Based on a comic within the Watchmen graphic novel, Tales Of The Black Freighter
was cut out of the big screen version of the story, and is set to reappear in an extended cut of the film on DVD. For those who simply can’t wait, however, the 26-minute animated story has been given a standalone release, attracting the voice talent of 300
’s Gerard Butler too.
Tales Of The Black Freighter is actually, in the Watchmen graphic novel, a comic book that we see being read reasonably regularly. It concerns itself with pirates, and the story is that of a man who survives an attack from the Black Freighter of the title, only to then have to try and get back home and warn people at home it’s coming. His journey, and this is some understatement, isn’t an easy one, and for good reason this was the story deemed to be the most tricky part of the Watchmen graphic novel to realise on screen.
It turns out that animation has proven to be a wise way to go, though. Tales of the Black Freighter works well as a cartoon, and it’s able to contain much of the material from the graphic novel as a result. Its effect is a little dampened when taken in isolation, but it’s still a welcome and well-realised version of the story, and a faithful one too. Well worth picking up. --Jon Foster
One live-action film and two short animated spin-offs based on the 1980s comic book series by Alan Moore and Dave Gibbons. Set in an alternate 1985 in which Richard Nixon is still president and superheroes exist but have long lived as outlaws from society, 'Watchmen' (2009) follows ex-superhero and vigilante Rorschach (Jackie Earle Haley) as he investigates the murder of fellow hero The Comedian (Jeffrey Dean Morgan). Reconnecting with his former crime-fighting legion, a ragtag group of retired superheroes, Rorschach soon uncovers a disturbing conspiracy with links to their shared past and catastrophic consequences for the future. Conceived as a companion piece to 'Watchmen', 'Tales of the Black Freighter' (2009) comprises two short GGI-animated adventures based on the comic-within-a-comic pirate saga as told in the original 1980s comic series. The tales feature the voice of Gerard Butler and tell the macabre story of an ill-fated mariner who survives a shipwreck and an attack from the dreaded pirates of the Black Freighter before struggling to find his way home.