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Watchmen: Tales of the Black Freighter & Under the Hood

3.5 out of 5 stars 76 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

Product Description

Watchmen: Tales of the Black Freighter & Under the Hood (DVD)

Tales of the Black Freighter is a CG animated short written and directed by Zack Snyder. As superhero Dr. Manhattan abandons Earth, enabling the city to be destroyed, a young boy reads a survival tale about a doomed sailor who goes mad while returning home from being marooned. Also included are three ground breaking bonus features: Under the Hood: A live action docu-style look at the Night Owls autobiography detailing the establishment and disbandment of the group of superheroes known as THE WATCHMEN. Story within a Story: The Books of Watchmen: This feature weaves through the Black Freighter and Under The Hood to explore how the comic-within-a-comic acts as parallel commentary. This piece reveals profound insight into the Watchmen story for new fans who have not read the graphic novel. Watchmen Motion Comic Episode1: A retired costumed crime fighter is murdered, and one of his old sidekicks believes he was on a hit list of superheroes to kill.

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From the Back Cover

They're in the book. And on this disc. From the director of Watchmen and 300 come two tales from the celebrated graphic novel that do not appear in the extraordinary Watchmen Theatrical Feature. Tales of the Black Freighter (featuring the voice of 300's Gerard Butler) brings to strikingly animated life the novels richly layered story-within-a-story, a daring pirate saga whose turbulent events may mirror those in the Watchmen's world. Stars from the Watchmen movie team in the amazing live-action/CGI Under the Hood, based on Nite Owl's powerful first-hand account of how the hooded adventurers came into existence. Two fan-essential stories. One place to watch the excitement. Watching the Watchmen begins here.

Special Features

FEATURE CONTENT: o Tales of the Black Freighter (Animated) o Under the Hood (Live Action) · ENHANCED CONTENT: o Story with a story Exploring the comic-within-a-comic concept in Watchmen o Watchmen Motion Comic: Chapter 1 o A first look at DC universes new animated Green Lantern DVD

Product Details

  • Actors: Gerard Butler
  • Format: Multiple Formats, Animated, NTSC
  • Language: English (Dolby Digital 5.1)
  • Subtitles: English
  • Region: Region 1 (U.S. and Canada only. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 2.40:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Rated:
    R
    Restricted
  • Studio: Warner Home Video
  • DVD Release Date: March 24, 2009
  • Run Time: 518 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 3.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (76 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B001QTWC0K
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #77,780 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)
  • Learn more about "Watchmen: Tales of the Black Freighter & Under the Hood" on IMDb

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By trashcanman VINE VOICE on March 24, 2009
Format: DVD
Is "Tales of the black Freighter" a very cool animated short film and a fantastic companion to the Watchmen film? Yes. Should it have been sold as a separate full-priced DVD altogether? No way. What this is is essentially a disc of bonus features marked up to the price of a feature film. This is no bueno. I was looking forward to a fleshed-out version of the story with tons of great material, but unfortunately there is very little on this release that you haven't seen if you've read the graphic novel.

The feature tale is 25 minutes long, looks cool, and has all the brutality of the comic and maybe even more. But God, do I hate me some roaring sharks. Filmmakers, take heed: SHARKS DO NOT ROAR! That aside, the film is good and would have made an amazing bonus feature on the double-disc DVD release of "Watchmen", but packaged by itself, it just isn't enough. Even when thrown together with a 37 minute live-action interview featuring cast members from the film discussing the original Nite Owl's tell-all autobiography "Under The Hood" it's not enough. The contents of "Under The Hood" is mostly just a reiteration of things from the graphic novel and even some redundancy from the film. Again, an outstanding bonus feature, but not worth a lot by itself. It's nice to get more Carla Gugino without that awful aging makeup, though. Also featured is a half-hour documentary about the projects, and a 10 minute preview of the promising "Green Lantern" animated feature. All good, but one more time: it all amounts to nothing more than a disc of bonus features that should have been saved for the "Watchmen" DVD release.
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Format: DVD
Tales of the Black Freighter was a story within a story in the Watchmen graphic novel. A young black man visits a newspaper stand everyday and reads comic books without paying for them. A pirate story bled through the pages and introduced the reader to a man who had lost his entire crew thanks to the attack of the Black Freighter. He decides to head home in hopes of warning the people before the Black Freighter makes it to his town. After making his way back to shore, he uses the corpses of his crew to make a raft and sets out to sea. He winds up going mad in the process as the Freighter impairs his judgement of what's truly fantasy and what is actually reality.

The storyline was almost identical with the source material in this animated feature. The only issue I had was the character design. Everything else looked fantastic and was animated beautifully. The sky was incredibly vibrant the entire time and the sea looked almost lifelike at times. The characters were animated rather poorly, in my opinion though. It may just be the design, but their quality looked poor and their animation wasn't up to par in comparison to everything else around them. Reminded me a bit of the character designs in Aeon Flux. All in all, it's well worth seeing. But it's rather short as it only clocks in at around twenty one minutes without the credits.

Under the Hood is the autobiography of Hollis Mason, the original Nite Owl. It's basically his version of the events that transpired during the time he was a superhero and was a part of the Minutemen. There's a feature devoted solely to this autobiography on the Black Freighter DVD.

The feature is basically a live-action documentary of Hollis Mason/Nite Owl being interviewed about Under the Hood and everything he included in his book.
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I'm sure this will make Watchmen zealots salivate, but I found it somewhat lacking. I can't put it specifically, but the reading was more effective and, animation wise, it was somewhat lacking. I'm always comparing with what's been acomplished by anime, and I'm still not convinced by this style, but it carries the story.
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Format: DVD
By this point we all know about the new live action super hero movie, Watchmen. We have all experienced the hype around it and even if we haven't seen it yet, we all have the urge to see it eventually. Those who, like me, have not read the comics will be very unaware as to what "Tales of the Black Freighter" is all about.

Within the comics, Tales of the Black Freighter is told as a comic within a comic which within the Watchmen series is known as "Marooned". This short animation focuses around a Mariner Captain who is the soul survivor of his ship which is attacked and destroyed by the murderous crew of the Black Freighter. Stranded on an island amongst the dead, rotting corpses of his fellow sea men, he becomes desperate to get to his homeland before the Black Freighter to warn his family of their impending arrival.

He proceeds to construct a raft out of the corpses and the broken pieces of his destroyed ship. On his journey, thanks to the starvation and reclusion he endures during his trip, the captain delves deeper and deeper into insanity to the point if which he starts to have conversations with one of the corpses that make up his raft.

Gerard Butler of "300" fame lends his voice to this feature as the captain who narrates the entire piece, as well as lending a bit of voice acting to it in the dialogue between the captain and his dead friend. The voice acting is haunting, yet effective. It remains almost monotonous throughout and somehow helps to maintain this idea that, thanks to his desperation to get home before the freighter, his mind seems to deteriorate more and more.

The animation is also something that is used to its maximum potential in a way that presents a realistic picture, without becoming overly detailed.
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