Justice League: The New Frontier (2008) Review

director: Dave Bullock

writers: Stan Berkowitz & Darwyn Cooke

starring: David Boreanaz, Miguel Ferrer, Neil Patrick Harris, Kyle MacLachlan amd Keith David

genre: Action | Animation | Comics

released: February 26, 2008 on DVD & Blu-ray

based on the comic book: Justice League: The New Frontier by Darwyn Cooke

Lately I’ve had a little comic book animation fever. So I decided to go even further back and see a real gem in comic book film animation. The New Frontier has everything that one of these genre films need, emotion, great back stories, exploding action, tense scenes and being a faithful adaptation of the comic and characters. Seeing this movie is enough to understand why people love comics and what emotions, meanings and spirit it brings to some of us.

story:

Taking outside of DC continuity, but still incorporating all those DC characters perfectly and still with their exact origins. Its based in the 1950’s when these famous heroes started to come into fruition or as its called the "Golden Age" of comics.

Here we get to see origins of Hal Jordan/Green Lantern, Martian the Man-hunter and also take a peak at the lives of other superheroes as Superman, Batman, Flash and more. All are connected together while this new force tries to destroy the Earth. "The Centre" leaving clues everywhere of his coming. Will make these glorious heroes put their differences aside and see that only together can they survive against this mighty foe.

thoughts:

Why I loved this film so much was for its great ability to capture the time of the 50’, to place the characters so well at that time and how it’s all connected through the threat of the Center that brings them all together. We never really get to see these lovely heroes as they used to be and i mean the eras that they were born. We forget that they first started out in different times with different problems. The story takes place in the era of McCarthyism in the U.S. and you can feel this throughout the film. The feeling of distrust and paranoia effect the DC heroes in many ways and the conclusion of it all is for hope and to fight for a better days.

Also another thing that I came to admire this film for is primarily the idea of one story fully transitioned into a film. Its transition from comic to film is very well done and is due to very well direction of first timer Dave Bullock and of the writers which one them is also the creator of the comic. As well as the animation style closely resembles the comic and the characters and story are not butchered like in so many other adaptations. But overall the idea of making films out of stories or graphic novels is a good one. Instead taking bits and pieces and making a mess of the story it’s nice to chose ready made stories or arcs of some great tales and let everyone enjoy them too in the medium of movies. Also this trend is slowly starting to take more of a happening with further development of more animation films that will be just of classic stories in animation format.

My only legitimate complaint with this film can be with its length. I wanted more out of the experience. I did get my money’s worth, but a 2 hour epic with even more character development out of Batman or even some of the smaller character would have been great. But even Batman who plays more of behind scenes role is still perfect. Smart, calculative and you can see that no one really knows what kind of guy he is. What I'm trying to say is that even with the film's small length it still manages to hit all its characters personalities and traits perfectly. Its just that most of these animation films stop before hour and half mark due to children being the primary audience. As if they couldn't watch a little more of this "difficult" material, but anyway what can you do.

verdict:

Animation films based on comics are not a big seller. As their primarily meant for kids and the genre is not a cesspool of creation. But if most of these films are anything like this in quality. Then you know it’s a step up and a benefit to fans, but also parents. Only if most of these films had this kind of quality and a greater length time. Then this could help lift this genre out from the dreadful position of straight to DVD releases and into the big screen. But that's not going to happen any time soon. In the meantime this is a must view for comic's fans and for anyone bored with the classic choices of comedies and action films.

Personal Rating:

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review by Paul Katsaros

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