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WARNER

MOVIE INFO

Director:
Lauren Montgomery
Cast:
Tim Daly, Kevin Conroy, Andre Braugher, Summer Glau, Susan Eisenberg, Edward Asner
Writing Credits:
Jeph Loeb (original story), Tab Murphy

Tagline:
The End is Near.

Synopsis:
When a spaceship splashes down in Gotham Harbor, Batman and Superman encounter a mysterious Kryptonian with powers as great as Superman's. When Darkseid gets wind of this, he has the Kryptonian abducted and brought under his control on Apokolips. It's up to Batman and Superman to retrieve the Kryptonian, forcing them to infiltrate Darkseid's hostile world where superpowerful threats lurk around every corner. This story is based on Jeff Loeb's popular mini-series from the Superman/Batman comic books.

Box Office:
Budget
$3.5 million.

MPAA:
Rated PG-13

DVD DETAILS
Presentation:
Aspect Ratio: 1.78:1
Audio:
English DTS-HD MA 5.1
French Dolby Digital 5.1
Spanish Dolby 2.0
Subtitles:
English
Spanish
French
German
Castilian
Portuguese
Closed-captioned
Supplements Subtitles:
English
Spanish
German

Runtime: 78 min.
Price: $29.99
Release Date: 9/28/2010

Bonus:
• “The Fourth World: The New Gods” Featurette
• “The New Gods” Featurette
&bull: Green Arrow Animated Short
• “Sneak Peek: All Star Superman” Featurette
• “Supergirl: The Last Daughter of Krypton” Featurette
• Four Bonus Cartoons
• Trailers
• DVD/Digital Copy


PURCHASE @ AMAZON.COM

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


Superman/Batman: Apocalypse [Blu-Ray] (2010)

Reviewed by Colin Jacobson (October 6, 2010)

Although I’ve found the “DC Universe” animated flicks to be inconsistent, the last one - Batman: Under the Red Hood - impressed me, so I decided to check out the newest release. Two legends pair up again for Superman/Batman: Apocalypse.

When a meteorite crashes into Gotham Bay, Batman (voiced by Kevin Conroy) discovers its inhabitant: Kara Zor-El (Summer Glau), the last survivor of Krypton and Superman’s (Tim Daly) cousin. Superman supports and helps her, but Bats feels skeptical about her presence; he fears she may be there for nefarious reasons.

Kara stirs varying interest in others as well. Wonder Woman (Susan Eisenberg) wants to help mold her into an effective warrior, while evil Darkseid (Andre Braugher) desires to use her as a champion in order to further his world-conquering ways. All of these different thoughts conflict as Kara develops and tries to find herself.

Those varying interests help make Apocalypse more than just a standard “origin story” for Supergirl, but that doesn’t mean the program proves more satisfying than a typical intro would be. Essentially, the first half looks at Kara’s development, while a lot of the second half follows battles on the planet Apokolips. Character development all but expires for much of the latter segment, as the show focuses on one long battle.

Which isn’t necessarily a bad thing, but it means that story goes on the sidelines, and I’m not wild about that. It doesn’t help that I’ve never been a fan of Darkseid tales. Those tend to be more sci-fi than superhero, and they leave me cold. The plot on display here does nothing to make me rethink my position; all of the characters and situations on Apokolips do little to engage me.

The film’s second half becomes a bigger disappointment because the first 40 minutes or so offer such a good start. We’ve seen various versions of the Supergirl origin story in the past, and this one launches with promise. I think the tale could’ve worked better if it ignored the Darkseid aspect; the simple conflict among Supers, Bats and Wonder Woman would’ve been more than enough to keep us involved.

The title seems a bit off since Wonder Woman plays such a significant role. Wouldn’t this seem more like a Justice League offering? The appeal of Superman/Batman efforts comes from the manner in which they interact, but here, they operate essentially independent of each other. Clearly they’re important, but this never feels like a classic Superman/Batman pairing.

As it stands, Apokolips delivers an erratic program. Even with the aspects I don’t like, I think it remains a generally entertaining show. It comes with a good premise and develops just enough drama to work – to a moderate degree. It’s superior to some other DC Comics direct-to-video movies I’ve seen, but it’s not a great one.


The Blu-ray Grades: Picture A-/ Audio B+/ Bonus B

Superman/Batman: Apocalypse 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 strong. 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.

Apokolips boasted very 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 thought the DTS-HD MA 5.1 soundtrack of Apokolips opened up the comic book material well. This wasn’t a particularly ambitious piece, but it added pizzazz to the program. The forward channels brought out the majority of the material. Music presented strong stereo imaging, while effects cropped up in logical spots and blended well.

The surrounds also contributed good information. For the most part, these reinforced the forward channels, but they also contributed a fair amount of unique material. These instances mainly occurred during storms or bigger action scenes. The back speakers brought out a nice sense of space and environment.

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. All of this led to a positive presentation that deserved a “B+”.

When we head to the set’s extras, we launch with a new animated short. DC Showcase – Green Arrow runs 11 minutes, 13 seconds and shows Oliver Queen (voiced by Neil McDonough) at the airport to pick up his girlfriend. While there, he notices Merlyn (Malcolm McDowell), a super-villain. Queen switches to his guise as Green Arrow to thwart the murder of young Princess Perdita (Ariel Winter).

Without much time for story, “Arrow” emphasizes action, and it does so splendidly. The short packs all sorts of good battle sequences into its abbreviated running time. It’s a winner that makes me want to see more Arrow adventures.

Four Bonus Episodes from Superman: The Animated Series appear. We get “Little Girl Lost” Parts 1 and 2 (42:46) and “Apokolips Now!” Parts 1 and 2 (42:41). In “Lost”, Superman (Tim Daly) visits the location of his home planet and discovers a frozen world called Argo City. He locates one survivor and takes her to Earth with him. Teen Kara (Nicholle Tom) develops the same super powers as Supes and she wants to be a hero as well. This leads to a confrontation with Granny Goodness (Edward Asner) and others from the planet Apokolips.

“Lost” starts well enough, and if it’d concentrated on the development of Kara/Supergirl, it’d have been good. Unfortunately, it presents one of the lousiest supervillains ever via Granny Goodness, and the development of the Darkseid/Apokolips story seems mediocre. There’s not enough content for two whole episodes here.

In “Now!”, Orion (Steve Sandor) comes from New Genesis to warn Superman of Darkseid’s plans to rule the universe. This sets up massive battles in an attempt to thwart those aforementioned plans. Though it’s been more than 25 years since I actively read superhero comics, I recall that I never cared for any of the Darkseid-related threads. That sentiment continues even now, as there’s just something about the Apokolips/New Genesis theme that leaves me cold. “Now!” isn’t a bad double episode, but it doesn’t do much for me.

Four featurettes appear under “Behind the Story”. The Fourth World: The New Gods goes for 22 minutes, 11 seconds and includes notes from DC Comics co-publisher Dan DiDio, “The Great Darkness Saga” writer Paul Levitz, comic book historian Alan Kistler, writer/artist Walter Simonson, DCE Creative Affairs SVP Gregory Noveck and producer Bruce Timm. “World” gives us a basic biography of comic book legend Jack Kirby before it tells us the origins of Darkseid and others. It’s a good little synopsis of these issues; new fans might want to watch it before they view Apocalypse, as it sets up the movie well.

Two similar featurettes follow. We find New Gods: Mr. Miracle Pod (4:57) and New Gods: Orion Pod (4:37). Across these, we hear from Timm, Noveck, and DiDio. They offer basic biographies of the Mr. Miracle and Orion characters. As with “World”, these deliver nice overviews that will be helpful to new viewers.

For the final featurette, we discover the 17-minute, 49-second Supergirl: The Last Daughter of Krypton. It provides statements from DiDio, Levitz, DC Comics senior editor Matt Idelson, DC Comics group editor Eddie Berganza, DC Comics writers Elliot Maggin and Gail Simone, Dark Horse Comics executive editor Diana Schutz, DC Comics writer Joe Kelly, Supergirl: The Movie director Jeannot Szwarc, actors Laura Vandervoort and Helen Slater, and Smallville executive producers Miles Millar and Al Gough. We find another quick history of a character, with the obvious emphasis on Supergirl. “Daughter” delivers a solid examination, and I really like the involvement of people from outside of the comic book world; it’s cool to hear from Slater after all these years.

A mix of ads fills out the set. Under Trailers, we locate promos for Lego Universe, the Jonah Hex motion comic, Batman: Under the Red Hood, Justice League: Crisis on Two Earths and Superman/Batman: Public Enemies.

We also locate a Sneak Peek for All-Star Superman. It runs 10 minutes, 47 seconds and features Noveck, Timm, casting director Andrea Romano, director Sam Liu, and actors James Denton, Christina Hendricks, and Anthony LaPaglia. They give us some background on the comics that inspired the upcoming movie as well as details about it. Don’t expect much more than standard promotion, though the notes about the original comic add depth.

A few ads open the disc. We get clips for Batman: Under the Red Hood and Lost Boys: The Thirst.

A second disc offers two elements. For one, it provides a standard DVD version of the film. Note that this doesn’t simply duplicate the DVD you can buy on its own; it’s a more barebones affair, though it does include the Green Arrow short. It allows fans without Blu-ray capabilities a way to watch the movie until they do take the Blu plunge.

The second platter also includes a digital copy of Apocalypse. This allows you to slap the flick on a computer or portable gizmo. And there you have it!

With Superman/Batman: Apocalypse, we find a pretty average comic book adventure. It comes with an intriguing story and some decent action, but it doesn’t quite come together in the end. The Blu-ray boasts excellent visuals, very good audio and a reasonably interesting set of supplements. Expect a moderately enjoyable superhero effort.

Viewer Film Ratings: 4.5 Stars Number of Votes: 2
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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