Watchmen: Tales Of The Black Freighter

Featured In Issue 140, May/June 2009

WSR Score5
Basic Information on new release titles is posted as soon as titles are announced. Once reviewed, additional data is added to the database.
Warner Home Video
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Violent and grisly images/Mile thematic elements, brief violent and suggestive images, and smoking
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Single Side, Dual Layer (BD-50)
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Not Indicated
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Daniel Delpurgatorio & Mike Smith
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Dolby TrueHD 5.1
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Within the Watchmen graphic novel, Tales Of The Black Freighter appears as a comic book read by a young man in New York City, while the city is being destroyed. This daring pirate saga chronicles a sailor's journey home from being marooned. During his journey, the young seaman is "forced by the urgency of his mission to shed one inhibition after another" and experience horrible events along the way. The turbulent events the sailor endures seem to mirror those in the Watchman's world. Hollis Mason's tell-all autobiography, Under The Hood, chronicles the events in Hollis Mason's life that led to him to become the masked avenger Nite Owl and discusses how the Minutemen were formed. It features the original Spectre, the Comedian, Moloch the Mystic, along with Hollis Mason, the original Night Owl. Based on the graphic novel Watchmen co-created and illustrated by Dave Gibbons and published by DC Comics. (Gary Reber)

Special features include Story Within A Story: The Books Of Watchman, a feature that weaves through both stories to explore how these stories are nuanced layers of detail to the acclaimed work of literature, how the comic-within-a-comic acts as parallel commentary, and finally, providing the unique analogy of the character arc of Adrian Veidt (SD 25:01); Watchmen Motion Comic, Chapter One (HD 25:31); A First Look At Green Lantern (SD 10:12); and the documentary Under The Hood (SD 37:36); plus a digital copy of the film.

The 2.35:1 1080p VC-1 animated picture quality is superb, with an incredible richly hued color scheme exhibiting deep, solid inky blacks that will challenge a display system's black-level capability. The hues are warm, rich, and vibrant. Resolution is wonderful, with sharp delineation of the animator's brush and finely rendered imagery. At times the picture is darkly rendered, with excellent shadow delineation. Contrast is excellent and reveals deep blacks with color highlights. This is a striking picture that is mesmerizing. To optimize its presentation, the film should be viewed in a completely darkened room. (Gary Reber)

The Dolby® TrueHD 5.1-channel soundtrack is wonderful. The music score provides a hauntingly moody feel, with a wide and deep soundstage. The recording quality is excellent. The narration is perfectly balanced with the visual storytelling and exhibits excellent spatial integration, as does the ADR dialogue. The music score is, at times, very dynamic with deep, solid bass. At times, the LFE .1 channel extends to below 25 Hz with intensity. Sound effects are nicely presented, with an aggressive directionalized presence throughout the soundfield. As the film progresses the soundfield increasingly becomes more holosonic®, with dramatic impact. This is a fully engaging soundtrack that perfectly complements the storytelling and is sure to please fans of the Watchmen. (Gary Reber)