by Emma Smith, Reporter
The full spectrum of superheroes attached to the Justice League gather in this 2008 animated film Justice League: New Frontier to defend earth against the mysterious Centre, which is hell bent on the destruction of humanity. With the impending release of the live-action Justice League film, this commemorative release will introduce you to the larger world of the DC Universe.
The strength of this film lies in the art and voice work. The animation has a retro look with plenty of rounded edges and vibrant colors, which suits the 1950s time period. The art is beautiful, the animation smooth, and together, they make this entry into the Warner Brothers/DC canon fun to watch. There are also plenty of fun period details. J’onn J’onzz watches a hard-boiled detective story on TV, Hal Jordan tools around in a sports car I’d like to steal right off the screen, and Batman compiles his research of the new threat on “state-of-the-art” microfiche.
If there is a vocal star in this film, it truly is Keith David as The Centre. He has a deep and velvety voice that translates to a mesmerizing villain. It is especially helpful here where the villain is an idea more than a person. David Boreanaz gives Hal Jordan a bit of a arrogant frat boy twist that nicely contrasts with the youthful uncertainty Neil Patrick Harris lends to Barry Allen. Miguel Ferrer is an excellent J’onn J’onzz, and it’s not easy to be a convincing Martian. Jeremy Sisto, Lucy Lawless, and Kyle MacLachlan execute Batman, Wonder Woman, and Superman with the dignity one expects for those characters.
Not every element worked as well as the acting and art. Do you have a favorite Justice Leaguer? Someone other than Batman or Superman? As you can see based on the list above, your favorite is still probably in this film. While spot the superhero can be a fun game this is also creates the biggest weakness of the film. The team behind The New Frontier did a great job of integrating all of the various superheroes in the move in a way that matches their individual styles. Unfortunately the sheer number of them means that we as an audience never spend enough time with any individual story to get truly involved. This makes for a bit of an emotionally flat viewing experience.
- Featurette – “Retro Action Cool: The Story of Darwyn Cooke” – A retrospective on the life of the late Darwyn Cooke.
- Featurette – “Super Heroes United! The Complete Justice League History” –How well do you know your Justice League history? This featurette includes interviews with Dan DiDio, Michael Uslan, Paul Levitz, Mark Waid, Denny O’Neil, Stan Lee and Marv Wolfman about the various incarnations of the Justice League and their role in shaping comics as we have come to know them.
- Featurette – “The Legion of Doom: The Pathology of the DC Super Villain”
- Featurette – “Comic Book Commentary: Homage to the New Frontier” – Featurette on the New Frontier comics that inspired this animated feature.
- Sneak Peak: Gotham by Gaslight – A behind-the-scenes look at the next DC Universe Original Movie.
- Audio Commentaries with The Filmmakers and Darwyn Cooke
ComicsOnline gives Justice League – The New Frontier Commemorative Edition – Three out five intergalactic space monsters.