Reviews - DVD
 
Packaging
Menus

Announce Date: 05/30/07
Street Date: 09/18/07
Closed Captioning
: Yes
MSRP: $19.98
Packaging Type: Amaray Case
Media Quantity: 1
Disc Configuration: 1) 9-Dual Layer
Sound Track Language: English
Run Time: 74 minutes
Aspect Ratio:
Original Aspect Ratio - 1.78 Widescreen [16:9 Transfer]

Sound Quality:
English: Dolby Surround 5.1

Note
A different rear cover than what was shown above was originally released. You can view the old rear cover here.
DVD Features:
Audio Commentary: Audio Commentary (featuring the commentary of Bruce Timm (producer), Duane Capizzi (writer), Andrea Romano, and Gregory Noveck) {duration of feature film}
Challenges: Supermans Last Stand (menu challenge)
Featurette: Requiem and Rebirth: Superman Lives! - (a re-dramatized telling of the DC Comics decision to kill Superman. Filled with interviews, news stories and behind the scenes footage of the board room meetings where the fate of Kal-El was decided. The story permeates with the frenzied pace and key moments which culminated in Issue #75 The Death of Superman.) {60 minutes}
Interviews: Behind the Voice (Featuring the voice talent of the feature film going through the motions and inspiration which helped bring Superman Doomsday to the screen) {5 minutes}
Other: Justice League: New Frontier Teaser Reel (With the interviews of the filmmakers, voice talent, and DC Comics executives, the world is introduced to the next chapter of the DC Universe: The New Frontier) {10 minutes}

Synopsis: The most shocking showdown in Superman history! When Lexcorp accidentally unearths the intergalactic serial killer Doomsday, Superman battles the creature head on in the fight of his life...literally. The world collectively mourns their fallen hero; humanity realizes it will never feel truly safe again. Superman's enemies rejoice all but Lex Luthor, who grieves the loss in his own demented manner, setting off a chilling chain of events that even he couldn't have foreseen. Inspired by the bestselling graphic novel of all time, DC Comics' The Death of Superman, this feature-length animated adventure boasts exciting action sequences that rivals anything you've ever seen starring the Man of Steel!

Review (Zach Demeter)
The first of the animated DC Universe films out of the gate, Superman/Doomsday has the odd distinction of setting up the “mature” line of animated projects and at the same time staying true to the source material it’s based off of, which, while adult, is not exactly anything other than a bloody fist smear in the DC Comics timeline.

During the 90s when Superman was airing on television in both live-action (Lois and Clark) and animated (Superman: The Animated Series) form on television, the Man of Steel was having a bit of a crisis his comic book (or rather, comic books, as, like now, he had more than one monthly story going on). Because the writers of Lois and Clark wanted to be the first to marry Lois and Clark, the comic book was forced to wait years while the television show played catch up and the writers were stuck in a rut trying to figure out where to take the story of Superman for another year now that their original idea had been pushed to the side.

What followed no one, not even DC Comics, saw coming. When it was announced that Superman would be dying at the hands of a brutal alien known as “Doomsday”, the media went nuts. Press picked up stories of Superman’s impending demise and by the time the comic book had hit comic shop shelves, lines were forming in the early A.M. hours with fans and non-fans alike waiting to get their hands on a comic book that would end the life of the Man of Steel. Many in line read the comic as they waited, not wanting to wait to see how it ended.

While this was all very dramatic for the Man of Steel and the characters around him, what followed in the place of his book for a year was convoluted. Throwing in a myriad of other Supermen to take his place while the world awaited the true return of Superman, the comic book, despite being more popular than ever, went from being the one that killed the Last Son of Krypton to being one loaded down with stories to extend the life of the story.

Of course that last paragraph was laden with my own personal views on the comic book. Like many others who read the comic book way after all of the hoopla died down (I had, in fact, not read the trade paperback of the comic until after this direct-to-video feature was announced), I was thoroughly unimpressed with the story. While the documentary on the story of Superman’s death on the Superman/Doomsday DTV paints the death of Superman as dramatic, the truth is that even with all the planning that went into the story and the art, it eventually boiled down a single page panels of Superman and Doomsday having a knock-down, drag-out battle. Great and all, but hardly fitting for the Man of Steel to die over. While it was nothing the comic world had seen before, I’ve no doubt this started DC Comic’s obsession with creating big, convoluted stories for nothing more than media attention. Not that you can blame them—in a world of declining comic book sales, everything helps, but one tires of the overly dramatic stories all the time.

For the full film review, click here.

The DVD
Since the film arrived on only a test disc without packaging, I can’t grade the final shelf product; however, the final retail copy is supposed to carry a cardboard slipcover with a lenticular image of Superman busting through a bloody “S” logo, so it will certainly gain shelf appear for those who browse DVDs every Tuesday. Menus are static, aside from the main menu which features animation and music.

The video on this release is downright amazing. Not a single flicker of interlacing or ghosting and very little compression, the faintest of which is seen only when the camera moves too fast, which causes compression even in live action. I was really surprised and relieved to see the film was interlace free, as the amount of red in this film could have made it very ugly to look at on a progressive scan display. Unfortunately the audio mix is underwhelming by a large margin; although it is 5.1 and the rear channels occasionally get a voice or sound effect, the track might as well have been 5.0 as there is very little, if any, thunder felt from the subwoofer. Only when Luthor’s goes off during the second act do we feel anything, Superman’s entire brawl with Doomsday is unfelt—extremely disappointing. This is what you buy a subwoofer for and whoever mixed this track must have completely forgotten about the bass. It’s not merely a case of underuse; the subwoofer channel was simply not utilized in the least. My receiver does a better job faking bass with the 2.0 Justice League Unlimited mixes than this audio track did with its supposed full surround.

Negatives aside on the audio transfer, the disc is rather loaded with extras. First up on the disc is a full audio commentary with producer/writer/director Bruce Timm, writer Duane Capizzi, voice director Andrea Romano and executive producer Gregory Noveck. The track is lively throughout and Timm and Capizzi freely share their experiences on the film and what they like about it. Timm is quick to correct those who question just how violent this film is over his past superhero outings, although he does yield when Romano insists that Superman was never punched three times repeatedly in the face like he is by Doomsday early on in their battle. The track is well worth listening to and the only real dry moment comes when Timm begins to comment on Superman’s face getting pushed into the train by Doomsday—he seems to be gearing up to compare it to the Spider-Man/Sandman subway fight in Spider-Man 3 when everyone goes quiet on the commentary for nearly a minute and the discussion that starts up after it is completely unrelated. I guess if they did mention Spider-Man 3 it might have been cut for legal reasons, but you’d think they’d have trimmed his comment about the head bashing completely.

“Requiem and Rebirth” is the heaviest portion of the DVD, covering the entire history of the “Death of Superman” storyline. Running a full hour in length, nearly all the original artists and writers of the Death and Return storylines are interviewed and a couple even get choked up remembering some of the more dramatic issues that followed Superman’s death. Rightfully so as no matter how you feel about the comic, a few of the writers threw their heart into some of the stories, even if most of them were all just filler before the Man of Steel returned. Overall it’s a cool featurette to watch, but having read the comic myself and finding it a giant waste of time, the back-patting everyone gives one another made me roll my eyes after awhile.

“Behind the Voice” is a quick featurette on the voice actors that worked on the film. Although the crew discussed some of the voice decisions on the commentary, we go a bit more in-depth here and even get interviews with Anne Heche, Adam Baldwin and Ray Wise. Oddly enough the Amazon.com video clip of James Marsters talking about his work as Luthor is completely omitted from the DVD, meaning we don’t get any word from Marsters at all about his role in the film on the DVD. I understand making clips exclusive to retailers to help promote the DVD, but I’d think making exclusive clips from the film would be more appealing than completely omitting what an actor has to say about his role from the DVD. I’m more disappointed about this than the fact that the commentary and “Behind the Voice” extras are the only thing that actually relate to the film itself.

Of course one of the coolest things on this disc is the exclusive look at the upcoming Justice League: New Frontier DTV, coming in February. Not only is the film shaping up to be remarkable looking and nearly a complete mirror image of Darwyn Cooke’s original comic book (the art style reminds me of the Spy Smasher flashback in the Justice League Unlimited episode “Patriot Act”) in terms of art style. We get to hear what David Boreanaz, Lucy Lawless and Kyle MacLachlan sound like as Hal Jordan, Wonder Woman and Superman and we’re teased with images of Neil Patrick Harris as The Flash and Jeremy Sisto as Batman. It’s kind of sad I was more amped after seeing this preview clip than I was during the entire period between the announcement of Superman/Doomsday and up to the point I received my review copy, but I greatly enjoyed New Frontier as a comic book and it’s something we haven’t seen in animation before.

Other extras on this release is an incredibly annoying “Superman’s Last Stand” DVD game (hit “Enter” at the right time and win! Or at least that’s the supposed rules, I hit “Enter” eight different ways and I still lost every time) that I’m sure the mature audiences this DVD is aimed after will love and a mixture of trailers for kid films (“The Last Mimzy”), adult TV shows (“Blade: House of Chthon”), adult cartoons (“Spawn: The TV Series”, which you should buy, by the way) and even a trailer for the upcoming Will Smith “I Am Legend” movie. If it weren’t for “The Last Mimzy” I’d say this DVD was almost entirely adult oriented…well that and the annoying DVD game. Seriously, who the hell plays those?

Overall it’s a fine DVD package for a fun movie and comes Recommended. The commentary alone makes the DVD worth it and while full of self-congratulatory fluff, the sixty-minute documentary was a good watch as well. Hopefully Warner Home Video keeps the extras at this high of quality for all the future releases—although more extras relating to the actual animated feature itself would be nice, even if it’s just animatics, deleted scenes or music-only snippets.

Review (James Harvey)
If you believe Superman has gotten tired and stale, think again! Superman Doomsday is not only an excellent movie, but also shows just how edgy and even twisted Superman can be when in capable hands. With Bruce Timm and Duane Capizzi overseeing the project, it’s no wonder that the film has an emotional core to go along with the very bloody action. And yes, there’s blood. Let’s cut to the chase and get to the synopsis, shall we?

When Lexcorp accidentally unearths the intergalactic serial killer Doomsday, Superman battles the creature head on in the fight of his life…literally. The world collectively mourns their fallen hero; humanity realizes it will never feel truly safe again. Superman’s enemies rejoice – all but Lex Luthor, who grieves the loss in his own demented manner, setting off a chilling chain of events that even he couldn’t have foreseen. Produced by Bruce Timm (Justice League Unlimited, Batman: The Animated Series) and written by Duane Capizzi (The Batman, The Batman vs. Dracula), Superman Doomsday is inspired by the best-selling graphic novel of all time, DC Comics' The Death of Superman. This feature-length animated movie boasts exciting action sequences that rival anything you’ve ever seen starring the Man of Steel.

That last line of the synopsis has it pretty dead-on, I must admit. There is a massive amount of action in this movie. From the opening battle with Doomsday, to some jaw-dropping action in the middle, all leading up to an amazing and . . . simply excellent finale, this movie is dripping in action, from beginning to end. Those looking for long, complex action sequences and relentless battles will not be let down. Like I said earlier however, this movie also has a heart to go with it. That alone saves this movie from being just a mindless action movie. There’s heart in here, which I’ll get into in a moment. What I do want to say now is there will be spoilers up ahead. Skip to the last paragraph if you do not want the movie ruined for you.

For the full film review, click here.

And, much like the very enjoyable movie, the DVD for Superman Doomsday looks to be amazing. I want to stress that this DVD was not the final product, and we’ll be reviewing the full release version of Superman Doomsday as soon as it becomes available. But, based on this release, this is one of the best Animated DC DVDs Warner Bros. has ever released. This set is easily on par with a major theatrical release DVD in terms of quality in both presentation and extras. So, let’s dive in!

The audio and video is clear and sharp for this release. The transfer is crystal clear, with no visible problems that I could notice. The widescreen transfer is simply gorgeous, and it sounds amazing. You hear every single punch and grunt, but you also hear the smaller things, too. A slight breeze. A quiet foot step. A sigh. A shuffling of papers. Everything is clear and concise. As far as I’m concerned, this is a great standard DVD transfer on WHV’s part, and I can only wonder how great this movie will look and sound when it is inevitably released to the next generation platform.

Of course, what everyone wants to know about is the extras. And, yes, they are good! Like I said before, this is one of the best DC Animated releases from WHV, and that includes the DC toons that have come before. In fact, this release edges out Batman Beyond: Return of the Joker in terms of extras-content. There’s a full-length commentary, an hour-long documentary, plus a featurette on voice acting, a ten minute peek at Justice League: The New Frontier, plus an assortment of trailers an a menu game.

The commentary is a full house, featuring Timm, Capizzi, Romano, Gregory Noveck, Brandon Vietti, and Lauren Montgomery. It’s a full commentary, and an engaging one, at that. There seemed to be a great dynamic amongst the group, and I was glad that the majority of the participants really got face time in here. While Timm, Capizzi, and Romano certainly ruled the roost here, the other participants were able to squeak in here and there, specifically Montgomery (who was responsible for the greats second act to Superman Doomsday). I can’t say it’s the best commentary I’ve heard on a DC Animated release, that still belongs to the unedited Batman Beyond: Return of the Joker commentary, but it’s a lively one. Plus, it’s great to hear Capizzi and Timm discuss their work together. There’s actually a few times when they don’t see eye to eye, which provides for some entertaining discussion.

Next up is Requiem & Rebirth: Superman Lives!, an hour-long documentary about the Death of Superman storyline. It’s a great and incredibly detailed look at the whole process, from start to finish, of killing Superman. It’s great to see the major artists of that era, who are still great today, interviewed for this documentary. And we see just about everyone. Jurgens, Grummet, Stern, they all seem to be there. And, surprisingly, a lot of them are still very emotional about the whole storyline. It’s pretty fascinating. I remember picking up Superman #75 as a very young child, and the storyline that came afterwards, and while it’s pure 1990s story-telling, it was still a major event, and it’s interesting to see it revisited. Personally, I was surprised that Superman was originally supposed to get married around this time, but, due to the horrible Lois & Clark: The New Adventures of Superman TV show, they had to buy time. So . . . well, they just killed him.

I do want to note that Superboy is not seen once in this documentary. Despite a section of the documentary dedicated to his character, only his legs are seem. It’s ridiculous and actually ruins the flow of the documentary. Every other possible character is seen here, but not Superboy.

Following that is the amazing Justice League: The New Frontier Teaser Reel, which is ten minute of Darwyn Cooke goodness. It is . . . amazing. It’s more than what’s been seen before, and is easily double the length of the Justice League: The New Frontier teaser that is circulating the net. We see more finished animation, we hear more dialogue, and we see a lot more concept art. It looks simply amazing. Rounding off the disc is a featurette on voice acting, a menu challenge (which seems very out of place), and a selection of trailers. The featurette is your standard EPK, but, as always, it’s nice to get a look at those who provide the voices for the characters here. It’s well done.

Overall, the DVD is solid all around. The transfer is great, the extras are bountiful, and the movie is pretty excellent, as well. Overall, it’s very much worth the wait. Superman Doomsday will please fans, no question. If you’ve been waiting for a Superman slugfest flick, this is the answer to your prayers. More importantly, there’s heart to be found, and a touching story, and that alone really sells the movie and the character interactions. It goes without saying that I Highly Recommend Superman Doomsday. It’s a great movie, one that Superman fans will watch again and again. Plus, it's great that Warner Home Video has packed this DVD with extras. There's over two hours of special features on here, and the level of detail is pretty astounding. It's a great package from start to finish.