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.

 

‘Superman: The Animated Series’ Flying to Blu-ray Oct. 26

Warner Bros. Home Entertainment will release “Superman: The Animated Series” on Blu-ray Oct. 26 to celebrate the show’s 25th anniversary.

Running for 54 episodes from 1996 to 2000, “Superman: The Animated Series” was produced by Bruce Timm, Paul Dini and Alan Burnett, the creative team behind the groundbreaking “Batman: The Animated Series,” leading to crossovers between the two characters and other DC Comics heroes as a precursor to the “Justice League” and “Justice League Unlimited” animated series.

Tim Daly led the voice cast as Clark Kent/Superman alongside Dana Delany as Lois Lane, David Kaufman as Jimmy Olsen, and Clancy Brown as Lex Luthor.

All 54 episodes have been remastered from the original 35mm interpositive sources, giving special attention to extensive color correction, dirt and scratch clean-up, and adding a grain reduction pass to create a pristine picture, all while making sure not to affect the original lines in the artwork of the animation. The audio was retransferred from the original audio masters, and the series is presented in its original aspect ratio of 4:3.

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The six-disc Superman: The Complete Animated Series boxed set will include the new retrospective featurette “Superman: Timeless Icon,” a look at the complicated journey of the show and those who created the new mythology for the Man of Steel.

Also included will be a special video commentary for the episode “Mxyzpixilated,” and audio commentaries for the episodes “Stolen Memories,” “The Last Son of Krypton — Part 1” and “The Main Main — Part 2,” with the show’s producers and episode directors.

Also included will be the featurettes “A Little Piece of Trivia”; “Superman: Learning to Fly,” about the creation of the show; “Building the Mythology: Superman’s Supporting Cast”; “Menaces of Metropolis: Behind the Villains of Superman,” a look at the show’s rogues’ gallery of baddies, including traditional opponents Lex Luthor, Brainiac, Bizarro, Metallo, Mr. Mxyzptlk, Toy-man and Parasite, as well as new villains created for the series such as Live Wire and Luminus; and “The Despot Darkseid: A Villain Worthy of Superman.”

The Blu-ray set will also include a code to access digital copies of the episodes.

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Update (9/23/21): Release date changed from Oct. 12 to Oct. 26.

Complete ‘Smallville’ Series Debuting on Blu-ray Oct. 19

In honor of the 20th anniversary of the Superman series, Smallville: The Complete Series will soar onto Blu-ray for the first time ever from Warner Bros. Home Entertainment Oct. 19.

The set features all 218 episodes along with more than 28 hours of bonus features from all 10 seasons, plus digital copy (U.S. only).

The Emmy-winning, 10-season series based on the DC comics character explored the origins of Superman from Krypton refugee Kal-El’s arrival on Earth through his tumultuous teen years to Clark Kent’s final steps toward embracing his destiny as the Man of Steel.

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Starring Tom Welling as Clark Kent, Allison Mack as Chloe Sullivan, Kristin Kreuk as Lana Lang,  Michael Rosenbaum as Lex Luthor, John Glover as Lionel Luthor, Erica Durance as Lois Lane, Annette O’Toole as Martha Kent, John Schneider as Jonathan Kent, Justin Hartley as Oliver Queen, Sam Jones III as Pete Ross, Cassidy Freeman as Tess Mercer, Aaron Ashmore as Jimmy Olsen, Eric Johnson as Whitney Fordman, Laura Vandervoort as Kara, Callum Blue as Zod, Jensen Ackles as Jason Teague and Sam Witwer as Davis Bloome, “Smallville” has also featured guest stars including 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 and Christopher Reeve.

Smallville: The Complete Series — 20th Anniversary Edition includes two DVD discs with more than 28 hours of bonus features originally released on the season DVD sets. They include “The Adventures of Superboy,”  the original 1961 pilot starring John Rockwell; “A Retrospective Look at the Series’ 10-Year Journey,” an in-depth, season-by-season look at the creation of this television series; the “A Decade of Comic-Con” featurette; a Paley Festival featurette; “Smallville’s 100th Episode: Making of a Milestone,” an extended version of the original featurette included in the season five set; “Secret Origin: The American Story of DC Comics,” a feature-length documentary chronicling DC’s 75 years; audio commentaries; deleted and extended scenes; gag reels; and behind-the-scenes featurettes.

Smallville: The Complete Series is currently available to own on digital.

Justice Society: World War II

BLU-RAY REVIEW:

Street Date 5/11/21;
Warner;
Animated;
$29.98 Blu-ray, $39.99 UHD BD;
Rated ‘PG-13’ for violence and some bloody images.
Voices of Stana Katic, Matt Bomer, Omid Abtahi, Geoffrey Arend, Chris Diamantopoulos, Matthew Mercer, Liam McIntyre, Elysia Rotaru, Armen Taylor, Darren Criss.

The plot mechanics that presumably served as the jumping off point for Justice Society: World War II ultimately cause the latest DC Universe animated movie to struggle to become a satisfying standalone adventure.

The film starts off in modern times, with Barry Allen (Matt Bomer) interrupting a picnic with his girlfriend to become the Flash and help Superman hold off an attempt by Brainiac to invade Metropolis. The battle ends up opening a rift that sends the Flash to World War II, where he encounters the Justice Society of America, the team of the greatest superheroes of that era (known in comic book lingo as the Golden Age).

They are led by the ageless Wonder Woman (Stana Katic, effectively laying on her best Gal Gadot accent). But the team also includes the Golden Age version of the Flash, Jay Garrick (Armen Taylor), allowing the iconic speedsters of two eras to meet each other.

As Barry works to figure out how to get home, he agrees to help the JSA on their mission, which involves stopping Hitler from collecting mystical artifacts (a nice nod to Indiana Jones), and leads them to uncover a Nazi plot involving the undersea kingdom of Atlantis, ruled by Aquaman (Liam McIntyre).

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The film is loaded with some great animated action sequences, nice character dynamics and some intriguing plot twists. But what could have been a good period piece about Golden Age comic book characters during WWII gets sidetracked by the question of why the future Flash had to be involved for the story to work.

Turns out there are a couple of reasons for it, and it has more to do with franchise building and comic book history than servicing the story (or, at the very least, the story that they appear to be telling).

Based on a half-hour roundtable with the filmmakers included on the Blu-ray, the genesis for the film seems to be adapting the classic 1961 comic book story called “Flash of Two Worlds,” which is generally credited with establishing the idea of a comic book multiverse. That story, by Flash creator Gardner Fox, was a fun, meta examination of the nature of comic book storytelling. A number of characters from the Golden Age (roughly the 1940s through the mid 1950s) had been either retired or redesigned heading into the Silver Age (mid-1950s through the 1960s). The Flash was one of the ones redesigned for a new audience, switching from the maskless, helmeted Jay Garrick to the red-suited Barry Allen we still know today. “Flash of Two Worlds” saw Barry Allen’s Flash cross into the dimension where Garrick had been the Flash 20 years earlier, putting the two on an adventure together. The multiverse was significant in that it freed writers from adhering to established continuity when it no longer made sense due to the passage of time (e.g., Superman and Batman supposedly being the same age in the 1960s as they were when they were created in the 1930s), while allowing them to honor the legacies of characters from the eras in which they were introduced.

So, building a version of “Flash of Two Worlds” into a movie then begins with the concept of sending Barry Allen into Jay Garrick’s time. Which then requires the filmmakers to develop Garrick and his era.

The other factor that seems to have influenced this movie is that it’s apparently set in the same continuity as 2020’s Superman: Man of Tomorrow. The animation styles are similar and Darren Criss voices Superman in both movies. So, that makes the two films an early attempt to establish a new DC shared animated universe, and uses the story of Barry Allen meeting the JSA to inspire him to help build the team of modern heroes that will be known as the Justice League for future movies.

Otherwise, the Golden Age trappings are just a great excuse to either revisit characters that don’t get as much screentime anymore, or look at familiar characters through a different lens.

This just leads back to the idea of the JSA fighting Nazis being a strong enough premise on its own without the Flash framing device pulling focus from it. Of course, time will tell if future movies pay off some of the story threads introduced here in a way that reframes how this particular movie ends up being perceived.

The filmmaker roundtable is a fun watch and a nice departure from the usual talking-heads featurettes usually included with the DC animation Blu-rays. The format provides for a fun conversation about exploring different superheroes and bringing their stories to life through animation in a way that both satisfies the curiosities of the writer and entertains the audience.

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The Blu-ray also includes the two-part “Legends” episode of the “Justice League” animated series which tells the same basic story — the Flash and some other Justice League team members are sent to an alternate dimension where they encounter another superhero team that is eerily similar to yet slightly different from their own.

The other notable inclusion on the Blu-ray is the 18-minute animated short film Kamandi: The Last Boy on Earth. This is a fun adventure set in an apocalyptic future that begins with some clever nods to Planet of the Apes. Kamandi is a teenager trying to survive in a world in which humans are gone and animals have evolved into walking, talking tribes. A clan of apes captures Kamandi and some of this friends and subjects them to a series of tests, hoping to find the reincarnation of the great warrior who shaped the world after the fall of society. Kamandi’s backstory (created by the legendary Jack Kirby) and the world of humanoid animals give the short the feeling of a classic 1980s Saturday morning cartoon.

Rounding out the extras are previews for other DC animated movies, including the upcoming Batman: The Long Halloween.

Pauly Shore’s ‘Guest House’ Most-Viewed New-Release Movie in U.S. Homes

Three new films appeared on the weekly “Watched at Home” chart for the week ended Sept. 12: Guest House at No. 7, Superman: Man of Tomorrow at No. 12, and The Karate Kid at No. 14.

Guest House, from Lionsgate, is a comedy starring Pauly Shore, best known for a string of 1990s comedies such as Encino Man and Jury Duty. Shore, the son of comedian Sammy Shore and The Comedy Store founder Mitzi Shore, plays a squatter who refuses to move from a guest house even after the property is sold to a newly engaged couple. The film was released through digital platforms and retailers on Sept. 4, ahead of its Nov. 10 DVD and Blu-ray Disc release date.

Superman: Man of Tomorrow, from Warner Bros. Home Entertainment, was released as a Blu-ray/DVD combo pack and 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray on Sept. 8, two weeks after its digital release. It’s the 40th entry in the direct-to-video DC Universe series of superhero movies based on DC Comics characters, produced by Warner Bros. Animation and DC Entertainment. It details the early days of the Man of Steel’s shy alter ego, Clark Kent, in Metropolis.

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The Karate Kid is a 1984 martial arts drama starring Ralph Macchio Jr., who reprises his role as Daniel LaRusso in “Cobra Kai,” a Web series based on the movie and its sequels. Consumers were likely motivated to watch the movie by the recent surge in popularity of “Cobra Kai,” the first two seasons of which became available on Netflix on Aug. 28.

The political satire Irresistible, from Universal Pictures Home Entertainment, made the biggest jump on the “Watched at Home” chart, which tracks transactional video activity (both digital and on DVD and Blu-ray Disc) compiled from studio and retailer data through DEG: The Digital Entertainment Group.

Irresistible moved up to No. 10 after debuting at No. 19 the prior week in the wake of its Sept. 1 release on DVD and Blu-ray Disc (though its disc version hasn’t cracked the top 50 on VideoScan’s sales chart in either its two weeks on shelves). The film was written and directed by Jon Stewart and features a cast headed by Steve Carell, Rose Byrne, Chris Cooper, Mackenzie Davis and Topher Grace. Carell portrays a campaign strategist who runs a Democratic mayoral candidate (Cooper) in a small right-wing town. A Focus Features production, Irresistible was rerouted from a May 2020 theatrical release by the coronavirus pandemic and instead debuted in June on premium VOD. It became available through regular digital channels on Aug. 18.

The top five remain relatively unchanged from the prior week  — and from the week before that. Paramount’s popular TV drama series “Yellowstone,” long a favorite among home viewers, again took the top three spots on the chart, though this week season three leapfrogged season two to take the No. 2 spot. Universal’s The King of Staten Island switched places with RLJ FIlms’ The Tax Collector to finish as No. 4 and No. 5, respectively.

  1. Yellowstone: Season 1 (Paramount)
  2. Yellowstone: Season 3 (Paramount)
  3. Yellowstone: Season 2 (Paramount)
  4. The King of Staten Island (Universal)
  5. The Tax Collector (RLJ Entertainment)
  6. Harry Potter Complete 8-Film Collection (Warner)
  7. Guest House (Lionsgate)
  8. Trolls World Tour (Universal/DreamWorks)
  9. 42 (Warner)
  10. Irresistible (2020, Universal)
  11. The Silencing (2020, Lionsgate)
  12. Superman: Man of Tomorrow (Warner)
  13. Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone (Warner)
  14. The Karate Kid (Sony)
  15. Rogue (Lionsgate)
  16. The Vanished (2020, Paramount)
  17. The Outpost (Screen Media)
  18. Scoob! (Warner)
  19. 1917 (Universal)
  20. Made In Italy  (IFC Films)

 

Source: DEG: The Digital Entertainment Group
Includes U.S. digital sales, digital rentals, and DVD, Blu-ray Disc and 4K Ultra HD sales for the week ended Sept. 12.

Superman: Man of Tomorrow

BLU-RAY REVIEW:

Street Date 9/8/20;
Warner;
Animated;
$24.98 Blu-ray, $39.99 UHD BD;
Rated ‘PG-13’ for violence, some bloody images, suggestive material, language, smoking and brief partial nudity.
Voices of Darren Criss, Alexandra Daddario, Zachary Quinto, Ike Amadi, Ryan Hurst, Brett Dalton, Neil Flynn, Bellamy Young, Eugene Byrd.

The latest DC Comics animated movie takes a look at young Clark Kent’s early days as Superman as a fresh-faced potential journalist newly arrived in Metropolis.

This version of Clark, while aware of his powers, has no clue about his Kryptonian origins. He begins attracting the attention of the press through a series of heroic deeds, though he has yet to be branded Superman or even don his iconic costume (though his reasons for needing the costume provide one of the film’s biggest laughs)..

However, his exploits also get noticed by the notorious intergalactic bounty hunter Lobo, who comes to Earth looking for a fight. Though Clark finds an ally in the mysterious Martian Manhunter, his battle with Lobo ends up unleashing a deadly creature known as Parasite, who grows stronger by absorbing energy and draining the life force of his victims.

To stop Parasite’s rampage, Clark (voiced by Darren Criss) must enlist the help of Lex Luthor (Zachary Quinto), a man destined to one day become his sworn enemy. But this story occurs before all those pieces fall into place.

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The movie also gives some attention to the young Lois Lane (Alexandra Daddario), a recent graduate looking to establish herself as the top reporter at the Daily Planet, where Clark has been working as an intern bringing everyone their coffee.

The film does a nice job of establishing Clark’s eagerness to fit in. He knows he’s an alien, but isn’t sure from where or who else knows, so he knows his heroic excursions come with an element of risk. In fact, one of the big motifs of the film is finding the humanity in beings who otherwise aren’t human, particularly as Superman tries to re-connect with the man Parasite used to be.

Man of Tomorrow, the 40th entry in the DC Universe series of animated superhero movies, is a standalone film, not connected to the brand’s recent string of interconnected movies, though it could very well prove a good jumping off point for a new continuity.

The animation is crisp and lively, and the colors pop in high-definition. The filmmakers have crafted some exciting action sequences, including the initial all-out brawl between young Clark Kent and Lobo. The third-act battle against Parasite takes on much of the flavor of a typical “Godzilla” movie, but for the most part this is a pretty entertaining Superman adventure. Fans of Lobo should get a kick out of finally seeing him in action in one of these DC movies.

The Blu-ray includes two Lobo-centric episodes from “Superman: The Animated Series,” plus a 10-minute featurette on the history and popularity of Lobo.

There’s also a nine-minute featurette about the legacy of the Martian Manhunter.

Rounding out the extras are a trailer, featurettes for earlier DC animated movies, and a 12-minute preview of the next animated DC movie, a kung-fu-style Batman adventure set in the 1970s.