Watchmen: Tales of the Black Freighter
One of the triumphs of the "Watchmen" film is that it's found innovative and creative ways of incorporating the material that was cut for the film. Featuring the newsstand owner and the kid sitting on the sidewalk reading the comics, for instance, made cameo appearances in the film.
The biggest, though, may be this single-disc DVD, due out Tuesday ($27.99 DVD, $35.99 Blu Ray). "Tales of the Black Freighter" is the bleak pirate comic story the kid on the sidewalk was reading, which intertwined metaphorically with the "Watchmen" story.
Shot in an anime style, the story is just as bleak as it was in the novel, with a merchant captain the only survivor of a shipwreck that left burning embers and floating bodies, and the captain's scarred psyche. The captain sees the mythic Black Freighter, the ship that means doom for all who encounter it, headed back to his hometown.
After washing up on a deserted island, the captain's only company is the corpses of his dead shipmates. Half-crazed, he eventually constructs a raft, using the bodies of his comrades to help buoy the rickety vessel, then heads back out to sea to rescue his wife, children, and the rest of the town.
Also included is a "60 Minutes"-style special on Hollis Masons' hero book "Under the Hood," featuring live-action interviews from actors in the film in character and "newsreel" footage. There are references to Action Comics and Superman, hints that Captain Metropolis was gay, the revelation that Dollar Bill was a publicity stunt by a department store, the idea that Vietnam became the 51st state, and Bernard the news vendor even makes an appearance.
It's a worthwhile nugget of a disc for Watchmen fans who are clamoring for more, and a nice bit of continuity with the film. Rumors are that "Watchmen" director Zack Snyder will be incorporating footage from this DVD into a special cut of the film for DVD. I'm not sure if that will make the film better or not, but at the very least it's a fun bit of trivia for the hardcore fans.
Rating: 31/2 yaps out of 5.