I feel I should start this review off by saying that I am not that familiar with the original comic book story this “New Frontier” movie is based on, therefore I cannot tell you how true to the source material this movie stays. What I will tell you, as a casual fan of DC Comic characters and the Justice League, I found this movie to be enjoyable overall with only a few problems.
The movie takes place just as the Korean War is ending. We find Hal Jordan (soon to become Green Lantern) is an Air Force pilot who flew during the war and is now setting his sights on the astronaut corps. However, a final showdown with Korean forces just as cease fire was declared derails his plans temporarily. The beginning scene sets the tone for the movie that tends to be dark and somewhat brooding at times. I won’t give away the specifics of the scene but will say that even though this is an animated movie, it is clear that children are not the intended audience.
Simultaneous to this opening scene with Hal Jordan, we also witness a scene in Gotham City featuring a strange old science professor as he conducts an experiment to make contact with life in outer space. He accidently pulls a being known as Martian Manhunter to Earth. The after-effects of this accident have left the professor dying from a heart attack in the arms of this strange new visitor to Earth. Just before the professor dies, he apologizes to the Manhunter for bringing him to this planet against his will. After he lays the Professor down for his final rest, the Manhunter ventures off to explore this strange new world.
One of the pleasantly surprising things about this movie – it does not focus primarily on DC heavyweight characters Superman, Batman and Wonder Woman. Though all three do play a part in this movie, they act more like supporting characters than the main stars. The Flash, though not focused on quite as much as Hal Jordan and Martian Manhunter, also plays a fairly significant part in the movie. During the course of this movie, we discover that Superman, Wonder Woman and Batman were all members of the now disbanded Justice Society and that there seems to be a general distrust between costumed heroes and the American Government. This is a theme we see throughout the movie, building towards the climactic ending.
The main bad guy for this movie is something called “The Center”. This part of the movie presents most of its problems. As mentioned before, being someone not that familiar with the original “New Frontier” comic book stories, I really have no idea who or what this “Center” is. Unfortunately after watching the entire movie, I am sad to say that I still don’t really know who or what this “Center” is. Similar to Warner Bros. previous DC Comics animated movie “Superman: Doomsday”, this may be a result of trying to cram an extensive, comic book story into a time-constrained movie. Still I feel that maybe a bit more time could have been spent on background about this seemingly powerful new enemy.
The animation for this movie, meant to mirror the very stylized art of Darwyn Cooke's book, was fantastic. The assembled cast of voice actors for this movie also did a terrific job of making my overall viewing experience very enjoyable. I would recommend it to any DC Comic fan, although you may want to go out and read the actual comics before or after watching it – which actually might not be a bad thing.
Warner Premiere, DC Comics and Warner Bros. Animation are set to release the all-new original movie Justice League: The New Frontier on February 26, 2008 on DVD, HD DVD and Blu-ray Disc, distributed by Warner Home Video. Order due date is January 22, 2008. The original movie will also be available OnDemand and Pay-per-View as well as available for download on February 26, 2008.
Based on the graphic novel by Darwyn Cooke and produced by Michael Goguen and animation legend, Bruce Timm, Justice League: The New Frontier is the epic tale of the founding of the Justice League. The animated film, written by Stan Berkowitz, features an incredible celebrity-laden voice cast including David Boreanaz, Brooke Shields, Lucy Lawless, Neil Patrick Harris, Miguel Ferrer, Kyra Sedgwick, Jeremy Sisto and Kyle MacLachlan and will be available on DVD for $19.98 SRP. There will also be a 2 disc Special Edition DVD available for $24.98 SRP which contains additional bonus features including a documentary about the pathology of the super villain and three bonus episodes from the Justice League animated series selected by Bruce Timm. All the content from the 2-disc Special Edition DVD will be available on HD DVD and Blu-ray Disc.