Blu-ray and DVD Reviews

Justice League: The New Frontier

Reviewed by: Scott Chitwood
Movie Rating:
6 out of 10
Extras Rating:
8 out of 10
Movie Details:
View here

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Rating: PG-13

Starring:
David Boreanaz as Hal Jordan / Green Lantern (voice)
Miguel Ferrer as J'onn J'onzz / Martian Manhunter (voice)
Neil Patrick Harris as Barry Allen / The Flash (voice)
Joe Alaskey as Bugs Bunny (voice)
Jeff Bennett as Sportscaster (voice)
Corey Burton as Abin Sur (voice)
Townsend Coleman as Dr. Magnus (voice)
Keith David as The Centre (voice)
Sean Donnellan as Haley (voice)
Robin Atkin Downes as The Guardian (voice)
Shane Haboucha as Robin (voice)
John Heard as Ace Morgan (voice)
David Hunt as Harry (voice)
Lex Lang as Rick Flagg (voice)
Lucy Lawless as Wonder Woman (voice)
Vicki Lewis as Iris West (voice)
Kyle MacLachlan as Clark Kent / Superman (voice)
Joe Mantegna as Crooner (voice)
Vanessa Marshall as Amazon Woman (voice)
Jim Meskimen as Slam Bradley (voice)
Phil Morris as King Faraday (voice)
Alan Ritchson as Aquaman (voice)
Kyra Sedgwick as Lois Lane (voice)
Brooke Shields as Carol Ferris (voice)
Jeremy Sisto as Bruce Wayne / Batman (voice)
James Arnold Taylor as Captain Cold (voice)

Special Features:
Comprehensive Documentary Super Heroes United!: The Complete Justice League History
Exclusive Sneak Peek at DC Universe's Batman Gotham Knight
Audio Commentary 1: Featuring the Talented Filmmakers of New Frontier, including Executive Producer Bruce Timm, Supervising Producer Mike Goguen, Voice Director Andrea Romano, Director David Bullock, Screenwriter Stan Berkowitz and DC Comics Senior Vice President/Creative Affairs Gregory Noveck
Audio Commentary 2: Featuring Comic Book Writer and Artist Darwyn Cooke

Other Info:
Widescreen
Dolby Digital 5.1 Surround Sound
Portuguese Language
Portuguese Subtitles
Running Time: 75 Minutes

Synopsis:
The following is from the DVD cover:

"'We stand today on the edge of a new frontier...'

Based on Darwyn Cooke's award-winning graphic novel, this thrilling adventure reveals the origin of the Justice League. With Cold War paranoia putting Superman, Batman and Wonder Woman under government suspicion, only the gravest threat imaginable can force these heroes - along with an army of newcomers including The Flash, Green Lantern and Martian Manhunter - to unite in a spectacular showdown to save the world. David Boreanaz ('Angel'), Brooke Shields ('Suddenly Susan'), Lucy Lawless ('Xena: Warrior Princess'), Kyra Sedgwick ('The Closer'), Neil Patrick Harris ('How I Met Your Mother'), Jeremy Sisto ('Law & Order') and Kyle MacLachlan ('Sex and the City') headline the stellar voice cast of this epic saga of how Earth's greatest champions formed the most powerful alliance for good ever assembled!"

"Justice League: The New Frontier" is rated PG-13 for violent content / images.

Mini-Review:
Several things surprised me about "The New Frontier." First of all, Superman, Wonder Woman, and Batman are barely in this movie. They have a number of scenes here and there, but this story focuses heavily on the origin of Green Lantern and, to a lesser extent, Martian Manhunter and The Flash. If you were expecting more of Superman, Wonder Woman, and Batman, you'll likely be disappointed. That's not to say that these other stories aren't interesting, though. Flash provides much of the action early on while Martian Manhunter provides some mystery and comic relief.

The other thing that surprised me was the mature content. I didn't look at the DVD cover and see it was rated PG-13 before I sat down with my 6 and 3-year-old sons to watch this. In the first 5 minutes I was treated to the sight of an artist committing suicide followed quickly thereafter by Hal Jordan shooting a Korean in the face and being splattered by blood. I was about ready to turn it off by that point, and I imagine a lot of other unsuspecting parents would be, too. This is followed by profanities sprinkled here and there, the inside of Wonder Woman's invisible jet being splashed with blood, hints that Asian women were raped and tortured, child sacrifice, and other subjects your kid isn't ready for yet. I think DC and Warner Brothers (and Marvel with their own films) need to be a little clearer that these animated films are intended for older viewers, not kids.

Unfortunately, the story is a bit convoluted, too. Three quarters of the way into the film I would have been hard pressed to tell you what the story was about. The story was so focused on telling the origin tales that the big, bad threat they must unite against becomes almost an afterthought. When it does show up, it seems little more than a convenient device to get all the characters together for a big fight. The final product is a film that seems like it's more intended as a setup for a TV series than a stand alone film.

All that being said, the Cold War setting is quite interesting. We get to see earlier incarnations of our favorite characters. We get interesting settings and costumes. We get the threat of nuclear warfare, McCarthyism, and other goodness. It's a great period to put the story within.

I'd like to praise the voice cast, but I can't say any of these big name actors bring anything more to the roles than their predecessors. Casting Lucy Lawless as Wonder Woman is certainly fun, but the fact that she's barely in the movie means she's mostly on the sidelines.

If you're a comic book fan or a fan of Justice League, then you'll definitely want to check out "The New Frontier." While not great, it is still entertaining.

There are several bonus features included. "Super Heroes United!: The Complete Justice League History" is a documentary on not just the Justice League, but superhero comics in general. It features a number of comic writers and editors, and even Stan Lee himself. They describe everything from The Golden Age of comics to modern comics. Also included is a great Sneak Peek at "Batman: Gotham Knight." It's essentially an anime version of Batman and looks pretty cool. Rounding things out are a couple of audio commentaries.

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