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Following on the outstanding traditions of BATMAN: THE ANIMATED SERIES, SUPERMAN: THE ANIMATED SERIES and BATMAN BEYOND, comes the latest and greatest animated superhero series: JUSTICE LEAGUE. JUSTICE LEAGUE succeeds so well because it follows the same guidelines that made these three preceding superhero series truly terrific- by respecting these characters and their mythology and never "dumbing down" the stories or the characters for a perceived younger audience. JUSTICE LEAGUE then ups the ante by adding more legendary superheroes from the DC Universe to the mix, instead of focusing on just a single one. Additionally, the show doesnít shy away from depicting the heroes of JUSTICE LEAGUE as having different temperaments and occasionally getting on each otherís nerves- just like real people.

The basic premise of JUSTICE LEAGUE initially brings together Batman (voiced by Kevin Conroy), Superman (voiced by George Newbern), Wonder Woman (voiced by Susan Eisenberg), Green Lantern (voiced by Phil LaMarr), Hawkgirl (voiced by Maria Canals), The Flash (voiced by Michael Rosenbaum) and The Martian Manhunter (voiced by Carl Lumbly) to stop a deadly threat to the Earth. Recognizing that only through their combined efforts, were they able to save the world, the superheroes form the Justice League as a means of pooling their resources for future emergencies. The episodes throughout season one of JUSTICE LEAGUE are pretty much action packed, plus the stories are intelligently written and offer the kind of complexity that require multiple episodes to complete a single story arc.

JUSTICE LEAGUE: SEASON ONE ($60) comes to Blu-ray Disc in a three-disc set that features the following twenty-six episodes: Secret Origins Part 1, Secret Origins Part 2, Secret Origins Part 3, In Blackest Night Part 1, In Blackest Night Part 2, The Enemy Below Part 1, The Enemy Below Part 2, Paradise Lost Part 1, Paradise Lost Part 2, War World Part 1, War World Part 2, The Brave And The Bold Part 1, The Brave And The Bold Part 2, Fury Part 1, Fury Part 2, Legends Part 1, Legends Part 2, Injustice For All Part 1, Injustice For All Part 2, A Knight Of Shadows Part 1, A Knight Of Shadows Part 2, Metamorphosis Part 1, Metamorphosis Part 2, The Savage Time Part 1, The Savage Time Part 2 and The Savage Time Part 3.

Warner Home Video has made JUSTICE LEAGUE: SEASON ONE available on Blu-ray Disc in a 1.37:1 aspect ratio presentation that has been encoded onto the disc with the VC-1 codec. The controversy regarding the correct aspect ratio of season one of JUSTICE LEAGUE is sure to continue with this release; however, as I reported with the DVD release of this titleÖ JUSTICE LEAGUE was produced at a "widescreen safe" 1.37:1 for its initial season and was shown on Cartoon Network in the 4:3 full screen format, as well as a matted 1.78:1. While the matted widescreen format is the preferred version of the series creators, JUSTICE LEAGUE was not produced in true widescreen until season two. Even in the 1.37:1 aspect ratio, JUSTICE LEAGUE: SEASON ONE looks amazing in its 1080p presentations. Sure, television caliber 2D animation isnít the type of material one would use to show off the high definition format, but if you are a fan of the show, you are going to be tickled to see how crystal clear the animation looks on Blu-ray. Colors are of the leap off the screen caliber, with the primary hues being the most striking. Stability and clarity of the colors never fail to impress, and the intensity of certain hues can be a bit dizzying. Blacks and whites are pure. Contrast is excellent. Not produced on film, JUSTICE LEAGUE is free from the grain and print flaws.

JUSTICE LEAGUE: SEASON ONE is presented on Blu-ray Disc with a 5.1 channel Dolby Digital 640kbps soundtrack. From what my ears are telling me, the episodes have not undergone any type of re-mix for Blu-ray release, but instead, have been re-purposed from the original sound stems into the discrete format. For this reason, my comments about the sound will be similar to that of the DVD release. The soundtracks as presented here never exceed the limitations of broadcast television. As expected, the forward soundstage is always dominant, with the surround channels adding nothing more mild effects, music and ambient fill. Dialogue is always clean and easy to understand. Fidelity is good, but the material isnít particularly taxing. No alternate language tracks have been included on the DVD, although English subtitles have been provided.

The interactive menus allow one access to the standard episode selection and set up features, as well as, as well as the supplemental materials. Supplements are ported directly from the DVD release. Running Audio Commentaries are offered on The Enemy Below Part 2, Legends Part 2 and The Savage Time Part 2, participants include Producers Bruce Timm, James Tucker, Glenn Murakami, Rich Fogel and Director Dan Riba. Three additional programs are also included. Inside Justice League offers a panel discussion with the series creative team, who look back at the formulation of this multi superhero based series. The Look Of The League the creative team discusses the character designs employed for the series. Storyboards: The Blueprint For Justice has the creative team discussing storyboarding process. Closing out the supplements is Justice League: The First Mission, which is a cobbled together Promo Reel designed by the creative team to help get the series green lighted by The Suits.

JUSTICE LEAGUE is marvelous animated series. Warnerís Blu-ray release of JUSTICE LEAGUE: SEASON ONE shows the animation at a jaw dropping level of clarity and color reproduction. Highly recommended.



Justice League: Season One [Blu-ray] (2001)


DVD & Blu-rayDisc reviews are Copyright © 2008 THE CINEMA LASER and may not be copied or reprinted without the written consent of the publisher.
THE CINEMA LASER is written, edited and published by Derek M. Germano.



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