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Well. I thought Kim Oja was good. The rest of the movie was barely
I am a comics collector. This movie did not have much to do with the comics that inspired it. If it had been based on Keith Giffen's run, where was the Blue Beetle? Where was the wacky humor? Why did they use a personality-amputated Guy Gardner as Green Lantern (whose costume, idiotically, was blue)? Why was the Flash (who wasn't in Giffen's run) such a bonehead?
The characters in this pilot acted like they virtually didn't like each other. Their costumes were pretty damn silly, esp. Atom's. The villain didn't seem to have any motivation. The story was semi-coherent, unengaging and holey (what was Arliss' project, that he kept trying to draw attention to?). Maybe I missed some details, I dunno. But that's because they were eminently missable.
Still, since there is such a lack of superhero movies around, I'll be generous and award this a 5 out of 10 rating.
The 1997 Justice League of America Pilot was a fair entry into the
world of television pilots. It was a little bland, but it had
potential. A lot of really good TV series have had mediocre pilots
including MASH, Remington Steele, Magnum PI, and all but the first Star
Trek series. So although the first episode was less than an epic piece
it might have taken off, and who knows maybe the Martian Manhunter
would have given up the nachos and gotten on a treadmill, or at least
done a few sit-ups. My only major complaint was that the show tried to
be a sitcom, it was trying to ride on the coat tails of Friends. And I
don't like Friends. The show would use a lot of the tongue in cheek
jokes and it just didn't work.
I liked the plot, and the actors were okay, the characters probably would have developed overtime, so don't jump to conclusions about that just yet. The costumes would have probably been quickly replaced if the show were picked up, and a lot of other sci-fi/fantasy shows have weak special effects in there beginnings.
So hunt down a bootleg copy and give it a try.
Not only was this filmed on a shoe-string budget with cheap costumes and
special effects, it betrays both comic book fans and movie buffs equally.
The JLA characterizations are horrible. To catalog all of the mistakes would take more time than this awful show is worth. Just to name one good example: a couple of characters (Fire and Guy Gardner) who actually hate each other in the comics were said to have dated previously.
It appears that somebody tried to fool the audience into thinking they had seen a more exciting show than they really had: major action sequences were never shown but instead reported (sans footage) by the evening news.
There have been many comic book adaptations, some successful, some not so. This film unfortunately fits into the latter. It feels like it wants to succeed and certainly its heart is in the right place, but it ultimately falls short of it's targets. The characterisation seems to be to create a variety of characters and not necessarily stay faithful to how they were portrayed in the orignal comics- the Flash and Green Lantern particularly so. However, Fire, The Atom and The Martian Manhunter are very much like their comic-book counterparts and are enjoyable to watch. The costumes are also of the highest standard, remaining extremely faithful to their four-color origins. The villain of the piece, Miguel Ferrer's "Weatherman", is indicative of the constraints of the budget and so doesn't present a foe that seems to need the entire JLA to defeat. The plot, driven by the Weatherman and the origin of "Ice" (again, changed to fit the film's format) also reflect the fact its a TV pilot. The most annoying part of the film is the constant "vox-pops" by the Leaguers that intersect the main story- they are neither necessary or that interesting, but do seek to humanise the characters more, helping to show them as a disfunctional family rather than, say, a police force. One can't help but think that were this given a greater canvas to work on, it would have been spectacular, but, as is too often the case, budget and TV guidelines stopped it from being what it should have been. Still, if you want to see some fun super-hero action and big-names working together, seek this out.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
As a comic book fan... you know what? Forget as a comic book fan. As a
person who enjoys watching television, this thing is absolutely
ridiculous. Seriously, this is implausible to a person who has spent
their entire life being raised on television and comic books.
Let's start out with costume talk. These things look like costumes my mother made for my brother and me when we were twelve and eight and wanted to be DC superheroes (Technically, he was a villain, but Slade Wilson was always such a cool character, you know?). What is that thing that the Atom is wearing? It's like the costume designer just said, "How much Styrofoam can I fit into this costume? I need more." And what's up with putting green paint under Fire's eyes? It just looked stupid.
The writing is god-awful. Let me get this straight on the whole "I'm not Fire" thing. Leaving alone the fact that this woman looks exactly the same in and out of costume in front of the Martin guy, there's just the fact that when she's rejecting him, she's still wearing his earrings. This just threw me for a loop, man. If a guy gets you a present, telling you he spent a ton of money on it, and then you reject him? You give the present back. Especially if you're rejecting him within a minute of getting the present. The earrings thing should never have been a problem, cause the fact that she was wearing the earrings was ridiculous.
Plus, I love that ending, man. Everything winds up happy, right? Barry gets a job, Lantern gets his girl back, Martin gets a girlfriend, and Ice and Atom seem to have a beautiful relationship starting. Plus, there's the last shot of the League walking forward, each of them moving so stiffly that I think it might be a group superpower.
And don't get me started on the J'onn J'onzz thing. I know that David Ogden Stiers is a good actor, and I don't mean to be a purist or anything, but when I think about words to describe the Martian Manhunter, obese doesn't come to mind.
I watched this movie for free, and for shear camp value and maybe a laugh, it's good for about half an hour. (Not the first half hour, that's the slowest damn beginning I've ever seen.) But a half hour somewhere in the middle, if you're really bored, watch it on You Tube. But if you like the Justice League you should be willing to watch cartoons. Just go for JLU and enjoy yourself for 22 minutes.
.. there must be a movie out there that's even worse. Lame characters even lamer acting. Lots of voice actors even the great David Ogden "Cogsworth" Stiers himself couldn't turn this movie into something decent. I haven't seen any acting of the man but he is by far a wonderful voice actor. Then there's John Kassir who did Meeko in Pocahontas. Not much of a speaking role. Anyway back to Justice League... really bad costumes, like the 60's Batman series which was good for it's time. And weak SFX this movie isn't worth my time. Maybe just maybe with a different cast, a different director and a much bigger bag of money this could've become something. Maybe an idea for the crew behind Spiderman or X-men when they run out of sequel ideas.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
I recently saw this pilot after a friend purchased a bootleg copy
online. Overall, it was not bad. The special effects were cheesy and
the acting (directing) a bit campy, but it is certainly on par with
other shows on TV at that time (e.g. Xena: Warrior Princess, Hercules).
The whole point is this: was it enjoyable? The answer is yes. Could it
have lasted on TV? Probably not. Justice League left a lot to be
desired, but had some interesting things going on.
The show begins with the superheros being interviewed as the real characters as if they were on dateline. They talk a bit about themselves and then the show switches to the plot at hand (read plot summary on this shows info page). Certainly a unique way of character development. By the end, I was moderately disappointed in the overall execution. I did, however, feel emotionally connected to the characters and was left wanting a little more. Would that have changed in the future of the show? We will never know.
If you do get the chance to see this pilot, I recommend you do. It won't be a waste of your time unless your expecting a show the caliber of Alias or Lost.
I just have to say that this is a truly awful film. I thought that I'd seen the worst adaptation of a comic book character (Captain America) and then this came along. Can anyone please explain why film makers find it impossible to keep to original origins/stories etc and keep trying to reinvent the wheel? Also, the constant interruptions to the story to go to interviews with the heroes do nothing for the film. This is a film with no redeeming features and should be avoided like the plague. If it were possible, I would give this a minus rating.
I thought it was a charming story. It's not the most sophisticated thing I've ever watched, and indeed has little (if any) of the flavor of the Justice League of the comics. Nevertheless, it's a pleasant, light, little comedy/adventure tale. The characters are very sympathetic, and I found myself feeling for them. Kenny Johnston, a Flash who has trouble finding (and holding) a job, while not at all like the Barry Allen of the comics (a successful police scientist), is quite likable- and reminds me of Woody Harrelson in his Cheers days. Ice, as played by Kim Oja, touches me as she struggles to deal with her newfound powers. The Atom of this film is portrayed as a somewhat nerdy high-school science teacher instead of a genial researcher, but he's got a very good heart; John Kassir convinced me of that. This Green Lantern is like no other; Matthew Settle is evidently a respected actor (to judge from his extensive filmography), but I found his characterization somewhat snippy. However, he doesn't hold a candle to the Guy Gardner of the comics (an aggressive, hotheaded jerk!). This Green Lantern is somewhat impatient and judgmental, in his "real life" not terribly heroic; but you feel bad for him as he struggles to win his beloved's heart without betraying his secrets. Michelle Hurd's Fire is funny and hip; she's the sensible one, the reality check for her rather childlike male colleagues. David Ogden Stiers as the Martian Manhunter makes a nice Greek chorus and mentor to the team, although we don't get to see the character truly develop- and he isn't nearly other-worldly as an alien should be. Despite its considerable imperfections, what sold me on this show is the way it depicts the characters as imperfect, normal people on a certain level- and very likable on most levels. Perhaps it isn't fair to present this as a live-action Justice League for TV; it's not nearly sophisticated enough to be that. So give the characters new names and call it something else- "The Hero Squad" or what-have-you. However, as I said, it's a light, comic-adventure story about a group of misfit superheroes, not unlike Mystery Men. In that context, it works for me.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
I read reviews of this video before viewing, and watched it with some
trepidation. While not a great video, it could have been much worse.
I agree that characterizations of the secret identities could have been better, and the costumes were grossly overdone. However, the project did have merit. Granted, the characters of Superman, Batman, Aquaman and Wonder Woman would have lent a greater deal of authenticity, the heroes in the movie could have been much more heroic. The only thing we see the Atom do as the Atom is rescue a cat from under a porch.
Then there was J'onn J'onzz. I have been a Martian Manhunter fan since the early sixties, and have looked forward to seeing the character portrayed on screen. I am still waiting to see him portrayed well. With today's special effects capabilities in film-making, the Manhunter could have been done so much better. David Ogden Stiers' body was covered by black leotard (not a bad thing), rather than mostly exposed, as the Manhunter is portrayed in the comics. The animated mask used for the Manhunter's face was just lame, and his lack of action in the video was just wrong. Hadn't the wardrobe people heard of bald wigs and makeup? The Weather Man, while also lame, did pose a worthy threat to humanity, and the JLA's actions in dealing with him were entertaining.
In summary, the heroes, again, could have been much more heroic, the costumes would have worked if they had been closer to the comic uniforms, Green Lantern should have been Hal Jordan instead of Guy Gardner, and the Manhunter would have been better off played by Hawkeye, Trapper John, B. J., or even Frank Burns, instead of Major Winchester.
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