REVIEW: DC Universe Original Movies: 10th Anniversary Collection
DC Comics and Warner Animation have every reason to celebrate their first decade of original feature film work. Since their inception, they have explored ways of adapting classic and current storylines to expand the audience for the heroes and villains that have existed on the four-color page. In time, they have experimented with styles, looks, and sounds, slowly but surely evolving into a shared universe of linked features so dedicated audiences can watch things progress.
The celebration is taking place in the just-released DC Universe Original Movies: 10th Anniversary Collection Blu-ray box set, which is limited to a numbered set of 20,000 units, priced at $299.99.
In addition to the thirty films and bonus content disc, the box set comes with an exclusive 40-page adult coloring book featuring key art from all DC Universe films and exclusive collector coins featuring the DC “Trinity” – Batman, Superman and Wonder Woman.
Overall, it’s handsome set with lovely cover artwork and nice interior design. Clearly aimed at collectors, it ranks up there with some of the other anniversary box sets from elsewhere in the digital universe. Obviously, the films vary in quality and not all is to individual taste, but together they are a testament to the characters’ adaptable quality, able to be interpreted and reinterpreted by a wide range of talents.
On the bonus disc, there should be something about the decade itself, some roundtable of creators, animators and voice actors looking back. It feels like a gaping absence. Instead, we start with a 49-minute “The Super Human in Us All” which is meant to be an inspiring look at real-world heroes, individuals who have committed selfless acts to help others. Some have used those moments to launch new careers and they are justifiably celebrated, but it is an oh-so-serious, ponderous production, intermixing way too much Alex Ross artwork to connect DC’s heroes with these admirable humans that it proves more self-important than inspiring.
The hosts from DC All-Access take us through a cursory “Comic Book History of Justice League Dark”, leaving out key details. Considering they appear in just one of the films with no announced plans for more, it is a curiosity.
Far better is “Mark Hamill: Finding The Laugh”, as the actor traces his career from Star Wars to his 20-plus year career voicing the Clown Prince of Crime. He acknowledges those who brought their own take as found on several films in this set and walks us through his thought process in finding his voice and sustaining it as the content has grown darker, notably the video games.
Also included is the obligatory DC Universe Original Movies 10th Anniversary Panel at 2017 Comic-Con International spotlights Bruce Timm, James Tucker, co-producers/screenwriters Alan Burnett and Jim Krieg; along with voice actors Kevin Conroy (Batman), Tara Strong (Harley Quinn), John DiMaggio (multiple), Vanessa Marshall (Wonder Woman) and Christopher Gorham (Flash).
As is appropriate for the celebration, the 2008 Comic-Con International Wonder Woman (Animated) Panel is presented, featuring former DC Publisher Paul Levitz, Bruce Timm, director Lauren Montgomery, eight-time Emmy Award-winning dialogue/casting director Andrea Romano, and Nathan Fillion (Steve Trevor).
There are Lookbooks for Batman: The Dark Knight Returns, Justice League: The Flashpoint Paradox, Batman: The Killing Joke, Justice League: Throne of Atlantis and Superman/Batman: Apocalypse, which are essentially still images and text.
Panel Discussion – A Tribute to Darwyn Cooke is another celebration of the artist and animator who left us too early but did give us many wonderful projects so deserves the look back.
There are three brief pieces drawn from the JLA: Gods & Monsters film, featuring variant takes on the trinity.
- SUPERMAN: DOOMSDAY
- JUSTICE LEAGUE: THE NEW FRONTIER (COMMEMORATIVE EDITION)
- BATMAN: GOTHAM KNIGHT
- WONDER WOMAN (COMMEMORATIVE EDITION)
- GREEN LANTERN: FIRST FLIGHT
- SUPERMAN/BATMAN: PUBLIC ENEMIES
- JUSTICE LEAGUE: CRISIS ON TWO EARTHS
- BATMAN: UNDER THE RED HOOD
- SUPERMAN/BATMAN: APOCALYPSE
- ALL-STAR SUPERMAN
- GREEN LANTERN: EMERALD KNIGHTS
- BATMAN: YEAR ONE
- JUSTICE LEAGUE: DOOM
- SUPERMAN VS. THE ELITE
- THE DARK KNIGHT RETURNS, PART 1
- THE DARK KNIGHTS RETURNS, PART 2
- SUPERMAN: UNBOUND
- JUSTICE LEAGUE: THE FLASHPOINT PARADOX
- JUSTICE LEAGUE: WAR
- SON OF BATMAN
- BATMAN: ASSAULT ON ARKHAM
- JUSTICE LEAGUE: THRONE OF ATLANTIS
- BATMAN VS. ROBIN
- JUSTICE LEAGUE: GODS AND MONSTERS
- BATMAN: BAD BLOOD
- JUSTICE LEAGUE VS. TEEN TITANS
- BATMAN: THE KILLING JOKE
- JUSTICE LEAGUE DARK
- TEEN TITANS: THE JUDAS CONTRACT
- BATMAN AND HARLEY QUINN
Also included: SUPERMAN/SHAZAM! The Return of Black Adam, along with The Spectre, Green Arrow, Jonah Hex, and Catwoman shorts.