Dr. Horrible's Sing-Along Blog
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Neil Patrick Harris (How I Met Your Mother) stars as Billy, A.K.A. Dr. Horrible, a budding super-villain whose plans for world domination continually go awry. His two goals: getting accepted into the Evil League of Evil, and working up the guts to speak to his laundromat crush Penny, played by Felicia Day (The Guild). The only thing standing in his way is Captain Hammer, Billy's superhero arch-nemesis played by Nathan Fillion (Firefly). With one big score, Billy could get into the E.L.E. and earn the respect of Penny, but only if he can keep her away from the dashing Captain Hammer...
Conceived as an "online miniseries event" during the 2008 writers' strike, Dr. Horrible's Sing-Along Blog is a 42-minute musical romp that bears the distinctive stamp of Joss Whedon. Neil Patrick Harris (How I Met Your Mother) plays the title character, who video-blogs about his twin goals to join the Evil League of Evil and to woo the fair Penny (Felicia Day, of Whedon's Buffy the Vampire Slayer and the Web series The Guild), a woman he met at the local laundromat. Dr. Horrible is foiled on both fronts, however, by his arch-nemesis, the self-absorbed superhero Captain Hammer (Nathan Fillion, Whedon's Firefly).
Dr. Horrible was written by Whedon, his brothers Zack and Jed, and Jed's fiancee Maurissa Tancharoen, and the songs were written by Joss and Jed (who also produced, orchestrated, played, etc.) with some lyrics by Tancharoen. (Jed and Tancharoen have backup singing roles.) The offbeat, off-the-cuff humor is laugh-out-loud funny, and just like Dr. Horrible wants to take over the world, the songs will take over your head: they're engaging ("My Freeze Ray"), stirring ("My Eyes"), and sweet ("Penny's Song"). "So They Say" is particularly evocative of Jonathan Larson's Rent, but as with Joss Whedon's musical episode of Buffy, "Once More with Feeling," the influences are diverse. It's hard to imagine a better cast. Harris, who's sung Sondheim on Broadway, is a great lead and clearly the best singer, Day is completely charming, and who better than Captain Tightpants to play the pompous superhero? One could argue about the ending, and the independent budget shows, but Dr. Horrible's Sing-Along Blog is a complete hoot for people who enjoy musicals with quirky humor. Plan on watching it multiple times. --David Horiuchi
On the DVD
Even if you've already watched or downloaded Dr. Horrible's Sing-Along Blog, a number of bonus features might entice you. There are two commentary tracks: Harris, the three Whedons, Tancharoen, Day, and Fillion recorded a spirited track discussing the movie, and there's also "Commentary! The Musical" in which they ignore the movie and sing about the writers' strike and each other (e.g., Fillion sings "I'm Better than Neil")--the songs aren't as good as the Horrible songs, but it's good silly fun. A 20-minute making-of discusses the cast, the recording sessions, and how the movie became a phenomenon, and 10 videos (a half-hour total) were recorded by fans who want to join the Evil League of Evil. And when's the last time you wanted to pause the FBI warning? --David Horiuchi
Commentary by the cast and crew
Evil League of Evil application videos
Subtitles: English, Spanish, French, German, Chinese, Japanese
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For one reason or another, I never bought the actual Blu-ray. I ended up buying the soundtrack on iTunes, which satiated my love for the movie's music. However, the soundtrack only contains the actual songs, of course. While Dr. Horrible's Sing-Along Blog is primarily music, I missed the dialog of Dr. Horrible's daily blogs and his banter with Captain Hammer.
So I finally caved in and bought the Blu-ray. And I am so glad I did because this movie is AWESOME! Like I said before, it's primarily a musical. But even people who don't like musicals will LOVE it! My husband isn't too fond of musicals; the only one that he actually likes is Little Shop of Horrors: The Director's Cut + Theatrical (BD) [Blu-ray]. But he LOVED Dr. Horrible's Sing-Along Blog!! And he doesn't mind watching it over and over again because the songs are great and it is hilarious!
The storyline is great, the comedy is witty...I even enjoyed watching the behind the scenes included with this Blu-ray.
You really must buy this and watch it. It is simply amazing! Now I just have to wait impatiently for Joss Whedon to make a sequel!
I beyond loved this. Like maybe triple love it. The interesting point is that over the years as I've shared this with friends I have found no middle ground. Either friends joined me in laughter and joy watching this or they looked at me in puzzlement from the beginning of the movie and never quite clicked with the movie.
You can find the movie for free on YouTube to see where you fit in. I loved it so much I wanted to own it in blu ray splendor and have gifted it numerous times.
I am a bit puzzled as to why the price has shot up from $5 to approx $15. This is not a full length Hollywood movie.
Without getting into too far into spoiler territory (don't read this paragraph if you want to go in cold), Dr. Horrible, mad scientist extrodinare, is seeking admission to the Evil League of Evil. He communicates with others via his blog, though some of his readers look upon him with disdain. He happens to be in love with Penny, which causes a problem when they run into his arch nemesis, the incredibly self-centered Captain Hammer. Who's the bad guy, again?
This film was funded on Whedon's own dime. Subsequent DVD sales went to pay the cast and crew, who volunteered their time for this project. I hadn't been a fan of Neil Patrick Harris before this--in fact, I don't know if I've seen anything else he's been in besides some Doogie Howser when I was little--but he's fantastic in this, as is the rest of the cast. I can't wait for the sequel!
Whether you are or aren't an acolyte of Joss Whedon, do yourself a favor and view this 45-minute serial TV show made for the Internet (and now on DVD).
This was an experiment devised by Whedon, two of his brothers, a writer friend of theirs, and countless others who contributed, during the fairly recent (now months ago) WGA strike. The artists on this project basically worked for free, with Joss Whedon and a few others ponying up the funds.
Dr. Horrible is the tale of a mad scientist (Neil Patrick Harris), would-be villain who wants with his entire being to be part of the Evil League of Evil, run by an Uber-Villain Overlord named Bad Horse. Why? He's in love with a girl named Penny, who he's afraid to talk to but wants to rule the world with. She in turn falls for a big lug with half a brain called Captain Hammer. Hammer and Dr. H have a hate-hate relationship, mostly because Hammer keeps giving him beatings and messing up his plans for world domination.
Did I mention it's a musical? The whole thing is brilliantly devised; archetypes of villains and heroes turned on their head, a sweet young thing who is their innocent catalyst for change, and a tuneful score which harks to musical theatre influences ... some Bernstein, some Schwartz, with emphasis on Sondheim. Whedon and his co-writers obviously love language and know how to use it to warp the woof of an oft-told tale; good vs. evil. But just who is good and who is evil? And for whom will you weep when the story is through?
Write and tell me. I'd like to know what you thought.
On the surface, looking at photos, reading synopses here and there, you might be fooled that this is just a trifle, a silly confection. Those unfamiliar with Whedon's previous artistic outings are in for a surprise. The ending is being hotly debated even as I write this. There's a lot for everyone here; musical enthusiasts to comic-book fans, to dramaturgs.
Watch how well the tone shifts from Act to Act, with the music supporting all the action. Act I is the honeymoon, Act II the divorce, and Act III "the great black pit" in more ways than one.
Neil Patrick Harris is a star - if that wasn't already clear. His singing and acting runs the gamut from sweetly hopeful, to sarcastic, to morose, to black outrage and despair. If Act III doesn't prove that you can become hollowed out through your own mistaken desires, nothing will.
Nathan Fillion plays the "Hero," Captain Hammer. I don't want to give too much away if you haven't seen it yet, but let's just say his performance is the perfect capital P for pompous. I'm not surprised he delivers on the singing - a very talented man who is not afraid to spoof his own image as someone who is adored, but in a totally obnoxious way. He's equal parts lecherous Judge Turpin from Sweeney Todd and Judd Frye from Oklahoma. Not easy to pull off.
Felicia Day (who has her own show The Guild on the Internet Highway) plays Penny, the innocent ingenue who tries to stay positive in a wicked, bad world. Tries to make a difference despite indifference. Day is competent, sweet and smart in a role that doesn't give her much to do. It felt as though she really had to pull back her own personality to make it fit within the confines of a role that doesn't change or grow. But she is there for a definite purpose.
How we could be taken on this journey in such a short series. I'm a believer that all things are possible. Especially when there's Whedons involved.