Tuesday, March 24, 2009

REVIEW: Tales Of The Black Freighter...

So, beyond a shadow of a doubt, the best film I have seen so far this year, is Watchmen. It's a brilliant existential masterpiece, and just gets better on multiple screenings. However, the theatrical cut is not what Snyder originally wanted. There is one certain piece of the graphic novel that was originally in the film, but when the cut was rounding out at a robust 3 hours and 10 minutes, it was cut out. That piece of the novel is the comic-within-a-comic, Tales of The Black Freighter.

Voiced by 300 star Gerard Butler, Tales of The Black Freighter is a fictional comic book that runs as a side bar in the graphic novel of Watchmen. The issue that is read is called "Marooned". "Marooned" tells the story of a young mariner's journey to warn his home town of the coming of the Black Freighter after he survives the destruction of his own ship. He uses the bodies of his dead shipmates as a make-shift raft. When he finally returns home, believing it to be already under the occupation of the Black Freighter's crew, he kills an innocent couple and then attacks his own wife in their darkened home, mistaking her for a pirate. After realizing what he has done, he returns to the sea shore, where he finds that the Black Freighter has not come to claim the town; it has come to claim him. He swims out to sea and climbs aboard the ship.

Now, this film clocks in at a brisk 28 minutes, and comes packaged with another story from Watchmen, the autobiography written by Night Owl I, Hollis Mason, called Under The Hood. The most interesting thing about this short is the way that it runs as a parrallel to Watchmen, particularly the tale of Adrian Veidt, Ozymandias. The mariner in Tales is forced by outside circumstances to not only lose inhibitations throughout the tale, but also must use the bodies of dead humans to try and reach his goal. It delves into what happens as a person decends into madness, and although it's only 28 minutes, and not much character development is made, it's still an interesting watch. It's about a man who, in order to bring peace to his world, he slowly becomes more and more a monster.

Another thing that really surprised me was the sheer intesity of the short. It's very bloody, just like the comic in Watchmen, and much more intese than I remember the comic being. Within Watchmen, the comic, while interesting, sort of slows down the story, at least on a first read. As you read it more and more times, you are able to truly see how heavy the story is, and yet here, you get the heaviness not only in the story, but visually as well.

That all said, there really is no need to purchase this thing. It's 17$, and outside of Tales, Hood is pretty boring, but good, and yeah you get a preview of the new Green Lantern animated film, but even that is kinda bad. It's a great short, but instead of shelling out money now, wait for the Ultimate Watchmen release, and even if it's 30 dollars, it's better than shelling out 20 bucks twice. Rent it.


Go see something good!


  1. for the ultimate release do they combine everything so it's like the comic like actually put the tales in?
    because that would be fly.

  2. Needless to say, I'm about to piss my pants in anticipation of the special edition directors cut of Watchmen on DVD. Not only will it have all the cool sidestories and little quips I really enjoyed in the book, but it should give a lot of really neat special features and hopefully some actor input/ behind the scenes. I saw Watchmen twice in theaters, and I have to agree that it is better after the first time. 4 words: Poop in the pants!(in the very best way)


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