All-Star Superman Blu-Ray Review

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    Info:

    • Starring the Voices of: James Denton, Anthony LaPaglia, Ed Asner
    • Written by: Grant Morrison, Dwayne McDuffie
    • Directed by: Sam Liu
    • Rating: PG
    • Distributer: Warner Bros. Home Entertainment
    • Original Year of Release: 2011
    • Extras: See Below
    • Series:

    Lackluster Adaptation of the Comic Series

       
    February 25, 2011



    All-Star Superman
    © DC Comics/Tim Janson

    Blu-Ray Extras

    Bruce Timm’s picks: Two Episodes of the Superman Animated TV series, Blast from the Past Parts 1 2 

    From: http://www.mania.com/allstar-superman-bluray-review_article_128691.html

    LEX Cedes Way to SUPERMAN in Paul Cornell’s ACTION COMICS

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    By Vaneta Rogers
    posted: 24 February 2011 11:54 am ET

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    Superman will be back as the star of Action Comics, but Lex Luthor has had quite a ride as the central character.

    Paul Cornell, the British writer who took over Action Comics after “War of the Supermen,” has been weaving a tale of Lex Luthor’s obsession with obtaining the power of the black rings from Blackest Night, bringing his friend Robot Lois Lane along for the adventure. The story has gotten a loyal fan following, but in April the focus will change.


     

     ENLARGE

    Action Comics #900 will feature extra content from a roster of talent including David Goyer and Richard Donner, but Cornell will begin the transition back to Superman’s presence in the title, writing a 50-page story that brings the Lex story to a close while kicking off the comic’s next arc.’;

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    Newsarama talked to Cornell to find out more about what’s coming in Action Comics as the story finishes up in the oversized issue #900.

    Newsarama: What do you think of the casting of Superman by a British actor? I noticed on Twitter that you jokingly mentioned Helena Bonham Carter as a possibility for Lois Lane, to round out the cast with Brits.

    Paul Cornell: I understand how people take it so seriously. I really do. I’m hypocritical about it. I would hate it if Doctor Who was played by an American. So I understand how people want Superman to be played by an American. However, I think they have a good actor. I think it’s really interesting that the Doctor and Superman have the same place in the psyche of the different countries. The alien who is very much like that nationality.

    Nobody seems to mind Batman being British.

    But I just had fun on Twitter suggesting an all-British cast.

    Nrama: I’d like to talk about Lois Lane, because you’ve done such a fun twist on her character by creating this android Lois Lane. We talked about the character a little bit when you first introduced her, but now that we realize there’s more to her agenda, what was your thinking behind this character when you were first developing her for Action Comics?

    Cornell: The use of an android Lois Lane was the idea of one of my editors. I think it might have been Wil Moss. But she works so well because Lex isn’t going to trust anybody he didn’t build. And it just happened to be Superman’s wife, accidentally, without Lex actually knowing that. I think it says a lot about his unconscious processing, because he certainly doesn’t know.

    I really like the fact that she’s a very sassy Lois. You know, she’s a really punchy Margot Kidder Lois. That’s an aspect of the real Lois Lane that is maybe turned down too much these days. I think people seeing her like that.

    Nrama: Lex and Android Lois certainly make a great couple.

    Cornell: Lex and Robot Lois forever in my opinion! And you know, I sometimes like putting little clues and references in, just to see if anybody will get them. And there was a dirty great hint of a musical nature in the Lex vs. the Joker issue, as to who Lois’ employer is. I don’t know whether anyone caught that, but you might have figured out who was behind her actions.

    Nrama: That Joker issue was a perfect example of what you’re doing here. How do you get to the essence of each villain, because they’re only around for one issue and they share the stage with Lex, yet you seem to portray each in a way that captures who they are.

    Cornell: That’s what I’m enjoying so much. And the fact that I’m doing a gallery of them, what makes them great. That’s one of the real pleasures for me. The Joker was such a tremendous pleasure. I’ve been waiting to write him for so long. And actually, I’ve gotten to write him again immediately in issue #5 of Knight and Squire.

    Lex and the Joker are polar opposites, in a way that Lex and Superman really aren’t. It’s not like Superman is all about the brawn and Lex is all about the brain (although Lex is all about the brain). The Joker’s about irrationality and Lex is about too much rationality. And just putting them in the room together gets the kind of drama I like. It may not be the most action-packed issue, but I think it was one of my best.

    Nrama: This week’s issue put Lex with Larfleeze, together again for the first time since Blackest Night. What was that like?

    Cornell: Larfleeze is great because he gets an itch when someone is after something. He knows Lex is after something, so he wants it. But this issue gave us an opportunity to revisit the cause of what set Lex off on this quest in the first place. That moment he became an Orange Lantern and got to wield the power of a lantern ring. And to check out how much he needs that power still.

    Nrama: What can you tell us about next month’s Brainiac issue?

    Cornell: It’s set in space. The end of it has the most dirty great cliffhanger you’ve ever seen in your life.

    It’s about plots and counter-plots and reveals and chess moves. And some physical violence of a very precise sort. And some old scores being settled. Basically, now, we’re out of the phase where I just pick the villains I want and do fun things with them, and we’re into the let’s use the villains we need to have in this arc to make it work and put the last few bricks in place.

    I’d like to think it’s a really good build toward the final chapter of the story, but you know, good or bad isn’t for me to say, but it’s been thought about. We’ve all thought about this really hard.

    There are some pretty random comics in the world, and some of them are great for being random. But this isn’t one of them. This is really a brick-by-brick story that’s building. It’s like Legos. But it’s not a Lego comic. There is no Lego in this comic. I should clarify this.

    Nrama: And it’s all building toward Action Comics #900?


     

     ENLARGE

    Cornell: Yeah. Issue #900 is really the climax of this story, but in a Jim Steinman way. It keeps on going up into another level into #901. So we finish one story and kind of start another act in the same issue, in #900.

    Nrama: Issue #900 is a huge issue. How much of that is your story?

    Cornell: There are 50 pages of main story. All the rest of it is extra stuff. And there’s no Lego in #900 either, although wouldn’t a Lego Lex Luthor be fabulous? I would love a Lego Lex Luthor. And a Lego Lois! That would fantastic.

    Nrama: I think now, someone will build it.

    Cornell: I hope so!

    Nrama: Superman is returning to the pages of Action Comics now. Is there any hesitation in messing with this great formula you have with Lex as the central star?

    Cornell: I can hear millions of fans who’ve popped up on message boards saying, “No!! We want Superman back!!” Because they have been saying that fairly consistently.

    So no, I don’t think there was a moment’s hesitation in finishing this arc and bringing him back.

    Nrama: You talked about issue #901, so you’re staying on after this arc for a while?

    Cornell: Yes. I will be at the helm in #901 with Superman in the comic.

    Nrama: Do you have more to tell in the “Reign of Doomsday?”

    Cornell: Yes, I do. It plays through issue #900 into #901.

    Nrama: Let’s talk about Pete Woods. What does he bring to this comic?

    Cornell: He’s awesome. He’s one of my favorite artists I’ve worked with. What I really like is that when I write a conversation, he not only get the emotions of the participants, he’ll add to it. It’s been a positive loop in that the more emotions he plays with Lex Luthor’s face, the more I start writing to the ability to do those emotions. And also, he can do the dirty great action stuff as well.

    Because he does all this digitally, he has no original art! I’d love a page of his for my wall, but this is never going to happen. I guess he could print one out for me. I must ask.

    But he’s a delight to work with. He works really hard, especially on designs. He’ll send us designs and change them quite a lot until we’re all happy with what’s going to happen. His Robot Lois designs are amazing. He loves the fact that she can change her outfit on a moment’s thought, so suddenly, she bursts into that Secret Six issue dressed like an aviator. [laughs] The sudden arrays of special weaponry she pulls out. I couldn’t be happier. And he has a David Tennant fetish. I was quite amazed when I saw some likenesses popping up in that comic, which are all accidental, I’m sure.

    Nrama: We’ve seen so many great interactions with villains and Lex. Will we see some of these villains return for the end of this arc?

    Cornell: It depends what you call a villain.

    There’s certainly a prominent guest star from one of the previous issues who will be back in issue #900. In fact, let me count them…. one, two, three. Certainly three, perhaps four. But only very, very briefly.

    Nrama: You’ve just finished a story in Batman and Robin, and you’re finishing up Knight and Squire. Can you tell us anything about what’s coming up next for you?

    Cornell: No. But I certainly will be writing more for DC.


    C2E2 Chicago

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    From: http://www.newsarama.com/comics/lex-cedes-to-superman-in-action-comic-110224.html

    All-Star Superman Blu-ray Review

    The Movie

    The “All-Star” concept over at DC Comics is a bold one: What happens when you assign your absolute best artist/writer team to some of the greatest fictional heroes the world has ever known? The answer, in the case of Superman, was, well, All-Star Superman. With words by Grant Morrison and art by Frank Quitely, the twelve-issue, closed-ended series presented a relaxed, god-like figure confident in his near-invulnerability, while expanding upon the timeless aspects of his character.

    Leave it to his nemesis, Lex Luthor, to finally figure out a way to destroy The Man of Steel. He remotely sabotages a manned space mission to the sun, and when Superman is overexposed to its radiation during the subsequent rescue, he is at first imbued with the greatest strength of is life, but then sentenced to his inevitable doom.

    All-Star is set outside of the strict continuity of the more established Superman books, and so Morrison had license to shake things up in a profound manner. As a single, epic storyline, it was ripe for dramatic adaptation, and so this animated movie (with a softer PG rating than this mostly PG-13 series) explores the surprising ways Superman chooses to spend his final days, with an emphasis on closure. It’s a contrast to the recently popular dark and gritty superhero style certainly, exploring his classic roots in an almost philosophical fashion. I might have enjoyed a bit more action, but Superman purists will surely find a lot to like here.

    The Picture

    All-Star Superman was digitally created but with the look of traditional animation, an excellent fit (literally, at 16:9) for Blu-ray and HDTV. The colors are vibrant and the image is remarkably stable in most scenes. Even the ringing in soft glows, common to this series, appears reduced on this newest title, although I noted some strobing in fast motion. Text on the front page of The Daily Planet or on a computer screen is razor-sharp.

    All-Star-Superman-BD-WEB.jpg

    The Sound

    The DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 soundtrack is highlighted by the multichannel whooshing and ample bass that are necessary for a proper Superman story. Trebles too are clean for a spacious overall soundfield, and the often-subtle 360-degree presence is marked by occasional discrete touches in the speakers in addition to the large-scale action of the major battles. As with the video, the audio here is well-suited to the Blu-ray medium.

    The Extras

    Fans and newcomers alike will find the pair of short documentaries fascinating “Superman Now” (34 minutes, HD) explores in detail the reimagining of the iconic hero, and “The Creative Flow: Incubating the Idea with Grant Morrison” shares his original sketches (ten minutes, in a low-bitrate AVC). Producer Bruce Timm joins Morrison, an endearing Scot with an unmistakable brogue, for the lively audio commentary.

    The All-Star Superman Digital Comic allows us to flip through the first issue via our remote control. “Blasts from the Past Parts 1 2” from the Superman animated series, introduce us to a couple of power-drunk Kryptonians reminiscent of those in All-Star. The two episodes run 41 minutes total, in the same low-bitrate AVC we see on a lot of Warner Blu-rays.

    Disc Two is a hybrid DVD containing the movie in standard definition as well as a Digital Copy for iTunes and Windows Media.

    Final Thoughts

    While not exactly what I was expecting, All-Star Superman is nonetheless a stylistically faithful representation of the well-received comic book series, technically well-produced and generously supplemented. Super-fans will want to pick it up, and curious outsiders would likely enjoy a rental.

    Product Details

    • Voice Actors: James Denton, Christina Hendricks, Anthony LaPaglia, Linda Cardellini, Arnold Vosloo, Finola Hughes, Alexis Denisof, Edward Asner, Matthew Gray Gubler, Frances Conroy
    • Director: Sam Liu
    • Audio Format/Languages: DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 (English), Dolby Digital 5.1 (French, German), Dolby Digital 2.0 (Spanish, Portuguese)
    • Subtitles: English SDH, German SDH, Spanish, Portuguese
    • Aspect Ratio: 1.78:1
    • Number of discs: 2
    • Rating: PG
    • Studio: Warner
    • Release Date: February 22, 2010
    • Run Times: 77 minutes
    • List Price: $24.98
    • Extras:
      • Audio Commentary by Grant Morrison and Frank Quitely
      • “Superman Now”
      • “The Creative Flow: Incubating the Idea with Grant Morrison”
      • All-Star Superman Digital Comic
      • Animated TV episodes “Blasts from the Past Parts 1 2”
      • DVD
      • Digital Copy

    Where to Buy:

    From: http://www.bigpicturebigsound.com/All-Star-Superman-Blu-ray.shtml

    The ‘All Star Superman’ Animated Movie: One of the Best [Review]



    This week, Grant Morrison and Frank Quitely’s All Star Superman became the latest DC Comics storyline to be made into an animated feature, and for many fans, myself included, this felt like something that was going a step beyond the stories they’ve adapted in the past.

    All Star Superman isn’t just a story that has that great hook — Superman’s last adventure before he dies — it’s also one of the best Superman stories of all time,

    When you get right down to it, most of DC’s previous animated releases, Crisis on Two Earths, Under the Red Hood, Public Enemies and Apocalypse, have all fallen into the same broad category. They’re stories with great hooks — the Justice League fights their evil opposites, Batman’s sidekick comes back from the dead with a chip on his shoulder, Superman and Batman punch some dudes, Superman and Batman punch some other dudes and also Supergirl’s there — but they’re also stories that, for obvious reasons, felt like they were the easiest to pitch to the mass market, but not necessarily the best.

    As a comic, All-Star Superman is an incredible testament to the craft of comic book storytelling, and also something that synthesizes itself out of decades of comics in a way that’s still fairly accessible to unfamiliar readers. Tthat simultaneously makes it an obvious choice to see adapted, and also something that’s incredibly difficult to pull off without losing what makes it special. And now, having seen it, I’ve got to say, they did a pretty great job.



    I’m pretty sure that anyone reading ComicsAlliance has probably read All Star Superman before, and anyone reading a review probably doesn’t mind getting spoiled, but on the off chance that neither of these things describe you, watch out: Spoilers Follow.

    When you’re translating something that’s as meticulous as All Star Superman into a different medium, a great deal of its success or failure depends on the strength of your choices: what stays, what’s left out, and what gets changed. Not in terms of just filming a shot-for-shot version of the comic with voices and animation — we’ve all seen how badly that sort of thing can go — but in being able to figure out what translates and what doesn’t, what can be cut out and what needs to be in there to preserve the greater meaning of the work.

    And since I already know this story by heart, it’s those choices by screenwriter Dwayne McDuffie that I think say the most about how the animated All Star works. For one thing, he preserves Morrison’s eight-word intro (nine if you count the “Superman” that accompanies the first image above) from the comics. But again, there are still more choices made here: It’s not just the same images from Page 1 of All Star Superman #1. Those shots are the basis…

    …but they’re intercut with Leo Quintum’s ship malfunctioning as it descends to the surface of the sun. Cutting back and forth between the origin and the action builds up a sense of anticipation so that when you get to that shot of Superman flying to rescue them, there’s a huge pop to it. Plus, the way it’s done ties in to the film’s epilogue, which is almost entirely of McDuffie’s own making, rather than Morrison and Quitely’s.

    But then there are the things that were left out. Since the animated version clocks in at less than 80 minutes — perfectly sized for a two-hour time slot on Cartoon Network once you add in commercial breaks — there are chunks the comics that don’t make it in. I wish I could say I was surprised that the entirety of Morrison’s tribute to Superman’s Pal Jimmy Olsen in All Star Superman #4 didn’t make it to the screen, but, well, as awesome as Jimmy turning himself into Doomsday to fight an evil Superman is, it’s not strictly necessary to the plot.

    We do, however, get to see Jimmy in drag.


    And that’s always a plus.

    As I expected, McDuffie’s script also skips out of the two-part Bizarro World storyline, but Bar-El and Lilo, the Kryptonian astronauts-turned-Phantom-Zone-jailers actually did make it into the animated version.



    It doesn’t surprise me that they were considered important enough to show, but what does surprise me is that a piece of the story that I consider to be far more significant didn’t: The chapter where Superman gets to say goodbye to his father before he dies:

    Now admittedly, Bar-El and Lilo have a clear advantage in terms of making it into an animated feature. They represent a key aspect of Superman’s mythology, in that Earth and the Kents play an even greater part in shaping Superman than his Kryptonian heritage, underlining the fact that he’s our hero, not an invader from beyond the stars. And more importantly for the purposes of an animated movie, they also present the perfect opportunity to get in a big punch-out fight scene before the final act begins.

    Plus, let’s be honest here, the Chronovore would probably be a pain for animators, and I have to imagine that there was at least some concern a that when you start throwing in time-traveling Supermen from the Fifth Dimension and/or the 853rd Century (complete with telepathy), you’re in danger of getting too insular for the wide audience that drops $20 on a DVD at Best Buy, whether or not that’s actually true.

    But the flipside of that is that in choosing to include Bar-El and Lilo but not the death of Jonathan Kent, it trades a scene that’s intensely personal, reflecting Superman’s own impending mortality and the fact that finally gets to say goodbye to his father, for one that’s resolved with a fight. That doesn’t make it a worse story by any means, but it does take away some of the emotion of it.

    Along the same lines, there’s the fact that most of All Star Superman #10 is eliminated. For the most part, this makes perfect sense. As much as I would’ve absolutely loved to see Superman using the tiny Kandorian emergency squad to cure cancer, I’m pretty sure that Superman crafting a universe without super-heroes in which Infant Universe Jerry Siegel and Infant Universe Joe Shuster create Infant Universe Comic Book Hero Superman was maybe — maybe — a little too meta for Cartoon Network.

    The problem is that this also leads to the omission of what is arguably one of the series’ most important moments:



    Again, I think I can see at least some the logic behind leaving it out. This is pure conjecture on my part, but as much as it’s on DVD right now, I’m sure the endgame is to show this thing on a Friday night between Ben 10 and Star Wars: the Clone Wars, and in that particular arena, an attempted suicide by a teenager is probably a pretty touchy issue that they want to avoid.

    But at the same time, there’s a significance here that it’s really hard to argue against for any reason. It’s not just a moment that shows how deeply Superman cares for everyone, but there’s also a message there that probably should be heard by as wide an audience as possible, done with an elegance that pop culture rarely achieves. Leaving something that significant out just really feels like a missed opportunity.

    One final choice that just completely mystified me comes from one particular piece of dialogue. Most of the dialogue — with a few exceptions, like an added scene of Superman resettling the population of Kandor out in space, taking the place of his trip to Bizarro World — is actually lifted straight from the comic. In the scene where Superman fights Solaris the Tyrant Sun, however, McDuffie makes a change.

    Here’s the original scene:

    “You’ll live” is certainly a pretty harsh piece of dialogue for Superman, but it’s also true: Solaris does in fact live to be rehabilitated in the 24th century (it says so on the previous page). In the movie, however, Superman’s response to Solaris’s plea for mercy is “I don’t think I have any left.”

    This might seem like a small thing — and we all know that as someone who reads a lot of comics, I’d never get fixated on a small thing — but to me, that phrasing seems… well, wrong. Why would Superman claim to not have any mercy? That is his entire deal. It’s the only time while watching the movie that a change pulled me right out of the movie, with the thought “Oh come on, Superman wouldn’t say that!” Silly as it may be while watching something about a completely fictional character who is flying around and punching a sentient sun-poisoning star that is also a computer.

    The worst bit, though, comes from something that’s just completely unnecessary: People dying during Lex Luthor’s prison riot, right in front of a Superman who does nothing to save them. Specifically a group of convicts who get frozen in place by the clever application of a sprinkler system and super-breath, who are then shown to be shattered and killed by the Parasite:



    It’s both completely unnecessary and completely antithetical to the spirit of the character, especially considering that the entire ongoing point of the sequence is Clark Kent repeatedly saving Lex without revealing his identity by pretending to bumble his way through the riot. By having Superman’s plan to immobilize the convicts result directly in their death while he’s fleeing from the Parasite, yet still showing him saving Lex, it gives the impression that Superman values Lex’s life more than the others, when it should be that Superman values all life.

    Throwing that kind of casual violence into this scene represents a fundamental and extremely disappointing misunderstanding of both the character and this story, and could’ve easily been avoided.

    But for all my complaints, the choices McDuffie and the producers made for this thing aren’t just things I disliked. As mentioned before, McDuffie adds an additional epilogue that’s different from what’s seen in the comics, specifically as it relates to Lex Luthor.

    By the end of the story in the comic, Lex is content but “diminished,” having finally gotten a world without Superman. We don’t see him after the final conflict with Superman, but robbed of his foe, he is, for all intents and purposes, done with his campaigns of terror and evil. In the movie, though, Lex has one final act, and it’s something that in the comic is done by Superman himself: he maps out the Kryptonian genome, passing it along to Leo Quintum so that they can build another Superman.

    There are a few different ways of interpreting this, including the idea that Lex is incomplete without a Superman to fight and so he makes one, but as presented, the message here is that his brief time seeing the world as Superman sees it has made Lex actually want to save the world. He becomes the good guy he always claimed to be.



    It’s an interesting change, because this is an explicit victory on a personal level that Superman doesn’t get in the comics — unless, like our own David Uzumeri, you subscribe to the theory that Leo Quintum is actually a remorseful time-traveling Lex Luthor who saw the error of his ways, learned how to grow hair and became Superman’s staunchest ally.

    As to the voice acting, Mad Men‘s Christina Hendricks does a good job with Lois, though she lacks the signature sass of Dana Delaney’s pretty-much-definitive version on Superman: The Animated Series. James Denton as Superman, however, is… not great. He does well as Clark Kent, but as Superman, he’s compltely flat, with almost the same tone of voice through everything that happens. His lines all sound like they were recorded in one take. One decent, perfectly serviceable take, mind, but nothing more than that.

    In the end, though, the choices that were made, missteps and all, even out to something that’s a highly enjoyable picture, and one of DC’s best offerings.

    From: http://www.comicsalliance.com/2011/02/22/all-star-superman-animated-movie-review/

    All-Star Superman (Blu-ray)


    “Sorry, Lois. The last thing I wanted on your special day was a reptile invasion from the Earth’s core.”
    “I’d have felt cheated if there weren’t monsters.”

    Oh, an army of reptile monsters is just the top of a very, very long checklist. Sinister Kryptonians bent on world domination! A time-traveling arm-wrestling contest! Ennumerated robots! A dwarf-star house key! A Kryptonian city shrunk down to fit in a bottle! A heavily-bandaged

    [click on the thumbnail to enlarge]Superman from the far-flung future! 24 hour super-serums! A paranoid Lois Lane skulking around the Fortress of Solitude with a Kryptonite death ray! A baby Sun Eater fed by artificial stars Supes hammers out on his cosmic anvil! An Ultra-Sphinx chasing down his radioactive jewelry! Lex Luthor and his nefarious niece plotting and scheming the downfall of the Man of Steel!

    All-Star Superman opens in the middle of one of those death traps, even. Super-scientist Leo Quintum is manning an expedition to snatch a little bit of fire from the sun when all of a sudden…gasp! One of his genetically-engineered assistants transforms into a hideously deformed creature of superhuman size and strength. This human bomb smashes the ship’s controls, and just when he’s about to approach critical mass, the hatch door is ripped open! Superman and this ticking timebomb wrestle on the outer edge of the sun for a bit, and when he emerges victorious, the Man of Steel grabs Quintum’s solarcraft and shuttles it safely to P.R.O.J.E.C.T.’s space station for repair. In fact, spending that much time that close to the sun hypercharged Superman’s solar batteries. His strength has at least tripled, and he’s started to exhibit all sorts of shiny new powers. Another sinister scheme of Lex Luthor’s foiled by the Man of Tomorrow, right? Well…no, not at all. It’s all going entirely according to plan. That close proximity to the sun oversaturated Superman’s cells. He’s stronger now, sure, but beneath the surface, his cellular structure is exploding like kernels of popcorn. The clock’s ticking until Superman dies, and there’s no cure on the horizon. …but hey, this is the Man of Tomorrow we’re talking about. He’s a cup-half-full kinda guy, and he’s making the most of every moment he has left. There are plenty of mighty challenges left for him to knock out, not to mention Lex Luthor’s final, fatal gambit to take the reins of the world at large.

    Considering just how many comic books the Man of Steel pops up in every month, it’s saying a lot that Grant Morrison and Frank Quitely’s twelve issues of All-Star Superman make for the best spin on this iconic character in many, many decades. I’d even argue that these are some of the best comics, period — any character, any publisher, any thing — in the nearly thirty years I’ve been a rabid fan. A big part of the genius of these comics is the way Morrison weaves the unhinged fantasy

    [click on the thumbnail to enlarge]of the Silver Age with a grounded modern sensibility. There’s something strange and wonderful on nearly every page of these books, but Morrison doesn’t play it up as corny camp. In this version of Metropolis, an invading subterranean lizard army just means it’s Tuesday. There’s something so infectiously magical about being bombarded with all of these bizarre sights while everyone in the book shrugs them off as an everyday occurrence. In an era of decompressed storytelling when a character can’t bake a quiche without at least a six issue arc and probably a crossover behind it, Morrison and Quitely distill Superman’s legendary origin story down to a few startlingly efficient panels. There’s the overarching arc of Superman and the sickness that’s slowly overtaking him, sure, but there’s also a steady stream of satisfyingly complete self-contained stories, each of which span only an issue or two.

    There’s no need for reams of pages of narration or exposition. The storytelling breezes along nimbly and efficiently, aided brilliantly by the expressiveness of Frank Quitely’s art. You don’t need a thought bubble or caption to tell you what’s bobbing around in a character’s head; you can see everything you need to know on his or her face. Even with the manic pace and rampant randomness of it all, All-Star Superman is an intensely character-driven book to boot. Steel-willed, inquisitive, and alluring, this is the best take on Lois Lane you’ll ever read. Lex Luthor is colder, more determined, and more brilliant than ever. His hatred of Superman boils down to a love…a pride…of what humanity represents, and there’s a strong personality burning beneath the sinister machinations. He’s not a plot device there because the story demands a badnik and Lex Luthor just so happens to be the one with the most marquee value. And Superman…wow. While so many other comics are desperately trying to figure out how dark and depraved they can make theiir superheroes, this Superman is a hero in the truest, most classic sense. He seems so relaxed and at ease in his skin, and…well, why wouldn’t he? He’s the mightiest man in the galaxy, after all. There’s never a glimmer of

    [click on the thumbnail to enlarge]moping or despair. Superman doesn’t make his impending doom about him; it’s a hurdle he has to bound over if he’s going to make the world safe for truth, justice, and all the rest. One of my favorite things about the book is how Clark Kent is constantly bumping into people and knocking over things, saving who knows how many lives without anyone even cluing in…nudging them out of harm’s way while pretending that he’s just a clumsy, bumbling oaf. He’s never not helping to make the world a better place.

    Maybe you’re skimming through all this and wondering why it reads like more of a review of the All-Star Superman comic and not so much the animated adaptation. Well, that’s because this movie is the comic. I’ll admit that I was very skeptical about how an adaptation of some of my all-time favorite comics would work, but as luck would have it, All-Star Superman is staffed by wide-eyed fans who love these stories every bit as much as I do. Just about everything on the page makes its way to the screen. The character designs are as strong a representation of Frank Quitely’s immediately distinctive style as I could ever have hoped to see. The sparkling wit of Grant Morrison’s dialogue remains fully intact and is delivered flawlessly by a talented roster of actors that includes Ed Asner, James Denton, Christina Hendricks, Anthony LaPaglia, and Linda Cardellini. The sleek efficiency to the storytelling is present and accounted for as well, ensuring that the pacing screams ahead without ever being difficult to follow. All-Star Superman captures every last bit of the awe, wonder, wide-eyed fun, and emotion that define the comics, and I have no problem admitting that I started to tear up at the very, very end. Of course, being a 76 minute movie, not everything could make it in, but the self-contained nature of so many of the original comics’ stories makes that a cinch to handle. This adaptation revolves around Superman, Lois, and Lex, and some of the side adventures — Jimmy being handed the keys to P.R.O.J.E.C.T., a visit from legions of Supermen from the future, the politics of Kandor, and a jaunt to Bizarro World — were understandably nixed. None of the essentials have been compromised even a little bit, and none of what didn’t make it in is missed. There’s only one noteworthy change that really stands out in my mind — the rejiggering of a hopeful note at the end — and without giving anything away, it’s even more satisfying than the way the comics come to a close. There’s nothing about the All-Star Superman comics that I don’t love, and I’m kind of thrilled that I get to say the same about this animated adaptation too. Very Highly Recommended.

    Video


    A couple of minor sputters and stutters aside, All-Star Superman looks every bit as incredible as you’d expect in high-def. The linework is, as ever, exceptionally crisp and well-defined. Some shots are cast in a slightly diffused glow, so the clarity deliberately doesn’t always pop! in that same way, but generally, the definition showcased here is first-rate. Its palette is bright and vivid too, definitely bringing to mind the four-color superheroics of years past. This Blu-ray disc does come with a DVD, and that makes quick comparisons easy enough to snap. Admittedly, the compression on this bonus DVD is almost certainly a lot clunkier than the retail disc, but maybe it’ll still give you some idea what to expect.



    DVD
    [click on the thumbnail to enlarge]

    Blu-ray
    [click on the thumbnail to enlarge]

    In this next set, Lois and Superman are a tiny handful of blurry pixels on the DVD but are crisply defined on Blu-ray. Really, you can say the same about pretty much everything else too:



    DVD
    [click on the thumbnail to enlarge]

    Blu-ray
    [click on the thumbnail to enlarge]

    The downside…? The authoring in All-Star Superman isn’t as sloppy as it’s been in many of DC’s other direct-to-video animated titles, but some of the same problems as ever do rear their head once again. Banding isn’t as frequent a nuisance as usual but does pop up in the night sky. There’s also some nasty artifacting. Pop open the screenshot below and take a peek at Superman’s blocky red cape, what a mess Lois’ hair is, and the heavily aliased linework.

    [click on the thumbnail to enlarge]

    The authoring hiccups aren’t even close to being a dealbreaker, so please don’t let that turn you off from picking up this Blu-ray disc. It’s disappointing mostly because it’s so unnecessary. All Star Superman‘s AVC encode — along with a lossless soundtrack, an audio commentary, and four dubs — has been crammed into the space of 11.5 gigs. Even after adding in all the extras, right at a quarter of the capacity of this BD-25 disc remains untouched. I just don’t get it: the runway is long enough…why not use it?

    Audio


    All-Star Superman sports a lossless soundtrack and all — 16-bit, six-channel DTS-HD Master Audio — but it’s really not all [click on the thumbnail to enlarge]that cinematic. The sound design is anchored just about entirely up front. There’s some reverb to the dialogue in the more cavernous backdrops, and every once in a while, an effect will escape to the rear channels: a tire bouncing from the front to the right surround, debris scattering around, the mayhem throughout Parasite’s rampage at the prison, and…oh, why not?…an exploding tyrant sun. This is basically a stereo track with a few extra channels tossed in as an afterthought. Considering the staggering scale of what happens here, the mix sounds surprisingly cramped. We’re definitely not talking about one of those action soundtracks that fills every square inch of the room. Bass response is decent — such as when Superman bounds back to Earth, bouncing across the ground like a skipping stone — but nothing all that remarkable. The recording of the dialogue is very clean and clear, though.

    Don’t get me wrong: the audio on All-Star Superman isn’t disappointing, exactly, but it’s not as booming or expansive as a story with this kind of scope ought to be. There were a couple of points where I toggled back and forth between this 16-bit DTS-HD Master Audio track and the lossy Dolby Digital 5.1 dubs, and I really couldn’t pick out much of a difference. I guess the final word goes something like “good, but not great”.

    There are also two Dolby Digital 5.1 (640kbps) soundtracks: one in French and the other in German. The dubs in Spanish and Portuguese are limited to Dolby Digital stereo (192kbps) only. Subtitles are offered in English (SDH), German, Spanish, and Portuguese.

    Extras


    The DC Showcase shorts on the past few Blu-ray discs have kind of stolen the show, and it’s kind of a drag that there isn’t a new one this time around. The extras that are here are pretty great, though. For anyone still mulling over what format to buy this on, the audio commentary, “The Creative Flow” featurette, and the scan of All-Star Superman #1 are all exclusive to this Blu-ray release.

    • Audio Commentary: This conversation between [click on the thumbnail to enlarge]Bruce Timm and Grant Morrison frequently feels more like a commentary about the All-Star Superman comics rather than this adaptation, not that I’m complaining. The emphasis is very much on the inspiration behind the way so many of its characters and concepts are introduced, how the series so successfully distills the very best of thousands of Superman comics into twelve issues, and the way it honors the fantastic whimsy of the Silver Age in an era where everything’s trying to out-grim-and-gritty everyone else. The two of them also speak about the challenges of adapting Frank Quitely’s distinctive style to the screen and how an animated film can’t fully capture the language of comics. I was pleasantly surprised to hear what each of them points to as their all-time favorite animated superhero stories as well. Think of it as less of a screen-specific audio commentary and more a discussion about the art of storytelling by two exceptionally talented people.

    • Superman Now (34 min.; HD): The centerpiece of the extras on this Blu-ray disc is a half-hour look at the All-Star Superman comic. Driven almost entirely by Grant Morrison, this is an extremely thorough and insightful look into the best interpretation of the Man of Steel in many decades. The discussion is heavily oriented around the concept, the construction of a series with a defined endpoint, and Morrison drawing as deeply from mythology and the Renaissance every bit as much as from a half-century’s worth of Superman comics. Although artist Frank Quitely isn’t featured on camera, his work is discussed at length as well, particularly the expressiveness and theatrical exaggeration throughout this book. It’s essential viewing for anyone picking up this Blu-ray disc.

    • The Creative Flow: Incubating the Idea with Grant Morrison (10 min.; HD, sort of): Grant Morrison narrates over a large selection of his preliminary sketches for what would become the All-Star Superman comics, such as the triumphant return of Bizarro World, toying with many different costume concepts, trimming back the then-current Superman’s mullet, and streamlining the iconic shield. Morrison also touches on some of the other titles that were being mulled over at the time, such as “Superman Now”, which obviously inspired the title of the disc’s other featurette. “The Creative Flow” is presented in HD, but the native resolution varies wildly, I guess depending on what Morrison had handy to rescan and what was snapped with digital cameras years and years ago. There’s a lot of low-res stock footage of skyscrapers and bustling city streets for whatever reason too.

    • Bruce Timm’s Picks (40 min.; SD): The two-parter “Blasts from the Past”, culled from Superman: The Animated Series, swirls around the Phantom Zone and a couple of megalomaniacal Kryptonian soldiers. Since the projector and a similar set of his-and-her Kryptonian warriors are showcased in All-Star Superman, I can see why Bruce Timm would dust these particular episodes off the shelf.

    • Virtual Comic: Every last page of All-Star Superman #1 has been scanned in here if you want a quick preview of these comics that you kind of desperately need to own, if you don’t already. Even though these are high [click on the thumbnail to enlarge]resolution images, the dialogue can be pretty tough to read at a normal viewing distance.

    • Shameless Plugs: Also included is a sneak peek at Green Lantern: Emerald Knights (12 min.; HD). A featurette on Superman/Batman: Apocalypse (12 min.; SD) and a minute-long trailer for Batman: Under the Red Hood (SD) round out the extras.

    The second disc in the set doubles as a DVD that’ll spin in any set-top player and a digital copy. For anyone keeping track at home, the digital copy will work with both iTunes and Windows Media-powered devices. All-Star Superman also comes packaged in a very striking embossed slipcover.

    The Final Word


    Grant Morrison and Frank Quitely’s run on the All-Star Superman comics was flawless, brilliantly encapsulating the best of decades upon decades upon decades of Superman stories into twelve exceptional issues. I’d be kind of terrified to think about how many thousands of comics I have in longboxes and trade paperbacks, but out of all of ’em, I’d rank All-Star Superman as some of my very, very favorites. I’ll admit to being kind of uneasy when I first heard about this animated adaptation, thinking it’d be pretty much impossible to do a story like this justice, and…well, I’m very glad to say I was wrong. All-Star Superman is phenomenal, capturing every bit of the wide-eyed fun, rich characterization, smart subtleties, and resounding emotions that cemented the comics as instant classics. It’s easily the most family-friendly of DC’s recent slate of direct-to-video animation too, so there’s that. It doesn’t matter how old (or young!) you are or how long it’s been since you last picked up a comic with the Man of Steel: you need to see All-Star Superman. Very, very Highly Recommended.

    From: http://www.dvdtalk.com/reviews/46936/dcu-all-star-superman/

    All-Star Superman

    ‘It all comes out right in the end’: A review of the All-Star Superman movie

    All-Star Superman

    Warner Bros’ animated adaptation of Grant Morrison and Frank Quitely’s All-Star Superman is so reverent and faithful toward the source material that the film, to a certain extent, feels like a pale copy of its inspiration.

    That’s not necessarily a damning criticism. Bruce Timm and company took the right approach in attempting to get as close a conversion from page to screen as possible (to do otherwise would have pleased no one). But the comic itself is so rich in detail and episodic in nature that even a trim, streamlined version like this that still manages to hit a number of the right high points feels a bit flabby in comparison. Saying “the book is better” is a rather easy cheat for a critic — the book is almost always better, but I suspect that fans of the comic won’t be able to watch this without running a compare/contrast checklist in their head and find the film coming up a wee bit short. The good news is that those coming fresh to the material probably won’t notice anything wrong at all.

    I wasn’t kidding when I said the film is as faithful to the comic as possible. Screenwriter Dwayne McDuffie lifts the dialogue verbatim from the comic whenever he has the opportunity, and he has plenty of them. What’s more, while the animation is a bit sleeker and cleaner than Quitely’s rough, minimalist pen lines, the animators do their best to mimic the artist’s unique character expressions, posture and body types throughout the film and copy his panel composition whenever the opportunity arises. Many fans will no doubt thrill at seeing sequences like Superman kissing a super-powered Lois on the moon not only animated but done as a near-xerox copy of the original, iconic panel.

    Lois and Kal-El take flight

    More importantly, director Sam Liu manages to maintain the overall contemplative tone and atmosphere of Morrison and Quitely’s masterpiece. It’s certainly one of the most subdued, nakedly sincere and emotional films they’ve ever done, at least compared to past WB/DC films like Under the Red Hood and Superman/Batman: Apocalypse. Matching and maintaining this sort of wistful, inspirational attitude from the comic without coming off as corny or false must have been exceedingly tricky, so kudos to Liu and company for getting that rather essential part right.

    Indeed, certain sequences, like Clark Kent’s interview with Luthor in prison manage to capture the comic’s balletic farce rather well while still adding some of new bits to it. Occasionally they even manage to top the comic — there’s a gag involving Superman’s star-dense Fortress of Solitude key that actually works better animated than it did in print.

    But with only a 76-minute running time, it’s not terribly surprising that a number of sequences would get edited out. As one might expect, the film hones its focus on the Superman/Lex Luthor/Lois Lane triangle, with (in case you’re not familiar with the over-arcing story) Superman finally falling terminally ill to one of Luthor’s traps and attempting to put his affairs in order, especially with Lois, before his time is up.

    Lex Luthor

    The comic, of course, was as much an ode to the classic Superman stories of the past as it was an exploration of the character itself and what makes him so mythic. Thus, the filmmakers attempt to nod toward this by inserting some of the less plot-essential sequences like the battle of wits between Sampson, Atlas and Superman. The one sequence that unfortunately sticks out like a sore thumb is the one involving the Kryptonian astronauts Bar-El and Lilo. It’s not one of my favorite bits from the comic, and my own preference would have been to ditch that for perhaps the Jimmy Olsen sequence in issue #3 instead, or something from issue #10, where he cures children’s cancer, creates a new pocket universe and saves a girl from committing suicide. The choice to include Bar-El and Lilo makes thematic sense — their arrogant behavior provides a nice contrast to Superman’s own humility — but it does underscore the original material’s episodic nature and make the film feel like it’s trying to take a deep breath before moving on to its finale.

    I usually don’t have much to say about the voice work in these films unless I hate it, but everyone does a rather good job this time around. James Denton and Christina Hendricks give a nice gravitas to their characters and the interplay between them works rather well. Special note, however, should be given to Anthony LaPaglia, who nails Luthor’s quiet arrogance and jealousy rather well.

    What big hands you have Kal-El

    Usually the special features sections of these DVDs are an embarrassment, with lots of unwarranted self-congratulation and allegedly in-depth looks at the histories of various characters and comics that are as shallow as dishwater. For once, however, the supplemental materials are worthwhile.

    The main feature is a documentary titled “Superman Now” that features Morrison talking about the origins of the original 12-issue comic and how it came together, as well as a video segment where he shows off his original sketches for the series and talks about how they evolved over time. Even if you’ve heard Morrison talk about these things in past interviews, it’s still entertaining to see him mull over them once again.

    There’s also a commentary track featuring Morrison and Timm that vacillates between insightful and glad-handed compliments, where each tells the other how much they love their work. Despite the schmoozing and occasional quiet lapses, there are notable moments, as when Morrison talks about the larger themes he was trying to address in the comic or Timm talks about how tricky it was to capture Quietly’s style in animation. It’s especially interesting to note Timm’s hesitancy about whether this more subdued, thoughtful type of material will play well before the traditional superhero fanboy audience. Would the same crowd, he asks, that cheered at the violence on display in Red Hood appreciate a more restrained film like this? I’d like to think so, but it seemed telling to me that Timm took the time to pose the question at all.

    There’s also a preview of the next DCU film, a hodge-podge of Green Lantern stories titled Emerald Knights, no doubt designed as a tie-in to the upcoming live-action film. The most notable (and, honestly, unsurprising) revelation was that they plan on adapting Alan Moore’s “Mogo” story. They’d kind of be silly not to.

    Despite my reservations, All-Star Superman is an entertaining movie and should please fans whether they’ve read the original mini-series or not. But there’s also no doubt that the film’s struggles to capture the particular mood of the comic and determine what to prune and what to keep make the film’s pacing a bit bumpy, to put it charitably. It would have been nice to expect a film equal in stature to the comic — nice, but unfair and more than the WB animators could no doubt execute given their financial limitations. At best the film is an enjoyable supplement, one that will allow fans to contemplate just what was so special about the original work that drew them toward it in the first place.

    19 Comments

    Interesting – no mention or opinion of the ending? Was, in that case, the book better than the movie? I wish they had found a way to include the failed suicide scene – that’s so Superman to save a life, no matter how busy – no matter the situation!

    It’s unrealistic to expect this to even approach the quality of the source materials, given the limitations in budget and format. I am, however, looking forward to it, and am glad to hear that, within it’s scope, it does a good job.

    In my opinion, the material required a bolder approach if it was going to be adapted to an A/V medium. Something like a high-end HBO miniseries would have probably given them the space to flesh out the story, but I doubt that such a project would be economically feasible.

    In any case, I’ll be snatching this up as soon as I see it in stores. All-Star Superman (I wish they had changed that name for collected editions) is my favorite superhero comic book period.

    I did prefer the idea that Luthor, rather than Superman, decoded the Kryptonian genetic structure. It’s not a big thing, but as was the case with All Star Superman itself it was the small things that made it so special.

    It was a brilliant animated movie, easily the best thus far, with the best voice cast of any of them across the board.

    I just watched it last night. It was very boring and seemed to go one forever. I won’t be buying this one.

    I was kind of surprised that Supes lets people die in order to protect his secret identity. Parasite sucks the life-force from guards left and right while Clark goes running around with Luthor trying to get him to talk.

    I have been waiting for a Grant Morrison story to be addapted forever !! A good adaptation to boot .I enjoyed the film from begining to end,it captures the brilliant Morrison writing and the lush drawings of Frank Queitly very well.My only gripe is I wish there where more of the eccentric and mythical stories from the book,alas there enough material for a whole series(as is the case when Grant Morrison is writing!!) I would have to have seen “The Black Kyptonite” story or the “Bizzarro” infestation or “Young Superman” story.
    Considering the length I was impressed with all that was shown.Morrisons blend of heart and emotion with over the top science fiction action and phillosophical wierdness makes All Star Superman a work of high art,the animated version has captured much of that.Taking old concepts like superheros/supervillians and reinvigorating them with post modern and wholistic concepts is what makes this book and film work,mortality rebirth, and the legacy of our deeds is at the center of this work. To those who have commented about the film being boring ,Morrison/Quitley may be many things but never boring.Let us hope that future adaptations are as good if not better.

    I think that not having Supes punch out Lex was an improvement, and brings home both Supes’ aim to not use violence, and Lex’s own growth as he finally understands Superman.

    I enjoyed this a lot. It was not perfect – even putting aside that the transcendent tenth issue was left out – but it was a good Superman film from people who love the character and the world. That the voice acting was great to amazing is not a bad thing, either.

    And gotta say, it is far more fun when the creator spends his time saying how much he loves an adaptation than when he goes out of his way to be critical. Moore might be the better writer, but Grant is the better fan.

    Well, for one thing, they didn’t change anything with the story unless they absolutley had to. Also, Moore has never gone out of his way to criticize adaptations of his work. He was asked, and he gave his opinion. This whole “fan” business is rubbish. Since when was it wrong to complain?

    Cutting out issue 3 and huge chunks of issue 10… that sounds like a failure in adaptation to me. Issue 10 was easily the greatest Superman comic I’ve ever read, perhaps of all-time.

    Haven’t seen it yet, but this review puts some of my reservations to rest.
    I do think they’re FOREVER going to be explaining why they cut issue 10.
    I’ll do my best to see this as a piece unto itself, if it works like that, I’ll forgive it.

    I wonder how it’ll compare to NEW FRONTIER which is still my absolute favorite–I LOVE the quieter my personal/emotional stories.

    I actually preferred the movie over the comic series ( In Fact I really dislike the comic series) However I loved the movie. I think by leaving out certain parts of the comic works well for me to keep for the 76 minute time window, but if they ever put out a directors cut with those scenes in the film I would be very interested in watching. The ending is true to the comic. If anything was a disappointment they left out the Bizzarro story.

    I wonder if WB ever considered making All-Star Superman as a series of shorts, like The Spectre. They could of included them with the deluxe editions of each animated feature, maybe covering two or three issues per episode. Still, I’m glad that this work was adapted to animation as it is hands-down my favorite Superman story. Can’t wait to see it on Tuesday.

    This film, unfortunately, plays as a motion comic, shorter, and with much lesser art. There is no reason for it to exist.

    In the end, Superman murders a defenseless foe who is begging for mercy. What kind of scum could consider this to be anything but a perversion of Morrison’s story – or of the character?

    Did not read it so I was hoping to see what was the big deal and can’t say I care for it. Just not my cup of tea. You are being nice when you say it is bumpy. No really going to pull out money for this.

    It’s funny, but when I read the Grant Morrison run, I felt the Bizarro scenes were unnecessary, like a director’s cut, even though I still enjoyed them. Interesting that they left it out of them film. Also, in regards to the film, I felt that is was a bunch of cut scenes and short films slapped together. It did not have an organic feel to it. Again, I still enjoyed it, but ultimately, there was room for improvement. As a whole, DC’s animated films are superior to Marvel’s, and it is evident that DC won’t raise the bar because they don’t have to. Case in point, Marvel and DC didn’t raise the bar of their comics art quality until Image came along. Perhaps we need an ‘Image Comics’ to show the big 2 what can actually be done with comic book animation. I don’t know what Pixar has on the horizon in relation to Marvel, but once someone does raise the bar outside of the big two, look for the big two to give a start giving a damn, and follow suit.

    To be honest I prefer Marvels animated films, mainly because they do there own thing and you don’t have to compare them to he comic too much.

    DC’s tend to be very hit and miss, I don’t get why they don’t just do original animated stuff instead of just sourcing the comics.

    Oh yeah it’s easy and creatively void, that’s why. Any aspect of the film that stands out as different from the comic is probably an animator weeping into his pay cheque.

    I’ll try this but I wish DC would try harder.

    I’ll check this out however, I have to say that I bought the issues a few years ago and just found the entire story to be boring, confusing and weird. Maybe I just don’t get it but I don’t see what is so great about Morrison. I really enjoy Bendis and Geoff Johns work and they live up to the hype.

    Anyone else out there agree with me that Grant just isn’t a legend like everyone makes him out to be?

    Gil – Totally agree. No doubt he’s intelligent, but his stuff (including all the latest Batman nonsense) just isn’t my bag.

    Ho

    Leave a Comment

    From: http://www.comicbookresources.com/?page=article&id=30932

    ‘It all comes out right in the end’: A review of the All-Star Superman movie

    ‘It all comes out right in the end’: A review of the All-Star Superman movie

    All-Star Superman

    Warner Bros’ animated adaptation of Grant Morrison and Frank Quitely’s All-Star Superman is so reverent and faithful toward the source material that the film, to a certain extent, feels like a pale copy of its inspiration.

    That’s not necessarily a damning criticism. Bruce Timm and company took the right approach in attempting to get as close a conversion from page to screen as possible (to do otherwise would have pleased no one). But the comic itself is so rich in detail and episodic in nature that even a trim, streamlined version like this that still manages to hit a number of the right high points feels a bit flabby in comparison. Saying “the book is better” is a rather easy cheat for a critic — the book is almost always better, but I suspect that fans of the comic won’t be able to watch this without running a compare/contrast checklist in their head and find the film coming up a wee bit short. The good news is that those coming fresh to the material probably won’t notice anything wrong at all.

    I wasn’t kidding when I said the film is as faithful to the comic as possible. Screenwriter Dwayne McDuffie lifts the dialogue verbatim from the comic whenever he has the opportunity, and he has plenty of them. What’s more, while the animation is a bit sleeker and cleaner than Quitely’s rough, minimalist pen lines, the animators do their best to mimic the artist’s unique character expressions, posture and body types throughout the film and copy his panel composition whenever the opportunity arises. Many fans will no doubt thrill at seeing sequences like Superman kissing a super-powered Lois on the moon not only animated but done as a near-xerox copy of the original, iconic panel.

    Lois and Kal-El take flight

    More importantly, director Sam Liu manages to maintain the overall contemplative tone and atmosphere of Morrison and Quitely’s masterpiece. It’s certainly one of the most subdued, nakedly sincere and emotional films they’ve ever done, at least compared to past WB/DC films like Under the Red Hood and Superman/Batman: Apocalypse. Matching and maintaining this sort of wistful, inspirational attitude from the comic without coming off as corny or false must have been exceedingly tricky, so kudos to Liu and company for getting that rather essential part right.

    Indeed, certain sequences, like Clark Kent’s interview with Luthor in prison manage to capture the comic’s balletic farce rather well while still adding some of new bits to it. Occasionally they even manage to top the comic — there’s a gag involving Superman’s star-dense Fortress of Solitude key that actually works better animated than it did in print.

    But with only a 76-minute running time, it’s not terribly surprising that a number of sequences would get edited out. As one might expect, the film hones its focus on the Superman/Lex Luthor/Lois Lane triangle, with (in case you’re not familiar with the over-arcing story) Superman finally falling terminally ill to one of Luthor’s traps and attempting to put his affairs in order, especially with Lois, before his time is up.

    Lex Luthor

    The comic, of course, was as much an ode to the classic Superman stories of the past as it was an exploration of the character itself and what makes him so mythic. Thus, the filmmakers attempt to nod toward this by inserting some of the less plot-essential sequences like the battle of wits between Sampson, Atlas and Superman. The one sequence that unfortunately sticks out like a sore thumb is the one involving the Kryptonian astronauts Bar-El and Lilo. It’s not one of my favorite bits from the comic, and my own preference would have been to ditch that for perhaps the Jimmy Olsen sequence in issue #3 instead, or something from issue #10, where he cures children’s cancer, creates a new pocket universe and saves a girl from committing suicide. The choice to include Bar-El and Lilo makes thematic sense — their arrogant behavior provides a nice contrast to Superman’s own humility — but it does underscore the original material’s episodic nature and make the film feel like it’s trying to take a deep breath before moving on to its finale.

    I usually don’t have much to say about the voice work in these films unless I hate it, but everyone does a rather good job this time around. James Denton and Christina Hendricks give a nice gravitas to their characters and the interplay between them works rather well. Special note, however, should be given to Anthony LaPaglia, who nails Luthor’s quiet arrogance and jealousy rather well.

    What big hands you have Kal-El

    Usually the special features sections of these DVDs are an embarrassment, with lots of unwarranted self-congratulation and allegedly in-depth looks at the histories of various characters and comics that are as shallow as dishwater. For once, however, the supplemental materials are worthwhile.

    The main feature is a documentary titled “Superman Now” that features Morrison talking about the origins of the original 12-issue comic and how it came together, as well as a video segment where he shows off his original sketches for the series and talks about how they evolved over time. Even if you’ve heard Morrison talk about these things in past interviews, it’s still entertaining to see him mull over them once again.

    There’s also a commentary track featuring Morrison and Timm that vacillates between insightful and glad-handed compliments, where each tells the other how much they love their work. Despite the schmoozing and occasional quiet lapses, there are notable moments, as when Morrison talks about the larger themes he was trying to address in the comic or Timm talks about how tricky it was to capture Quietly’s style in animation. It’s especially interesting to note Timm’s hesitancy about whether this more subdued, thoughtful type of material will play well before the traditional superhero fanboy audience. Would the same crowd, he asks, that cheered at the violence on display in Red Hood appreciate a more restrained film like this? I’d like to think so, but it seemed telling to me that Timm took the time to pose the question at all.

    There’s also a preview of the next DCU film, a hodge-podge of Green Lantern stories titled Emerald Knights, no doubt designed as a tie-in to the upcoming live-action film. The most notable (and, honestly, unsurprising) revelation was that they plan on adapting Alan Moore’s “Mogo” story. They’d kind of be silly not to.

    Despite my reservations, All-Star Superman is an entertaining movie and should please fans whether they’ve read the original mini-series or not. But there’s also no doubt that the film’s struggles to capture the particular mood of the comic and determine what to prune and what to keep make the film’s pacing a bit bumpy, to put it charitably. It would have been nice to expect a film equal in stature to the comic — nice, but unfair and more than the WB animators could no doubt execute given their financial limitations. At best the film is an enjoyable supplement, one that will allow fans to contemplate just what was so special about the original work that drew them toward it in the first place.

    10 Comments

    Interesting – no mention or opinion of the ending? Was, in that case, the book better than the movie? I wish they had found a way to include the failed suicide scene – that’s so Superman to save a life, no matter how busy – no matter the situation!

    It’s unrealistic to expect this to even approach the quality of the source materials, given the limitations in budget and format. I am, however, looking forward to it, and am glad to hear that, within it’s scope, it does a good job.

    In my opinion, the material required a bolder approach if it was going to be adapted to an A/V medium. Something like a high-end HBO miniseries would have probably given them the space to flesh out the story, but I doubt that such a project would be economically feasible.

    In any case, I’ll be snatching this up as soon as I see it in stores. All-Star Superman (I wish they had changed that name for collected editions) is my favorite superhero comic book period.

    I did prefer the idea that Luthor, rather than Superman, decoded the Kryptonian genetic structure. It’s not a big thing, but as was the case with All Star Superman itself it was the small things that made it so special.

    It was a brilliant animated movie, easily the best thus far, with the best voice cast of any of them across the board.

    I just watched it last night. It was very boring and seemed to go one forever. I won’t be buying this one.

    I was kind of surprised that Supes lets people die in order to protect his secret identity. Parasite sucks the life-force from guards left and right while Clark goes running around with Luthor trying to get him to talk.

    I have been waiting for a Grant Morrison story to be addapted forever !! A good adaptation to boot .I enjoyed the film from begining to end,it captures the brilliant Morrison writing and the lush drawings of Frank Queitly very well.My only gripe is I wish there where more of the eccentric and mythical stories from the book,alas there enough material for a whole series(as is the case when Grant Morrison is writing!!) I would have to have seen “The Black Kyptonite” story or the “Bizzarro” infestation or “Young Superman” story.
    Considering the length I was impressed with all that was shown.Morrisons blend of heart and emotion with over the top science fiction action and phillosophical wierdness makes All Star Superman a work of high art,the animated version has captured much of that.Taking old concepts like superheros/supervillians and reinvigorating them with post modern and wholistic concepts is what makes this book and film work,mortality rebirth, and the legacy of our deeds is at the center of this work. To those who have commented about the film being boring ,Morrison/Quitley may be many things but never boring.Let us hope that future adaptations are as good if not better.

    I think that not having Supes punch out Lex was an improvement, and brings home both Supes’ aim to not use violence, and Lex’s own growth as he finally understands Superman.

    I enjoyed this a lot. It was not perfect – even putting aside that the transcendent tenth issue was left out – but it was a good Superman film from people who love the character and the world. That the voice acting was great to amazing is not a bad thing, either.

    And gotta say, it is far more fun when the creator spends his time saying how much he loves an adaptation than when he goes out of his way to be critical. Moore might be the better writer, but Grant is the better fan.

    Well, for one thing, they didn’t change anything with the story unless they absolutley had to. Also, Moore has never gone out of his way to criticize adaptations of his work. He was asked, and he gave his opinion. This whole “fan” business is rubbish. Since when was it wrong to complain?

    Cutting out issue 3 and huge chunks of issue 10… that sounds like a failure in adaptation to me. Issue 10 was easily the greatest Superman comic I’ve ever read, perhaps of all-time.

    Haven’t seen it yet, but this review puts some of my reservations to rest.
    I do think they’re FOREVER going to be explaining why they cut issue 10.
    I’ll do my best to see this as a piece unto itself, if it works like that, I’ll forgive it.

    I wonder how it’ll compare to NEW FRONTIER which is still my absolute favorite–I LOVE the quieter my personal/emotional stories.

    Leave a Comment

    From: http://robot6.comicbookresources.com/2011/02/it-all-comes-out-right-in-the-end-a-review-of-the-all-star-superman-movie/

    Joanne Siegel dies at 93; model for Superman character Lois Lane

    Joanne Siegel, who played a role in the creation of the Superman saga in the 1930s as Joe Shuster’s teenage artist’s model for Lois Lane and later married the Man of Steel’s co-creator, writer Jerry Siegel, has died. She was 93.

    Siegel, a longtime resident of Marina del Rey who successfully fought a long legal battle to regain her late husband’s copyrights to Superman and related characters, died Saturday at St. John’s Health Center in Santa Monica, said her daughter, Laura Siegel Larson. The cause of death has not yet been determined.

    Joanne Siegel was high school student Joanne Kovacs when she took out a small classified ad under “Situation Wanted — Female” in the Cleveland Plain Dealer in the Depression year of 1935: “ARTIST MODEL: No experience.”

    One of the responses to the ad came from Shuster, a young Cleveland artist who was developing Superman as a potential cartoon strip with his young writer friend, Siegel.

    “Joe was taking art lessons and felt that he needed someone to pose as the Lois Lane character for the Superman story. So I posed,” Joanne Siegel recalled in a 1996 interview with the Plain Dealer.

    “I remember the day I met Jerry in Joe’s living room. Jerry was the model for Superman. He was standing there in a Superman-like pose. He said their character was going to fly through the air, and he leaped off the couch to demonstrate.”

    Siegel’s daughter said that “one of the things [Shuster and Siegel] were particularly interested in is how would a woman look like if she was being carried in the arms of someone flying through the air.

    “So they set up a chair that had arms on it, and my mom draped herself across one arm and her legs across the other arm, and Joe drew her in that position.”

    At least three women in the Cleveland area reportedly have claimed to have been the inspiration for Lois Lane over the years, but Joanne Siegel said in the 1996 interview that they were all wrong.

    “My dad actually wrote a letter to Time magazine one time because he was so aggravated over people making claims on this,” Larson said. “Joe Shuster also wrote a letter. He wanted to make sure that everybody knew my mom was the actual model [for Lane].

    “My father said she not only posed for the character, but from the day he met her it was her personality that he infused into the character. She was not only beautiful but very smart and determined, and she had a lot of guts; she was a courageous person.”

    Superman made his debut in 1938, in Action Comics No. 1 published by the predecessor of DC Comics. The character became an immediate sensation and was on its way to becoming one of the most recognizable characters in the world.

    Siegel and Shuster, however, signed a publisher’s release in 1938, and a court later ruled that they had sold the entire Superman copyright for $130.

    The daughter of Hungarian immigrants, Joanne Siegel was born Jolan Kovacs in Cleveland on Dec. 1, 1917. (Because teachers and classmates found her first name difficult to pronounce — it’s pronounced YO-lon — they called her Joanne.)

    After graduating from high school, she modeled in Boston and New York under the name Joanne Carter before working in a Los Angeles-area shipyard during World War II.

    After the war, she moved back to New York City, where she was reunited with Siegel, whom she married in 1948; they had both been married to other people and divorced.

    The previous year, Shuster and Siegel had tried and failed to get back the rights to Superman.

    After that, Larson said,my father tried to get work and found that publishers were not willing to hire him. He had been blacklisted. My mother and father lived in complete poverty for many, many years.

    “It was due to my mom’s ingenuity that she called up the publisher of Superman at a certain point and said, ‘How can you sit by and continue to make millions of dollars off of a character that Jerry co-created and allow him to live in this unbelievable poverty?’

    “And it was due to her determination and keeping after them for several years that eventually my father went back to work as an uncredited writer on many Superman, Lois Lane, Supergirl and other stories.”

    Before the release of the 1978 “Superman” movie, a campaign led by comic book writers and artists led what was then known as Warner Communications — the parent company of DC Comics — to agree to give both Shuster and Siegel $20,000 a year for the rest of their lives.

    Jerry Siegel died in 1996.

    “His wish was for my mom and me to continue his quest to regain ownership of the character that he created with such love,” Larson said.

    Due to new provisions in the Copyright Act, she said, they successfully regained those rights in a 2008 federal court ruling. However, the Siegel family is still waiting to receive money that has been owed to them since 1999.

    In addition to her daughter, Siegel is survived by a sister, Sophie Halko; and two grandsons.

    dennis.mclellan@latimes.com

    From: http://www.latimes.com/news/obituaries/la-me-joanne-siegel-20110218,0,256504.story

    Joanne Siegel, inspiration for Lois Lane, dies at 93

    Joanne Siegel, who played a role in the creation of the Superman saga in the 1930s as Joe Shuster’s teenage model for Lois Lane and later married the Man of Steel’s co-creator, writer Jerry Siegel, has died. She was 93.

    Siegel, a longtime resident of Marina del Rey, Calif., who successfully fought a long legal battle to regain her late husband’s copyrights to Superman and related characters, died Saturday in Santa Monica, said her daughter, Laura Siegel Larson. The cause of death has not yet been determined.

    Joanne Siegel was high school student Joanne Kovacs when she took out a small classified ad under “Situation Wanted-Female” in the Cleveland Plain Dealer in the Depression year of 1935: “ARTIST MODEL: No experience.”

    One of the responses to the ad came from Shuster, a young Cleveland artist who was developing Superman as a cartoon strip with his young writer friend, Siegel.

    “Joe was taking art lessons and felt that he needed someone to pose as the Lois Lane character for the Superman story. So I posed,” Joanne Siegel recalled in a 1996 interview with the Plain Dealer.

    “I remember the day I met Jerry in Joe’s living room. Jerry was the model for Superman. He was standing there in a Superman-like pose. He said their character was going to fly through the air, and he leaped off the couch to demonstrate.”

    Siegel’s daughter said that “one of the things (Shuster and Siegel) were particularly interested in is how would a woman look like if she was being carried in the arms of someone flying through the air.

    “So they set up a chair that had arms on it, and my mom draped herself across one arm and her legs across the other arm, and Joe drew her in that position.”

    At least three women in the Cleveland area reportedly have claimed to have been the inspiration for Lois Lane over the years, but Joanne Siegel said in the 1996 interview that they were all wrong.

    “My dad actually wrote a letter to Time magazine one time because he was so aggravated over people making claims on this,” Larson said. “Joe Shuster also wrote a letter. He wanted to make sure that everybody knew my mom was the actual model 1/8for Lane3/8.

    “My father said she not only posed for the character, but from the day he met her it was her personality that he infused into the character. She was not only beautiful but very smart and determined, and she had a lot of guts; she was a courageous person.”

    Superman made his debut in 1938, in Action Comics No. 1 published by the predecessor of DC Comics. The character became an immediate sensation and was on its way to becoming one of the most recognizable characters in the world.

    Siegel and Shuster, however, signed a publisher’s release in 1938, and a court later ruled that they had sold the entire Superman copyright for $130.

    The daughter of Hungarian immigrants, Joanne Siegel was born Jolan Kovacs in Cleveland on Dec. 1, 1917. (Because teachers and classmates found her first name difficult to pronounce-it’s pronounced YO-lon-they called her Joanne.)

    After graduating from high school, she modeled in Boston and New York under the name Joanne Carter before working in a shipyard in the Los Angeles area during World War II.

    After the war, she moved back to New York City, where she was reunited with Siegel, whom she married in 1948. Both had been married previously.

    The previous year, Shuster and Siegel had tried and failed to get back the rights to Superman.

    After that, Larson said, “my father tried to get work and found that publishers were not willing to hire him. He’d been blacklisted. My mother and father lived in complete poverty for many, many years.

    “It was due to my mom’s ingenuity that she called up the publisher of Superman at a certain point and said, ‘How can you sit by and continue to make millions of dollars off of a character that Jerry co-created and allow him to live in this unbelievable poverty?’

    “And it was due to her determination and keeping after them for several years that eventually my father went back to work as an uncredited writer on many Superman, Lois Lane, Supergirl and other stories.”

    Before the release of the 1978 “Superman” movie, a campaign led by comic book writers and artists led what was then known as Warner Communications-the parent company of DC Comics-to agree to give both Shuster and Siegel $20,000 a year for the rest of their lives.

    Jerry Siegel died in 1996.

    “His wish was for my mom and me to continue his quest to regain ownership of the character that he created with such love,” Larson said.

    Due to new provisions in the Copyright Act, she said, they regained those rights in a 2008 federal court ruling. However, the Siegel family is still waiting to receive money that’s been owed to them since 1999.

    In addition to her daughter, Siegel is survived by her sister, Sophie Halko.

    From: http://www.kansascity.com/2011/02/17/2663746/joanne-siegel-inspiration-for.html

    ‘All-Star Superman’: James Denton’s ‘very human and dying’ Man of Steel

    James Denton is best known as the man of copper piping on Wisteria Lane, but he takes on a new role as the Man of Steel in the DC home-video release “All-Star Superman.” The “Desperate Housewives” star is joined by Anthony LaPaglia (Lex Luthor), Christina Hendricks (Lois Lane) and Ed Asner (Perry White) on the two-disc home-video release, which hits shelves Feb. 22. Denton approached the role with a healthy respect for the actors who had come before him, as he told our Jevon Phillips in this QA. 

    James Denton in the recording booth. (Gary Miereanu)

    JP: So, were you into comics as a kid?

    JD: As a kid, I was. I was never a collector, but I saved them. Then, as my parents moved their house as so often happens, everything got dispersed and lost. But I’ve learned that there’s a whole world out there that most people, unless you’re in it, don’t know about and aren’t aware of. Kyle MacLaughlin, who voiced Superman in one of the earlier DVDs, was telling me about how educational it is to do this job and meet those guys that are in that world. It’s really fascinating and it’s kind of addictive. Both of us agreed that I don’t have time for another hobby, but I’ve got to admit that I’m a comic guy. After doing this and meeting people, you really get how it can be addictive!

    JP: When you did buy and did read, what were your favorite comics?

    JD: I used to buy Superman — I was a Superman guy not a Batman guy — and Spider-Man. I also bought some Rawhide Kid. I was into western comics — Outlaw Kid and Two-Gun Kid and Rawhide Kid. I don’t even know how long they made those. Course I grew up in the South, I’m a redneck, so I gravitated toward the Western comics.

    JP: So … Superman?

    JD: Of course to me, as much as I hate to admit it, when somebody mentions Superman, the image that pops into my head is of George Reeves standing there with his hands on his hips in black and white with a cape flapping behind him. I’m definitely from the old school.

    George Reeves as Superman. (Photo courtesy of the Museum of Radio and Television)

    JP: So for you he’s the most memorable Man of Steel?

    JD: Obviously the Christopher Reeve movies are so great and they’re more modern, but still for me, it was George Reeves on TV. I guess he was so human, and not all rocked up — he was such a human and normal-seeming guy, and when you’re a little kid, [that sort of thing] sticks with you.

    JP: Did that nostalgia influence you when you accepted the role?

    JD: I was just honored to be asked.  It was a little bit daunting. Most of us [as actors] don’t have stage fright per se, but I was kind of scared of taking this on. It’s so iconic and there’s so many people waiting for this to come out and the book was so good.  People love Superman and are very protective. So, while I was very honored to be asked, I didn’t ask what they were paying me [and] I jumped at the chance to do it. I realized as I was driving to the studio that I was really trepidatious.

    JP: Describe the story.

    JD: It’s really complicated. In the beginning there’s a journey to the sun that Lex Luthor sabotages and Superman is oversaturated with radiation that degenerates his cells. That’s what ends up killing him, and that made it tricky for me because there’s all of these emotional scenes. He says goodbye to Ma Kent, tells Lois that he’s dying, confronts Lex about changing his ways — and yet you have to resist being emotional.

     

    All-Star Superman

    JP: So how’d you approach him?

    JD: One of the great things that I read about Superman came from Grant Morrison when he said that the bumbling Clark Kent was a facade, and that Superman is also facade.  That the real Clark Kent, the guy that was raised by Ma and Pa Kent in Smallville, was very strong, very confident and knew how to drive a tractor — that guy was the real guy.  And that helped me ’cause I thought ‘If this feels a little monotone or controlled, that’s OK, because Superman is not the real Clark Kent either.’

    JP: Did you get to interact with the other voice actors?

    JD: No, we did it completely separate. Anthony [LaPaglia] and Christina Hendricks and Francis Conroy … we kind of had to get in there when we could get in there. It’s hard to do more than one at a time, and it’s pretty monotonous for the other people [if we had all been there simultaneously] … which is a shame because I would’ve loved to have been in there with Anthony because his voice is so great.

    JP: What did you think about the process of doing voicework in general?

    JD: I’d never voiced an animated character.  It was really just about trusting Andrea Romano, who is a genius. She does so many of these.  If she says through the glass that I’ve got it, I just trust her and move on. It’s so weird, like when you first heard your voice on an answering machine. I first heard me and I was like ‘Man, what happened to Superman? He’s such a wimp!’ I couldn’t wrap my mind around the fact that it was still my voice.

    All-Star Superman

    I know that part of the reason [executive producer] Bruce Timm chose me was because this was a very different Superman. You don’t need the booming, intimidating voice, thank God, because we’re playing with Superman being very mortal and very human and dying.  It was tough for me to listen to.  Especially with Anthony LaPaglia as Lex because his voice … he’s fantastic. And he’s so big and Lex is huge, and then you hear Superman and it’s me and you’re like ‘Oh God, Lex is gonna kill him!’

    JP: Switching gears, “Desperate Housewives” … if one of the women had super powers of some sort, who would it be and what would her powers be?

    JD: [laughs] Nicollette Sheridan’s character Edie would have X-ray vision. She would be the one peeking through everyone’s walls to see who was sleeping with whom so that she could find her next victim!

    –  Jevon Phillips

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    From: http://herocomplex.latimes.com/2011/02/16/all-star-superman-james-dentons-very-human-and-dying-man-of-steel/

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