ray includes a BD Live interview with Zack Snyder, director of the Watchmen movie, and additional footage from the film not seen in theaters.

Those still looking for a Watchmen fix can pick up the currently available Watchmen: The Complete Motion Comic (DVD $29.98, Blu-ray $34.99), a frame by frame re-creation of the graphic novel featuring Tom Stechschulte reading all the parts. The show trims snippets of dialogue here and there, but otherwise it’s the whole book, running more than five hours long.

The content previously was available through the iTunes online store. The first chapter of the motion comic also comes with the Black Freighter disc.

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