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Watchmen: Tales of the Black Freighter & Under the Hood Blu-ray

United States
Blu-ray + Digital Copy Warner Bros. | 2009 | 2 Movies | 113 min | Rated R | Mar 24, 2009

Watchmen: Tales of the Black Freighter & Under the Hood (Blu-ray)

Codec: VC-1
Resolution: 1080p
Aspect ratio: 2.40:1
Original aspect ratio: 2.39:1

English: Dolby TrueHD 5.1
English: Dolby Digital 5.1


25GB Blu-ray Disc
Two-disc set (1 BD, 1 DVD)
Digital copy (on disc)

Slipcover in original pressing

Region free

List price: $14.98, Price history
Amazon: $7.12 (Save 52%)
New from: $2.02 (Save 87%)
Fulfilled by Amazon

Buy Watchmen: Tales of the Black Freighter & Under the Hood on Blu-ray

Movie rating
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10

Blu-ray rating
Video 4.3 of 54.3
Audio 4.3 of 54.3
Extras 2.2 of 52.2
Based on 3 user reviews

Movie appeal

Comic book70%


Watchmen: Tales of the Black Freighter & Under the Hood


Watchmen: Tales of the Black Freighter & Under the Hood Blu-ray delivers great video and audio in this overall recommended Blu-ray release

They're in the book. And on this disc. From the director of Watchmen and 300 come two tales from the celebrated graphic novel that do not appear in the extraordinary Watchmen Theatrical Feature. Tales of the Black Freighter (featuring the voice of 300s Gerard Butler) brings to strikingly animated life the novels richly layered story-within-a-story, a daring pirate saga whose turbulent events may mirror those in the Watchmens world. Stars from the Watchmen movie team in the amazing live-action/CGI Under the Hood, based on Nite Owls powerful first-hand account of how the hooded adventurers came into existence. Two fan-essential stories. One place to watch the excitement. Watching the Watchmen begins here.

For more about Watchmen: Tales of the Black Freighter & Under the Hood and the Watchmen: Tales of the Black Freighter & Under the Hood Blu-ray release, see Watchmen: Tales of the Black Freighter & Under the Hood Blu-ray Review published by on where this Blu-ray release scored 3.5 out of 5.

Watchmen: Tales of the Black Freighter & Under the Hood Blu-ray, Video Quality

  4.0 of 5

Tales of the Black Freighter and Under the Hood feature distinct, yet wholly proficient 1080p/VC-1 transfers that bring their respective short films to life. Tales of the Black Freighter offers a bold rendering of its source, lining up well with the transfers offered on other recent Warner Brothers Animation releases like Wonder Woman and Justice League: The New Frontier. Its palette is vibrant, blacks are inky, and detail is refined and revealing. Even though faint pixelation disrupts some of the film's finer lineart, it's rarely a distraction. Likewise, while banding appears from time to time, it doesn't undermine the quality of the presentation. In fact, the picture is extremely clean -- significant artifacting and noise aren't a problem, and color fills are consistent and stable. I did notice a bit of motion smearing when sea gulls cluttered a handful of shots, but the overall transfer was nevertheless impressive from beginning to end.

Under the Hood is a different beast altogether, going to great lengths to recreate the faded look and rough-hewn feel of a dated '80s television show. While it's framed at 1.33:1 and filtered to resemble a standard definition presentation, color saturation is spot on, skintones are natural, and the convincing mock-archive footage weaved throughout the various interview segments evoke an actual broadcast expose. More importantly, fine detail is surprisingly sharp despite the nature of the production. Granted, noise, grain, and soft shots are rather invasive throughout, but an aged, authentic appearance is clearly what director Eric Matthies was going for. For all of its visual wear-n-tear, I never got the impression that the technical transfer was the source of any of the film's shortcomings.

All things considered, Tales of the Black Freighter and Under the Hood look nothing alike, but both manage to deliver the high definition goods. Watchmen fans won't be disappointed.

Watchmen: Tales of the Black Freighter & Under the Hood Blu-ray, Audio Quality

  4.0 of 5

Both short films include noteworthy Dolby TrueHD 5.1 surround tracks as well. Tales of the Black Freighter flexes the most sonic muscle, populating its full and immersive soundfield with weighty LFE-supported effects, crisp dialogue, and a healthy dose of environmental ambience. Crashing waves are all-encompassing, tearing flesh has a wet and sloshy realism, and the ominous songs of the Black Freighter crew seem to materialize from every direction. The film's swelling musical score is a treat as well, first appearing in the front soundstage and slowly creeping around the listener with increasingly atmospheric presence. Channel pans are slightly stocky compared to other notable animation releases, but I found myself shrugging off such minor inadequacies in light of the track's impact.

Once again, Under the Hood initially seems to suffer from an underwhelming audio mix until you consider what an '80s television broadcast would sound like. Matthies goes for an immersive experience rather than an immersive soundfield, replicating the front-heavy stereo presentation of a dated TV show. Make no mistake, the mockumentary's mix still delivers the fidelity and clarity of a high definition lossless track, but intentionally evokes the nuances of lower quality audio. Ultimately, both Tales of the Black Freighter and Under the Hood sound quite good. I'm sure audiophiles will have a few complaints, but I was more than pleased with the results.

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Watchmen: Tales of the Black Freighter & Under the Hood Blu-ray, News and Updates

Watchmen Animated Features Announced (UPDATED) - January 30, 2009

Warner Home Video has announced that they will bring the animated double feature 'Watchmen: Tales of the Black Freighter & Under the Hood' to Blu-ray on March 24th, day-and-date with the DVD release. These two stories appear in the Watchmen comics, but were left ...

Watchmen: Tales of the Black Freighter & Under the Hood Blu-ray, Forum Discussions

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Watchmen sound issues 277 Dec 30, 2010

Watchmen: Tales of the Black Freighter & Under the Hood Blu-ray

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