New Details About Watchmen's 'Black Freighter' Tie-in

So unless you've been living on a deserted island for the last year, you know that Watchmen is about to hit theaters. However, many have been wondering, "What about Tales of The Black Freighter?" Watchmen's famous comic-within-a-comic yarn about an Englishman who washes up on a deserted island and must make his way back home.

It was confirmed early on that Tales of The Black Freighter wasn't going to be included in the theatrical release of Watchmen, due to the constraints Warner Bros. put on the film's overall running time. However, director Zack Snyder made it a point to tell Watchmen fans that Tales of The Black Freighter would be included in the Watchmen movie experience in the form of a straight-to-DVD animated feature that would be released as a tie-in to the main film.

Now Screen Rant has details about the Tales of The Black Freighter tie-in, and it is looking pretty awesome. Check it out.

Here's the official press release Warner Bros. has put out regarding Tales of The Black Freighter:

Tales of the Black Freighter, the story-within-the-story in the acclaimed Watchmen features the voices of Gerard Butler (300) and Jared Harris (The Curious Case of Benjamin Button) and is directed by Daniel DelPurgatorio and Mike Smith and written by Alex Tse (Watchmen) and Zack Snyder.  Tales of the Black Freighter is produced by Brian McNulty and Karen Mayeda-Vranek.

Tales of the Black Freighter brings to strikingly animated life the graphic novel’s richly layered story-within-a-story.  Within the 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 Watchmen’s world.

Nice. I like that main players like Alex Tse and Zack Snyder have had an active hand in Tales of The Black Freighter's production. They could have been lazy and delegated the extra bits of  Watchmen to some low-tier lackeys, but they didn't; their close involvement at every level definitely shows that Snyder and Co. are committed to making the best Watchmen adaptation they possibly can.

As extra incentive for you to go and rent and/or buy Tales of The Black Freighter, the filmmakers have included a second Watchmen tie-in film on the DVD release: Hollis Mason's autobiography of crimefighting days as Nite Owl I, Under The Hood. Those who've read Watchmen already know that excerpts from Under The Hood were included at the end of each chapter of the story, helping to expand the reader's understanding of the world that ushered in (and ultimately ushered out) the era of masked heroes. Under The Hood was also revolutionary in that it examined the life of a superhero from an incredibly intimate and realistic perspective.

Check out the details about Under The Hood from Warner Bros.' press release:

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 Sally Spectre, the Comedian, Moloch the Mystic, along with Hollis Mason, the original Nite Owl.

Under the Hood is directed by Eric Matthies, written by Hans Rodionoff and produced by Eric Matthies and Wesley Coller. Stars Carla Gugino, Matt Frewer, Stephen McHattie and Jeffrey Dean Morgan appear as their characters from the theatrical Watchmen film in this live-action documentary style special.

Produced in association with Legendary Pictures, [Tales of The Black Freighter & Under The Hood] are executive produced by Watchmen director Zack Snyder, Lawrence Gordon, Lloyd Levin, Deborah Snyder, Thomas Tull and Wesley Coller.

Tales of the Black Freighter & Under the Hood arrives on Blu-ray and DVD on March 24th from Warner Home Video.

Again, it's really cool that the filmmakers are putting real effort into getting all the loose threads of Watchmen to weave seamlessly into the theatrical release. I mean, you got a big star like Gerard Butler voicing the lead character in Tales of The Black Freighter, and Watchmen stars like Carla Gugino and Jeffrey Dean Morgan appearing in Holis Mason's Under The Hood "documentary." Not too shabby--though I kinda wish that the tie-in DVD was being released on the same day Watchmen hits theaters. (But I see why they're waiting, they don't want the film to be spoiled for anyone who hasn't read the story before. Plus there will be more incetive to buy Tales of The Black Freigther once the movie is out and people are interested.)

However what really is making me happy is that all this top-notch production being done on the extra bits of Watchmen lends great credit to Zack Snyder's repeated assertion that a full-length (4.5 hours it's been rumored) unabriged cut of the film (with Tales of The Black Freighter and Under The Hood woven into their "proper places" in the story), will eventually be released. Cannot wait for the day that happens.

Oh, and for all of you out there who like to sweat the technical details:

Watchmen: Tales from the Black Freighter and Under the Hood will be available on standard definition disc for $27.95 SRP and Blu-ray disc for $35.99 SRP.


SD:o    FEATURE CONTENT:•    Tales of the Black Freighter•    Under the Hoodo    ENHANCED CONTENT:•    Story with a story – Exploring the comic-within-a-comic concept in Watchmen•    Watchmen Motion Comic: Chapter 1•    A first look at DC universe’s new animated Green Lantern DVD

Blu-ray:o    FEATURE CONTENT:•    Tales of the Black Freighter•    Under the Hoodo    ENHANCED CONTENT:•    Story with a story – Exploring the comic-within-a-comic concept in Watchmen•    Watchmen motion comic: Chapter 1•    A first look at DC universe’s new animated Green Lantern DVD•    BD LIVE EXCLUSIVES:•    The Why of Watchmen with Executive Producer and Director Zack Snyder•    The Two Bernies – Additional footage from the Watchmen film not seen in theaters

Standard/Blu-ray Street Date: March 24, 2009Languages: EnglishSubtitles: ESDHFeature Runtime: 62 minutesEnhanced Content Runtime: 61 minutesRating:Tales of the Black Freighter: R for violent and grisly imagesUnder the Hood: PG for mild thematic elements, brief violent and suggestive images, and smoking.DLBY/SURR   DLBY/DGTL   [CC]


In addition to Tales of The Black Freighter's release, there will also be a Watchmen motion comic coming to DVD and Blu-ray on March 3rd! Here is a quick rundown of the motion comic, as described by Warner Bros.' official press release:

Overseen by “Watchmen” illustrator Dave Gibbons, Watchmen: The Complete Motion Comic contains all 12 chapters of “Watchmen,” the most celebrated graphic novel of all time, adding motion, voice and sound to the book’s strikingly drawn panels, spanning everything from the mysterious demise of the Comedian to the crisscrossed destinies of loosely allied superheroes to their fateful impact on the world.  The 12 approximately 30-minute chapters were previously available exclusively as iTunes downloads.

Produced by Watchmen and 300 director Zack Snyder, Watchmen: The Complete Motion Comic was colored by John Higgins and narrated by Tom Stechschulte.

The 2-disc standard and Blu-ray sets includes nearly 6 hours of content and both include Movie Cash, good for $7.50 off of a movie ticket for Watchmen beginning on March 6th.  In addition, the Blu-ray disc includes a first look at the theatrical film with an action-packed scene from the movie available exclusively through Warner Bros. BD-Live™.

Watchmen: The Complete Motion Comic will be available in a 2-disc set for $29.98 and a Digital Copy Special Edition Blu-ray set for $34.99.DVD ELEMENTS FOR 2-DISC SPECIAL EDITION AND BLU-RAY

2-Disc SD:o    12 original chapterso    Enhanced Content:•    Wonder Woman: The Amazon Princess

Blu-ray Disc:o    12 original chapterso    Enhanced Content:•    Wonder Woman: The Amazon Princess•    Watchmen Theatrical Video Journal with Dave Gibbons•    BD-live: Exclusive first look at the Watchmen theatrical film with a specially selected action-packed scene.

Guess that will give those who don't read comics a chance to experience Watchmen in all its original, graphic novel glory. I'm not really into the whole "motion comic" thing myself (I still like to hold the comics in my hands), but having Watchmen co-creator Dave Gibbons oversee the motion comic is a pretty glowing endorsement.

Are you psyched about Tales From The Black Freighter and Under The Hood? How about the Watchmen motion comic? Does the thought of the extra bits not being included in the theatrical release put you off, or are you still pumped for March 6, 2009, when Watchmen hits everywhere? Let us know how you feel.

Source: Warner Bros.

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