Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Justice League: Crisis on Two Earths Blu-ray Review

Disc Size: 19.2 GB
Film Size: 9.30 GB
Film Rating: PG-13
Region: ABC
The Video
Justice League: Crisis on Two Earths comes to Blu-ray with a 1080p VC-1 video presentation. Right from beginning we get that typical beautiful high-definition look, everything just pops and looks very natural. That being said, the encode size of the film did bug me quite a bit and this time around the presentation did have some negative effects due to size.

Generally the animation held strong, featuring rich vibrant colors and sharp black outlines. At times though there are some noticeable moments of colors crushing and pixilation. I’m not sure if the DVD also has this issue but it could have definitely been avoided.

Regardless I am sure this is definitely an improvement over a DVD; there is just no confusing it with standard definition. The animation style is fairly simple, but there is still a lot to love about it in high-definition. Overall the encode issues do bug me, this is not different from previous WB animated releases, but previous efforts were less problematic with results.

The issue is not something big enough to consider the product defect; it just is annoying when the issue does happen from time to time. Those on the fence between DVD and Blu-ray should still get the high-def release as the film definitely benefits. 7/10.

The Audio
A 5.1 Dolby Digital audio track is included for this release. Yes you read that right, Dolby Digital lossy audio. This is very annoying as most recent DCU animated releases (aside from the last one) all came with Dolby TrueHD lossless audio.

Anyway, you can’t change what’s done. I went with the track without any bias, its annoying yes, but Dolby Digital can still be somewhat good at times. Justice League: Crisis on Two Earths is an action filled film and the mix is decent for the most part.

Dialogue is presented front and center and is easy to understand, it helps that it is an animated film. Surround use is there although hardly as immersive as I would have hoped. The effects were good but lacked that added kick that comes with a lossless track.

There is nothing very wrong about the track, it definitely sounds weaker than a lossless track, but that is to be expected. The film is presented with a decent Dolby Digital track; just don’t go in expecting to be very impressed. 5/10.

The Extras

DC Showcase – The Spectre (11:51) (HD)
A brand-new animated short featuring The Spectre.

Bonus Episodes (1:30:59) (SD)
A Better World, Part 1
A Better World, Part 2
Twilight, Part 1
Twilight, Part 2

DCU Live-Action Pilots (113:52) (SD)
Wonder Woman

DCU: The New World (33:14) (SD)
A half hour feature regarding the changes in what it means to be a superhero.

A First Look at Batman: Under the Red Hood (13:47) (SD)
This is a preview of the next DCU animated movie.

A First Look at Green Lantern: First Flight (10:12) (SD)
Maybe a first look for some of you, but it has been on Blu-ray for quite some time.

A First Look at Superman/Batman: Public Enemies (7:50) (SD)
Also available on Blu-ray.

Wonder Woman: The Amazon Princess (10:26) (SD)
This is a promotional piece for the animated Wonder Woman film, which is also available on Blu-ray.

Digital Copy
Compatible with Windows Media only.

I wasn’t very impressed by a few of the bonus features, especially since a lot of it is just promotion for other Blu-ray releases. The bonus episodes are a nice addition, but ‘The Spectre’ short is definitely the most welcome thing included and is in high-definition. ‘The Spectre’ short may be short, but it packs quite the punch and is definitely worth watching. 5/10.

The Movie
Justice League: Crisis on Two Earths is just the latest DCU animated release and is actually very solid. The film is written by Dwayne McDuffie and I think he did a fantastic job and definitely exceeded the past few releases quality-wise.

The film like previous films features a PG-13 rating, which does allow the story to be somewhat darker and a bit more violent. The story itself is definitely on the darker side but at the same time always feels slightly held back story-wise as if it still wants to target to even the younger superhero audiences.

The film includes all of the Justice League, with some characters having much bigger parts than others, although some just feel a bit thrown in just to be included. The voice talent behind the characters is also quite good and I do like the slight redesign of some of the characters.

The story is mostly about the Justice League discovering their evil counterparts in a battle of good vs. evil. So the theme may not be extremely original, but the writing and the animation definitely help give it an edge.

This is definitely one of the stronger animated superhero films that I have seen and I definitely enjoyed it much more than I expected. Fans of previous DCU animated films such as Wonder Woman, The Green Lantern and others should definitely find some quality entertainment from this film.

If you are not a fan of previous DCU animated titles, I don’t think this film will exactly change your mind. I have never considered myself a big fan, but I do enjoy them. Comparing this to previous efforts, this one is definitely very solid in my book. 8/10.

The Blu-news Summary
The Blu-ray release is slightly problematic with Blu-ray encode issues and lossy audio. Despite the issues this is clearly an improvement from DVD; the film looks extremely good in high-definition despite the few issues. The extras on this release are a bit bland, but ‘The Spectre’ short adds a surprisingly good added value. Overall this release is ‘Recommended’ to fans and ‘Worth a Look’ to all others.

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