Category Archives: Animation

[Animation Review] Justice League: Doom

The Legion of Doom.

I’m a big fan of the DC Animated Universe, from their TV series to their direct-to-DVD original films. Lately, however, I was disappointed by their last few releases, especially the ones that came after Batman: Under the Red Hood. But when I heard about Justice League: Doom, that it was loosely based on Mark Waid’s JLA: Tower of Babel graphic novel, my interest was piqued again. So, I rented it on Netflix.

To those who are not initiated to the world of comic books, JLA: Tower of Babel is probably one of the best Batman stories ever told. Why, you ask? It’s because “Tower of Babel” shows that Batman can beat anyone in the DC Universe, including Justice League members.

Due to his cautiousness, that seems to borderline paranoia, Batman considers each member of the Justice League as the world’s greatest threat if they ever go rogue. So, should his fears come to pass, he designed a contingency plan on how to effectively incapacitate each member of the league. Unfortunately, this plans of his were stolen, tweaked and were used to defeat his allies –Superman, Wonder Woman, Green Lantern, The Flash and Martian Manhunter.

As I’ve said, Doom is only loosely based on Tower of Babel. So, this film took a few liberties and changed things around. The biggest difference between the graphic novel and the film are the villains. Ra’s Al Ghul stole Batman’s plans in the comics, whereas it was the immortal Vandal Savage in the film. Savage also assembled a group of villains –Bane, Metallo, Cheetah, Star Sapphire, Mirror Master and Ma’alefa’ak– calling them the Legion of Doom.

As expected from Bruce Timm and company, the visuals in Doom is top notch. The animation is crisp and the colors are vivid. The action sequences are epic, well-choreographed as well. The character designs also looks pretty amazing. Especially Bane and Metallo. Both villains just look so menacing. Star Sapphire looks insanely hot as well. But I didn’t like Superman’s design. His looks were too “Golden Age” and I felt it didn’t really fit with the other characters.

Another reason why I bothered renting Doom is also because of the voice cast. All of the voice actors from the Justice League Animated series are back in doom to reprise their roles. Tim Daly as Superman, Kevin Conroy as Batman, Susan Eisenberg as Wonder Woman, Carl Lumby as the Martian Manhunter and Michael Rosenbaum as The Flash. Nathan Fillon was also brought in to reprise his role as Hal Jordan (Green Lantern). All of them did a great job with the voice overs, as I’ve expect they would.

Justice League: Doom is a pretty fun DCU animation, overall. The fights were epic, the animation was great and the voice overs were masterfully done. It’s not as good as Justice League: Crisis on Two Earths though. But it’s worth the watch. Especially if you’re a big fan of the DC Animated Universe.

Score: B+

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[Animation Review] Batman: Year One

Frank Miller’s Batman: Year One is the best, and also the most important, Batman story ever told. Miller’s work in “Year One” redefined Batman, painting him in a darker, grittier tone that made him one of the best fictional characters. “Year One” has also inspired a lot of great Batman stories, including Christopher Nolan’s Batman Begins. So, when I found out that DC is going to adapt Miller’s classic graphic novel into an animated form, I got very excited.

Unfortunately, while it is a faithful recreation of the graphic novel, the animated version of “Year One” is a bore. Mostly because it is too faithful to the source material that it also plays out like a comic book. The animation here is so poor that it’s only a step up to a motion comic. The voice-overs didn’t help either. They sounded flat and dull. Especially, Ben McKenzie (that star from The O.C. and Southland), who did the voice of Batman/Bruce Wayne. There was no gravitas in his voice. As if he is only reading his lines, not acting them.

Bryan Cranston (from Breaking Bad), who voiced Gordon, is the only thing good about this animated movie. Unlike other voice actors, he actually did a pretty good job. In fact, he did so good that I only remember the Gordon scenes, even though the movie is equally focused on Gordon and Batman, of how the two men are trying to fight for Gotham.

Included in the “Year One” Blu-Ray/DVD is an animated short featuring Catwoman. I actually enjoyed this short. It doesn’t have any substance or story. But the action in it is very entertaining. It has the best fight scene I’ve seen in a DCU animation. Plus, Catwoman also did a sizzling striptease sequence in this short.

Overall, Batman: Year One is a disappointing adaptation of a classic. I suggest that you only rent it and watch it if you have time to spare. Or, better yet, you should instead waste your time watching Batman Begins or reading Batman: Year One graphic novel (if you haven’t done so yet).

Score: C

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