Watchmen's dark pirate comic-within-a-comic adaptation is out today. Trust us when we say, tacking on another 30 minutes for this part of Watchmen is absolutely worth its weight in buoyant dead bodies.
If you're not familiar with the Watchmen graphic novel, the Black Freighter is a comic that one of the side characters reads throughout each chapter. In Alan Moore's alternate history, there are no superhero comics, only pirate comics.
The story of Black Freighter follows a marooned sea captain, as he desperately rides a boat made out of his dead crewmates home, in hopes of catching up to the evil sea dogs that killed everyone - before they reach his little town. In the animated version, the haunted inner monologue of the captain is voiced expertly by 300's Gerard Butler. The Black Freighter's animation works incredibly well for this grisly retelling. It's brilliantly executed, stark and chilling (even if you already know the ending). And if you're wondering if the DVD is as gruesome as it needs to be, yes, 1,000 times yes, watching the captain rip apart his intestine spewing crew by hand was delightfully disturbing.
Will the pirate-themed animation work when it's spliced in and out of the sequences in the Directors Cut Watchmen DVD? I'm not so sure. But I can't wait to hear Butler's mad voice ring out over the streets of the movie's alternate New York, while the little newsstand fella cracks open the latest issue.
Also on the Black Freighter DVD is a 1970s newscast exploring the writings of fictional Minute Man member Hollis Mason, otherwise known as the original Nite Owl. In the graphic novel, Mason pens a tell-all book about the men and women in masks, titled Under The Hood. The DVD contains a 1970s Dateline-esque show called The Culpeper Minute, which includes interviews with the characters involved with the book. Just about everyone from the movie's alternate history is interviewed, from a 70s looking Sally Jupiter to the author himself. Of course, the Comedian (whom Mason singles out for opprobrium in the novel) only has a paparazzi-style "get that camera out of my face" video moment. The whole segment is pretty fascinating - and I would imagine incredibly helpful to those who haven't read the novel - but it drags in a lot of places, for those of us who know all about Hooded Justice and other lesser known Minute Men.
Still, I was very impressed with Carla Gugino's "no comment" when pressed by the reporter about the Comedian's alleged assault, which Under The Hood mentions.