In an alternate 1985 where former superheroes exist, the murder of a colleague sends active vigilante Rorschach into his own sprawling investigation, uncovering something that could completely change the course of history as we know it.
Jackie Earle Haley,
This made-for-video production mixes highlights of Michael Jordan from the '80s with a fantasy storyline of a high school teen named Walt, who has been cut from his basketball team. ... See full summary »
Embittered by Superman's heroic successes and soaring popularity, Lex Luthor forms a dangerous alliance with the powerful computer/villain Brainiac. Using advanced weaponry and a special strain of Kryptonite harvested from the far reaches of outer space, Luthor specifically redesigns Brainiac to defeat the Man of Steel.
just a terrific animated short film let alone 'companion piece'
The Tales of the Black Freighter series in the book of Watchmen was linked to the actual plot of Watchmen with merely one line (I won't mention by whom, but it's by one of the main characters, towards the end) that ties into what and why the story is in the book thematically. But on its own the story and art in Tales of the Black Freighter is done in the source like a real old-style pulpy comic with the underlying lines going across the panels, touched up with some really gruesome images and a moral that is about next to none - the guy is sent to damnation. As a short animated film Zack Snyder and his team decided to up the ante on the style, to make it a 2-dimensional stand-alone effort with the translation almost identical to that of the source (save, perhaps, for Snyder's penchant for ridiculous amounts of bloodshed, which are more appropriate here than in the actual Watchmen film).
The animation here is gorgeous, doomed, and totally haunted. It might be considered a horror movie in some moments - the main character is on a beach and ties a bunch of his fallen dead shipmates onto a raft with body parts falling off and gas rising out from the intestines - but it's also about insanity and an unamicable downward spiral. Even having read the book and knowing it was a sad and disgustingly surreal piece of work I was not prepared for how the animation kicked my ass, so to speak. It's a startling expression of a descent into hell, a poetic fever dream done with some striking flashes of color, character, violence, and the whole disjointed but logical mood of the sea itself; when the seagulls and sharks come around it brings some of the most memorably savage bits in recent memory anywhere. Only once or twice did the action feel a little stilted, as animation can sometimes be, but it overall was a kind of minor triumph (Gerard Butler, I should add, also did very well as the voice of the pirate).
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