Saturday, August 29, 2009

Watchmen: Tales of the Black Freighter Blu-Ray Review

I just finished watching Watchmen: Tales of the Black Freighter on blu-ray. If you are not a fan of Watchmen or aren't very familiar with the graphic novel, I would not recommend this to you. The Black Freighter is the comic book inside of Watchmen that parallels the events of the story. The other part of this disc is Under The Hood, which is set up like a news show about the old Watchmen heroes (the Minutemen) with the main focus being on Hollis Mason.
The Black Freighter piece is only about 20 minutes long. While I did enjoy it, it wasn't great. In my opinion the Tales of the Black Freighter works best in the graphic novel where they only give you small pieces at a time. As a stand-alone, it came off as a little pointless. I did like the voice acting from Gerard Butler though, and the animation is some of the best that I have seen recently.
Next is the Under the Hood feature, which is around 35 or 40 minutes. It features all of the actors from the Watchmen movie, and it offers some interesting background information for fans of the Watchmen Universe. It sticks closely to what is in the Under the Hood sections in the graphic novel, but it also adds the perspectives of other Minutemen. Overall, I found Under the Hood to be entertaining.
In terms of picture quality, this disc is nearly flawless. The Black Freighter looks amazing, and I wasn't able to spot any issues with the animation. Under the Hood has an intentionally grainy look because it is trying to depict a show from the 70's, so for what it is, it looks good. The sound quality is consistent throughout the disc, but nothing special.
Tales of the Black Freighter has a decent set of special features. First is "Story Within a Story: The Books of Watchmen" which explains how the two features connect to the world of Watchmen. Next is the first episode of the Watchmen Motion Comic. I loved this preview and will definitely go buy the Motion Comic because of it. Then there is a first look at the Green Lantern blu-ray, which is available now. The first look was disappointing in that it didn't actually show any clips from the movie, but it did a good job of explaining the background and origins of the Green Lantern universe. Some versions of The Black Freighter include a digital copy and a slipcover, but the newer versions do not
Overall, if you are a fan of the Watchmen Universe, you should find plenty to like about this disc. However, if you aren't familiar with Watchmen, I would recommend reading the graphic novel (or watching the Motion Comic) before you buy this disc. I am a huge Watchmen fan, and although I wasn't blown away by the disc, I am glad to have it in my collection.
Movie: 7/10
Picture Quality: 9/10
Audio Quality: 7/10
Special Features: 7/10
Overall: 7/10

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