Yesterday, I received an email from Amazon alerting me to their big sale on TV shows on DVD. The seller is offering 50% off many of the SciFi shows in their catalog. I mean, wow! They have the entire series of Stargate SG-1 on sale for $165!
I absolutely hated SUPERMAN DOOMSDAY the creative team's previous DC animated feature.
Okay, that said... I loved this movie. Not liked. Loved. A lot.
I downloaded it on TIVO through Amazon Unbox Friday afternoon and watched it Saturday morning. I was stunned at how good the movie is.
I've not been thrilled with much of Warner's animation of late. As stated above, I did not care for SUPERMAN DOOMSDAY. It seemed rushed. The Saturday morning THE BATMAN and LEGION OF SUPER HEROES are both so heavily stylized, it just seems like eating candy. Nothing of substance there.
But THE NEW FRONTIER has a unique look and texture. I'm willing to bet that a lot of the credit goes to Darwyn Cooke, the creator of the graphic novel, who served as the film's art director. It's really quite lovely to watch.
In particular, I appreciate the manner in which Wonder Woman is portrayed. She is not some Barbie-doll character playing dress-up. There's power in and meat on those bones
Moreover, there's a story with pacing and characters you care about! That has to do not just with the writing, but also with the voice acting. Now, one of my major complaints about SUPERMAN DOOMSDAY was miscasting. Adam Baldwin was servicable as Superman in that film, but Anne Heche was horrible as Lois Lane and as much as I love James Marsters, he was misused as Lex Luthor.
New Frontier has none of those problems.
Kyle MacLachlan is great as Superman. David Boreanaz has a spot-on turn in the role of Hal Jordan. And I fell in love with Brooke Shields' Carol Ferris.
The movie is surprisingly violent. Moments into the story, a character is killed with a bloody gunshot to the head. A few minutes later, men's bodies are burned in the aftermath of a viscious battle facillitated by Wonder Woman. Neither scene is gratuitous and both scenes are important to the story. It is gratifying to see a mature management of the story.
Set in the Red Scare era of the 1950's, New Frontier is suspicious of not just Communists, but also superheroes in general and specifically outer space aliens - particularly the ones that "don't look like us." The inclusion of John F. Kennedy's New Frontier speech to the 1960 Democratic National Convention is a sublime touch.
New Frontier tells a grown-up story in what is all too often characterized as a child's medium. I am irritated by most of the animation that's out there today. New Frontier encourages me that American animators can do it right. They can tell serious, yet entertaining stories in the format.
New Frontier builds an interesting play ground. I'd like to see more of it, which is why I'll be picking up the graphic novel.
I'll be grabbing this one on DVD, too, so that I can watch it again-and-again-and-again...
The Super Powers Team: Galactic Guardians (DC Comics Classic Collection)
In 1985 this final version of Hanna-Barbera's Superfriends premiered. The Superfriends were once again headquartered at the Hall of Justice in Metropolis, and battled such familiar foes as Lex Luthor, Scarecrow and Darkseid. Second only to Challenge of the Superfriends, Super Powers Team: Galactic Guardians was one of the most faithful TV adaptations of DC Comic superheroes. Like its predecessor, SuperFriends: The Legendary Super Powers show, Galactic Guardians featured Adam West as Batman along with featuring Superman and Robin and showcasing relatively new superheroes Firestorm and Cyborg as well as members of previous Super Friend incarnations (Samurai, Green Lantern, Aquaman, Wonder Woman, Hawkman, The Flash). The show featured Darkseid of Apokolips and his minions Kalibak and DeSaad as the primary protagonists. Other DC villains (the Joker, Lex Luthor, the Penguin, Scarecrow, Felix Faust, Joker, The Penguin, Brainiac, etc.) also appeared from time to time.
The Adventures of Aquaman - The Complete Collection (DC Comics Classic Collection)
Aquaman, King of the Seven Seas, also features his teen-aged sidekick Aqualad, Mera (who is referred to as an "Atlantean girl" in the series), and Aqualad's pet walrus, Tusky. Also featured are the Aqua-duo's sea horses, Storm and Imp. Set in the lost city of Atlantis, Aquaman is the hero from the deep who protects the sea against any foes who threaten the peaceful undersea life. Aided by his ward Aqualad, Aquaman fights for justice on the ocean floor while keeping close contact with friends on dry land.