Movies – Watchmen DVDs

Home 2009 Archive Movies – Watchmen DVDs

At the beginning of last month, I reviewed the movie Watchmen, the interpretation of the graphic novel written by Alan Moore in the late 80s. I noted that several things were taken out or changed to enhance its cinematic quality, but in the end it did not affect the movie, and it turned out to be a very good one. Today I will review two DVDs that further flesh out the Watchmen experience and universe, and together constitute the most complete Watchmen experience that one can get on DVD, at least until the extended edition of the movie is released on DVD this summer.

Watchmen Motion Comics, by Warner Premiere and Legendary Pictures, released by Warner Bros. Not rated, but contains material inappropriate for minors.

This is the graphic novel brought to DVD with added motion, narration, voiceover, and background sounds, supervised by the illustrator Dave Gibbons (as with all of the films based on his works, Alan Moore has chosen not to be involved). Almost all lines are captured here intact; however, some were cut for pacing. The motion that you imagined in your mind when reading the graphic novel is displayed here on the screen, and all the voices, even the women are done by one person, Tom Stechschulte. This move actually seemed jarring at first, but it’s all right when you consider that they went for more of an audio book-style approach. Everything from the graphic novels except the filler content in between the chapters is included, and that is basically covered by the next item that I am going to review…

Tales of the Black Freighter, also by Warner Premiere and Legendary Pictures, released by Warner Bros. Tales is rated R for violence and grisly images; Under the Hood is rated PG for mild thematic elements, brief violence and suggestive images, and smoking.

Tales of the Black Freighter is a comic within a comic, which parallels the story of Watchmen somewhat closely. It is an animated version of quotes and comic panels that were inserted into various sections of the graphic novel, with voiceover by (mostly) Gerard Butler of 300 fame. This tells the story of a captain of a ship that was attacked by the bloodthirsty pirates of the Black Freighter; the captain is convinced that the Black Freighter is returning to Davidstown, his hometown, to finish what it began. The story covers his disturbing descent into violent acts and sheer madness, and his return home is anything but happy.

The Under the Hood feature on this DVD is done in the style of an 80s newsmagazine show called the Culpeper Minute, where Hollis and other luminaries of the time are interviewed and discuss their experiences, both good and bad, all centering on Hollis’s book of the same name. There are many details to this mockumentary which fans of the franchise will thoroughly appreciate.

Both DVDs get five stars in my opinion. Excellent additions to the Watchmen universe, and I’m proud to have them in my collection.

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