Tales of the Black Freighter
Directed By: Mike Smith
Starring:Â Gerard Butler
A mariner survives an attack from the dreaded pirates of the Black Freighter, but his struggle to return home to warn it has a horrific cost. (IMDB)
Kudos to Zach Snyder and Warner Brothers for releasing this psuedo-special feature to Watchmen.Â The fact that tons of care was put into this release is staggaring.Â Here we have 3 different features.Â Tales of the Black Freighter (25 minutes), Under the Hood (30 minutes), and Story within a Story: The Books of Watchmen (25 minutes).
First up, Tales of the Black Freighter is a stunningly animated short film.Â In the Watchmen graphic novel, a character is seen reading a comic book called Tales of the Black Freighter.Â We also get to read along with the character at certain points.Â This is an interesting concept in the comic, and will be in the extended cut of Zach Snyder’s Watchmen adaptation on Blu-ray/DVD.
Here we have it as a stand-alone and as a companion piece to Watchmen, it’s pretty amazing. Gerard Butler voices the mariner perfectly and it’s an interesting study on someone attempting to do the right thing while, in fact, bringing destruction on those they love.Â This is an interesting parallel to the main theme of Watchmen, so it will be interesting to see this in the context of the extended cut.
Next up we have 2 documentaries.Â Under the Hood is a fictional documentary that parallels the book of the same name in the graphic novel and film.Â It gives interesting back story to the original Minutemen and is played out in interview form with the original Night Owl, Hollis Mason.Â Other character interviews appear as well.Â This is a well done companion to the film Watchmen as well.Â We’re brought in even further to this world and it showcases Zach Snyder‘s incredible attention to detail of this world.
The final documentary is a “making of” for the two features.Â It does a great job ofÂ tying everything together and helps us understand why these projects were so important for people to immerse themselves in the world of Watchmen.
This MAY be a part of a super boxed set in the future, with Tales of the Black Freighter confirmed to be spliced into an extended cut of Watchmen on Blu-ray.Â But, for now, it’s good to have these if you were a fan of the film.Â At only an 90 minutes, you may not like the price.Â Purchase it as cheaply as possible or rent it if you’re unsure.
Tales of the Black Freighter: Rated R for violent and grisly images.
Under the Hood: Rated PG for thematic material.