JUSTICE LEAGUE: THE NEW FRONTIER
DVD - Image A Sound B+ Extras B-
BD - Image A+ Sound A- Extras B-
written by Stan Berkowitz with additional material by Darwyn Cooke, based on the graphic novel DC: The New Frontier by Darwyn Cooke
directed by David Bullock
THE ADVENTURES OF AQUAMAN: THE COMPLETE COLLECTION
Image C- Sound C Extras D+
"Menace of the Black Manta/The Rampaging Reptile Men," "The Return of Nepto/The Fiery Invaders," "Sea Raiders/War of the Water Worlds," "The Volcanic Monster/The Crimson Monster from the Pink Pool," "The Ice Dragon/The Deadly Drillers," "Vassa, Queen of the Mermen/The Microscopic Monsters," "The Onslaugh of the Octomen/Treacherous is the Torpedoman," "The Satanic Saturnians/The Brain, the Brave and the Bold," "Where Lurks the Fisherman!/Mephisto's Marine Marauders," "Trio of Terror/The Torp, the Magneto and the Claw," "Goliaths of the Deep-Sea Gorge/The Sinister Sea Scamp," "The Devil Fish/The Sea Scavengers," "In Captain Cuda's Clutches/The Mirror-Man from Planet Imago," "The Sea Sorcerer/The Sea-Snares of Captain Sly," "The Undersea Trojan Horse/The Vicious Villainy of Vassa," "Programmed for Destruction/The War of the Quatix and the Bimphars," "The Stickmen of Stygia/Three Wishes to Trouble," "The Silver Sphere/To Catch a Fisherman"
by Ian Pugh Utterly incomprehensible thanks to a deadly combination of rigid adherence to its source material and a discernible lack of vision, the DC Animated Universe's latest stab at the direct-to-video market can only be described as a complete embarrassment for everyone involved. Adapting a graphic novel by Darwyn Cooke that isn't that great to begin with (it's basically a portable art gallery of Fifties-era superheroes, too long by half and tied together by a belaboured treatise on why the decade wasn't all it's cracked up to be), Justice League: The New Frontier doesn't attempt to build on the kernel of an idea therein. Instead, apparently weighing time constraints against the most exploitable elements, it pays lip service to the plot and reduces everything else to a series of biff!pow! pin-ups. I've been a steadfast defender of comic books for years now, but sometimes I wonder if artists and fans really know what has to be done to make them viable as an adult medium. Their long-suffering quest for legitimacy has seen a pronounced downturn since the introspective melancholy of Superman Returns suffered wholesale rejection for not featuring enough people punching each other in the face--and it appears that Bruce Timm and his crew won't be the ones to try to change minds. There's an awful moment in their last animated opus, Superman: Doomsday, in which the Man of Steel laments that he has saved the world a hundred times over but still hasn't cured cancer--shortly before the film pounds its audience with nearly a full hour of mind-numbing violence. The New Frontier contains a similar moment, except that it replaces social issues with political analogies so simplistic and heavy-handed they would make Emilio Estevez cringe. When Lois Lane (Kyra Sedgwick) says, circa 1954, that "whatever party, whatever administration, there'll always be bogeymen like [Joe McCarthy]" in summarizing that "we need a leader"--and then stares directly at the viewer--it's difficult not to see this entire enterprise as just a bunch of kids playing dress-up.
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