Saturday, December 31, 2011

FILMonBLU-RAY: All-Star Superman (Review)

All-Star Superman
2011 - Warner Home Video
Released on Blu-Ray/DVD on February 22, 2011.

# of Dics: 2 (Blu-Ray, DVD)
Runtime: 76 Minutes

A near disaster instigated by Lex Luthor (Anthony LaPaglia) on a ship exploring the sun that was saved by Superman (James Denton) gives Luthor the victory he was craving, as the intense exposure to solar radiation has mortally poisoned Superman.

With his time living running out, Superman seeks to fulfill his dreams including revealing the truth to his love from afar, Lois Lane (Christina Hendricks). But a couple of Kryptonian visitors and the overzealous Luthor keep Superman from going out quietly, instead requiring one more heroic battle to save Metropolis.

After revealing his identity to Lois, Superman takes her back to his Fortress of Solitude where she gets an up close view of the marvelous items inside, including the weapons he has taken from his enemies, a pet Sun-Eater he feeds with small suns he creates with a hammer and anvil, his crew of robot helpers, the Bottle City of Kandor and some relics, like the statue of his parents.

But Superman's secretive nature and Lois' exposure to alien chemicals leads to her paranoia and attack on Superman with a deadly kryptonite laser. But that did not put a hamper on Superman's gift for Lois, a 24-hour liquid dose of his powers, turning her into Superwoman. That of course led to an unwanted adventure with Atlas and Samson, and an encounter with the Ultra-Sphinx. This film was a nonstop roller coaster of serious, funny, and action.

And of course Clark's visit to Lex in prison gave the story that dose of intellectual discussion, a clear vision of Luthor's psychosis and his anger even in the midst of a rampaging Parasite and prison brawl. The parallel of a confident Luthor boasting in prison, and a weakened Clark continuing to fool him right in front of his eyes.

DC and the WB did a great job as always packing their animated film with a bundle of extras, including two featurettes with Grant Morrison, the writer of the comic series ALL-STAR SUPERMAN was based off of. The Morrison featurettes fully explore his vision for the Superman character, one going into the sketches he developed over the years that became the eventual story and the other more on how Superman was revamped for a contemporary audience.

The rest is a usual package for DCU films: commentary, digital comic, a preview of the next DCU film, and two cartoon episodes selected by Bruce Timm. A fun treat for animation, comics, and DC fans.

ALL-STAR SUPERMAN is a masterful stroke of storytelling. While it is not an all out action bonanza, the methodical pace to the story helps illustrate the emotional weight carried by Superman now that he is seeing his end coming. What does a "super" man do when death approaches? An inspiring story of spreading love, peace and happiness from the big red blue hope.

Look to buy the ALL-STAR SUPERMAN Blu-Ray disc exclusive version on Amazon for $25.99

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