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Media seems obsessed with the Death of Superman. He had a death in
Superman Returns, a death in "Superman Doomsday" and now another death
in the animated adaptation of Grant Morrison's "All Star Superman"
comic book. A seemingly successful rescue of a Dr Quintum's mission to
the Sun has saturated Superman's cells with too much solar energy. This
is causing rapid cellular deterioration which would eventually lead to
his death. With time running out for the man of steel, Superman sets
about to put all his affairs in order before he goes while continuing
to defend the earth against threats from within and without.
From the get go, All Star Superman feels like a multi episode TV series compressed into a single movie. But really, that is more the fault of the original source material which in fact was meant to be 12 seemingly standalone stories with some of the plot points finally "coming together" in the final issues. While this worked for a bi-monthly comic book series, it does not have the similar effect as an animated movie. Here the film just feels unfocused and rushed, cramming what is supposed to be a year's worth of events into 70 odd minutes. For example, a single fade out later and superman returns to earth after a couple of months to find it take over by a bunch of long lost Kryptonians. An episodic miniseries would have been a better medium to convey the full feel of the original story.
Thankfully The production team's faithfulness to the source material is not entirely a shortcoming. The animated movie not only sticks to the "self-contained stories" format but also the well developed personalities and timeless characterization. Everyone is perfectly cast, bringing the characters to live in a very natural way. James Denton's Superman/Clark Kent is possibly the most lovable incarnation second only to Christopher Reeves's live action portrayal. The loyal script and top notch acting imbues Superman with just the right level of noble superhuman grandeur mixed with a down to earth homely touch. He is the hero, and the farm boy at the same time. Similarly, Clark Kent's oafish demeanor is comedic yet sincere; his interview with Lex Luthor and subsequent escape from the prison riot caused by a supervillian's escape is possibly the most fun part of the entire movie.
Here is another strength of All Star Superman. It is not a brainless hero brawl like Superman/Batman nor is it as dark and edgy as Batman: Under The Red Hood. The story plays out more like a character centered drama that is not afraid to tickle the audience with a few lighthearted moments. The main cast is given great depth and development as we get to know their reasons for doing what they do. Even Luthor gets a heart wrenching moment once you find out that the reason behind his hatred of Superman goes much deeper than just "because he foiled my plans".
Special mention goes to Christopher Drake's soundtrack which is by far his best work. His music covers a great range, bringing out the best in the scenes it complements; it is grand, emotional and magical. One might go so far as to say that his score here is actually better than Shirley Walker's stuff from the 90s Superman Animated series, just slightly behind John Williams. (In what is possibly a nod to "The Mummy", the music takes on a very Egyptian Gothic style with the appearance of antagonist Bar-El played by Arnold Vosloo, who also played the main antagonist of "The Mummy".)
There is action, not to worry, a good deal of it. Moi Studios once again perform animation duties, maintaining the smooth character movements seen in their previous productions; smoother than Japanese anime at least and without animation short-cuts. While some backgrounds appear lackluster, The production team's faithfulness to the source material is seen in the character designs which is a slightly streamlined version of Frank Quintley's artwork. Too bad the painted colors by Jamie Grant have been replaced with a very "standard" color palate. The colors here look exactly the same as........as every single DC animated production featuring Superman.
It seems like a farce that the movie stuck so closely to the comic going to great lengths to even replicate whole scenes perfectly yet cut out and streamline a fair bit of material. Perhaps Warner Premiere and Bruce Timm might consider a "directors cut" in which they go back and animate the rest of those scenes like the Bizzaro world, or the visit by Superman from the future. At least the plot threads established throughout the movie are woven together nicely in the end.
There are two ways to see this movie. One is that this movie is a "All Star Superman lite": a bite sized version of the great graphic novel for the uninitiated which will hopefully entice them to pick up the miniseries (now available in trade paperback form and an "Absolute" collectors edition). The other way is that it is meant to cheese off the long time fans so that the fans will go around saying "the comic is better" and in the end help to drive up publicity for the comic. Both ways, a perfect win-win situation for DC.
Try to enjoy this movie as it is. Of the scenes that were not cut out in production, revel in its loyalty to the original comic. It covers the full range of comedy to tragedy, heroic to humble, life to death.
Let me start by saying, what they did right. The whole tone of the movie is spot on. I think whoever read the comic book series will agree. The animation is great, the story is a great one. But it is all way too rushed. If you have read the comics you will get this movie, but everyone else - I imagine - will have a hard time following the whole story. They should have made this a 2 part movie or a 90 minutes feature to get a little more of a developing story. The events from the comics are all cramped into just 75 minutes. Take away the credits and it is even less. Not much room to tell the story. Still, it is quite good, but i have to judge it like a viewer who has never read the comics, that are basis to this films, So I can only reward 6 stars. Too rushed, too much left out. Sorry, could have been a fantastic - probably one of the best - superman animations, but it fell (literally) short. Missed out on the chance of making the best Superman movie ever.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
Many of the reviewers seemed to have missed the point that this was an adaptation of the 12-part Morrison story to an animated form. Maybe they hadn't read the maxi-series first. In any case, when you consider that the DVD dealing with the death of the mythic Superman was released the day after the death of the video author, the sad irony is magnified greater. As the final project of Dwayne McDuffie's strong career, you have to take some consolation that at least he left us on a very high note. I've seen almost all of the DC video releases and this one is definitely one of the strongest entries in the series. Not only is the adaptation of the original Grant Morrison well-written but the art-style and the music are also pure and rich.
I can honestly say that this take on the superman story is the best
iv'e ever seen. both emotionally and suspense wise the movie fully
delivers on all fronts. Iv'e been away from superman the comic for
quiet some time - but have seen all of the DC movie material that have
been available, but non of the other renditions of Supermans story
comes close to this one - This knowing that most of the material is
from Morrison's: All Star Superman Comic series - the movies overall
style is true to the Comic version with bright colors, light humor and
The Drawing are fabulous reminding me of the Japanese Anime style, at some points but still with a strong American pen style, voice overs are very good and believable, poses etc. are just wow - there's simple so many good moments in this Movie that its hard not to get surprised on every new picture frame. At one point i was thinking: " all this goodness must end soon" but no the movie kept going on with some new cool stuff to marvel over. i guess this movie has all the trademarks of good old solid craftsmanship, teamwork and love towards the superman legacy - witch are very visible when handling old classic elements from other alternative superman comic stories that have been weaved nicely into the story.
end note: i felt a closure to the superman epos, witch was nice.
This is the superman i want to remember..
thank you DC for making this possible
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
The only change I would make would be to add about 30 minutes to the
movie to expand on some things. I agree with an earlier review about
the musical score completely. It was one of the best I have ever heard.
This movie was pretty short, sweet, and to the point. The plot does move quickly, but makes sense while having some side stories. The side plot line about the Kryptonians is great, though kind of random. It's a great add-in to the movie.
Yes, the media and people love seeing superman die, but that's because he's the man of steel and supposedly unkillable.
All in all, great movie and would recommend it not only to ALL Superman fans, but any comic book fans in general!
All-Star Superman comics written by Grant Morrison are one of the
greatest if not the greatest stories about Man of Steel ever made. But
this adaptation fails to successfully convert those stories to the wide
screen simply because of difference in size. Movie tries so hard to
fill script with as many story lines from comic books as possible and
because of this whole movie seems a bit cramped and confusing. It just
looks like some kind of odd kaleidoscope of stories which are not
connected very well within themselves. And while it's okay with ongoing
comics it's definitely not the best quality of the feature film, even
if it's animated.
Still, they got the best part which is, for me, Lex Luthor monologue, and maybe if I would have read comics before watching, I wouldn't be so confused and the movie would be much more enjoyable for me.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
All-Star Superman is the second animated Superman film in the DC
animated movie lineup. Like with Superman Doomsday this movie had much
potential. However, like Superman Doomsday, I do not think the movie
really lived up to that potential. When I first watched the movie I did
not care for it much at all. However, viewing it again, I liked more
the second time, though I still think it is a bit of a lackluster film.
I liked this film more than Superman Doomsday mainly because unlike
Doomsday, this film did not ruin a story that I am a big fan of. I am
not too familiar with the All-Star Superman comic. I only know what I
have heard about it online.
This movie has many of the same issues that Superman Doomsday had. The pacing is too fast and things were changed or cut from original comic from what I've heard. All-Star Superman story, like the Death of Superman, is much too long to fit into an hour and fifteen minute movie. Plus, I found the film to be very boring during the middle half. The beginning and end of the film were exciting, but the middle portion nearly put me to sleep, especially when I first saw the movie.
I did not care much for the voices either. James Denton as Superman/Clark Kent is okay but nothing special. The same can be said for Christina Hendricks (Lois Lane), Anthony LaPlagia (Lex Luthor), and the rest of the cast.
The art of the movie took some getting used to, but after-a-while I grew accustomed to it. The animation is also very smooth. The art and animation are easily the best parts about the film. The action was also fairly entertaining. The action is not as explosive as Superman Doomsday's, but it is above average.
Overall this film, like Doomsday, is a film that does not live up to its potential. It is worth one viewing, but it is nothing you need to rush out and buy.
I love animation and superhero movies, and thought that All-Star Superman would be a good combination. Sadly for me All-Star was a real disappointment. It is not completely irredeemable, the animation is great, full of detail and atmosphere and the music is a contender for being the best asset of the film being powerfully orchestrated and emotionally resonant. There are two good voice actors, Anthony LaPaglia who does a superb job as Luthor giving the character a certain menace and intelligence and Ed Asner whose Perry is every bit as effective. But the story is a huge let down. The telling of the story feels rushed and disjointed in trying to cram in lots of situations and characters and sadly not giving any depth to them. The Kryptonians just pop out of nowhere and their story is far too brief. Lois is also written in a very stereotypical high-school-girl sort of manner. The pacing on top of that feels lethargic due to lack of any real excitement, the action sequences just don't have any sort of momentum. The script completely lacks the sharp and incisive quality that make the best DC movies, instead coming across as bland. Likewise with the characters. Of the voice work only LaPaglia and Asner stand out, James Denton is too monotone and also too sly and stern for Superman, and Christina Hendricks can't or doesn't do anything with Lois. Overall, a huge disappointment, could and should have been much more. 4/10 Bethany Cox
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
Ill-planned, Poorly Written, Disjoint, Doomed.
That is all I have to say about this animation movie. I have so many Superman movies, some better than others, while some failed on one front or another, but this one has to take the proverbial "CAKE" of being the worst one ever.
Okay, It is based on a comic which has a different continuity than the main one, and maybe Superman version 1 does die in this comic book, but the movie is pure ****.
The story is absolute rubbish, taking 3 or 4 or 5 or ? disjointed stories and pushing them all together without even a simple 1-line explanation. Why do the Kryptonians come? why do Samson and the other guy come? How they come? why does Solaris (or whatever its name was) started eating the sun on making a deal with Lex? This all seems just too retarded to be woven into a single movie...
If you are planning on watching this movie because you are a Supes fan, or even if you want to watch all the Supes-movies, I'd advise you to stay away... Even the lure of watching the Man of Steel die will pale in comparison to the disappointment you will face 5 minutes into the movie...
You have been warned !
The individual events of the movie were fairly well designed, but the overall storyline was disjointed and lacked cohesion. I'm not a fan of superman, though there have been moments in his history that truly spoke to me, largely because of his nigh invulnerability. More specifically it is the result of that nigh invulnerability that makes his story lines frequently boring to me in that he can only be harmed by a handful of things and without those things I never really believe that he's in jeopardy. Had this movie been done well it could have been one of the best ever created. With this potential in mind I found the experience disappointing.
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