All-Star Superman Blu-ray Review

Movie Rating: 6.5 out of 10
Extras Rating:
8 out of 10

Buy this Blu-ray at Amazon.com

Rating: PG

Starring:
James Denton as Superman / Clark Kent (voice)
Anthony LaPaglia as Lex Luthor (voice)
Christina Hendricks as Lois Lane (voice)
Linda Cardellini as Nasthalthia Luthor (voice)
Matthew Gray Gubler as Jimmy Olsen (voice)
Arnold Vosloo as Bar-El (voice)
Alexis Denisof as Lilo (voice)
Edward Asner as Perry White (voice)
Frances Conroy as Martha Kent (voice)

Directed by Sam Liu

Special Features:
Sneak Peek at "Green Lantern: Emerald Knights"

Featurette: "Superman Now" – In a moment of inspiration, Grant Morrison was provided an opportunity to revamp the Man of Steel into something modern, something more relevant for today’s audience. This is the story of All-Star Superman – where it all started, and what it came to be

Two bonus episodes from "Superman: The Animated Series" handpicked by Bruce Timm

Featurette: "Incubating the Idea" – A conversation with Grant Morrison

Audio Commentary: Bruce Timm and Grant Morrison

All-Star Superman Virtual Comic Book

Other Info:
Widescreen (1.78:1)
DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 Sound
Spanish and French Subtitles
Running Time: 76 Minutes

The Details:
The following is the official description of the film:

"Fueled by hatred and jealousy, Lex Luthor masterminds an elaborate plot to kill the Man of Steel – and it works. Poisoned by solar radiation, Superman is dying. With weeks to live, he fulfills his life’s dreams – especially revealing his true identity to Lois Lane – until Luthor proclaims his ultimate plan to control the world with no alien hero to stop him. Powers fading, Superman engages in a spectacular deadly battle with Luthor that could truly trigger the end of Earth’s Greatest Protector. This startling and gripping DC Universe Animated Original Movie stars the voice talents of James Denton, Anthony LaPaglia, Christina Hendricks and Ed Asner."

"All-Star Superman" is rated PG for sequences of action and violence, language including brief innuendo, and some sensuality.

Mini-Review:
I bought and read all of Grant Morrison and Frank Quitely’s "All-Star Superman" issues when they first came out, so I was eager to see the animated adaptation of the series. The comic was really unique in its take on Superman. While most writers try to power the Man of Steel down to make him more vulnerable, Morrison took the opposite approach. He powered Superman up to an almost god-like status. His strength, hearing, sight, and other powers were expanded beyond anything seen in a Superman story. He also took Superman’s world into almost a fantasy realm by resurrecting some of the more bizarre characters and situations from the comics from the ’50s. We see eccentric scientists, Krypto the Superdog, menacing Kryptonian survivors, and other strange creations. It was a lot to adapt and the movie was successful in some respects and not as successful in others.

"All-Star Superman" perfectly captures the look of Frank Quitely’s art while merging it with the world of animation. It’s almost like the panels from the comic were the storyboards for the film. Many of the iconic scenes from Quitely are exactly duplicated. The movie also perfectly captures this weird and wacky world. The Fortress of Solitude is full of amazing spectacles. Dr. Leo Quintum is kind of the Willy Wonka of science. They all add a lot of personality to this world. But at the same time, the classic Superman elements are here. We have a strong love story between Superman and Lois. We have a klutzy Clark Kent at the Daily Planet. We have a classic rivalry with Lex Luthor. This story starts with the basic Superman groundwork and expands on it in imaginative ways.

With "All-Star Superman", the creators had the difficult task of adapting a 12 issue series into a 76 minute movie. They kept a lot of the best stories like Superman giving Lois his powers for 24 hours, Lex and Clark getting caught in a prison riot, and the final confrontation between Lex and Superman. But fans are going to be disappointed that they cut the Bizarro storyline, Jimmy Olsen becoming Doomsday, and others. That being said, though, the movie narrative seems pretty disjointed as it is. Superman randomly disappears in one part without explanation (only comic fans will really know where he went), the Kryptonian astronauts Bar-El and Lilo appear seemingly out of nowhere, and the plots that are included seem a bit haphazardly stitched together. This leads up to a rather unsatisfying ending that will confuse anyone not familiar with the comics (and even a few of those who are familiar with it).

The voice cast is filled with some hits and misses. On the negative side, James Denton is a pretty dull Superman. I realize that "All-Star Superman" is supposed to be a laid back, mellow fellow but there’s not really any personality in Denton’s voice. Previous Superman voice actors were better. On the positive side, Christina Hendricks provides some spunk to Lois Lane, Edward Asner makes a surly Perry White, and Anthony LaPaglia perfectly portrays the megalomania of Lex Luthor.

I’d recommend "All-Star Superman" most to fans of the Superman comics. They’ll be the most into this unique take on the character while being able to understand the occasionally disjointed plot. But even fans unfamiliar with the comic will probably be impressed with the unique concepts and storylines presented in this movie. After all, seeing Lois Lane as Superwoman is a lot of fun. This isn’t the most accessible Superman movie for general audiences, but it is a unique one.

The Blu-ray for "All-Star Superman" has a few really nice bonus features. "Superman Now" features Grant Morrison and DC’s Dan Dido discussing the origin of the comic. You learn that the inspiration for Morrison’s take was seeing a fan in a Superman costume at San Diego Comic Con. You also get a lot more insight into what Morrison was trying to do with the stories. Even those familiar with the comic will learn a thing or two. A second featurette entitled "Incubating the Idea" shows Morrison’s original sketches for "All-Star Superman" and his ideas for the costume, hairdo, and more. Another notable bonus feature is a sneak peek at the upcoming "Green Lantern: Emerald Knights" movie. It will feature a number of short stories about some of the other members of the Green Lantern Corps. This will make a great companion piece with upcoming "Green Lantern" movie. Rounding out the bonus features are an audio commentary with Bruce Timm and Grant Morrison, two bonus episodes of "Superman: The Animated Series," and a virtual comic book of "All-Star Superman." If you were looking for footage of Christina Hendricks, though, you’re out of luck.