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Justice League: Crisis on Two Earths [Blu-ray]
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DCU Justice League: Crisis On Two Earths (Blu-Ray)
In a parallel Earth ruled by the Crime Syndicate, the Justice League must fight their evil doppelgangers in a battle that would be dead even, except that their malicious counterparts are willing to do the one thing Batman and Superman never would: kill.]]>
The arrival of a heroic Lex Luthor--yes, you read that correctly--leads Superman, Batman, and the rest of the Justice League to confront their evil, alternate-universe identities in Crisis on Two Earths, a terrific addition to the DC Animated Universe (DCAU) line of direct-to-DVD animated features. Based on Grant Morrison's JLA: Earth 2 graphic novel, the action brings the core Leaguers (Superman, Wonder Woman, The Flash, Green Lantern, and Martian Manhunter, though not the Dark Knight, who stays behind to ruminate on the evils of his own world) to a second Earth where their villainous counterparts rule the roost as part of the Crime Syndicate. What ensues is a solid mix of drama and action that, surprisingly, doesn't end with a wall-to-wall brawl between Justice Leagues. Instead, the story takes intelligent forays into the reality of a world ruled by super-villains, and the consequences of intruding on that reality. Though the story is a reworking from the failed Justice League: Worlds Collide feature (which was designed to serve as a link between the Justice League and Justice League Unlimited series), Crisis on Two Earths never feels like a patchwork effort; rather, it's well conceived and stands solidly next to some of the best DCAU efforts. The scripting is supported by a solid cast that includes Mark Harmon as Superman, James Woods as Owlman (the alternate-world Batman), Chris Noth as the "good" Lex Luthor, and William Baldwin, who acquits himself well as Batman, but can't replace Kevin Conroy.
Extras are plentiful and include the gritty, Steve Niles-penned DC Showcase for The Spectre, which also turned up on the Superman/Shazam: The Return of Black Adam DVD; the live action pilots for the '70s-era Wonder Woman with Lynda Carter and the unaired, threadbare Aquaman; two bonus episodes of Justice League, both dealing with alternate Earths; and a 30-minute look at the powers that be at DC Comics and the changes that have been wrought at the company. A handful of sneak peeks at upcoming and previously released DCAU DVD releases, including Batman: Under the Red Hood, round out the set. --Paul Gaita
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Long time fans of DC animated material may take a minute or two to get used to some of the voices, and for me Mark Harmon as Superman never really clicked. The highlights in terms of voice work are Chris Noth as a heroic version of Lex Luthor, Gina Torres as the villainous Super Woman and James Woods as the nihilistic Owlman. Woods will especially be surprising for those who are only familiar with his more over the top voice work on "Family Guy" or "Hercules."
The action scenes are extremely well executed, with a multitude of "that's so cool!" moments, especially during the climax. Thankfully the story holds up well enough that the fights are able to be properly spaced apart and the bits in between aren't dull or boring. Given the overall simplicity of the story, this is a case where the 75 minute runtime doesn't hurt the film and it feels just the right length.
While the film holds strong, the special features are disappointing. There's no commentary track, which is usually a highlight for these releases. Even more annoying is the featurette on various "Crisis" story lines in the comic books. It's an interesting topic but somewhere along the line the decision was made that it be spoiler free. The writers, editors, etc. who talk about the comics don't even really tell the initial premise, to say nothing about the content of the comics. If you happen to have actually read all of the "Crisis" stories then you already know what they're talking about and will be ok (assuming your memory holds up well as the story details.) However for those who haven't read them all you'll be left very underwhelmed as people talk about the importance and impact of stories without letting you anything about what actually happened in them. The "Spectre" short is decent enough but it's really too little too late.
The film is worth owning, but it's not worth shelling out extra for the "2 Disc Special Edition" because the second disc isn't worth watching.
Speaking of Batman, his portrayal in this movie does no represent the Batman I have always envisioned. This is largely because William Baldwin has a higher pitched voice and cannot really project the rage or toughness that Batman requires. For me, I for the most part only enjoyed the parts where Batman was fighting or not speaking. On the otherhand, Superman is a commanding force here; Mark Harmon does an excellent job.
All in all, it's a decent movie but Batman was ruined for me so there is no way I can rate this 5 stars.
I recommend the double-disc version of this because of the special features. Check out the pretty amazing short animated movie of a lesser known DC character named the Spectre, voiced by the wonderful Gary Cole. I was surprised how good this short was.
You also get 2 episodes of the Justice League Animated Series that basically have a very similar storyline to "Crisis". "A Better World" parts 1 and 2 almost surpass the movie in terms of quality and intensity.
Again, buy this but only if it is the double-disc package.
The good in a nutshell: Deep ideas from mainstream science fiction. Good animation. Powerful, iconic, action-scenes and tight, intelligent writing. Star-power voice acting.
Justice Leaque: Crisis on two earths is just so well made, it's hard to do it justice. It makes you wonder why DC doesn't do more in the live-action movie business.
Justice League: Crisis on Two Earths (from here on, JLCOTE) is very, very good.
With a story derived from an aspect of quantum physics, and edgy philosophical questions, JLCOTE mixes jaw-dropping action sequences, with, well-thought-out pieces of meaning to provide an animated movie that goes beyond whether or not 'x' is going to break through a wall after being punched by 'y'.
JLCOTE shines in many places, but the first of them is its action: how the writers use fight choreography to talk about the heroes and their evil or deranged counterparts.
When you watch JLCOTE, you understand that how the characters fight mirrors their personalities, and histories: Superman and Ultraman are brawlers who have seldom had real opponents who could hurt them and teach them a need for skill or caution. Wonder Woman combines kicks and punches with tricky greco-roman wrestling. Owlman and Batman go after one another with animalic fury, with vicious jujutsu techniques and hidden weapons.
It is impressive to see how much thought the writers put into avoiding all the usual "fly-and-tackle" hack-work that turns so many animated fight-scenes into baskets full of yawn.
But if the action is in JLCOTE is great, the thinking is even better: you have to be impressed by how much faith the writers put into their audience's demonstrating brain power.
JLCOTE uses ideas and themes that originally appeared in Larry Niven's, quantum physics-based short story, "All the Myriad ways" to create the story's driving conflict between Batman's defining need to create an order, in which people are forced to be good, and the deeper darkness of Owlman's nihilism, a hatred that defines humanity as a problem with a simple and very final, solution.
All in all, JLCOTE is a good story with intense action, high-quality ideas, and stand-out performances (from inter alia: Gina Torres and James Woods).
If you like brilliant things, you should have it.
Top international reviews
The story here involves an alternate Lex Luthor - from a different dimension - journeying to the Earth of the Justice League. He asks for help, as his world is ruled by the evil Crime Syndicate. Freedom, liberty and democracy have been supressed ... instead of doing good, those with powers have become bad in this other dimension. Luthor has designed technology to traverse the dimensions, and he wants the Justice League to stop the Crime Syndicate. Superman agrees, and take the others with him ... all except for Batman - who refuses to go. The Dark Knight explains that there's enough to do here, on their own world, without trying to sort of the crime problem on alternative Earths.
The Justice League are, for the most part, successful in battling their evil alter-egos. But one villain - Owlman - eludes capture. He's the alternative Batman. And as soon as he discovers the technology of crossing over to other dimensions, he wants it for himself. With it, he seeks to find Earth-Prime - the original dimension. And he aims to destroy that Earth, thereby shattering the multi-verse and destroying all Earths. And so Batman has to stop him ...
This is an action-packed adventure, featuring lots of superhero battles. If you are a fan of animated Justice League films then I fully recommend it. And if you enjoyed the animated series then you'll discover how Wonder Woman gets her invisible plane, and how the Watchtower acquires its transporter technology. Overall, it's a lot of fun.
I couldn't be more wrong.
Live action films are restrictive in nature. Some can "jump the shark", with the special effects. On an animated feature it's all on the table.
This is another great animated adventure. It gives a great story and goes places that live action could not go.
Another great DC adventure for the collectionion!
Very High quality edition, with tons of interesting bonus.
The Very good choice, highly recommended for DC fans around the world.
For me one of the best DC Animeted!
Pour ceux qui vivent en France, et sont donc malchanceux quant à la politique d'édition des DC Animated, en France, de la Warner, je recommande fortement cette édition totalement multizone, avec des sous-titres français.
Le meilleur choix pour un fan de DC, des tonnes de bonus et l'un des meilleurs film d'animation DC pour moi.
I had my reservations, though. I had read Grant Morrison's graphic novel "Earth 2" which focuses on our JLA against the CSA, and while that was rather well done, I knew how muddled up the history of DC Comics is (for whatever reason, they feel they have to redo everything every decade or so and make things even more confusing than they already are). This movie's writers had a lot of alternate evils do go through and work with, but fortunately, they didn't disappoint.
Both our guys and their darker reflections were brilliantly depicted, right down to their voice actors. Mark Harmon (most famous as the lead of the TV drama NCIS, Gibbs) carries the strength and heart to play Superman, while Josh Keaton (currently known as Peter Parker in the Spectacular Spider-Man series) and Vanessa Marshall, who are usually smaller-time, comedic voice actors add a humorous, colourful flare to The Flash and Wonder Woman. Jonathan Adams seems to be channeling Carl Lumby as the Martian Manhunter, but manages to do a good job giving you both a familiar feel and a touch of something new to the character. William Baldwin as Batman I was iffie on when I first heard it, however it grew on me over time, as did Chris Noth's Luthor. I guess since this version of Batman was a bit more cerebral than standard versions, Baldwin's calm portrayal was suitable and added almost a sympathetic edge to it that even the great Kevin Conroy sometimes lacked.
I won't go through the villains (or anti-superheroes, or whatever you want to call them) actors, since none of them have a particularly large range of dialogue, except for one, who I will discuss: Owlman, the opposite Batman, played by James Woods. I was iffie on this one, too, even though I like Woods, but again those ifs were for naught. Like Baldwin's Bat, Woods' Owl is a very calm, cerebral character, and a calm, quiet, focussed voice was all he needed. If the actor involved had been growly and screaming all the time, that effect would have been ruined.
Since I've just shot out two honking paragraphs on the actors alone, I'll be sparse with the story (it'll also keep me from giving anything away). It was good, had a nice flow, and didn't overdo the action or bore us with backstory and dialogue when it wasn't needed. And like many Mirror Universe stories, a lot of the fun comes from the sheer absurdity of each hero and villain's counterpart. For instance, when you realize who the Mirror US President is, your jaw might not drop, but it should at least hover, and the Mirror Jimmy Olsen? Well, if your jaw doesn't drop there, I'll be shocked.
There are some flies in the ointment, of course. One of which is while J'onn the Martian is in the Mirror Earth he becomes somewhat "attached" the President's daughter, which would be fine, if it didn't come off as a random bit of romance simply added in for romance's sake. Also, although this doesn't bother me so much, it may bother others, this movie does have a rather more finite ending than most comic book animated movies. Nothing earth-shattering or anything (...poor choice of words, given the context), just not what many of us are used to.
Regardless, the movie is worth seeing, at least renting, if not buying. Heck knows it beats the pants off of Public Enemies.
The animation is good, but not stellar and the plot at times is pretty ridiculous even by DC Universe standards. And unlike some of the more recent DC movies like Supergirl's origin in Superman/Batman Apocalypse or the Wonder Woman movie; I never really could connect with the storyline and it's characters. I'd rate the plot and character development at a 3.
However when it comes to action, this movie does exceed in spades! From the beginning with Lex Luthor's escape to our world; it's one battle after another with super heroes battling super villains at a drop of the hat. And there's something really neat about Superman versus Ultraman or Superwoman versus Wonder Woman. It's non-stop action. Overall, I'd rate the action a solid 4 stars.
Like all these DC & Marvel Bluray movies; this disc is loaded with extras. There's a 10 min. short on The Spectre which has been done art nouveau style complete with scratches and spots. It reminded me of an old Bogart film. There's also a 30 min. documentary on the effects of 9/11 on the DC Universe from Identity Crisis to Alternate Universes. And in addition, trailers on Under the Red Hood, Superman/Batman Public Enemies, Wonder Woman and Green Lantern First Flight. And as usual, these are not your normal trailers, but extended mini-documentaries that range from 8 to 12 minutes long!
As a further bonus, they throw in the pilot episodes for the old Lynda Carter Wonder Woman series (I'd forgotten just how cheesy that series was) and a pilot for an Aquaman series that I assume never got any further. And much better, four episodes from the old Justice League Unlimited TV series including the two-part series "A better world" which had a Justice League from an alternate Earth come to ours to take over. But they had gone down a different and darker path. It's almost as good as this movie.
The movie itself is a 1080P 16:9 widescreen. But unlike most DC BD movies, this one has no DTS high definiton audio. Instead it uses the same English Dolby Digital 5.1 audio track as on the DVD. There are no other audio tracks but it does include French and Spanish subtitles. It sounds fine.
Overall, I'd rate this movie a three for the storyline, four for the action, three for the sound and four for the extras. So I'll call it a four.
Animation is slick and in the right tone for such release. I liked the "Personnage" role definition. The Batman is as dark and cold as I ever saw him. Superman ego is bigger than his shoulders. The final dialogue between Batman and Flash is memorable. The gang of alternate heroes is well selected and defined. You almost believe in this totally Sci-Fi story. Beware, this is a lot whole closer to Star Trek than it is to Adam West's Batman. Some good Modern DC stuff !!!!
Extras : Some great trailers, which you probably have all seen. The full TV premieres of the classic TY shows Wonder Woman and Aquaman (fun to have on DVD... for free). 4 unreleased episodes of JLA. But hold on, there were never released because they served as the base for DC full lenght movies. They are then redundant, but cool to have.
With DC, the price tag is always steep. This time, though, they loaded the DVD with all sorts of goodies. The Blu-ray version will become a POP Culture collector item.
I also love the short film about the superhero Spectre. I never knew about this superhero before I saw this short. There is also a bonus 2 parter Justice Leaque of America film at the end on Disc 2.
A really good buy and I highly recommend it if you're into DC Comics.