Much as I respect him, Alan Moore can say what he likes this time: Watchmen was a great movie, and a great comic-book adaptation (dodgy incidental music aside). Moore is well known for distancing himself from the films created from his graphic novels after the event, sometimes with cause, other times, not so much. Watchmen however succeeded on practically every level, the film being a near panel-for-panel remake of the book version. Even where the plot diverts from the original story and uses Dr. Manhattan as a scapegoat rather than the comic's Outer Limits derived plot device (subtly referenced in the film's conclusion) of `humans unite in the face of extraterrestrial threat', it is - I maintain - an improvement. They did themselves proud with this one. The only thing left for fanboys to bemoan was the obviously necessary exclusion of Black Freighter comic-within-a-comic segment. After all, the film is already pushing three hours long.
It's true that the metafictitious Tales Of The Black Freighter comic story was a marvellous little additional plot device which nicely mirrored The Watchmen's main story and was allegorical of many of the main characters' - specifically Ozymandias' - bloody paths to becoming what they most hated, all paved with good intentions. It fitted nicely within the pages of the comic books and all was well-and-good. Tales Of The black Freighter was never likely to make it into the movie-proper though and - as much as those purist geeks may disagree - it is far from an essential part of the story, however much I may personally have liked to see it on celluloid. I was delighted, therefore, when I heard that, so dedicated were Zack Snyder and Co. to providing the closest possible rendering to the source text/art, that they would be releasing a near-coinciding straight-to-DVD animation of Black Freighter.
Surely this will appease the rabid purists, no? Well, perhaps: Tales Of The Black Freighter is, like Watchmen, a painstakingly accurate re-telling of the meta-comic on which it is based, but I'm sure that this time the complaint will be that, when no longer juxtaposed in context to the principal narrative, the once well-timed symbolism somewhat loses it's impact. They may well be right, of course, and maybe releasing this separately sold DVD - which also includes a well-conceived 1985 period-themed Under The Hood author's spotlight feature - could be construed as a little cynical when the Black Freighter itself is a mere 20 minutes long, but then if it weren't made available until bundled with the Watchmen's DVD release then it couldn't be viewed as a companion piece until long after the film had left the cinemas.
As an addendum to The Watchmen movie, Tales Of The Black Freighter entirely succeeds, I just hope to see these features included in the Watchmen's extras when the film does come to DVD, as it shouldn't really warrant separate purchase. Perhaps it could be re-inserted into the movie itself should there be a special edition or director's cut release. Please.