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SUPERMAN/BATMAN: APOCALYPSE ($30) is a something of direct sequel to the earlier Warner Premiere direct-to-video release SUPERMAN/BATMAN: PUBLIC ENEMIES, with U.S. President Lex Luthor facing impeachment, thus leaving our two superheroes with new fish to fry. I actually liked SUPERMAN/BATMAN: APOCALYPSE better than PUBLIC ENEMIES, as there is better balance between story and action, but would have liked just a few extra minutes of characterization to put the film over the top- like BATMAN: UNDER THE RED HOOD. The plot of SUPERMAN/BATMAN: APOCALYPSE is adapted directly from the comics, and offers its take on the origins of Supergirl. SUPERMAN/BATMAN: APOCALYPSE opens with a spaceship splashing down into Gotham City Harbor, which naturally attracts the attention of Batman. Lost and confused, the sole occupant of the spacecraft begins cutting an unintentionally destructive path through Gotham City… but is quickly revealed to be a Kryptonian- and Kal-El’s cousin Kara to boot. Unable to control her newfound powers, Batman convinces Wonder Woman and a reluctant Superman to have Kara taken to Themyscira and undergo training amongst the Amazons.

However, the arrival of Kara has not escaped the evil New God Darkseid, who decides that the Kryptonian will be the ideal choice to take over command of his Female Furies, once properly conditioned. Darkseid dispatches Granny Goodness to Earth to retrieve Kara, who uses an elaborate distraction to engage Superman, Batman, Wonder Woman and all of the Amazonians, while snatching Kara back to Apokolips. Of course, rescuing Kara from Apokolips requires the technology to get there, not to mention some assistance from Big Barda- the former commander of Darkseid’s Female Furies, who has found asylum on Earth. SUPERMAN/BATMAN: APOCALYPSE packs plenty of action into its third act, as well as a few surprises. The vocal talent behind SUPERMAN/BATMAN: APOCALYPSE features Tim Daly, Kevin Conroy, Andre Braugher, Summer Glau, Susan Eisenberg, Edward Asner and Julianne Grossman.

Warner Home Video has made SUPERMAN/BATMAN: APOCALYPSE available on Blu-ray Disc in a 1.78:1 wide screen presentation that have been encoded onto the disc with the VC-1 codec. SUPERMAN/BATMAN: APOCALYPSE features a terrific 1080p presentation that maximizes the impact of the 2D animation. The strong lines of the animation are perfectly rendered with all the clarity and detail one can pull out of this type of material. Like a comic book, colors appear vibrant; the Blu-ray faithfully produces exemplary primary and secondary hues. Blacks are perfectly inky, while the whites appear crisp and completely stable. Contrast is as excellent as this type of animation will allow. Like the other DC Universe animated titles in the Warner Premiere series, SUPERMAN/BATMAN: APOCALYPSE wasn’t produced on film, and therefore, is free from grain and print flaws associated with the medium.

SUPERMAN/BATMAN: APOCALYPSE is presented on Blu-ray Disc with a 5.1 channel DTS-HD Master Audio soundtrack. Thanks to the lossless encode, the soundtrack sounds beefy, although it isn’t up to theatrical standards. Perhaps because this is a direct to video release, the sound design is very front heavy, with even the action sequences having somewhat under-whelming surround engagement. Overall the rears add ambient and musical fill, without discernible active effects. There are channel separations across the front that becomes more pronounced during the action sequences. Bass is solid and adds a nice sense of heft to the sound effects, explosions and impacts. Voices are cleanly and distinctly reproduced, plus the dialogue is easy to understand. French, Spanish and German Dolby Digital tracks are also included. Subtitles are available in English, Spanish and German.

The interactive menus allow one access to the standard scene selection and set up features, as well as the supplemental materials. First up is a DC Showcase animated short featuring Green Arrow. Featurettes and other programs include the following: The Fourth World: The New Gods (twenty two minutes), New Gods: Mister Miracle (five minutes), New Gods: Orion (five minutes), Supergirl: The Last Daughter Of Krypton (eighteen minutes) and a Sneak Peak of the upcoming All Star Superman. Next up are Bruce Timm’s Top Picks- From SUPERMAN: THE ANIMATED SERIES comes these four episodes: Little Girl Lost, Part 1, Little Girl Lost, Part 2, Apokolips Now! Part 1 and Apokolips Now! Part 2. DC Animation Project Previews close out the standard supplements. A Digital Copy of the film is also provided.

Striking a good balance between action and story, SUPERMAN/BATMAN: APOCALYPSE is an enjoyable offering from Warner Premiere’s DC Universe series. The Blu-ray delivers terrific visuals, along with a beefy sounding track.


Superman/Batman: Apocalypse [Blu-ray]


DVD & Blu-ray Disc reviews are Copyright 2010 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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