This film really did not meet my expectations. I rented through netflix thinking this short animated film would be very well done and innovative. I had heard some really good comments about TOTBF and was very interested in seeing what everyone liked about it.
Tales of the Black Freighter come from the pages of Watchmen. It is a pirate comic, about a man who is washed up on a desert Island after being attacked by pirates aboard the Black Freighter. All the men on his ship died and the bodies all washed up on land along with him. Convinced that the black Freighter was on it's way to his homeland to kill everyone he loves, he becomes determined to get off the island to warn his people. Discovering he has no means of sailing, he creates a raft built out of nothing but the bodies of his dead comrades. The bodies had become filled with gas so they became natural flotation devises. While at sea he meets many disasters and succumbs to drinking sea water and eating live seagulls in order to survive. While at sea, floating on a raft of corpses, he becomes slightly insane due to being alone and his obsession to getting home in time. The result of this most horrifying event is bloodshed and a twist that will cause you to be disgusted at the how disturbing and gross this story is. (but you'll have to watch it to fins out the ending.)
There really are some things that need to be left off screen and kept in the pages of books. I am really glad that the pirate comic part of Watchmen was left out of the film because I'm not sure hot well it translates to the big screen.
I absolutely love the pirate comic part of the Watchmen Graphic novel. It's exceptionally well written and one of Alan Moore's most poetic pieces of writing. After seeing TOTBF as an animated short film, I can understand Alan Moore's frustrations with making Watchmen into a movie. There are parts of it that are not meant to be WATCHED.
Even with the fact that this film is only a half and hour long, I would only recommend this to people who have an interest in seeing how the pirate comic plays out in animated form. And I would only recommend it to people who do not have weak constitutions. It is the bloodiest, grossest, and most disturbing animated short film I have ever seen. The animators do not hold back at making this film EXACTLY what Alan Moore intended it to be. You can tell this before popping the DVD in the player, seeing as how on the back of the DVD box you will find an "R" rating. It is a constant wave of bodies being ripped in half by sharks, heads being broken off due to decaying, blood splattering this way and that, eye balls being plucked out by seagulls, and blood being spilled due to insanity. And even though the script is without a doubt one of the more poetic I've read in the graphic novel genre, This is not a film for people who can't handle violence at it's worst.
Now if you are interested in seeing parts the film Watchmen that were cut out, there is a really interesting special feature...an interview with Hollis Mason, the original Nite Owl. The graphic novels has many excerpts of Hollis Masons autobiography "Under the Hood" which is about his life as a super hero, why he did it, and what it was like for him. In this mock interview, they take what was in the autobiography and actually turn it into a live interview from a TV news show. It was quite interesting and neat to see how this was done. However, it was all cut out of the Watchmen film due to time constraints.