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WARNER

MOVIE INFO

Director:
Lauren Montgomery
Cast:
Kevin Conroy, Tim Daly, Susan Eisenberg, Nathan Fillion, Carl Lumbly, Michael Rosenbaum, Bumper Robinson, Carlos Alazraqui
Writing Credits:
Dwayne McDuffie, Mark Waid (comic book story)

Tagline:
The end of justice.

Synopsis:
The villainous Vandal Savage steal's Batman's top secret file containing the known weaknesses of The Justice League members, pitting the noble superheroes in a fight against the Legion of Doom to save the world from certain destruction. Concerned of the consequences should his fellow crime fighters ever turn their backs on humanity, Batman compiles a list detailing the methods he will need to defeat Superman, Wonder Woman, The Flash, Green Lantern, Martian Manhunter, and Cyborg in the event of an emergency. But when Vandal Savage breaches the Batcave's security and gets his hands on the list, the Justice League must overcome deep feelings of betrayal to defeat the diabolical Legion of Doom. Meanwhile, The Dark Knight struggles to make a decision that could have devastating consequences.

MPAA:
Rated PG-13

DVD DETAILS
Presentation:
Aspect Ratio: 1.78:1
Audio:
English DTS-HD MA 5.1
Spanish Dolby Digital 5.1
French Dolby Digital 5.1
Subtitles:
English
Spanish
Closed-captioned
Supplements Subtitles:
English
Spanish

Runtime: 77 min.
Price: $24.98
Release Date: 2/28/2012

Bonus:
• Audio Commentary with DC Comics Chief Creative Officer Geoff Johns and DC Entertainment Creative Director of Animation Mike Carlin
• “A League of One: The Dwayne McDuffie Story” Documentary
• “Guarding the Balance: Batman and the JLA” Featurette
&bull: “A Sneak Peek at Superman vs. the Elite
• “Cyborg: His Time Has Come” Featurette
• Two Episodes of Justice League Unlimited “Wild Cards”
• Digital Comic Book
• DVD/Digital Copy
• Previews


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EQUIPMENT
Panasonic 50" TH-50PZ77U 1080p Plasma Monitor; Sony STR-DG1200 7.1 Channel Receiver; Panasonic DMP-BD60K Blu-Ray Player using HDMI outputs; Michael Green Revolution Cinema 6i Speakers (all five); Kenwood 1050SW 150-watt Subwoofer.

RELATED REVIEWS


Justice League: Doom [Blu-Ray] (2012)

Reviewed by Colin Jacobson (February 27, 2012)

As an old-time – though semi-lapsed – superhero fan, I look forward to the DC Comics “direct to video” movies, and Justice League: Doom provided a tale that sounded intriguing. While most folks view the band of superheroes called the Justice League as a positive force, Batman (voiced by Kevin Conroy) fears that one – or more – of its members may someday change course and “go rogue”. To that end, he keeps a special file that details how he could stop any of the heroes should this occur – a file that specifies various weaknesses.

This information gets stolen and used by an ancient, immortal villain named Vandal Savage (Phil Morris). He recruits a roster of super-baddies to constitute the Legion of Doom, essentially the opposite of the JLA, and they use Batman’s info to hit the heroes where they hurt. As chaos runs amok, Batman needs to figure out how to counteract these plans and halt the Legion.

I must admit that my synopsis borders on “spoiler” territory, for we don’t actually learn of Batman’s files until about two-thirds of the way into Doom. I used the info for my overview because the Blu-ray’s case mentions it; maybe two wrongs don’t make a right, but I figured that the use of this plot point in promo materials made it fair game here.

The irony is that the movie works much better until the “weakness list” revelation appears. As we build to that moment, Doom boasts a very good combination of intrigue and action. We get just enough info about Savage’s plans to keep things moving, and the methods the villains use to neutralize the JLA turn out to be highly entertaining. We’re left guessing how these will work – and how the heroes will overcome them.

Once Batman reveals his secret file, the story goes downhill. It’s not a fatal flaw, though, so the third act still works fine; it just lacks the zing of the first two-thirds.

The opening 50 minutes or so really do fly. Granted, the Royal Flush Gang seems kind of lame, but their fight with the JLA has good moments, and I really like the League’s attempts to kill the heroes. Those scenes muster real cleverness and intrigue – much more so than usual for this kind of flick.

Actually, when I’ve seen other DC Comics home video projects, the lack of real plot has been a frequent complaint. While Doom doesn’t deliver a killer story, the notion of the secret file is just enough to give it meat. That context allows the action to feel more integral and not just fighting for the sake of fighting.

All of these factors create a good superhero adventure. While I’ve been disappointed with some of its siblings, Doom delivers a nice mix of action and character moments.


The Disc Grades: Picture A-/ Audio A-/ Bonus B

Justice League: Doom appears in an aspect ratio of approximately 1.78:1 on this Blu-Ray Disc. No problems emerged during this strong presentation.

Across the board, sharpness looked positive. The movie boasted consistently terrific delineation and never suffered from any obvious soft spots. Issues with jagged edges or moiré effects failed to materialize, and the image lacked edge haloes. In addition, no signs of source defects appeared.

Doom boasted solid colors. The film used a natural palette that favored primary hues, all of which exhibited excellent vivacity and life. Blacks were dark and deep, while shadows showed nice clarity. I found nothing about which to complain in this terrific transfer.

I also felt pleased with the DTS-HD MA 5.1 soundtrack of Doom. It opened up the comic book material well and created a consistently active environment. The flick delivered tons of action, and the various elements popped up in logical locations. They also meshed together well and turning in a lively mix. This was a more active than usual track for a DC Comics “direct to video” affair; it was virtually big-screen caliber.

Audio quality always satisfied. Speech was warm and natural, without edginess or other issues. Music sounded lively and full, while effects displayed good definition. Those elements seemed accurate and dynamic. This wound up as a consistently excellent mix.

When we head to the extras, we open with an audio commentary from DC Comics Chief Creative Officer Geoff Johns and DC Entertainment Creative Director of Animation Mike Carlin. Both sit together for this running, screen-specific discussion of the project’s origins and development, story/character subjects, cast and performances, some visual elements, and other thoughts about the DC Universe.

I was a bit surprised that we didn’t get more “hands on” personnel like the director or producers here. (Sadly, writer Dwayne McDuffie passed before the film’s completion.) For a while, Johns and Carlin carry the load pretty well, as the first half-hour or so gives us a nice look at the franchise and related topics. They run out of steam, though, so the second half of the movie tends to be less informative. It’s not a bad chat, but it’s inconsistent.

In a 36-minute, 35-second documentary called A League of One: The Dwayne McDuffie Story, we hear from Carlin, writer/story editor Stan Berkowitz, writer/friend Matt Wayne, writer/widow Charlotte McDuffie, casting/voice director Andrea Romano, Milestone Media co-founder Denys Cowan, former Marvel Comics editor Sid Jacobson, writers Joe Kelly and Jim Krieg, producer Alan Burnett, executive producer Bruce Timm, Milestone Media president Derek Dingle, DC Comics co-publisher Dan DiDio, DC Comics executive editor Eddie Berganza, Ben 10 producer Glen Murakami, Ben 10 writer Eugene Son, and actor Phil LaMarr. The program offers a biography and appreciation for the late comic book writer. Inevitably, this heaps praise on McDuffie, but that’s fine. We still learn a lot about the late writer, and this ends up as a warm, heartfelt tribute.

A look at the movie’s subject matter shows up in Guarding the Balance: Batman and the JLA. It runs 18 minutes, 54 seconds and offers notes from Berganza, DiDio, Our Gods Wear Spandex author Christopher Knowles, UCLA Professor of Social Psychology Dr. Ben Karney, Pepperdine University Associate Professor of History Dr. Stewart Davenport, and former DC Comics writer/editor Dennis O’Neil. “Balance” offers an introspective view on the movie’s themes, as it digs into psychological and sociological issues connected to the JLA and Batman's attempt to put a check on the other heroes’ powers. It’s a reasonably interesting chat that digs into the subject fairly well – after all, how often do comic book featurettes discuss Andrew Jackson and the Whigs?

We get a preview via A Sneak Peek at Superman vs. the Elite. This lasts six minutes, 32 seconds and includes info from Burnett, Kelly, Carlin, and Timm. This delivers a basic overview for the story and characters of the upcoming home video release. It’s entirely promotional, of course, but it’s a good lead-in to that show.

Cyborg: His Time Has Come fills six minutes, eight seconds with statements from Johns, Carlin, and writer/editor Marv Wolfman. As expected, “Time” delivers an overview for the Cyborg character. Though not a deep investigation, it offers a nice recap for this somewhat obscure hero.

Next we locate two episodes of Justice League Unlimited. We get “Wild Cards” Part One (20:40) and “Wild Cards” Part Two (21:42). The Joker claims he planted a bomb in Vegas and only allows the JLA to attempt to find/defuse it; if anyone else tries, he’ll blow it – or them, as it turns out the Joker’s planted a bunch of devices.

Don’t expect much plot here, as “Cards” focuses on action, action, action. That’s not a problem, as the episodes fly by and offer a lot of entertainment. Oh, and they’re probably good to see as a precursor to Doom; the “Cards” shows introduce the Royal Flush Gang, a group we see in Doom, so exposure to these programs gives us a better understanding of those characters.

Finally, we discover a Digital Comic Book for JLA: Tower of Babel. Well, we find part of the comic, at least; this only lets us see the first few pages of the issue. That makes it little more than a useless tease. If WB wants to include promos for the digital comics, let us know that before we view them; it’s annoying to think you’ll get something substantial and then find out you’re left with so little.

The disc opens with ads for the Gotham City Impostors video game, Green Lantern: The Animated Series and Batman: Year One. Trailers also provides promos for the “DCU” app, Thundercats, Young Justice and Mad.

A second platter provides both a digital copy of Doom for use on computers or digital portable gadgets as well as a DVD copy of the film. This lacks the vast majority of the Blu-ray’s extras.

Though not the most plot-driven superhero story ever told, Justice League: Doom offers just enough story to make it interesting. It adds bunches of good action and turns into a generally exciting piece. The Blu-ray provides excellent picture and audio as well as a nice set of supplements. DC Comics fans should dig this fun adventure.

Viewer Film Ratings: 4 Stars Number of Votes: 5
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Review Archive:  # | A-C | D-F | G-I | J-L | M-O | P-R | S-U | V-Z | Viewer Ratings | Main