Aug 25, 2008

[Movies] Justice League: The New Frontier (2008)

Justice League: The New Frontier (2008)Normally the phrase, "direct-to-video" is synonymous with disaster, especially with a lot of the Disney sequels to some of their most popular major theatrical releases.

Recently DC has been releasing several direct-to-video cartoon adaptations of sorts of various storylines. The first one that I've had the pleasure of viewing ha. been Justice League: The New Frontier, an adaptation of the similarly-titled DC: The New Frontier limited comic book series.

Justice League: The New Frontier closely follows the story of the original comic book series in terms of look and feel and generally in terms of plot as well. On that last bit I do have to say "generally" since there were a few significant deviations. As much as I try to hold true to a personal reviewing principle of not overly comparing the adaptation to the source material, I think given their attempt to follow the comic book so closely, comparisons are inevitable.

Single DVD cover artImage via Wikipedia First off, kudos to the animation team who managed to bring this story to life in a manner well-aligned with the original. Some could argue that's wasn't entirely difficult since to some extent this was somewhat similar to the style for Batman: the Animated Series and even the more recent Superman cartoon series as well. This was best seen in their use of sharp, stark lines, heavy jawlines and a lot of retro-futurism in terms of building style.

Acclaim also has to go to the writers who did a great job of capturing most of the original comic series without sacrificing too much in terms of the value of the original tale. That too was no small feat at all and I think that this certainly helped make this a direct-to-video sequel that braks the stereotypical mold.

In terms of differences do, I didn't entirely appreciate their efforts to somewhat increase or broaden the role of the Big Three - Superman, Batman and Wonder Woman - in terms of their scope in the film. While they didn't become the complete focus of the tale (thankfully), the did have a lot more to do than they did in the original series.

I did understand a few of the changes like how they chose to somewhat polarize Faraday's personality in order to let younger viewers better appreciate what made certain aspects of his personality that made him "good" and which ones positioned him as "bad" from a younger morality perspective. Some scenes though had to be completely spelled out for younger viewers which a more adult viewer might not need but of course a younger one would fully appreciate. Clearly, marketing had their way to some success in getting a few changes in to increase its mass market appeal.

Whether or not you've read the original comic book series though, you're bound to appreciate this film given the strength of the core story. It has some great action and it's fair share of plot-driven intricacy. It's definitely worth the investment to add to your comic-book inspired movie collection. Plus many of the celebrity voices behind the film are bigger or at least more familiar than you think and will certainly surprise you.


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