Almost fifteen years later, Warner Bros. has brought that saga to the animated screen. However, instead of just showing us a 90-minute slugfest with the ultra-powerful Doomsday, the new animated film “Superman: Doomsday” also gives us the story of what happens after Superman dies.
If you haven’t read the series of comics this film is based on, you won’t be lost. In fact, this is an excellent summation of the saga, and in the condensed format, it’s quite compelling.
This is the first animated Superman feature to carry a PG-13 rating, and it is deserved. While the violence is a bit much for a younger audience, this is great for the adult fans, those like me who have grown up with the comics. It’s also a nice throw-back to a time when comics weren’t necessarily just for kids.
I really enjoyed this latest animated feature from the DC universe. It holds up well against the Marvel features we’ve seem come out lately. The hope is that further features (including the upcoming “Justice League: The New Frontier”) will be equally as satisfying.
The DVD comes with more than an hour of bonus features, including a comprehensive documentary about the inspiration and making of the film, commentary by the filmmakers, a behind-the-scenes featurette and a look at the new Justice League film. There’s also a set-top game that allows you to direct Superman in his battle with Doomsday.
"TOM & JERRY: SPOTLIGHT COLLECTION 3"
Warner Bros. (who now owns this library of cartoons) has released the third volume in its Spotlight Collection, which completes the presentation of the Hanna/Barbara theatrical shorts. Many of these stories feature side characters like Spike the bulldog and Jerry’s feathered friends.
The greatest part about this DVD collection is that the shorts are presented uncut and unedited. While you can catch a lot of the classic MGM cartoons on Cartoon Network, they’ve been cut for the sensitive audience. However, these shorts on the DVD include all the inappropriate violence, gunplay and racial stereotypes. It’s not that I’m a racist, but this is a part of history, and the sanitizing of classic media borders on Big Brother thought police, in my humble opinion.
So sure, we see politically incorrect references to African Americans, Native Americans and Asians, but in a strange way, that’s part of the overall charm. In the end, these shorts aren’t meant to be evil or “wrong” (as is stated in the DVD’s disclaimer). They are a reflection of their time. And in any respect, can’t we all stop being such reactionary killjoys?
The entire Spotlight Collection is a treat for any collector or Tom & Jerry fan. Included on the two discs are 35 classic cartoons, a history of the animation team the made them and the 2005 release “The Karate Guard,” which was Joseph Barbara’s last cartoon he spearheaded.
"STARGATE: ATLANTIS – THE COMPLETE THIRD SEASON"
Now that I’ve seen the third season, I can say that I’m seriously hooked. While the show has many elements to past “Star Trek” series (including the beaming technology and the outpost on the edge of another galaxy), it’s far superior to many shows in that series. Primarily what makes it stand out to me is that is shows the universe as a dangerous place and doesn’t carry the overly peace-nicky U.N. message of “Star Trek.”
The third season picks up with Dr. McKay and Ronon trapped on a Wraith ship that knows the location of Earth. Of course, we see our friends prevail and return home to find deeper problems. This season is populated with new enemies beyond the standard Wraith. There’s Michael, the Wraith-human hybrid who has his own agenda. There’s also new Replicators in the Pegasus galaxy with revenge on their minds.
Additionally, the third season saw a development in the characters, giving us a greater look into their personal lives. New friendships are strengthened, my favorite being the unusual duo of Colonel Shepherd and Dr. McKay.
The shows continue to provide solid action and suspense with a healthy dose of geekiness. I love the set-up of the show and the fact that the Atlantis team gets into a fair number of scrapes by making some really bad decisions, and most of the solutions are not candy-coated. I’m now sucked in, and I’m watching the fourth season before it comes to DVD.
The DVD set for the third season comes with bountiful special features. Each of the five discs contains a “Mission Directive” spotlight on a selected episode. There’s also additional spotlights on actors or elements of the show. Additional features include commentary on selected episodes and photo galleries.
"PRISON BREAK: SEASON TWO"
As much as I could piece together what preceded these final two episodes, I can see the show is a solid, tense drama. However, I can’t say how well things were wrapped up. Leaving things open to a third season, “Prison Break” put an end to some storylines and answered some questions with plenty of loose ends.
The special features include two interesting documentaries. One examines how the show was reinvented from a break-out show in season one to an on-the-run show in season two. The other documentary shows how the production city of Dallas served as the backdrop for the entire country and beyond. There’s also a spotlight remix on the “Prison Break” musical theme.
"FAMILY GUY: VOLUME 5"
As best as I can tell from the scattered special features on the final disc in “Family Guy: Volume 5,” the Griffin traditions of not being afraid to offend are held true. Touching on such topics as doctor molestation and prostate cancer, “Family Guy” still seems to have it. And the geek in me also appreciates the pop culture references that go beyond “Star Wars” to more obscure films like “Time Bandits.”
If only I could have seen all the episodes and not just the animatics of three of them, as presented in the special features.
Other special features on this volume include deleted scenes, a promo about the Family Guy line of toys and detailed instructions on how to draw Peter.