Adapting the award-winning DC Comics miniseries DC: THE NEW FRONTIER by Darwyn Cooke, Justice League: The New Frontier spins a tale of the DC Universe in the 1950s, focusing on test pilot Hal Jordan (Green Lantern) and the Martian Manhunter. The story also features other DC characters, including Barry Allen (the Flash), Superman, Wonder Woman, Batman, and many more.Written by
When Wonder Woman saves Jimmy from the Centre's dinosaur, the image through Jimmy's lens shows her wearing shorts. In subsequent shots, she's back to wearing a skirt again. See more »
Like all things on this hurtling sphere, I emerged from the molten center of creation. But mine has been a unique path. Isolated, I developed attributes beyond those of lesser beings. Then the sphere was struck by a vast celestial stone. Black chunks of death filled the skies and the world became a chaotic world of doom. Soon the sphere began to nurture new kinds of life. And there was one that stood above the rest. Its fragile shell belied its vicious nature. And in ...
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After the short but highly entertaining and surprisingly deep "Superman: Doomsday", we have "Justice League: The New Frontier", advertised as a adaptation of the acclaimed graphic novel of same name. I've never read the graphic novel so i shall not go into the differences between the print and on screen portrayals of this epic tale, though many other reviews claim it is quite a faithful adaptation.
The story is an intriguing but short one. Superheros in the 50s are frowned upon by the people and the government, Cold war paranoia is at an all time high, and into that melting pot comes "The Center": an evil entity bent on destroying human kind. I like how there is a element of mystery that builds to the climax as the movie goes along. The decision to leave the origin of "the center" ambiguous was a good one for which i applaud the producers.
Another excellent decision was to not just mimic the look of cold war era superhero comics, but the feel, dialogue and even music of that era's movies and TV shows. Green Lantern and Martian ManHunter are given the most character development and portrayed really well by the voice actors. For example, You can really feel for Hal Jordan as his pacifist ideals are challenged by the dire situations he is put into. It is easy to connect with the characters and to lose yourself in the wonderful set design, well written dialogue and thought provoking themes. The film seems to be social commentary about discrimination, conflict due to differences and fear of such differences perpetuated by the media and governments of that time. The moral, that if humans were to put aside their differences and work toward a common good, is a timeless one that would even apply to our society today
On the other hand, Justice League: New Frontier is far from perfect. For starters, the producers made a similar mistake that Marvel Animation did with their "Ultimate Avengers" movie: Too little time was spent on too many characters. You never get to feel a sense of threat from "The Center" and aside from Hal Jordan, the other Justice league characters never get enough screen time for the audience to relate to them or to the ideas and mindsets that they embody. So much so that when tragedy strikes later in the film, there isn't as much emotional impact as there could have been. The voice acting, though very well done, lacks variety. All the male characters sound almost alike aside from the Flash.
The time-frame of the movie jumps a lot too. Apparently the movie takes place over the course of a couple of months(I don't think Martian Manhunter was able to land a job as a detective overnight or Hal Jordan was able to train as an Astronaut in a day). However, due to the short length of the movie and a lack of exposition as to the time frame(throwing in "a few months later" between the 1st and 2nd act would have helped a lot"), the plot seems to unfold over the course of only a few days, leaving many apparent plot holes in its wake.
Animation-wise, it seems to be a step down from Superman:Doomsday. Though still keeping the angular and simplistic character design aesthetics of the previous movie and other DC animated series, the animation is stiffer and not as smooth as the previous animated feature. In fact the animation is fairly inconsistent with some scenes looking as bland as some of the poorer quality episodes from animated TV series. The big fight scenes are generally underwhelming with little sense of "epicness". I'm sure the directors were going for a grand scale battle the likes of Independence Day or Star Wars during the climax, but either due to budgetary constraints or lack of director's experience, the climactic conflict was no where near as great as it could have been.
A underdeveloped plot, too many characters, mediocre and inconsistent animation coupled with an overly short movie length(75 minutes for that many characters and plot threads is really cutting it too close) ended up overshadowing the great acting, intriguing story and social and political themes that this show tried to convey. All that potential, marred by poor execution and time constraints.
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