DOOMSDAY (DC UNIVERSE ANIMATED ORIGINAL MOVIE) (2007)
Superman - Doomsday (DC Universe Animated Original Movie) (2007)
Actors: Adam Baldwin, Anne Heche, James Marsters, John Di Maggio,
Directors: Lauren Montgomery, Bruce W. Timm
Format: Animated, Closed-captioned, Color, Dolby, NTSC, Widescreen
Region: 1 (U.S. and Canada only)
Aspect Ratio: 1.78:1
Number of discs: 1
Run Time: 75 minutes
first ever Superman animated movie (as the DVD packaging informs
us) is a bit of a missed opportunity.
Luthorcorp underground drillers inadvertently release the deranged
super-powered villain from what appears to be an alien prison. The
psychotic creature goes on a killing spree and Superman has to stop him
in the sort of spectacular slugfest that would break the budget on any
live action movie.
Warner Bros. animation usually does sterling work with
its various comic book properties; titles such as
Batman Beyond and
JLA springs to mind,
but Superman Doomsday has several flaws that threaten to derail
the entire project altogether.
First off, there's the material. Superman Doomsday retells a bit
of the whole Superman is dead storyline that caused such an
unprecedented media uproar back in the early-1990s. However, as was the
case in those comics, the Superman is dead plot line was just a
and not the main event
to an even longer, more epic story. Here the movie takes off into a
completely different direction, which is a good thing because (a) the
original storyline was too convoluted and complex to condense into a
brief 75-minutes running time and (b) it was somewhat silly.
In retrospect the whole Superman comes back from death with a mullet
thing (which he does here too) was a mistake. The Doomsday villain was
out of step with the Superman universe. The character was simply too
dark for a Superman comic
brutally killing off wildlife (in one scene in this movie he breaks the
neck of a deer) and innocent bystanders. Right or wrong, but the comic
book world of Superman has always been death-free. Doomsday was so
mean-spirited and nasty that the character always seemed to have
stumbled in from a different comic book title (Spawn
As an attempt to bring Superman into the more mature direction comics
were taking at the time seems as misguided and off as the bad haircut
Superman was allowed to sport for a while and the actual sight of
Superman bleeding in his climactic fight with Doomsday.
Doomsday is rated PG-13 and rightly so.
There are several elements
and characters in the movie that seems more suited to, let's say,
Batman. You get: a knife-wielding Chucky-like doll threatening children,
a Tim Burton-like villain named the Toy Maker in a giant mechanical
spider holding small children in a school bus hostage, Doomsday brutally
crushing to death several bystanders as well as breaking the neck of a
deer and Doomsday threatening to hit a small girl in addition to all the
other general cartoon violence and property destruction.
One thing the Donner movies always realized was that Superman was a light character
and that if you wanted dark you ought to check out
Batman. Which is why he is called the Dark
Knight you know.
Also, while the animation is good as always, some of the character art
work is just as ?off? as the sight of Superman bleeding or Jimmy Olson
puking. Most distracting is Superman's high and very prominent cheek
bones that seems just, well, wrong. It makes the character look a lot
older than he is supposed to be.
Superman Doomsday is also a missed opportunity since there is
already a great ?Superman Lives? script, namely the one which Clerks
director Kevin Smith wrote eons ago while a big screen
Superman Returns movie was
floating around in the production Phantom Zone. I mention this as Kevin
Smith actually makes a cameo appearance as a comic book guy
commenting on the action in one scene. It's a pity that Smith didn't try
selling them his old unused script as it would have been a whole lot
better than what finally made it to the TV screen here . . .
That Superman Doomsday isn't a complete misfire says much about
the talented folks at Warner Bros animation. Ultimately the movie isn't
bad, just a disappointment.
THE DISC: Beware the carton packaging on this disc! One of those
3-D moving art work affairs it is calculated to induce nausea. The
extras on the disc are a whole lot better though. Particularly of
interest to comic book fans is Requiem and Rebirth: Superman Lives,
a 50 minutes or so documentary chronicling the whole ?Superman is dead?
episode back then, interviewing all the principal writers and artists
Also worth checking out on the disc are some of the trailers for
upcoming Warners Home Video releases such as the upcoming
Blade Runner DVD (no, we can't wait either)
and the interesting animated Justice League - The New Frontier
movie in production right now.