Friday, November 4, 2011

"Justice League: The New Frontier" Simply a Rousing Adventure

TRASH IN MY EYE No. 91 (of 2011) by Leroy Douresseaux

Justice League: The New Frontier (2008)
Running time: 75 minutes (1 hour, 15 minutes)
MPAA – PG-13 for violent content/images
DIRECTOR: Dave Bullock
WRITERS: Stan Berkowitz with Darwyn Cooke (based upon the comic book by Darwyn Cooke)
PRODUCERS: Stan Berkowitz, Darwyn Cooke, Michael Goguen (supervising), Gregory Noveck (executive), Sander Schwartz (executive), Kimberly Smith (line), Bruce W. Timm
EDITOR: Elen Orson
COMPOSER: Kevin Manthei


Starring: (voices) David Boreanaz, Miguel Ferrer, Neil Patrick Harris, Keith David, Lucy Lawless, Kyle MacLachlan, Lex Lang, Phil Morris, Kyra Sedgwick, Brooke Shields, Jeremy Sisto, Corey Burton, and John Heard

Justice League: The New Frontier is a direct-to-video superhero animated film from Warner Bros. Animation. Starring DC Comics’ beloved superhero team, the Justice League of America, this film is based on the 6-issue comic book miniseries, DC: The New Frontier, written and drawn by Darwyn Cooke and published from 2003 to 2004. Justice League: The New Frontier is also the second feature in the DC Universe Animated Original Movies line.

Set in a period from 1953 to 1960, Justice League: The New Frontier begins with an unknown entity called The Center (Keith David). It has witnessed the evolution of life on Earth and has now decided to destroy all humans on the planet. Slowly, superheroes, costume heroes, and adventurers band together to save the world from the Center. The story features Superman (Kyle MacLachlan), Batman (Jeremy Sisto), and Wonder Woman (Lucy Lawless), among others. However, much of the story focuses on the sagas of Hal Jordan, who would become the Green Lantern (David Boreanaz); J’onn J’onzz of Mars, who would become the Martian Manhunter (Miguel Ferrer); and the speedster known as the Flash (Neil Patrick Harris).

I read Darwyn Cooke’s DC: The New Frontier several years ago, and I was also skeptical when I first read that it would become one of DC Comics’ straight-to-video films. I am happy to say that my skepticism was smashed. Justice League: The New Frontier is an excellent animated superhero feature. I wish it were an actual television series rather than just a movie barely over 70 minutes in length (in terms of actual story).

The animation is good, but it’s the character and production design that really shines in terms of the film’s visuals. The designers and animators retain the Jack Kirby-influenced art of Cooke’s New Frontier comic book art, with its clean lines and art deco styling. The story is good, and the action of the various subplots satisfactorily rises and falls as the overall story builds to a crescendo. The only disappointing thing is that the last 20 minutes, while exciting, looks like an animated version of some Michael Bay nonsense.

The voice performances are all good, but I’m particularly partial to Jeremy Sisto’s Batman. In fact, I love this film’s interpretation of the character, and I wish Warner Bros. would make an entire animated film built around Sisto’s Batman. Thus far, I’ve found DC Universe Animated Original Movies to be average, but Justice League: The New Frontier is a hit. I wish there would be a sequel.

7 of 10

Friday, November 04, 2011

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