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Based upon one of the most significant comic book series to reinterpret the mythos of The Man Of Steel, ALL-STAR SUPERMAN ($25) is also one of the more significant titles to be released under Warner’s direct-to-video, DC Universe Animated Original Movie banner. ALL-STAR SUPERMAN effectively, although not perfectly, condenses the twelve issue comic book series by Grant Morrison and Frank Quitely into a seventy-five minute animated film.

The premise of ALL-STAR SUPERMAN finds Lex Luthor launching his latest ingenious plot to eliminate Superman. The solar radiation from Earth’s yellow sun has always been Superman’s source of strength, yet Luthor manages to use it against The Last Son Of Krypton, by hopelessly overdosing him with more than his body can ever metabolize. After his exposure, Superman finds all of his extraordinary powers greatly enhanced, but upon closer examination, it is revealed that his cellular structure is breaking down… and that he is slowly dying. As Superman comes to grips with inevitability of his situation, he does so with a god-like grace that is never far removed from his humanity and humility, even as he says goodbye to Lois Lane, saves his adopted world yet again, and has a final confrontation with Lex Luthor. The vocal cast of ALL-STAR SUPERMAN features James Denton, Christina Hendricks, Anthony LaPaglia, Edward Asner, Obba Babatundé, Steven Blum, Linda Cardellini, Cathy Cavadini, Frances Conroy, Chris Cox, Alexis Denisof, John DiMaggio, Robin Atkin Downes, Michael Gough, Matthew Gray Gubler, Finola Hughes, Kevin Michael Richardson, Fred Tatasciore and Arnold Vosloo.

Warner Home Video has made ALL-STAR SUPERMAN available on Blu-ray Disc in a 1.78:1 aspect ratio presentation that has been encoded onto the disc with the AVC codec. ALL-STAR SUPERMAN features a very strong 1080p presentation that does a pretty terrific job of rendering the 2D animation. Every bit of detail in the 2D animated image is right up there on the screen. The sharply drawn lines of the comic book animation style are precisely rendered. Colors appear vibrant, with the Blu-ray faithfully reproducing the primary and secondary hues. Blacks are perfectly inky, while the whites appear crisp and completely stable. Contrast is pretty terrific and enhances the finer qualities of the animation. ALL-STAR SUPERMAN wasn’t produced on film, and therefore, is free from grain and print flaws associated with that particular medium.

ALL-STAR SUPERMAN is presented on Blu-ray Disc with a 5.1 channel DTS-HD Master Audio soundtrack. This being a direct-to-video animated release; the sound design isn’t up to theatrical standards, and comes across as somewhat front heavy. There are channel separations across the front, which do become more pronounced during the action sequences. The rears do add some active effects, in addition to ambient sounds and musical fill. Thanks to the lossless encode, the soundtrack is robust sounding, with the bass channel adding heft to the proceedings. Voices are distinctly reproduced, plus the dialogue is always easy to understand. A French Dolby Digital 5.1 channel and Spanish 2.0 channel tracks are also encoded onto the disc. Subtitles are available in English.

The interactive menus allow one access to the standard scene selection and set up features, as well as the supplemental materials. Starting things off is a running Audio Commentary with producer Bruce Timm and comic series co-creator Grant Morrison. Featurettes and other programs include the following: Superman Now (thirty four minutes) and The Creative Flow: Incubating The Idea With Grant Morrison (ten minutes). Also provided is a Digital Comic version of All-Star Superman #1, as well as a Sneak Peak of the upcoming Green Lantern: Emerald Knights. Next up are Bruce Timm’s Top Picks- from SUPERMAN: THE ANIMATED SERIES comes these two episodes: Blast From The Past, Part 1 and Blast From The Past, Part 2. DC Animation Project Previews close out the standard supplements. Disc two offers a DVD copy of the movie for those who are on the fence about making the upgrade to Blu-ray, along with a Digital Copy of the film.

ALL-STAR SUPERMAN is a very solid entry in the DC Universe series, although the material might have been better served by a longer running time, or perhaps mini-series styled event. The Blu-ray presentation is quite pleasing. Recommended.


All-Star Superman (Blu-ray/DVD Combo + Digital Copy)


DVD & Blu-ray Disc reviews are Copyright © 2011 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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