Justice League-Starcrossed-The Movie (2003)
Main Menu Audio
Featurette-Hawkman: From Comics To Cartoon
Featurette-Tour Of The Watchtower
Biographies-Character-Justice League Watchtower Bios
Trailer-Batman: Mystery Of The Batwoman
Trailer-Superman: Last Son Of Krypton
Teaser Trailer-Aloha Scooby-Doo!
|Year Of Production||2003|
|RSDL / Flipper||No/No||Cast & Crew|
|Region Coding||2,4,5||Directed By||
Warner Home Video
Efrem Zimbalist, Jr.
|Pan & Scan/Full Frame||Full Frame||
English Dolby Digital 2.0 (192Kb/s)
French Dolby Digital 2.0 (192Kb/s)
Hungarian Dolby Digital 2.0 (192Kb/s)
|Widescreen Aspect Ratio||None|
|Video Format||576i (PAL)|
|Original Aspect Ratio||1.33:1||Miscellaneous|
English for the Hearing Impaired
|Annoying Product Placement||No|
|Action In or After Credits||No|
This is the second Justice League DVD I have reviewed this week, and you might like to check out my review to Justice League: The Brave and the Bold for background. Once again we are looking at a collection of episodes from the popular animated TV show featuring heroes from the DC comics universe (the members of the Justice League include Batman, Flash, Green Lantern, Superman, Hawkgirl, Martian Manhunter and Wonder Woman). While this disc is called a 'movie' it is actually 3 linked episodes from the show fused together into a continuous whole. The episodes run continuously but include all of their opening and closing credits.
The plot begins with the Justice League guarding a major government conference against terrorist attack, but when it comes the attack is from an unexpected source - an alien spacecraft! Luckily a 2nd craft appears and shoots down the first. When this 2nd craft lands a familiar figure appears - can that be Hawkman? Well, he is from the same planet as Hawkgirl but the newcomer addresses her as Lieutenant - it seems that she has been on a secret mission on earth for some years. As usual Flash has the best line in response to this revelation: "You mean she's a spy??? - Cool".
The Thanagarians reveal that the first spacecraft was from the planet Gordania and that the Gordanians have been at war with Thanagar for generations, and now have their evil eyes on Earth. The Thanagarian ship has come to Earth to offer its protection and eventually Earth's governments agree to accept the offer. However, Batman is a little suspicious: he thinks the whole thing looks too convenient. I won't reveal what happens, except to mention that there is mention of a hyperspace bypass which put me in mind of a certain book with "Don't Panic" written on it, I'm not sure if the reference was intentional or not. There is also an interesting end to the story which will leave fans eager to find out more (this may well have been the series of episodes which closed Season 2 of the show, so there is a bit of the "cliff-hanger" feel about it).
Our family audience found this disc very enjoyable, with good interaction between the characters (logically following on from story threads begun on the last disc, which is nice). The younger members of the audience really enjoyed 'that Superman moment' (you know, when Clark Kent pulls open his jacket to reveal the big red S) - it is nicely handled during the show. The voice acting is also very good, with Hector Elizondo in fine form, you may recognize his distinctive voice from Pretty Woman or more recently from The Princess Diaries. Another good performer is Michael Rosenbaum as The Flash, and Efrem Zimbalist Jr. (yes, he of the old TV series 77 Sunset Strip) has a nice turn in a brief appearance as Alfred, Bruce Wayne's butler (Batman's secret identity for the three people on the planet who don't know).
Anyone who enjoys comic books should love this, though the running time is a little on the short side. There is also some discussion on fan sites about the possible release of the whole series in a boxed set, which would be preferable. In the meantime this makes a good rental for the kids, or you may be able to pick it up on special for less than ten dollars (yes, already, only a month or so after release). If you are in the mood for more animated heroics join me soon on the same bat website for a look at Batman: Secrets of the Caped Crusader and shortly after that for Superman: Last Son of Krypton. Is anyone getting the impression I am really into these discs? (Holy animated review overload Batman!).
The video transfer on the disc is quite good, though a little on the dark side at times. The low budget animation also contributes with the drab backgrounds making things look a little faded. To balance this the main characters are bright and come across nicely.
The transfer is presented at an aspect ratio of 1.33:1, non 16x9 enhanced. This is most likely the aspect ratio used in its original TV presentation in the USA, though the Region 1 DVD apparently includes both widescreen and 1.33:1 versions (it is probably produced full frame allowing broadcast at either ratio).
The picture is quite sharp with good focus. As mentioned, shadow detail is variable, quite good at 6:27 and a little poor at other points. Luckily there is no low level noise during the darker moments (perhaps Batman contributed to the dark picture, he likes to lurk in the shadows).
The colours in the transfer are also something of a mixed bag, some of the effects scenes come up nicely (check out the shimmering force field at 55:26 as an example) but the overall feel is a little faded, making the whole thing seem a little older than it actually is.
The transfer is in very good physical shape, no artefacts about and only a little aliasing along some of the animation lines.
The English subtitles are good (I watched about 20 minutes of the show with them on), and there is a reasonable selection of foreign language titles. I also sampled the English for the Hearing Impaired subtitles and they are also fine. The odd audio cue is missed but there are plenty of "Intense instrumental music" and "laser zapping" moments.
There is no layer change on the disc.
The audio transfer is fair for a TV show, though the sound felt a little 'thin' at times.
There are three audio tracks on the disc: English, French and Hungarian Dolby Digital 2.0 surround tracks encoded at a bitrate of 192 Kb/s. I listened to the English track in its entirety and to portions of the French, the latter being of reasonable quality though some of the voice actors lacked character in their performances. The surround tracks defaulted to ProLogic mode on my amplifier and I listened to the program with that setting.
The dialogue was clear at all times, and the audio sync (in both English and French) was reasonable for an animated show.
The music had a different composer for each of the three episodes, they all do an adequate job in supporting the action. The volume level for the music was well balanced with the dialogue and other audio effects.
The surround presence was limited, but effective enough during the action sequences (as at 1:56). The subwoofer provides some subtle (possibly too subtle) bass in support of explosions if configured to do so.
|Surround Channel Use|
The Extras on the disc all have fairly short running times, but are of interest as a whole. As with other discs in this series they may one day combine to be a worthwhile accompaniment to a boxed set.
The menu is static with audio, it is not 16x9 enhanced. From the menu you can Play the feature, go to the Special Features menu screen, go to Scene Selections (where you have 9 scenes to select from) or choose Languages.
While relatively short (running 7:58) I found this one very interesting, mainly because of the involvement of comics legend Alex Ross. For those who don't know the name Ross is an amazing artist whose fully painted covers and books have, along with his reinvention of some comics legends, had a major impact on comics over the last ten years. The reinvention of Hawkman in this series of episodes has also caused some ripples, and there is a good discussion of the reasoning behind the move in this feature.
There are 4 deleted scenes, running 4:52 in all. The first two are fully animated, but the audio is dialogue only (no music or effects). The second two are storyboard only. A nice inclusion.
This short (4:22) featurette came across like a quick sales pitch from a real estate agent and adds little value to the package, unless you are totally unfamiliar with the Justice League's home base ("an awesome defence against the forces of evil").
One or two pages of text on each of the members of the League, along with an optional short video clip showing them in action. This will be useful for those new to the team, and my family enjoyed it.
There are four short trailers under this menu option, including the one for this show. The others are for a Batman disc, a Superman disc (the one I will be reviewing shortly) and a Scooby-Doo feature (I'm not sure how that last one snuck in here - my eldest daughter commented "Well, that was totally random").
NOTE: To view non-R4 releases, your equipment needs to be multi-zone compatible and usually also NTSC compatible.
The Region 4 and the Region 1 versions of this DVD are virtually identical, except that the Region 1 version includes the program in widescreen as well as 1.33:1, which makes it the preferred version.
This is an enjoyable animated super heroes show. The story is fast paced, with each of the heroes really showing their full power to advantage, and the ending is interesting. The RPI is a little high but at discount or for rental the kids should enjoy it. Comic books themselves are not selling too well at the moment, but for the price of two or three this disc is a good alternative.
The video transfer is fine, though a little on the dark side at times.
The audio transfer is average, but it does the job.
The Extras are limited, but of reasonable interest.
|DVD||Toshiba SD-K350, using Component output|
|Display||SONY VPL-HS10 LCD projector, ABI 280cm 16x9 screen. Calibrated with Video Essentials. This display device is 16x9 capable. This display device has a maximum native resolution of 1080p.|
|Audio Decoder||Kenwood. Calibrated with Video Essentials.|