Black Freighter DVD Review

This is a review I had written about the Watchmen supplemental DVD, Tales of the Black Freighter. I won’t go into details on what exactly that means, if you are a Watchmen fan, then you know. 🙂 The reason I am so proud of this review, is that like my Watchmen film review, this one sat on the front page of as well. It’s not on the front anymore, but you can still read the original HERE. I do apologize if  you notice grammatical errors, I did write it in an excited rush.


Just ran out and bought the DVD and wow, just wow.

Let me start off with Tales of the Black Freighter. I am sad to say, I don’t think it lives up the the hype, and shouldn’t be the main attraction on this DVD. However, it is still very visually tantalizing, and a thrill to watch. Gerard Butler does a very good job at inflecting his voice in such a manner that his “hope” still sounds so hopeless. Job well done Mr. Butler. The animation is gorgeous. Think, up-to-date Heavy Metal. It has that feel of the old 70’s animation. And the use of colors is very surreal. While still using the same types of secondary colors, they do a good job not to overwhelm your eyes.

My problem is exactly as I had feared though. There just wasn’t enough source material to make it feel complete. It seems so short that even though you know it’s over, you feel like there is something missing. If the DVD contained only the Black Freighter and still had a price tag of over $15 (I think retail is $20), I would say make it a must rent (or must see), but don’t buy.

The prizing masterpiece on this DVD is the mockumentary Under the Hood. I watched the entire thing with a huge grin on my face. I would ALMOST say (and I’m still on the fence) that they made a huge marketing mistake releasing Under the Hood after the Watchmen premier. Almost everything that I could have felt was missing from the movie (technically speaking, ie backgrounds, origins, explanations, etc), is found in Under the Hood.
The feel of the 80’s news show, flashing back to a 70’s interview is a blast! The actors (especially for Hollis Mason and Wally Weaver) make you believe this is real. It was only when my eyes would move to the edge of my HDTV LCD panel screen that I would realize, “wait, it is 2009, not 1985.”

The only thing that redeems the fact that this was released after the movie premier is the interview with Moloch about Dr. Manhattan. If you have already seen the movie, then that scene in Under the Hood hits you in the face with this amazing “holy sh!t” moment.

Final verdict. At $20, this is a must buy. Yes Tales of the Black Freighter may leave you hanging, but this does not take away from Butler’s convincing performance and the stunning animation. The kicker though, that Under the Hood leaves you with another amazing piece of the Watchmen experience.

The graphic novel was meant to show abilities that the comic medium can only provide, I believe that that Zack Snyder and the Watchmen team have built up the equivalent with the video medium.

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