Monday, March 14, 2011

Review: Justice League: Crisis on Two Earths (special edition blu-ray)

Directed by Lauren Montgomery & Sam Liu
Written by Dwayne McDuffie
William Baldwin - Bruce Wayne / Batman
Mark Harmon - Kal-El / Clark Kent / Superman
Chris Noth - Lex Luthor
Gina Torres - Superwoman
James Woods - Owlman
Bruce Davison - President Slade Wilson
Josh Keaton - Wally West / The Flash, Aquaman (uncredited)
Vanessa Marshall - Princess Diana / Wonder Woman
Nolan North as Hal Jordan / Green Lantern, Power Ring (uncredited)

Anyone a fan of the Justice League animated series? I can’t say that I am a big fan (as far as the characters are concerned, I was somewhat a fan in the 60s & 70s) but I did want to see what all the smoke and noise was all about on the Cartoon Network. I never did get around to taking a look, so when I saw this movie being promoted on Batman: Under the Red Hood, I put it on my “to watch later” list. Well the picking became slim so I took a chance and watched the blu-ray of Crisis on Two Earths. As with Under the Red Hood, it is a fan movie. Ostensibly a bridge between the Justice League animated television series and a series that was supposed to be called Justice League Unlimited, which I never heard of. According to the Wiki the story line was based somewhat on much earlier Justice League called Crisis on Earth Three and a story from Grant Morrison called Justice League America: Earth 2 but was not directly taken from either.

The premise is a bit convoluted: a heroic Lex Luthor from an alternate universe coming to the Justice League's universe for help against the Crime Syndicate which in fact is an evil or better a negative or reversed version of the Justice League. It seems everyone in the Crime Syndicate is double dealing in some fashion. the Syndicate is supposedly constructing a weapon to counteract the nuclear threat by the parallel Earth’s government. However Batman’s analogue Owlman is in truth building a device to wipe out all reality. The climax is of course Batman on Owlman with the Universe at stake.

The additional features on the blu-ray are quite numerous. The disk includes an animated short called “The Specter” and a couple of two-episode tales from the Justice League television series which featured the Justice Lords. There are some behind the scene extras and some live action sneak peeks.

This is not anime and shouldn’t be held to that comparison. For the most part it’s standard American animation, though the film itself is a bit better rendered than usual, but not so much that it would look much different from the fare already present on the Cartoon network. If you’re not a fan you won’t get much out of the disk. The rendering is marginally better and the plot is little more than comic book grade. But it’s not terrible, maybe just monochromatic.

Movie (plot & rendering) 6 Extra 8 (plenty of them, lots to choose from) for a movie rating of 7.

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