Black Freighter DVD: First Impressions

Black Freighter DVD: First Impressions

Does it provide with a dark and daring glimpse into the Watchmen universe, or is it outdone by the "extra" Under the Hood?

Follow J. "Falcon":
By J. "Falcon" Ayers - 3/24/2009
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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16 Comments
realfirstavenger - 3/24/2009, 7:54 PM
ver nice insights
i have yet to get a copy (hoping to win the fan fic contest) but am looking forward to watching it
i think the ultimate watchmen dvd where they incorporate it into the film will be kick ass
this is just a little fun to hold us over till then
dbzfan - 3/24/2009, 9:25 PM
nice, I want to get it myself (along with the motion comic)
FalconX2 - 3/24/2009, 9:49 PM
The motion comic is a lot of fun to. My only gripes against it (and they can be overlooked) is that they didn't also get a female voice artist to play the women. It's all done by the same artist. And I would have liked clips of the end of chapter content, like the book and news paper excerpts.

I think the best part of both the Motion Comic and the Black Freighter DVD is that when I went into our local store (it's a Target), they are almost sold out of all things Watchmen but have tons of Twilight. LOL!

The motion comic sold out in like an hour when it was originally released, and they almost ran out of rain checks.
Reck79 - 3/24/2009, 9:50 PM
Although it had its issues, I truly enjoyed the Watchmen movie. As far as this DVD release is concerned I must admit, I found it to be extremely boring. Tales of the Black Freighter had no real impact when placed outside of the main story. Under The Hood had more value to it, but it would have been nice if they could have mixed in a little excitement such as some archival footage of The Minutemen in action, not just them posing awkwardly. This DVD won't do much to tide me over while I wait for the director's cut of Watchmen.
LEEE777 - 3/25/2009, 12:11 AM
WATCHMEN is the comicbook movie of the decade, 1st off!!! 2nd, I havn't seen UNDER THE HOOD, wanna, looks cool! But Black freighter was okay, thought it would be a lil' more than 25 mins, it didn't feel that WATCHMEN to me, but it was okay, that's about it lol! Worth buying though ppl, im gonna! :thumbs
comicb00kguy - 3/25/2009, 7:21 AM
I've seen part of the motion comic and while I love the visual side of it, the fact that one person is doing all of the voices is rather distracting. It sounds more like someone reading the book aloud and trying to do voices for the different characters than like watching an animated version of the story. That's one thing if you have someone like a Harry Shearer or a Mel Blanc doing the voices- they could do the whole cast (at least the male characters) and make it sound convincing, but this guy just doesn't have the range to pull it off. And couldn't he have found a lady to do the female voices? A wife, girlfriend, sister, even some lady he pulled off the street and paid some money to do it. I don't want Silk Spectre sounding like Dr. Girlfriend! I'll probably still break down and buy it eventually, but the Black Freighter I'm more likely to buy soon when I have a little money free.
RorMachine - 3/25/2009, 7:59 AM
I saw the Black Freighter and while i enjoyed it i agree it was too short..havnt seen under the hood yet
Shaman - 3/25/2009, 9:44 AM
Well i sure can't wait to read people's entries on the Black Freighter contest!!! WHERE THE HELL ARE THEY!?!?!?! :))
NiteowlIII - 3/25/2009, 10:45 AM
i liked it, didnt love it, must watch over and over to love im sure. and its short because the story is short in the graphic novel.
RorMachine - 3/25/2009, 11:17 AM
Shaman i was mailing CBM, they had some trouble with the contests email i think but they should be up soon
realfirstavenger - 3/25/2009, 11:32 AM
yeah i had to re submit mine
hopefully it will be up soon
shaman, have you swollowed alan moore and spued out his brilliance or what?
Shaman - 3/25/2009, 12:40 PM
Cool, Roar thanks for lookin' out :) They're showing now :))

Well thanks for the compliment Realfirst but Moore isn't my type. I don't see myself swallowing him any time soon. ;P
ottoevans - 3/25/2009, 8:54 PM
What about the Moloch interview that makes the "holy shit" moment?
FalconX2 - 3/26/2009, 2:52 AM
"What about the Moloch interview that makes the "holy shit" moment?"

One of my favorite things that I love about Watchmen is the fact that you can read it and get totally different angles. Moloch gave me another angle that I hadn't thought of yet with Ozy and Doc.

It's a fairly obvious connection once he said it, but that's why it amazed me. It was so obvious, but there was so much depth in other aspects of the story, I had never thought of it.

Also, "I don't see myself swallowing him any time soon."

Ew.
Shaman - 3/26/2009, 8:46 AM
Swamp thing saying "Ew"??? Now that's funny LOLOL :P
LEEE777 - 3/26/2009, 12:25 PM
UNDER THE HOOD'S much better guys!!! I loved it! Very cool! : )

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