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Review: Superman: Brainiac Attacks (2006) My Reviews 20 JUL 2012

Embittered by Superman’s heroic successes and soaring popularity, Lex Luthor forms a dangerous alliance with the powerful computer/villain Brainiac. Using advanced weaponry and a special strain of Kryptonite harvested from the far reaches of outer space, Luthor specifically redesigns Brainiac to defeat the Man of Steel. But when Brainiac betrays Luthor and reveals its sinister plans for world domination, Superman must brave the mysterious Phantom Zone to find the strength to survive this deadly showdown – and save the life of his beloved Lois Lane!

Superman: Brainiac Attacks is a 2006 direct-to-video animated film directed by Curt Geda for Warner Bros. Animation, based on a script by Duane Capizzi and Christopher Simmons.

In terms of story, Superman: Brainiac Attacks delivers knockout action from start to finish, mixing a touch of humor here and there and tempered by plenty of drama, just as was done in the original Superman: The Animated Series run. On top of the whole Brainiac and Lex Luthor plot, the film also weaves in a subtle inner turmoil as Clark Kent continues to pine for Lois and toys with the idea of letting her in on his secret identity. However, whilst the build-up to the big finale is pretty well handled, I must say that the film kind of loses it two thirds of the way in, where it rushes the whole Phantom Zone scenario, provides a rather silly golden liquid solution to the problem at hand, before end off with a rather cheesy “kiss saves her life” routine, which feels rather out of place amongst all the action going on in the background.

Nevertheless, the film isn’t all bad and the heavy hitting action it delivers is pretty top notch (even if the design of the Brainiac robot isn’t exactly the most menacing around) – in other words, certainly doing enough to satisfy most fans of the Man of Steel.

Animation is done in the same visual style as what was used in the original Superman: The Animated Series television franchise, which does mean fairly simple lines, but also means immediate familiarity for anyone who grew up watching the revival of the Man of Steel on the Silver Screen. That said, there are moments where the animation is spotty, particularly in terms of proportions and face layouts, but for the most part the animation is solid, complemented by some great choreography, especially during the many explosive fight scenes.

The soundtrack by Thomas Chase Jones is top-notch, and the voice cast sees the welcome return of many of the voices who did Superman: The Animated Series, including Tim Daly who had been absent from the character during the Justice League animation run. However, the choice of franchise newcomer Powers Boothe is a bit of a mistake, as the character of Lex Luthor is completely off, coming across as more of a Joker from the Batman universe than anything else, detracting from what is normally quite a menacing figure in the Superman universe.

Overall, Superman: Brainiac Attacks is a competent animated superhero movie, though it did feel a little more cheesy than normal. Nevertheless, it does pack in quite a lot of walloping Superman action, so fans of the Man of Steel will probably enjoy catching this one.

I personally can’t really see myself bothering to watch it again though, truth be told.

Related Link: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Superman:_Brainiac_Attacks

Review: The Batman/Superman Movie (1998) Animation | My Reviews 07 APR 2011

What do you do if you have one story broken over three episodes from a hit 1997 television show? You merge them into one movie and make more money by selling them direct to DVD of course!

And thus The Batman/Superman Movie was born.

Grabbing episodes 29, 30 and 31 from 1997 Season 2 of Superman: The Animated Series, the story titled World’s Finest (Parts I – III) in its original form, is penned by Alan Burnett and Paul Dini, and directed by Toshihiko Masuda.

The story involves a near bankrupt Joker hatching a scheme to replace the funds blocked thanks to the Batman’s Gotham activities, by stealing a large status made of Kryptonite and travelling over to Metropolis with the aim of striking a deal with Lex Luthor in order to kill Superman in exchange for a billion dollars.

But as luck would have it, Bruce Wayne is currently in partnership with LexCorp over a new robotics project, meaning that Batman too finds himself in the unfamiliar Metropolis, setting up the first ever meeting between the Man of Steel and the Bat, as they take on the combined might of two of their most cunning foes.

As with the writing for all the DC Animated Universe series’, the story is adventure-laden, packed with snappy dialogue, one-liners and puns, not to mention the non-stop action that this time around features two of DC’s biggest attractions in tights.

And the clever little feuding over Lois Lane between Clark Kent and Bruce Wayne is a particularly nice touch.

It is a thoroughly enjoyable, classic Batman and Superman story, animated with the distinctly stylized big chin and simple lines that came with all the original DC Animated universe fare, backed up of course with the all important voice work of Kevin Conroy as Batman, Mark Hamill as The Joker, Clancy Brown as Lex Luthor, Dana Delany as Lois Lane and of course, Tim Daly as Superman. And needless to say, everything is rounded off with a full orchestral score as per usual.

Thoroughly enjoyable, classic Batman and Superman action that all fanboys should be able to enjoy, making it well worth picking up from the DVD store, even if just to relive some of that animated nostalgia coming out of the late 90s when superheroes were finally done right!

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