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Category:    Home > Reviews > Superhero > Action > Adventure > Superman Doomsday (Animated Feature/DVD-Video)

Superman Doomsday (Animated Feature/DVD-Video)

 

Picture: B†††† Sound: B†††† Extras: A††† Animated Film: A

 

 

Superman Doomsday adapts the famous "Death of Superman" story arc to the small screen and manages to do so in a manner that is at once true to its source and dynamically new. The familiar hand of DC animation maven Bruce Timm (Batman Adventures, Justice League, Justice League Unlimited) and story and screenplay writer Duane Capizzi guide this straight to video release unerringly toward an emotional and rewarding climax. Along the way fans are treated to a darker version of the DC animated universe than they have ever seen before. This feature is PG-13, and is definitely not for small children.

 

As suggested by the title, Superman's main foe is DC juggernaut Doomsday, a mysterious alien creature unearthed by the unwitting agents of Lex Luthor. Once free of his subterranean prison, Doomsday rampages across the globe killing everything in his path. This movie contains scenes of wanton violence never before seen in DC's impressive list of animated features. Doomsday murders countless innocents, setting up a clash with Superman that is every bit as brutal as the comics that inspired it, and in some cases, more so. In the aftermath of this battle Superman falls, and what follows once again displays the amazing pathos and raw emotion that Timm and voice director Andrea Romano can bring to an animated feature.

 

Although inspired by the original DC comics epic "Death of Superman," this movie stands on its own with some important differences that make it flow beautifully. The voice talents of Adam Baldwin (Superman) and Anne Heche (Lois Lane) deliver all of the passion one would expect from two characters so deeply in love with each other.James Marsters does yeoman work in the roll of Luthor, but the shoes of previous Luthor voice actor Clancy Brown are simply too big to fill, and fans of the previous Superman and Justice League animated shows will miss the smarmy menace the veteran actor managed to impart into every line of dialog.

 

In all this represents another superb effort from the Bruce Timm and company, and is buoyed by the solid Dolby sound and widescreen presentation. This box is packed with extras, including a wonderful documentary on the genesis of the "Death of Superman" story that features excellent interviews with key DC creators and editors like Mike Carlin, Jerry Ordway, Louise Simonson, and others. This feature presents a wonderful look inside the making of a comic classic, and will give fans a nice inside look into the world of comic book creation. It also shows us just how much these talented people care for the characters in the Superman comics.

 

The anamorphically enhanced 1.78 X 1 image is clean, clear, has fine color fidelity and better depth than most recent animated features we have seen issued on DVD.The money is put on the screen, looking as good as Timmís first Superman series did.The Dolby Digital 5.1 mix is surprisingly aggressive and is more articulate than many 5.1 animated releases on DVD of late.The combination in playback is impressive indeed.

 

The disc also includes commentaries from Timm, writer Duane Capizzi, and others. Also intriguing is a nice teaser for DC's next big animated project, Darwyn Cooke's Justice League: The New Frontier. Interviews with Timm, Cooke, and others, along with a number of production design stills and actual animated scenes really whet the appetite for this next project. A featurette entitled Behind the Voices describes Timm and Romano's decisions in casting Superman Doomsday, along with their reasoning for choosing all new voice talent for the movie versus going with previous actors from past projects. Finally, a fun little video game called Superman's Last Challenge allows the viewer to take the role of Superman as he fights his last desperate battle against Doomsday.

 

Superman Doomsday is violent, edgy, and incredibly satisfying. It builds from the previous string of excellent DC animation titles and manages to attain a new level of excellence. Despite all of the movie's violence and bloodshed, the Man of Steel emerges once again as the pinnacle of heroism in the DC animated universe. In a fitting parallel, Superman Doomsday represents perhaps the best, most cohesive feature in the DC animated catalog.

 

 

-†† Scott Pyle


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