Justice League: Warworld

4K ULTRA HD BLU-RAY REVIEW:

Street Date 7/25/23;
Warner;
Animated;
$24.99 Blu-ray, $29.99 UHD BD;
Rated ‘R’ for some bloody violence.
Voices of Jensen Ackles, Darren Criss, Stana Katic, Ike Amadi, Troy Baker, Matt Bomer, Roger R. Cross, Brett Dalton, John DiMaggio, Robin Atkin Downes, Frank Grillo, Rachel Kimsey, Damian O’Hare, Teddy Sears.

The latest DC animated movie strays a bit from the typical superhero formula but should please fans of the classic trinity of Superman, Batman and Wonder Woman.

The film begins with a bit of an Elseworlds vibe, thrusting audiences into a Wild West adventure with Wonder Woman as a mysterious stranger riding into town to take on the unscrupulous Jonah Hex (which at first blush raises the question of if the filmmakers were doing “Warworld” or “Westworld”). Then, we are presented with Batman transformed into a Conan the Barbarian-type of character in the middle of a power struggle in a swords-and-sorcery setting. From there, the story shifts to a black-and-white 1950s-style ‘B’ movie about an alien invasion, with Clark Kent, Bruce Wayne and Diana cast as government agents sent to stop it.

The movie seems more invested in these vignettes than whatever story might be suggested by the film’s title. In the comics, War World is an intergalactic gladiatorial arena, a concept that has become something of a cliché in superhero movies by now. The film reimagines War World to suit its needs, but it still takes about an hour before letting the audience in on what might be going on with regards to why these heroes are in the situation they’re in. At nearly 90 minutes, Warworld is still one of the longest standalone movies in the DC animated canon, and it puts that extended time to good use with an action-packed climactic battle. On the other hand, as fun as it is to see many of the characters put into the situations they are in, the film ultimately feels more like a mashup of various ideas the filmmakers were interested in seeing on screen that weren’t a good fit anywhere else, strung together with a plot developed just enough to justify its existence before setting up the next movie with an abrupt cliffhanger ending that literally flies in out of nowhere.

The Blu-ray includes two featurettes that run just under eight minutes each. “Illusions on Warworld” explores the alternate reality scenarios presented in the film, while “The Heroic, the Horrible and the Hideous” focuses on the characters involved.

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Warner Bowing ‘Superman Web3 Movie Experience’ Multimedia NFT

Warner Bros. Home Entertainment, in partnership with content blockchain company Eluvio, has announced the DC superhero film “Superman Web3 Movie Experience,” the next installment of the WB Movieverse available for preview at https://web3.wb.com and opening for purchase on June 9. 

The “Superman Web3 Movie Experience” is a multimedia NFT for fans to own and to engage with the 1978 Richard Donner film. Through dynamic menu options based on iconic locations from the film, owners can watch the film in 4K UHD on desktop, mobile, tablet or TV, access special features, view image galleries and artist renderings by notable DC artists, discover digital easter eggs, as well as sell the experience in a community marketplace. 

The “Superman Web3 Movie Experience” will be offered  in standard and premium editions:

  • The standard edition ($30 for one week from 8 a.m. ET on June 9 to 7:59 a.m. ET on June 16) includes an interactive location-based navigation menu, Superman: The Movie Theatrical Version, previously released special features and an image gallery featuring stills and behind the scenes galleries.
  • The premium edition ($100 for 24 hours from 8 a.m. ET on June 9 to 7:59 a.m. ET on June 10) includes three different variations available for purchase separately, Truth, Justice, and Hope, each featuring an illustration of Christopher Reeves’ Superman from one of three DC artists — Ivan Reiss, Ben Oliver, or Bill Sienkiewicz. Each variation includes an interactive and explorable location-based navigation menu and three versions of the feature film — Superman: The Movie Theatrical Version; Superman: The Movie Expanded Director’s Cut; and Superman: The Movie Extended TV Edition — along with previously-released special features, and image galleries featuring costume and detail images from the Warner Bros. Archive and stills and behind the scenes galleries.

 

The “Superman Web3 Movie Experience” will include a free voucher code for a “DC3 Super Power Pack: Series Superman” from the DC NFT Marketplace, offering three randomly selected Superman comics with rarities from Common to Legendary. These packs are time-gated, open edition drops, limited to one per account. There will be new themed packs launching every few weeks.

Early access to all editions of the Superman Web3 Movie Experience will be available to DC Bat Cowl NFT holders at 8 a.m. ET on June 8, to DC3 holders at 11 a.m. ET on June 8, and to “The Lord of the Rings Web3 Movie Experience” holders at 2 p.m. ET on June 8.

The release of “Superman Web3 Movie Experience” follows the 2022 Web3 entertainment offering The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring (Extended Edition) Web3 Movie Experience.”

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“For fans of this beloved and iconic film, Superman: The Movie is being released as an exclusive Web3 film and immersive digital collectible for the first time,” Michelle Munson, CEO and co-founder of Eluvio, said in a statement. “As part of the WB Movieverse, consumers can easily watch, collect and sell their film Web3 Movie Experiences on the blockchain, in the Movieverse marketplace. For Warner Bros., and the broader industry, Eluvio is honored to back this novel digital sellthrough experience for 4K films and premium video assets — all streamed from and backed by secure blockchain access and ownership on the Eluvio Content Fabric.”

The “Superman Web3 Movie Experience” will be available for purchase by credit card or crypto currency. 

To participate in this novel experience, fans can create a secure, easy-to-use media wallet that acts as a digital vault and enables consumers to stream and purchase content via credit cards or crypto wallets.

The “Superman Web3 Movie Experience” is powered by Eluvio. The Eluvio Content Blockchain provides a Web3 platform built for content. It enables Web3 native media experiences, allowing publishers and fans to directly enjoy and monetize shows, films, concerts, digital albums, digital collectibles, interactive and metaverse experiences, and more. Content creators, and their communities, benefit from a significantly more carbon-efficient and high-performance alternative to traditional platforms for content streaming, distribution, and storage, including 4K streaming, ticketing, NFT minting, and trading of premium content. Notably, in this experience, the core digital assets along with derivative NFTs are all on the blockchain, not just the token (NFT) itself. Warner Bros. Discovery Home Entertainment and fans enjoy blockchain-backed access control and content rights enforcement, scalable attestation of ownership, smart contracts that enable distributed royalties, and content experiences that can even evolve over time, according to the release.

Warner to Release ‘Max Fleischer’s Superman’ Cartoons Remastered on Blu-ray May 16

Warner Bros. Discovery Home Entertainment will release Max Fleischer’s Superman 1941-1943, a collection of classic animated shorts, on Blu-ray Disc and for digital purchase May 16.

With the growing popularity of Superman following his debut in Action Comics #1 in 1938 and a subsequent radio program, animator Max Fleischer produced 17 theatrical animated shorts that were released between September 1941 to July 1943, the first nine by Fleischer Studios, the next eight by Famous Studios.

Actors Clayton “Bud” Collyer and Joan Alexander reprised their “The Adventures of Superman” radio show roles as Superman/Clark Kent and Lois Lane, respectively. Jackson Beck provided the voice of Perry White and was the show’s primary narrator. Additional voices, many of whom had participated in the Superman radio program, were provided by Jack Mercer, Grant Richards, Julian Noa, Lee Royce, Max Smith, Sam Parker and Carl Meyer.

The shorts proved highly influential, expanding the character’s profile and adding new aspects to his lore, including a number of catchphrases still attributed to him today. The animation style would also be used as a template 50 years later for “Batman: The Animated Series” and its expanded universe, which included “Superman: The Animated Series.”

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Warner Bros. Discovery’s advanced remastering process for Max Fleischer’s Superman 1941-1943 began with a 4K, 16-bit scan of Fleischer’s original 35mm successive exposure negative. Staying true to the original 1.37:1 aspect ratio, the highest quality raw image was then scanned and then entered into the recombine process — utilizing special proprietary software to merge the successive exposure Technicolor negatives into a single RGB color image.

The bonus materials will include the new featurette “Superman: Speeding Toward Tomorrow,” which explores the visual storytelling and lavish animation of the shorts, with special attention paid to all the atomic age technology. Additional extras include the featurettes “First Flight: The Fleischer Superman Series,” in which contemporary animators, comic book and animation historians, and legendary Fleischer artists discuss the shorts; and “The Man, the Myth, Superman: Exploring the Tradition of Superman Heroes on the Page and Screen,” a study of Superman-esque characters throughout history — in ancient myth, literature and film.

DC League of Super-Pets

4K ULTRA HD BLU-RAY REVIEW:

Warner;
Animated;
Box Office $93.6 million;
$34.98 DVD, $39.98 Blu-ray, $49.98 UHD BD;
Rated ‘PG’ for action, mile violence, language and rude humor.
Voices of Dwayne Johnson, Kevin Hart, Kate McKinnon, John Krasinski, Vanessa Bayer, Natasha Lyonne, Diego Luna, Marc Maron, Keanu Reeves, Thomas Middleditch, Ben Schwartz, Olivia Wilde, Jameela Jamil, Jemaine Clement, John Early, Daveed Diggs, Dascha Polanco, Yvette Nicole Brown, Dan Fogler, Busy Philipps, Keith David, Alfred Molina, Lena Headey.

In the annals of cinema history, DC League of Super-Pets might be the first superhero movie in which the day is saved by the main character’s bowel movement.

The animated movie follows the adventures of Krypto, Superman’s pet dog who traveled with young Kal-El to Earth when both were babies (which would make Krypto really old for a dog, but since he’s an alien dog with superpowers we don’t have to worry about that part). Voiced by Dwayne Johnson, Krypto now helps adult Superman fight crime in Metropolis, but starts to feel left out of Superman’s life due to his relationship with Lois Lane.

Superman (John Krasinski), Krypto and the rest of the Justice League stop Lex Luthor (Marc Maron) from obtaining some orange kryptonite (just go to Wikipedia to look up the history of the colored kryptonites, it’s a whole thing) that would give mortal earthlings superpowers. Unbeknownst to them, the magic rock is instead hauled in by Lulu (Kate McKinnon), an evil guinea pig from Luthor’s lab now living in an animal shelter. While she gains superpowers to aid in her plot for world domination, bringing the kryptonite into the shelter also inadvertently gives the other animals weird powers as well.

Meanwhile, Krypto ends up losing his powers due to eating a piece of cheese containing a piece of green kryptonite (the traditional kind). When Lulu captures Superman and the other members of the Justice League, Krypto is unable to rescue them, so he recruits the superpowered animals from the shelter.

Among them is Ace, a tough dog voiced by Kevin Hart, making this yet another Johnson/Hart collaboration. Since Ace in the comics is traditionally the name of Batman’s dog, it’s not hard to figure out how the plot is going to play out. It all turns, of course, on when Krypto can pass the kryptonite from his system and regain his powers to join the fight.

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DC League of Super-Pets is a vibrant animated adventure that continues Warner’s attempts to branch out its DC Comics characters into other media as it fumbles around with the creative direction of the DC live-action movie franchise (which should get a boost from the elevation of James Gunn and Peter Safran to lead that department). Focusing on the Justice League pets is certainly a novel approach to present the DC world from a different perspective and target the younger demographic, even if it at times seems like a superpowered version of The Secret Life of Pets (also featuring Hart).

Of course, echoing popular trends from similar genres is nothing new, and DC League of Super-Pets is certainly not the most bizarre example of it as far as recent DC adaptations go. That title would have to go to HBO Max’s “Batwheels,” an animated series that brings Batman’s vehicles to life as if they drove in from Disney’s “Cars” movies.

Krypto the Superdog, at the very least, is not a new concept in DC land, having been barking around comics since 1955. His name obviously derives from Superman’s home planet of Krypton, but recent events might conjure up different connotations for it (“Smallville” sidestepped the silliness of It by simply naming the character Shelby instead).

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DC League of Super-Pets comes with extras on Blu-ray and the retail digital version (in the 4K combo pack they are on the regular Blu-ray only).

There are roughly 20 minutes of deleted sequences, presented as storyboards with the original audio temps.

The making of the film is told several short featurettes. The 15-minute “Behind the Super Voices” gives the cast a chance to discuss the film, while the eight-minute “Super-Pets Animation 101” features a discussion from the filmmakers on how they developed the movie, and the seven-and-a-half-minute “The World of Super-Pets” delves into how the film taps in DC Comics history.

Along those lines, the four-minute “Find the Easter Eggs” shows off some of the background references to DC Comics lore.

Rounding out the fun is a seven-minute “How to Draw Krypto” tutorial with animation supervisor Dave Burgess.

Batman and Superman: Battle of the Super Sons

4K ULTRA HD BLU-RAY REVIEW:

Warner;
Animated;
$24.99 Blu-ray, $29.99 UHD BD;
Rated ‘PG-13’ for violence and language.
Voices of Jack Dylan Glazer, Jack Griffo, Troy Baker, Travis Willingham, Laura Bailey, Darin De Paul, Tom Kenny, Zeno Robinson, Nolan North, Myrna Velasco.

Taking the role of the superhero sidekick to the next level, Battle of the Super Sons delves into the family lives of Batman and Superman to present an entertaining, though somewhat derivative, adventure.

The story focuses mostly on Jonathan Kent, the pre-teen son of Clark Kent and Lois Lane who is being raised by his parents in Smallville. When he starts developing powers such as heat vision and super strength, Jonathan’s father reveals his true identity as the son of Superman, and takes him to meet Batman to test the extent of his Kryptonian abilities.

In the Batcave, Jonathan meets Damian Wayne, the current Robin who is the son of Batman and Talia, daughter of the supervillain Ra’s al Ghul.

Soon enough, Batman and Superman are called away to deal with a Justice League crisis involving Starro, the mind-controlling starfish alien who has made its way to Earth and begins possessing the population.

With Batman, Superman and other members of the Justice League infected, Jonathan and Damien must team up to free them from Starro’s control.

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The concept of Batman and Superman having children who team up is hardly a new one, first presented in the comics in alternate reality stories in the 1960s and 1970s. Those tales weren’t much of a stretch from a creative standpoint, with the sons named Superman Jr. and Batman Jr. and basically serving as mini-me versions of their fathers.

It wasn’t until the past decade or so that Batman and Superman gained true sons in the main DC continuity, paving the way for a revival of the Super Sons concept using Damien and Jonathan. And really, the idea of pairing a variation of Superboy with Robin is just a fun team-up.

Battle of the Super Sons is purportedly the first of the DC Universe animated movies to fully use CGI for its animation, and the results are pretty good. The style is evocative of traditional 2D animation with some anime influences for the action. Colors are bright and vivid, and the story lends itself to bold action sequences.

While the story works to translate the Super Sons concept from page to screen, it does feel a lot like a mash-up of popular trends in comic adaptations and some wish fulfillment on the part of the writers. Starro, who was actually the original foe of the Justice League back in the 1960s before being sidelined as somewhat goofy, has become a bit of a trendy villain of late thanks to being featured in James Gunn’s The Suicide Squad. But the mind-control element does let the writers have some fun with letting Damien and Jonathan fight some members of the Justice League, including their own fathers.

Meanwhile, the notion of Superman and Lois having kids and moving to Smallville is the premise of the TV series “Superman and Lois.”

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The whole history of the Super Sons concept, how it shines light on some of our favorite characters, and the effort it took to make a movie out of it is covered in the 15-minute featurette “Rival Sons: Jonathan and Damian.”

The Blu-ray also includes bonus episodes from “Batman: The Animated Series” in the form of “The Demon’s Quest” two-parter, a story arc in which Ra’s al Ghul kidnaps Robin (the original, Dick Grayson) in an effort to get Batman to take his place. These episodes were probably chosen because they deal with the Batman/Talia relationship and thus connect to Damien’s history.

 

 

Animated Movie ‘Batman and Superman: Battle of the Super Sons’ Flying to 4K, Blu-ray and Digital Oct. 18

Warner Bros. Home Entertainment will release the animated movie Batman and Superman: Battle of the Super Sons on Blu-ray Disc, 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray, and for digital purchase Oct. 18.

Warner Bros. Animation’s first all-CG animated feature-length film finds the children of Batman and Superman tasked with saving their famous fathers — and the world.

The ‘PG-13’-rated film based on DC Comics characters begins with Superman’s 11-year-old half-Kryptonian son Jonathan Kent (Jack Dylan Glazer) discovering he has superpowers and being introduced to the complicated world of superheroes and supervillains. When the world is attacked by the malevolent mind-controlling alien force known as Starro, Jonathan must join forces with Batman’s son Damian Wayne (Jack Griffo), the former assassin now serving as Robin.

The voice cast also includes Troy Baker as Batman/Bruce Wayne, Travis Willingham as Superman/Clark Kent, Laura Bailey as Lois Lane, Darin De Paul as Lex Luthor and Starro, Tom Kenny as Green Arrow and Penguin, Zeno Robinson as Jimmy Olsen and Melvin Masters, Nolan North as Jor-El, and Myrna Velasco as Wonder Girl and Lara.

The home release includes the featurette “Rival Sons: Jonathan and Damian.”

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‘Zack Snyder’s Justice League’ Available for Digital Purchase July 19

Warner Bros. Home Entertainment is making Zack Snyder’s Justice League available for digital purchase starting July 19.

The four-hour director’s cut of the 2017 Justice League film was released as an HBO Max exclusive in 2021. It was later released on Blu-ray, 4K Ultra HD disc and DVD, but those copies did not include access to a digital edition of the film, and it remained a digital exclusive to HBO Max.

A sequel to 2013’s Man of Steel and 2016’s Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice, the film tells the story of Batman and Wonder Woman’s attempts to recruit a team of heroes to defend Earth against an alien threat. During production, director Zack Snyder clashed with the studio over the creative direction of the film, particularly in the wake of lackluster box office results for BvS. He eventually left the project following the death of his daughter, and was replaced by Joss Whedon, who conducted extensive reshoots to reduce the film to a studio-mandated two-hour running time.

Fans of Snyder’s previous two films who felt the Whedon cut didn’t match their tone or wrap up the storylines in a satisfactory way began petitioning the studio to “Release the Snyder Cut,” which become a popular meme. Studio bosses didn’t seem interested in providing the funds for Snyder to complete the visual effects for his longer cut of the film, until former corporate parent AT&T decided to pursue the project as a selling point for the new HBO Max streaming service.

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The cast includes Ben Affleck as Batman, Gal Gadot as Wonder Woman, Henry Cavill as Superman, Jason Momoa as Aquaman, Ray Fisher as Cyborg and Ezra Miller as The Flash. Screenplay credit for Zack Snyder’s Justice League goes to Chris Terrio, from a story by Chris Terrio & Zack Snyder and Will Beall, based on characters from DC Comics. The film’s producers are Charles Roven and Deborah Snyder, with executive producers Christopher Nolan, Emma Thomas, Wesley Coller, Jim Rowe, Curtis Kanemoto, Chris Terrio and Ben Affleck.

Zack Snyder’s Justice League will be available to own digitally in high-definition or standard-definition from participating digital retailers.

Bonus materials, which will vary by retailer, include a six-minute  “Building a Scene” featurette about bringing the film to life; the 24-minute “Road to Justice League” in which Snyder reflects on making his DC trilogy; and the “Justice is Gray” version of ZSJL that presents the film in noirish black-and-white.

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A trilogy bundle also will be available starting July 19 that will contain Man of Steel, the Batman v Superman Ultimate Edition (the three-hour director’s cut of that film), and Zack Snyder’s Justice League.

 

Craig and the Camel May Be Gone, But Transactional Marketing Still Going Strong

For me, the pinnacle of marketing at the height of the DVD era was Craig Kornblau on a camel.

It was the heyday of event marketing. DVD had become such a monstrous success that disc revenues were outpacing theatrical. DVD potential was even a factor in deciding whether to greenlight movies.

No wonder, then, that at a time when a hot new DVD release could sell 20 million copies or more, just in the first week, the release of a big theatrical film on disc was hailed as a big event — and marketed accordingly.

I remember Disney’s gala launch party for the Ratatouille DVD, with more than a thousand guests crowding a ballroom at the Renaissance Hollywood Hotel for a gastronomical feast.

I remember flying to London for a party to celebrate New Line Home Video’s release of the Lost in Space movie.

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I remember Warner Home Video’s Superman party, where I joked to then-president Ron Sanders that the shindig probably cost the studio more than they were spending on advertising with Home Media Magazine all year.

I remember being flown to London by PolyGram to celebrate the DVD release of Phantom of the Opera, as well as three Super Bowls (thanks, Bill Sondheim!) to drum up excitement for the subsequent NFL Super Bowl DVD.

And then there was Craig Kornblau and the camel. The “event” was the 2002 DVD release of The Scorpion King, and amid a throng of beefy warriors, belly dancers and flame explosions I remember looking up and seeing Kornblau, at the time president of Universal Studios Home Video, and his top marketing executive, Ken Graffeo, riding down Sunset Boulevard on a pair of massive dromedaries. A Los Angeles Times article from October 2002 picks up the story from there: “Moments later, the entire caravan, writhing women, camels and all, crossed Sunset Boulevard to the Virgin Megastore across the street, where confused shoppers were rapidly overrun by belly dancers, snake handlers and jugglers.”

The reporter quoted Kornblau as saying the studio hoped to generate earn more than $36 million in the first week of sales, more than the first week of box office for the film’s theatrical release.

These days, physical and digital sales of movies, even combined, area fraction of DVD sales 20 years ago, due to the rise and domination of subscription streaming.

And yet studio marketers continue to “eventize” new transactional releases, although invariably some, if not most, of a campaign’s components take place virtually, often through tie-ins with social media influencers.

In this year’s Power Marketing report, our fourth annual look at the top marketing campaigns of the past year, we profile nearly a dozen standouts from the major studios — and as you’ll see, creativity and ingenuity are certainly not in short supply. Universal Studios Home Entertainment, for example, launched F9 into the home market by getting stars Vin Diesel and Ludacris to share custom content on their Instagram accounts, followed by F9 Fest, a huge press and social media influencer event with interviews, a rooftop zipline stunt experience and even an F9 museum, featuring vehicles from the film.

And Paramount celebrated the 50thanniversary of The Godfather, and the landmark film’s 4K Ultra HD debut, with all sorts of creative executions, strategic partnerships and publicity events. A press screening on the studio lot was preceded by a panel discussion with director Francis Ford Coppola and stars James Caan and Talia Shire — along with a street-naming celebration and the presentation of a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame to Coppola.

Craig and his camel may be long gone, but “eventizing” home releases is certainly still a “thing.

Smallville: The Complete Series — 20th Anniversary Edition

BLU-RAY REVIEW:

Street Date 10/19/21:
Warner;
Sci-Fi Action;
$154.99 DVD (62 discs), $179.99 Blu-ray (42 discs — 40 BD + 2 DVD);
Not rated.
Stars Tom Welling, Allison Mack, Kristin Kreuk, Michael Rosenbaum, John Glover, Erica Durance, Annette O’Toole, John Schneider, Justin Hartley, Sam Jones, Cassidy Freeman, Aaron Ashmore, Eric Johnson, Laura Vandervoort, Callum Blue, Jensen Ackles, Sam Witwer, Terence Stamp, James Marsters, Michael McKean, Ian Somerhalder, Jane Seymour, Brian Austin Green, Pam Grier, Helen Slater, Michael Ironside, Julian Sands, Tori Spelling, Rutger Hauer, Margot Kidder, Christopher Reeve.

Running from 2001 to 2011, first on the WB network and then CW, “Smallville” depicted the early years of Clark Kent before he became Superman.

Set in the fictional title town in Kansas where young Clark famously grew up, the show begins with Smallville being hit by a meteor shower, the remnants of the destroyed planet Krypton. Among the debris is the craft carrying the baby Kal-El, who is discovered by Jonathan and Martha Kent (John Schneider and Annette O’Toole) and raised as their son with solid midwestern American values.

As the years go by, Clark (Tom Welling) discovers his true self as his alien abilities blossom, setting him along the path toward his destiny.

To give Clark something to do in between the milestone events that edge him closer to becoming Superman, the show hit upon the clever conceit that the meteorites that crashed into Smallville would unleash cosmic radiation upon those near where it crashed. For Clark, the surviving chunks would become Kryptonite, the substance any casual pop culture fan knows is Superman’s weakness. However, the humans affected would gain strange abilities of their own, lending the show a monster-of-the-week format as high schooler Clark and his pals, most notably Chloe (Allison Mack), would deal with the strange cases that arose. This underpinning of the show’s mythology gave it a strong “Superboy” by way of “Buffy the Vampire Slayer” vibe. The show also attempted to stay somewhat grounded in reality with its famous “no tights, no flights” rule, meaning it tried to stay away from cheesy costumes and fanciful superpowers (though it would backtrack on that a bit in the later years when the original creative team behind the show had left).

As something of a proto-Arrowverse, the show would also introduce several elements from Superman and the greater DC Comics lore into the show. In later seasons, Clark would encounter other young superheroes, teaming up with them to form an early version of the Justice League. Among them was the Green Arrow (Justin Hartley), whose popularity would inspire giving the character his own show, though “Arrow” was a reboot and not a spinoff.

Other friends of the teenage Clark included his first love, Lana Lang (Kristin Kreuk), and a younger Lex Luthor (Michael Rosenbaum), who was mostly interested in stopping the evil schemes of his father, Lionel (John Glover), while developing an evil streak of his own. Eventually Clark would also meet Chloe’s cousin Lois Lane (Erica Durance), long before she ever became an ace reporter, giving the show a chance to tell that story, too.

The series was often fun to watch and offered some clever takes on the Superman mythology. Later seasons would involve long story arcs involving more-traditional Superman villains such as Zod or Doomsday, and introduce characters such as Supergirl (Laura Vandervoort). However, the show seemed to be running in place it last few seasons as it kept putting off the moment Clark would actually become Superman, which was clearly the natural endpoint, resulting in a show that crawled to the finish line having stayed on a air a few seasons more than it probably should. This longevity forced producers to awkwardly cram in comic book elements from Superman’s adult adventures while retconning other plot developments that deviated from the lore (such as Lex dying after season seven when Rosenbaum left the show).

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The show was heavily influenced by the look and feel of the Richard Donner Superman movie, using its design for the Fortress of Solitude as a palace of ice, while sprinkling in John Williams’ iconic theme music when appropriate.

“Smallville” was also known for its extensive Easter Eggs of earlier adaptations of the source material, most notably in the form of its extensive roster of guest stars (a tradition carried on in the Arrowverse). Christopher Reeve, the movie Superman of the 1970s and 1980s, made a well-received guest appearance as a scientist who uncovers facts about Clark’s Kryptonian heritage, while Margot Kidder made a cameo as one of his colleagues (Durance’s Lois, it should be noted, takes a lot of influence from Kidder’s version). Helen Slater, who played Supergirl in the 1984 movie, play’s Kal-El’s Kryptonian mother, Lara (and she would go on to play Supergirl’s adopted mother in the “Supergirl” TV series). Jor-El, Superman’s Kryptonian father, would be voiced by Terence Stamp, who played the evil General Zod in the Reeve films. Annette O’Toole had played Lana Lang in Superman III.

Amy Adams, who would go on to play Lois Lane in Man of Steel, guest starred in an early episode as one of the meteor freaks of the week.

One episode in season five even features a “Dukes of Hazzard” reunion, brining on Tom Wopat as an old friend of Schneider’s Jonathan.

Ultimately “Smallville” lasted for 10 seasons and 217 episodes, establishing the record as the longest-running genre series (surpassing “Stargate SG-1” by three episodes, but later eclipsed by “Supernatural,” which lasted 15 years and 320 episodes).

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A complete-series DVD was released back in 2011, after all the seasons had been released individually on DVD, while seasons six through 10 had also been released individually on Blu-ray. Thus, the complete-series Blu-ray collection marks the Blu-ray debuts for seasons one through five (though season five had been released on HD DVD, as was season six).

The series was filmed with HD in mind from the start, so the early episodes look great in HD. However, some visual effects were completed in standard-definition, and those scenes have been upscaled, as have the first few seasons of the opening credits that weren’t originally completed in high-def either.

The discs come housed with each season in its own Blu-ray case packed into a nice slipcover. The box art for each season are rather Spartan, however, offering some season-specific images and a list of episodes and bonus features, but not indicating which episodes and extras are on which disc.

Those extras, carried over from the previous DVDs, include a smattering of deleted scenes, episode commentaries and featurettes. Some episodes have extended cuts, such as the pilot. While the extended version of the first episode does have a nice commentary from the show’s creators, it is presented as upscaled SD rather than the noticeably better quality of the HD print of the broadcast version.

The complete-series set also includes the two DVDs of extras previously released in the deluxe 2011 complete-series DVD set, including a series retrospective, a look a the 100th episode, and pilot episodes from proposed “Superboy” and “Aquaman” series that were never picked up.

However, there don’t seem to be any new extras, which is a shame given it’s been 10 years since “Smallville” ended and there is no shortage of retrospective material on the Internet. Michael Rosenbaum’s “Inside of You” podcast is a good source for a lot of discussions with the cast, though those might be a bit candid for an official studio release, given how much of the discussions relate to Allison Mack’s criminal troubles related to the NXIVM sex cult.

Heck, they even had a reunion panel at DC Fandome that could easily have been pre-recorded in time to include in the set. (The 20-minute clip can be found on YouTube.)

They also could have included the “Smallville” segment of the Arrowvere’s “Crisis on Infinite Earths” 2019 crossover that brought Welling and Durance back as Clark and Lois to get a peek at what they had been up to since the show ended (even though the finale featured a flash-forward). So to see that, fans will have to pick up any of the Arrowverse seasons featuring the “Crisis” bonus disc.

Animated DC Comics Movie ‘Injustice’ Slated for Blu-ray and Digital Release Oct. 19

Warner Bros. Home Entertainment will release the newest DC Universe animated movie, Injustice, on Blu-ray Disc, 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray and via digital sellthrough Oct. 19.

Inspired by the Injustice: Gods Among Us video game and the Injustice: Gods Among Us — Year One graphic novel based on it, the film is set in an alternate world gone mad, where The Joker has duped Superman into killing Lois Lane, sending the Man of Steel on a deadly rampage. Unhinged, Superman decides to take control of the Earth for humanity’s own good. Determined to stop him, Batman creates a team of like-minded, freedom-fighting heroes, leading to an all-out superhero war.

Justin Hartley of “This Is Us” provides the voice of Superman, returning to the DC realm after playing Green Arrow on “Smallville.” Anson Mount of “Star Trek: Discovery” voices Batman. The voice cast also includes Janet Varney as Wonder Woman; Brandon Micheal Hall as Cyborg; Kevin Pollak as Joker and Jonathan Kent; Anika Noni Rose as Catwoman; Reid Scott as Green Arrow and Victor Zsasz; Edwin Hodge as Mr. Terrific and Killer Croc; Gillian Jacobs as Harley Quinn; Oliver Hudson as Plastic Man; Laura Bailey as Lois Lane and Rama Kushna; Faran Tahir as Ra’s al Ghul; Derek Phillips as Nightwing and Aquaman; Yuri Lowenthal as Mirror Master, Flash and Shazam; Zach Callison as Damian and Jimmy Olsen; Brian T. Delaney as Green Lantern; Fred Tatasciore as Captain Atom; and Andrew Morgado as Mirror Master Soldier.

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The film is rated ‘R’ for bloody violence.

The Injustice 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray Combo Pack includes the film on a 4K disc with HDR and on a regular Blu-ray. Both the 4K and Blu-ray editions include a digital copy.

Extras include the making-of featurette “Adventures in Storytelling – Injustice: Crisis and Conflict,” plus the “Injustice for All” two-parter from the “Justice League” cartoon that aired in 2002, and featurettes about previously released DC movies The Death of Superman and Reign of the Supermen.

A sneak peek of Injustice will be available at the DC FanDome virtual event Oct. 16.