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Justice League

review by Zach B.

 

 

Not Rated

Running Time: 60 minutes

 

Studio: Warner Bros.

Retail Price: $19.95

Features: Character Bios, Cast & Crew, Trailers. DVD-ROM: Weblinks

Specs: 1.33:1 Full Frame, English Dolby Surround, English Closed Captions, Scene Selection (12 Scenes)

Released: April 23rd, 2002

 

 

Warner Bros. television animation... where would we be without thee? While Warner's own film animation unit continues to go down with such bombs as "Quest For Camelot" and the wondrous "The Iron Giant," there is no doubt that there television unit has been striving for well over a decade, not to mention with the introduction of their Saturday morning lineup and weekday lineup known as "Kids WB!" starting in the mid 1990s. While Warner has pleased young and old fans alike with their darker and intriguing fare such as "Batman: The Animated Series," "Superman" and "Batman Beyond" to name a few. But with the whole AOL and Time Warner deal, a lot of Warner's stuff has been premiering and migrating toward cable's Cartoon Network. "Justice League" is their latest franchise to grab hold and make a strong staple on Cartoon Network.

This DVD of "Justice League" presents the original pilot, so if you've missed the show before this sets the foundation and shows you everything you need to know (as a good pilot does). Basically, an alien invasion heads to Earth (foretold by Maritan Manhunter). So basically, with Batman and Superman's help, they all assemble a team of the world's greatest superheroes to fight off the impending invasion.

Now I'm not a major comic fan or anything, but I have enjoyed past Warner Bros. cartoons and "Justice League" is certainly quite enjoyable and entertaining. Come on, it's got your favorite DC superheroes banded up. What more do fans want? Still, as good as it is, I do prefer some of their older series, such as "Batman: The Animated Series." But still, "Justice League" lives up to the namesake and delivers quite nicely.

The production values as one might expect are quite superb. The writing is rather sharp and very natural for the genre, while the voice actors breathe superb life into their heroes. The animation flows very smoothly and is filled with a great color scheme that is all rather vibrant and strong looking, while the backgrounds and character designs perfectly look like comic stills moving. If you're a fan of the show, this is well worth picking up and watching. If you're not and enjoy superheroes... this is a lot of fun and you'll become a "Justice League" addict in no time.

 

I found the actual presentation of "Justice League" a little bit disappointing. Yes, we know that "Justice League" is a family title and that Warner has had controversies in the past as far as creating widescreen editions for their family films (petitions and complaints letter, they seem to be sorta getting the message). But just as many kid fans that "Justice League" has, there are a slew of adult fans. I've seen the show on television a few times, and it's presented in widescreen. However, one must be assured that it's animated in full frame, so I assume you're seeing more here. As far as the transfer goes, it's great. Except for a lot of noise (which is distracting) and some halo edges, this is a clear print. Colors are perfectly saturated and are quite up to the task with a wonderful bold sense that pop right off the screen. Like the animation style itself, it's all very natural. There's a good sense of depth to the picture and it's a more sunny look than other Warner Bros. superhero cartoons. Overall, no major complaints here and quite impressive.

 

We only get an English Dolby Surround track and English closed captions through your televisions here. The Dolby Surround track is quite strong and solid and really holds its own throughout the program, I was very impressed by it. The wonderful score has a great ambiance throughout that gets you into the action, but the sound effects themselves are wonderful to listen to. Be it kicks and punches, weapons, explosions... everything here has great dynamic range that I must admit did shake my speakers more than I expected it to. Fidelity is high on the mark too and that really helps. The dialogue is crisp, clear and easy to hear and all the other effects don't overcome it. There's a lot to like here and a lot to listen to. Overall, like the transfer, it's all really impressive and quite pleasing to the ears, and only makes me think what could have been done with a 5.1 mix.

 

Sadly, not much (and somewhat surprisingly). Knowing how much the crew is into their work and how passionate they are, I was hoping for some commentary or featurette about making the show. But no, here we have some fairly decent Character Bios, a simple Cast and Crew Listing (they're called credits and also appear at the end of the program) and while we're at it, some Trailers. We got some for "Scooby-Doo," "Batman Beyond: Return Of The Joker," "The Batman Superman Movie" and finally, "Batman & Mr. Freeze: Subzero." On the DVD-ROM front, there are some Weblinks and in the future, some online events shall surface.

 

"Justice League" is a great cartoon if you love past Warner Bros. series and the superhero genre. While I found the supplements side disappointing, I hope there are future releases to improve upon that. Otherwise, you get a great pilot with a great presentation. I was really pleased with the picture and sound. All for a nice price, if you're a fan or want some fun action, "Justice League" is worth picking up.