H D - S E N S E I

A view on Hi-def discs by Gary W. Tooze


Introduction: Hello, fellow Beavers! I have been interested in film since I viewed a Chaplin festival on PBS when I was around 9 years old. I credit DVD with expanding my horizons to fill an almost ravenous desire to seek out new film experiences. I currently own approximately 7500 DVDs and have reviewed over 3000 myself. I appreciate my discussion Listserv for furthering my film education and inspiring me to continue running DVDBeaver. Plus a healthy thanks to those who donate and use our Amazon links.

Although I never wanted to become one of those guys who focused 'too much' on image and sound quality - I find HD is swiftly pushing me in that direction. So be it, but film will always be my first love and I list my favorites on the old YMdb site now accessible HERE.  

Gary's Home Theatre:

Samsung HPR4272 42" Plasma HDTV
Toshiba HD-A2 HD-DVD player (firmware upgraded)

Sony BDP-S300 1080p Blu-ray Disc Player (firmware upgraded)
Sony DVP NS5ODH SD-DVD player (region-free and HDMI)

Marantz SA8001 Super Audio CD Player
Marantz SR7002 THX Select2 Surround Receiver
Tannoy DC6-T (fronts) + Energy (centre, rear, subwoofer) speakers (5.1)

Gary W. Tooze







Superman Doomsday [Blu-ray]


(Lauren Montgomery, Bruce W. Timm and Brandon Vietti, 2007)



Review by Gary Tooze


Studio: Warner Animation

Video: Warner Home Video



Region: FREE

Feature Runtime: 1:17:41

Chapters: 20

Feature film disc size: 10.1 Gig

One single-layered Blu-ray

Case: Standard Blu-ray case

Release date: November 25th, 2008



Aspect ratio: 1.78:1

Resolution: 1080p


English: 5.1, DUBs: Portuguese 5.1

Feature: English (SDH), Portuguese and none


Commentary by Producer Bruce Timm, Writer Duane Capizzi, Voice Director Andrea Romano and Executive Producer Gregory Noveck
The Clash of the Juggernauts (13:09)
Four episodes of 'Superman: The Animated Series hand-picked by Bruce Timm (1.5 hour -SD)
Requiem and Rebirth: Superman Lives (43:07)
Superman Doomsday: Behind the Voices Featurette (5:18 - SD)
Justice League New Frontier Featurette (10:44 - SD)
Wonder Woman Sneak Peek (10:29)
When Heroes Die: The Making of Superman Doomsday (29:16)

Trailers - Batman Gotham Knight, Appleseed Ex Machina


Product Description: "There comes a time when even Gods must die." - Lex Luthor

When Lexcorp accidentally unearths the intergalactic serial killer Doomsday, Superman battles the creature head-on in the fight of his life...literally. The world collectively mourns its fallen hero; humanity realizes it will never feel truly safe again. Superman's enemies rejoice - all but Lex Luthor, who grieves the loss in his own demented manner, setting off a chilling chain of events that even he couldn't have foreseen.

Inspired by the best-selling graphic novel of all-time, DC Comics' The Death of Superman, this feature-length animated adventure boasts exciting action sequences that rival anything you've ever seen starring the Man Of Steel. 




The Film:

Superman: Doomsday is the first in a proposed line of animated films to be released to DVD which borrows well-known storylines right from those of the comics, although generally abbreviated and modified such that they don't rely on heavy continuity to understand. This film is pretty much a very pared-down version of the lengthy saga that appeared in the comics, stripping away many characters, side plots, and all sense of depth that were explored on the printed page. Given that 77 minutes is almost a standard for a STV animated release, it's not like they could remotely come close to getting it all in and not be too convoluted to follow.




I suppose that, given the limitations, this is about the best retelling that one could reasonably expect in a one-shot video format. It's a good story, and it works, though the resonance of the impact of the death of a beloved icon is thoroughly diminished by the fact that all of two minutes are given to the anguish before we're thrown back into seeing the likeness of Superman over Metropolis again.

Excerpt from Vince Leo at Quipster's Movie Reviews located HERE


Image : NOTE: The below Blu-ray captures were ripped directly from the Blu-ray disc.

Although this was released on DVD on September of 2007, and will be re-released on SD simultaneous to this Blu-ray but I don't own either to compare. The thing about digital animation is that it is essentially flawless - it should have none of the common deficiencies that we can find when transferring live-action film to high-definition digital - things like edge-enhancement or noise removal manipulation. Haze and blurriness are intentional effects to create the perception of motion. Out-of-focus sequences are simply created to make the true focal object more primary to our vision. By rendering digital animation to Blu-ray we should be able to obtain the highest accuracy of the original, flawless intent. However, although this looks darn impressive I'll wager that the differences from the DVD image quality will not be as dramatic as we have seen from other bumps of SD to hi-def. While I can find no flaw with the image, excepting perhaps a few jaggies here and there, it does only take up 10 Gig of space on the single-layered Blu-ray. It still looks impressive - bright colors, commanding black levels and looks exactly as it was made to look. The style? Well, personally, I think extraneous characters, like Lois and Perry, look excellent but the Man of Steel and his battling enemy don't really do it for me. Hopefully, the screen captures below will give you an idea of what it will look like on your system. Despite its limited size I doubt anyone will be disappointed.

















Audio & Music:  
Only a 5.1
Dolby Digital you say? Yes that's correct - despite being Blu-ray there is no TrueHD, hi-def audio, option and fans may have a legitimate complaint. The effects and music do sound solid and at times compelling and dramatic. Separation is not very dynamic but has some less demonstrative moments that support the presentation adequately, if not as stellar as some may desire. I'd say the mix is rather mediocre for this type of film. There are optional subtitles offered in
English, or Portuguese. We'll assume like all other Warner Blu-rays that this too is region free.


I'm not a big Superman junkie and prefer the Marvel Universe but I do find it amusing at how serious some of the filmmakers take this character. This high enthusiasm and extensively deep knowledge of Superman and the DC world are evident in the gang commentary by producer Bruce Timm, writer Duane Capizzi, voice director Andrea Romano and executive producer Gregory Noveck as well as featurettes, of which I enjoyed the 45 minute Requiem and Rebirth: Superman Lives piece. Best of the extras are the four episodes of 'Superman: The Animated Series - supposedly hand-picked by Bruce Timm. They run about 1 1/2 hours and compliment the feature - especially for those keen on more adventures. We've seen the 10 minute Wonder Woman Sneak Peek before and there is a similarly long Justice League New Frontier Featurette.



Bottom line:
I didn't warm to this particular DC Universe full-length feature. I honestly don't know whether it's because I am not a huge fan or it is just not that good. Those keen though won't be disappointed in this
Blu-ray that is priced well and only $2 more than the SD version
. The image can be quite striking with colors looking dramatic.

Gary Tooze

November 19th, 2008





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