Batman, Superman, Green Lantern, Wonder Woman, Martian Hunter, and The Flash, vs a fearful Cold War era population and a floating dinosaur island called Centre. If that doesn’t catch your attention then nothing will!
The Movie Itself (3.5/5):
Justice League: The New Frontier is a story of a world that is fearful of too much power. The Cold War is in full swing, and the presence of super heroes is starting to make people more uncomfortable than grateful. Add to this a climate where the government is actively trying to develop technologies subversively, even if it requires capturing the world’s heroes to do so, and it’s hard to blame our heroes as they start to step out of the spotlight and let the world take care of itself for awhile.
Although, as you would expect, the world is actually quite bad at saving itself, so very soon the need for our saviors is greater than ever before.
It turns out that a giant flying island of dinosaurs is just too much for the government to handle. Who knew, right? But will our heroes be able to band back together and save the world that had previously shunned them?
All in all, this movie has a very cool plot, but doesn’t have enough time to expand upon it enough for it to feel complete. I spent a good portion of the first half somewhat confused about what was going on. With a running time of 75 minutes, I would have appreciated an extension in there to really flesh out the story and characters a little more. Granted, I’m no expert in DC canon, so part of this confusion is likely my lack of background. But I don’t feel that I should be expected to know anything prior to show time.
Apart from the story feeling a little condensed, there is still plenty to keep you entertained. Awesome fight scenes with your favorite heroes vs dinosaurs, top secret government facilities, and space flight are just some of the things to look forward to when you put this movie in.
Video Quality (4/5):
I was pleasantly surprised at how nice this movie looked on screen in the 1080p/VC-a format. The colors were vibrant, the darks were deep, and the glowing effects that were used frequently all looked great. There was definitely some noticeable color blotching, but that tends to happen with all animated movies when put in high definition. All in all, New Frontier employs a very visually pleasing art style that will draw you in for the duration of the film.
Audio Quality (4/5):
Again, a bit of a surprise here, the audio was quite good in this film. There were a lot of action scenes and explosions that sounded pretty good. Some of the sound effects felt a little lackluster here and there, but on the whole I never felt distracted or let down at any of the sound.
The dialog was well balanced, and I never had to focus to hear what was going on, even in the more action packed scenes. Most of the voice acting was spot on, although a few of the actors felt like they might have phoned it in during some of their sessions. The casting was pretty impressive, including Neil Patrick Harris, John Heard, and Lucy Lawless.
Overall, the sound is quite good, especially when you listen to the Dolby TrueHD 5.1 surround.
Special Features (4/5):
DC was so close to nailing their special features out of the park in this package. There is a lot of really good content here, but it’s all in standard definition, which makes me a little bit sad. Never the less, if you are a fan of DC comics at all, this blu ray is probably worth the pick up for these features alone.
Sadly, nothing exclusive for the blu ray.
- Filmmakers commentary
- Several of the top people involved in the making of the movie go over a wide array of topics including pre-production, adapting the original graphic novel into the screenplay, casting, animation, and more.
- Darwyn Cooke commentary
- Having written the graphic novel that this movie was based on, Darwyn Cooke provides one of the better commentaries I’ve heard. He gives a lot of insight into the plotlines that had to be cut, and doesn’t hide the fact at all that it hurt him to do so. On the flip side, he is also genuinely thrilled to have his work come alive on screen. Definitely worth the watch.
- Super Heroes United: The Complete Justice League History (SD 39mins):
- A fairly all encompassing mini documentary that gives a history to the Justice League, from their origins to their transitions into the modern era. A lot of big names in the DC world are involved. This was a pretty fascinating watch for me, given that I have very little DC background.
- Homage to the New Frontier (SD 10mins):
- Darwyn Cooke shows us a comparison of the original graphic novel and the film we see today. Think of this as a much shorter alternative to his commentary, as he covers some of the same content. Still worth a watch though.
- The Legion of Doom: Pathology of the Super Villain (SD 34mins):
- For every super hero, there must be a super villain. This documentary mirrors Super Heroes United, and goes into what makes our villains tick. This is equally as interesting and also a must watch.
- Batman Gotham Knight Sneak Peak (SD 9mins):
- A short preview of Batman Gotham Knight, including some interviews, teaser, and concept art.
- Bonus Justice League Episodes (SD 54mins):
- Three episodes from the Justice League cartoon series. They seem to have been randomly chosen, and are still in SD, so I’m not entirely sure why they are included. Still, there’s probably a subset of fans who will enjoy them being on the disc.
- 50gb Dual layer blu ray
- Aspect Ratio: 1.78:1
- English subtitles
- Audio Formats:
- English Dolby TrueHD 5.1 Surround
- English Dolby Digital 5.1 Surround
Final Thoughts (4/5):
Justice League: The New Frontier was a pretty fun ride, but was just too short to really make it exceptional. For those of you who are fans of DC comics and the Justice League, I have no doubt this will please, but for everyone else, it doesn’t quite feel like enough. Still, worth a watch if you are at all curious.