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WEINSTEIN COMPANY

MOVIE INFO

Director:
Craig Mazin
Cast:
Drake Bell, Sara Paxton, Christopher McDonald, Leslie Nielsen, Brent Spiner, Jeffrey Tambor, Tracy Morgan, Pamela Anderson, Kevin Hart, Marion Ross
Writing Credits:
Craig Mazin

Tagline:
The greatest Superhero movie of all time! (not counting all the others)

Synopsis:
Spider-Man, X-Men and the Fantasic Four will never be the same after this outrageously funny spoof of your favorite comic book movies! Drake Bell stars as a nerdy high school student bitten by a genetically-altered dragonfly. He stumbles hilariously through the process of becoming a crime-fighter and as his new powers grow, so do the laughs. Sara Paxton and Christopher McDonald costar as the clueless damsel in distress and the comically intense super villain, along with Pamela Anderson and Leslie Nielsen. Going from superzero to superhero has never been this much fun!

Box Office:
Budget
$35 million.
Opening Weekend
$9.510 million on 2960 screens.
Domestic Gross
$25.852 million.

MPAA:
Rated PG-13

DVD DETAILS

Widescreen 1.85:1
Audio:
English Dolby Digital 5.1
Subtitles:
English
Spanish
Closed-captioned
Supplement Subtitles:
English

Runtime: 82 min.
Price: $29.99
Release Date: 7/15/2008

Bonus:
• Audio Commentary with Director Craig Mazin and Producers David Zucker and Robert K. Weiss
• Deleted Scenes and Alternate Ending
• “Meet the Cast” Featurette
• “The Art of Spoofing” Featurette
• Trailer and Previews


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EQUIPMENT
Panasonic 50" TH-50PZ77U 1080p Plasma Monitor; Harman/Kardon DPR 2005 7.1 Channel Receiver; Toshiba A-30 HD-DVD/1080p Upconverting DVD Player using HDMI outputs; Michael Green Revolution Cinema 6i Speakers (all five); Kenwood 1050SW 150-watt Subwoofer.

RELATED REVIEWS


Superhero Movie (2008)

Reviewed by Colin Jacobson (July 18, 2008)

After four entries in the Scary Movie franchise, the guys behind the series’ last two flicks broaden their focus with 2008’s Superhero Movie. During a field trip, dorky high school student Rick Riker (Drake Bell) gets bitten by a genetically altered dragonfly. This event leaves him with super powers and he christens himself “The Dragonfly”.

Rick’s main foe appears in the form of scientific tycoon Lou Landers (Christopher McDonald). Stricken by a terminal disease, he invents a method to sustain his existence – if he saps others of their own lives. He adopts the identity of the Hourglass and tries to commit mass murder to ensure his own immortality. He also attempts to romance girl next door Jill Johnson (Sara Paxton).

Given the prevalence of comic book flicks on the market these days, that subject matter seems logical fodder for mockery. Despite the current popularity of superhero movies, however, Superhero Movie itself feels quite dated. Why? Because it concentrates almost exclusively on 2002’s Spider-Man.

Indeed, the first 20 minutes of Superhero Movie almost literally replicate the opening of Spider-Man, and much of the film follows its predecessor’s themes and story. A few tangents occur, but these pop up briefly and feel half-hearted. For instance, the flick takes a brief turn in the direction of X-Men, refers to Batman and throws in appearances of a couple Fantastic Four characters, but such footage comes across as gratuitous. This movie is Spidey Redux 99 percent of the time.

And that might’ve worked as parody fodder four or five years ago, but to rehash a 2002 movie in 2008 feels awfully stale and uninspired. Heck, Superhero Movie doesn’t even recognize the existence of the second and third Spider flicks; this one concentrates on the first film to the exclusion of all else. Did the filmmakers just sit on the script for the last five years?

These complaints would become moot if Superhero Movie delivered the goods. Alas, this is more generic spoof comedy in the Zucker tradition. It’s not quite the same as the “recognition humor” of junk like Epic Movie in which were supposed to laugh simply because we recognize bits from other films.

Instead, the Zucker brand of “comedy” takes movie situations and infuses them with slapstick gags and/or bodily function humor. Both pop up incessantly throughout Superhero Movie. For instance, the opening scene recreates the start to Spider-Man in which the lead runs to catch his school bus. Here he makes it, but he gets whacked in the head with a stop sign and then the doors. Not exactly clever, is it?

And you can expect much, much more of the same throughout Superhero Movie. Unlike the third and fourth iterations of the Scary Movie series, David Zucker – of Airplane! fame – doesn’t direct this one. Craig Mazin – co-writer of those last two Scary Movie efforts – takes over the reins, but you’ll not notice any difference.

Or maybe you will, as Superhero Movie seems even more witless than its predecessors. At least the last two Scary Movie releases inspired me to chuckle a couple of times. I never threatened to smile here, much less laugh. This wasn’t truly cringe-inducing unlike Epic Movie and Date Movie, but it sure wasn’t entertaining.

On the positive side, Superhero Movie includes a pretty good cast. The young leads are total wastes; in particular, Bell shows no comedic skill whatsoever. However, we find plenty of stalwarts in supporting roles, and they almost create some amusement.

“Almost” being the operative word. Unfortunately, Superhero Movie is simply too stupid, predictable and dated to succeed. With its almost literal rehash of Spider-Man and other tired references like spoofs of iPods and the like, it feels like it sat on the shelf for half a decade. Stale and unfunny don’t make for a winning movie.


The DVD Grades: Picture B+/ Audio B-/ Bonus B-

Superhero Movie appears in an aspect ratio of approximately 1.85:1 on this single-sided, double-layered DVD; the image has been enhanced for 16X9 televisions. The movie came with a consistently good transfer.

Only minor issues affected sharpness. Occasional wide shots looked slightly soft, and I noticed some minor edge haloes. Nonetheless, most of the flick seemed concise and well-defined. No issues with jagged edges or shimmering occurred, and only a small speck or two materialized.

Colors seemed pleasing. The film used a natural palette that didn’t appear as dynamic as one might expect from a comic book movie, but the tones looked solid. They showed nice range and clarity. Blacks were dark and tight, while shadows looked clear and smooth. Overall, the visuals were strong.

The Dolby Digital 5.1 soundtrack of Superhero Movie was acceptable but not particularly memorable. The soundfield was the main issue, as the audio didn’t do a ton to bring the material to life. The soundscape concentrated on the front speakers and showed acceptable delineation there. However, nothing terribly involving occurred, and the surrounds failed to bring a lot to the table. They showed a few instances of decent isolated elements – like Professor X’s mental messages – but usually just reinforced the forward spectrum.

Audio quality seemed fine. Speech was natural and concise, and I noticed no edginess or other issues. Music showed good range and definition, while effects followed suit. Those elements appeared clean and tight. Bass response didn’t seem impressive, but low-end was acceptable. I thought this was a decent but unspectacular track.

When we head to the set’s extras, we open with an audio commentary from director Craig Mazin and producers David Zucker and Robert K. Weiss. All three sit together for this running, screen-specific chat. They discuss the movie’s title and its approach to parody, sets and locations, cast and performances, characters and story, cuts and changes, effects, costumes, music and various pressures.

During the chat, the participants state that there’s nothing worse than having folks like me rate the commentary as funnier than the movie. Sorry boys, but when you make product as terrible as Superhero Movie, that becomes almost inevitable. While not a laugh a minute, the track proves enjoyable, with more than a few decent chuckles along the way. Mazin dominates and provides some surprisingly frank thoughts about the flick; there’s plenty of happy talk as well, but at least he gets into some mistakes and regrets. The commentary works well.

21 Deleted Scenes fill a total of 10 minutes, 42 seconds, and an Alternate Ending runs five minutes, 13 seconds. The “Alternate Ending” is no better or worse than the conclusion in the released film, so don’t expect anything memorable. As for the other clips, how bad do scenes have to be to get removed from a movie as lame as this? Pretty bad, though these rarely qualify as “scenes”. Most of them simply offer brief gags excised from existing scene. Nothing funny – or even remotely interesting – pops up here.

Two featurettes follow. Meet the Cast goes for 11 minutes, 11 seconds as it mixes movie clips, shots from the set, and interviews. We hear from Weiss, Mazin, Zucker, and actors Marion Ross, Drake Bell, Christopher McDonald, Sara Paxton, Tracy Morgan, Pamela Anderson and Regina Hall. The show looks at the actors and the characters. A few minor insights occur, but the vast majority of the piece just tells us how wonderful and funny everybody is.

The Art of Spoofing goes for 10 minutes, 36 seconds and features Mazin, McDonald, Weiss, Zucker, Morgan, Hall, Ross, Paxton, Bell, and actor Kevin Hart. The piece looks at the film’s style of comedy along with Mazin’s approach as director. Like “Cast”, “Art” tends to be fluffy and self-congratulatory. It tells us how great hilarious the flick is but reveals little else. A few decent shots from the set add some value, but expect little concrete information.

A few ads open the DVD. We get clips for The Hammer, The Nanny Diaries, I Could Never Be Your Woman and Finishing the Game: The Search for a New Bruce Lee. The disc also includes the trailer for Superhero Movie.

Even fans of film parodies seem unlikely to enjoy the tedious Superhero Movie. This one feels like they made it in 2003 and left it unreleased until 2008. The combination of dated references and weak gags ensure a boring experience. The DVD offers very good visuals, decent audio and a mix of supplements highlighted by an interesting commentary. I can’t complain about this disc, but the movie itself is an unfunny dog.

Viewer Film Ratings: 1 Stars Number of Votes: 10
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