Friday, February 29, 2008

Justice League: The New Frontier

Yeah, yeah, I know. I've been incredibly neglectful and, personally, I'm disappointed in myself because I wanted to make posting here a priority. Unfortunately, by the time I get home and settled for the night, I don't want to think and write anymore, but would rather just play on my Xbox. When I get a chance, to get to the HD TV. I'll try to do better.

However, the release of Justice League: The New Frontier was enough to release me from my malaise and post again.


That's all I have to say. Wow. Just freaking wonderful from the voice work to the character design (although there were times when some characters had more of a Bruce Timm look than Darwyn Cooke) make this a terrific movie.

However, being a comic book fan, I have to find some fault or my membership will be revoked and I don't want that because the dues are nonrefundable.

1. It is too damn short. I know the 75-minute length is dictated by marketing, but if any work could have used another half hour, it was New Frontier. I give the writer credit because he was able to show through suggestion most of Cooke's original story, but it would have been nice had Steel's story been shown as a counterpoint to the more optimistic story. Additionally, since the viewer has seen Ace Morgan from the beginning of the movie, it wouldn't have hurt the story to show the formation of the Challengers.

(However, and not a problem, is the use of characters like the Blackhawks and Adam Strange without the need to introduce them. Doing that, I think, gives the audience credit that they understand that there are more heroes in the DC Universe than just those the story is focusing on.)

2. Even at 75 minutes, the last few minutes of the movie looks as if the producers ran out of money for real animation and resorted to the Marvel Super Heroes method of cutting pictures out of the orignal comic and then suggesting movement by moving the camera around. What the hell?

(However, the opening credits are done in front of title cards that present stylized versions of Cooke's already stylized art. There, the limited animation worked great, but then I love the use of title cards and promise that when I make my first movie, I'll use title cards. And I'll introduce my cast at the end of the movie in the same manner Orson Welles introduced his at the end of Citizen Kane and The Magnificent Ambersons.

3. The ending still gives me chills, but then I am a sucker for the hope that the early and middle Silver Age books presented. However, the ending of the movie, besides being animated with stationary pictures, kind of failed to present the sense of awe, the feeling of "Just Imagine" when the JLA officially has its first mission battling Starro. In fact, after that image, a new one is shown which tells the viewer those heroes beating up on the giant starfish, that's the Justice League. It would have been nice had Lois Lane's narration leading to the final panel also been used. An iconic moment and image, the JLA gathering for the first time should not need an explantion tacked on at the end.

Three little things that really don't detract from the excitement of the story or the beauty of the images. To paraphrase from Holiday Inn, "Don't ask why, just watch it, and God bless America."