Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Tales of the Black Freighter (Daniel DelPurgatorio, Mike Smith)

"Tales of the Black Freighter" is a wonderful adaptation of the pirate story of the same title embedded within the already complex narrative of "Watchmen" and is also a great reminder of how powerful this parallel story really is wherever you may look at it and whatever medium one may use to tell it. The hellish tale, about the captain/lone survivor of a destroyed sea vessel and his nightmarish odyssey to return back home, can be merely seen as a side story that may or may not add to the overall effect of "Watchmen's" story. But thanks to Zack Snyder's utter dedication of giving just cinematic life to the "Watchmen" universe through his great attention to detail (which resulted in this animated feature and the "Under the Hood" short),"The Tales of the Black Freighter's" sustaining power as a stand-alone narrative that seemingly evokes Joseph Conrad's like-minded take on madness and futility (see "Heart of Darkness") was shown in all its power and doomed glory.

Inserting the DVD into my player to view it in a very 'watch it just for the sake of completion and a hint of curiosity' kind of way, I was immensely surprised as to how well "The Tales of the Black Freighter's" story has flowed while also retaining Alan Moore and Dave Gibbon's surreal combination of doomed yet poetic narrative and otherworldly illustrations. 

On the other hand, some technical deficiencies include the slight out of synch between the dubbing and how the characters on-screen open their mouths and maybe some subtlety missing in Gerard Butler's voice performance (just a little bit). But all in all, those meager cons are still overshadowed by the immense vision that was contained and perfectly captured within this fine animation short. 

At the end of the day, I'm still quite critical about Zack Snyder and company's choice of changing the plot twist in the film adaptation of "Watchmen", which, in my opinion, pales in comparison to the one that was shockingly revealed in the source graphic novel. But still, though I must say that Alan Moore has a completely valid and understandable point on preferring complete high-brow apathy towards Snyder's "Watchmen" or any other cinematic adaptations of his works for that matter, I think he needs to check out "The Tales of the Black Freighter" for the simple artistic reason that it did channel his hypnotic and nightmarish vision of tragedy, despair and, ultimately, fatalistic madness, with great conviction and considerable justice.


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