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</script></div>{/googleAds}You would have to be living in a remote cave not to have noticed that Superheroes have been in something of a boom film-wise since the turn of the new millennium. With technology now at the point where almost anything imagined can now be put up on the silver screen, the character rosters from both Marvel and DC Comics are crossing over to a medium most of them have never before been afforded and a lot of them to great financial success.

Not to leave any opportunity unexplored, both Marvel and DC have not stopped at dealing out their properties to film studios, but have begun to dabble in making movies of their own. Marvel, on the back of several juggernaut franchises, is now making its own movies (The upcoming Incredible Hulk being one of them) and DC with the WP arm of Warner - has started releasing direct-to-video animated adaptations of some of their most popular stories.

Justice LeagueTheir second effort, Justice League: The New Frontier, has not only built on the good start reputation of its predecessor, Superman: Doomsday, but exceeded it. For those whose closest encounter with a comic book was watching one drop to the ground as you wedgied a nerd, the Justice League is a team-up of the DC superheroes: Superman, Batman, Wonder Woman, Flash, Green Lantern, Martian Manhunter, Aquaman, and many, many others. This film is a period piece, set in the 60's.

With real historic elements, including McCarthyism, intertwined with a few hero origins and amazingly rich character development, the basic story follows the threads of the world's greatest heroes facing the global threat of an entity known as ‘The Centre'. All these heroes are preoccupied with their own problems and the â"League' doesn't yet exist. But when this powerful entity threatens to destroy the world, the heroes must band together, forget their troubles within themselves and with each other, and save a humanity that has begin to distrust them.

This is a surprisingly relevant and meaningful story, as fantastical as it becomes, and is far from simple kiddie fair. The tone is sombre and its execution is dark, intelligent, and at times shockingly violent.

The animation takes a step away from the now fifteen year-old ‘in vogue simple/blocky' style that began with Batman: The Animated Series. The character designs are more naturalistic, there is an almost Anime attention to shadowing and light, and their movement more realistic and dynamic than most previous incarnations.

The voice casting is outstanding, with the likes of Brooke Shields, Jeremy Sisto, David Boreanez, and Doogie Howser Neil Patrick Harris himself to name but a few, lending their tonsils to some beloved heroes.

All in all, this was a hugely surprising film of depth and spectacle not to say that a cartoon hasn't achieved such a feat before. But let's face it, even the live-action versions of a lot of these types of movies are usually tipping their scale one way or the other and managing mediocrity at best. One can only hope the upcoming live-action Justice League film takes a good look at this this is certainly the way to go.

Component Grades
4 stars
4 stars
DVD Experience
4 stars


DVD Details:

Screen formats: Widescreen Anamorphic 1.78:1

Subtitles: English

Language and Sound: English: Dolby Digital 5.1

Other Features: Color; interactive menus; scene access.

* Commentary
o Featuring the talented filmmakers of New Frontier, including Executive Producer Bruce Timm, Supervising Producer Mike Goguen, voice director Andrea Romano, Director David Bullock. Screenwriter Stan Berkowitz and DC Comics Senior Vice President/Creative Affairs gregory Noveck
o Featuring comic book writer and artist Darwyn Cooke
* Documentary
o Super Heroes United!: The Complete Justice League History
* Sneak Peek -
o Exclusive sneak peek at DC Universe's: Batman Gotham Knight

Number of discs: - 1 - Keepcase Packaging