Justice League-Secret Origins (2001) (NTSC)

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Released 9-Sep-2002

Cover Art

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Details At A Glance

General Extras
Category Animation Poster
Main Menu Audio
Biographies-Character
Listing-Cast & Crew
Trailer-Batman Beyond: Return Of The Joker
Trailer-Batman & Mr. Freeze: Subzero
Trailer-The Batman Superman Movie
Trailer-Scooby Doo Sneak Peeks
DVD-ROM Extras
Rating Rated PG
Year Of Production 2001
Running Time 59:57
RSDL / Flipper No/No Cast & Crew
Start Up Menu
Region Coding 1,2,3,4 Directed By Butch Lukic
Dan Riba
Studio
Distributor

Warner Home Video
Starring Kevin Conroy
Maria Canals
Susan Eisenberg
Phil LaMarr
Carl Lumbly
George Newbern
Michael Rosenbaum
Case Amaray-Transparent-Secure Clip
RPI $24.95 Music Lolita Ritmanis


Video (NTSC) Audio
Pan & Scan/Full Frame Full Screen, not known whether Pan & Scan or Full Frame English Dolby Digital 2.0 (192Kb/s)
Widescreen Aspect Ratio None
16x9 Enhancement No
Video Format 480i (NTSC)
Original Aspect Ratio Unknown Miscellaneous
Jacket Pictures Yes
Subtitles None Smoking No
Annoying Product Placement No
Action In or After Credits No

NOTE: The Profanity Filter is ON. Turn it off here.

Plot Synopsis

    'Justice League- Secret Origins' is the first episode in a new cartoon series from the Emmy Award winning creators of 'The New Batman' and 'Superman Adventures' cartoons. The Justice League is the teaming of famous comic book characters Superman, Batman, Wonder Woman, The Flash, Green Lantern as well as the little-known Hawkgirl and newcomer Martian Manhunter.

    'Secret Origins' tells the story of how the Justice League came to become a team through an attack on Earth by a race of odd-looking aliens. With Earth under threat by 20 storey alien predators, current heroes Superman and Batman are helpless to save the planet. It is only when they meet Martian Manhunter that they can fully understand what will happen to the Earth after this invasion. Manhunter came to Earth well before the invasion began to warn of the impending attack, but was captured by the government (of course!) and could not tell the people of Earth how he had defeated the aliens when they invaded his planet.

    Together with the other superheroes that walk the streets of Metropolis, Batman, Superman and Martian Manhunter discover how to defeat the invaders and make the world a safe and happy place again. (cue 'Full House'esque "Ahhhh" effect)

    The animation in Justice League is OK at best, with some sequences screaming of a cheapness found only in Scooby-Doo style cartoons of yesteryear. It is a far cry from some of the spectacular animation seen in the last few years, but then again, it is made for TV. The storyline is good enough, but as I touched on above, the invading aliens look completely B grade and do not have any sort of character whatsoever - as for the 'Brain Bug' style Imperial Alien, he just looks ridiculous. (For those of you who do not know what a Brain Bug is, then please RUN to the video store and rent Starship Troopers.)

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Transfer Quality

Video

     The video transfer of this film is bright and colourful, but it contains horrible aliasing and the NTSC transfer adds some other horrible artefacts as well. Before you purchase this disc, you should make sure that your display device can playback NTSC video.
 
    The film is presented in an aspect ratio of 1.33:1 and needless to say it is not 16x9 enhanced. It is a shame that Warners have not presented this film in its original widescreen ratio. When Justice League plays on Cartoon Network, it plays in a matted widescreen format, yet it is not presented this way on DVD. Very disappointing indeed.

    The picture on screen is sharp and clear throughout the film and shows no lack of shadow definition or grain.

    Colours are bright and colourful due to the comic book feel portrayed on-screen. All colours stay rock steady throughout and there is no sign of colour bleed or any other colour related artefacts.

    There are no MPEG artefacts to be found, and no film artefacts either.

    The ugliest film to video artefact to be found here is a huge amount of aliasing. Due to the number of fine black lines outlining the characters, almost whenever a character moves there is a huge amount of this distracting artefact to be found. Some specific examples can be found at 4:24, 10:11, 11:04, 12:22, 13:22, 30:12, 39:44, 40:05, 40:27, 56:16 and 58:57. These are only some of the examples of aliasing in this transfer, but there are plenty more on offer - this artefact alone almost single-handedly wrecks this entire transfer as it distracts from the action so much.

    Another film to video artefact that can be found on this disc is one that rarely gets a mention here at Michael D's. Because this  is an NTSC transfer, we are open to seeing one of the most objectionable DVD artefacts you can find - the NTSC '3:2 pulldown' or 'judder'. There are a countless instances of judder in this transfer with some horrible examples to be found at 6:40, 8:10, 27:16, 29:09, 30:26, 31:38, 40:56, 42:02, 43:01, 45:02, 46:45 and 57:15. Along with these instances where the prime colours take jerky steps as the camera pans across the screen, the picture itself appears very jerky and uneven as the picture moves. These artefacts are hardcore folks - it is worth having a look at just so you can comprehend how superior your PAL DVDs are!

    There are no subtitles recorded on this disc and this is a single layered disc.

    As this film is made for TV, every so often the screen fades to black and then come back up at the next scene where ad breaks would have been taken. For mine, this detracts from the viewing experience and probably could have been tightened up for the production of this DVD. It would not have been too hard to go back into the editing room and bring these breaks together to help the flow of the film and give it more of a theatrical and professional feel.

Video Ratings Summary
Sharpness
Shadow Detail
Colour
Grain/Pixelization
Film-To-Video Artefacts
Film Artefacts
Overall

Audio

    The audio transfer of Justice League- Secret Origins is presented in 192 kb/s 2.0 Dolby Surround  and considering this format, it is pretty good. Obviously, a 5.1 Dolby Digital transfer would be better, but there is not much wrong with the 2.0 Surround version.
    
    The dialogue quality is good with no specific instances where I could not understand what was being said. Audio sync does not really apply too much here, as most of the audio sync problems are associated with the source material as opposed to the DVD transfer.
    
    Music is a winner in this film. The musical score by Lolita Ritmanis plays well and adds to the feel of the film. It is a 'straight from the box' superhero score, but is pretty worthy nonetheless.

    The surrounds are used heavily despite this disc's 2.0 treatment. They are used a lot during action sequences and constantly have light effects and ambient noise coming from them.
 
    The subwoofer does not get used much.

Audio Ratings Summary
Dialogue
Audio Sync
Clicks/Pops/Dropouts
Surround Channel Use
Subwoofer
Overall

Extras

 

Menu

    The menu design is themed around the movie. It is a static picture of the front cover and features a mono soundtrack of the theme music.

Theatrical Trailer-    Batman Beyond: Return of the Joker

    Running for 1:45, this trailer for the excellent Batman Beyond film plays very well. It is presented in an aspect ratio of 1.33:1 with a 192kb/s soundtrack.

Theatrical Trailer-    Batman & Mr Freeze: Subzero

    Running for 1:06, this trailer looks great, but unfortunately features Robin and Batgirl. It is presented in an aspect ratio of 1.33:1 with a 192kb/s soundtrack.

Theatrical Trailer-    Batman & Superman Movie

    Running for 1:10, this trailer features Batman and Superman vs The Joker and Lex Luthor- could be OK. It is presented in an aspect ratio of 1.33:1 with a 192kb/s soundtrack.

Theatrical Trailer-    Scooby Doo Sneak Peeks

    This collection of clips of Scooby Doo and the gang advertises the recent DVD releases of the original series. Compared to some of the slick images portrayed in the other trailers here, it looks old and tired - just like the characters. It runs for 1:55 and is presented in an aspect ratio of 1.33:1 with a 192kb/s soundtrack.

Character Bios

    Here is a collection of 1 page bios of each of the hero characters from the movie. They are all themed with each character but do not add any information that can't be found in the film.

R4 vs R1

NOTE: To view non-R4 releases, your equipment needs to be multi-zone compatible and usually also NTSC compatible.

 

    The Region 4 version of this disc misses out on;

    The Region 1 version of this disc misses out on;     Both these discs are identical- even the format!  The inherent saving probably makes the local release the version of choice.

Summary

    Justice League- Secret Origins is a pretty cool cartoon that is intended to play to a much younger audience than myself (I am not very old). Its production values are not all that flash, but anything with Batman in it is interesting enough for me.

    The video quality is terribly flawed and almost unwatchable.

    The audio quality is very good for what it is.

    The extras are short and sweet, but they are better than nothing.

   

Ratings (out of 5)

Video
Audio
Extras
Plot
Overall

© Hugh Fotheringham (what the hell is going on in bio??)
Tuesday, August 27, 2002
Review Equipment
DVDSony DVP-S525, using Component output
DisplayLoewe Xelos (81cm) 16:9. Calibrated with Video Essentials. This display device is 16x9 capable.
Audio DecoderBuilt in to DVD player. Calibrated with Video Essentials.
AmplificationOnkyo TX-DS797- THX Select
SpeakersJamo X550 Left and Right, Jamo X5CEN Centre, Jamo X510 Surround

Other Reviews
DVD Net - Terry O

Comments (Add)
really not looking forward to this anymore... - orangecat (my kingdom for a decent bio) REPLY POSTED