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David Bullock
David Boreanaz, Miguel Ferrer, Neil Patrick Harris, Lucy Lawless, Kyle MacLachlan
Writing Credits:
Stan Berkowitz

In the 1950s, a new generation of superheroes must join forces with the community's active veterans and a hostile US government to fight a menace to Earth.

Rated PG-13

Aspect Ratio: 1.78:1
English DTS-HD MA 5.1
French Dolby 5.1
Latin Spanish Dolby 5.1
Castillian Spanish Dolby 5.1
Portuguese Dolby 5.1
Castillian Spanish
Latin Spanish
Supplements Subtitles:
Castillian Spanish
Latin Spanish

Runtime: 75 min.
Price: $29.98
Release Date: 10/3/2017

• Audio Commentary with Writer Darwyn Cooke
• Audio Commentary with Director David Bullock, Executive Producer Bruce Timm, Supervising Producer Mike Goguen, Voice Director Andrea Romano, Screenwriter Stan Berkowitz and DC Comics SVP Creative Affairs Gregory Noveck
• “Retro Action Cool” Featurette
• “Super Heroes United” Featurette
&bull: “The Legion of Doom” Featurette
• “Comic Book Commentary” Featurette
• Sneak Peek at Gotham By Gaslight
• Previews
• DVD Copy


-LG OLED65C6P 65-Inch 4K Ultra HD Smart OLED TV
-Marantz SR7010 9.2 Channel Full 4K Ultra HD AV Surround Receiver
-Panasonic DMP-BD60K Blu-Ray Player
-Chane A2.4 Speakers
-SVS SB12-NSD 12" 400-watt Sealed Box Subwoofer


Justice League: The New Frontier (Commemorative Edition) [Blu-Ray] (2008)

Reviewed by Colin Jacobson (October 3, 2017)

With the big-screen Justice League movie mere weeks from release, Warner decided to set the stage with this “Commemorative Edition” of 2008’s animated Justice League: The New Frontier. The second DC Animated Universe film created, Frontier comes from Darwyn Cooke’s graphic novel of the same title.

Set in the 1950s during the Cold War, “ordinary humans” view superheroes with extreme suspicion and attempt to place limits on them. This leads to various complications, as it becomes more difficult for the costumed crimefighters to perform their deeds.

Into this setting, shape-shifting alien J'onn J'onzz – aka the Martian Manhunter (voiced by Miguel Ferrer) – arrives. He learns of a threat from a being called “The Centre” (Keith David) and this leads to the organization of a new team called the Justice League to battle this threat.

Don’t expect that “Centre” plot to dominate Frontier, as those elements tend to pop up on a semi-infrequent basis. Instead, the movie acts as a true “origin story”, one that bites off a lot to chew in its brief 75 minutes.

Face it: the Justice League includes a lot of participants, and Frontier needs to introduce them. Some get more screentime than others, as we focus on J’onzz, Barry Allen/The Flash (Neil Patrick Harris) and Hal Jordan/Green Lantern (David Boreanaz).

We also get a fair amount of material with Superman (Kyle MacLachlan), Wonder Woman (Lucy Lawless), and Batman (Jeremy Sisto). Throw in a bunch of connected supporting characters and this means a lot of cinematic mouths to feed.

Too many mouths for such a short movie, honestly, and Frontier can’t explore them in a satisfying manner. Not only does the tale want to develop the origins of the Justice League itself, but also it needs to provide background info about some of the heroes, too.

That adds up to a whole lot of exposition, and these moments make Frontier less focused than I’d like. While it manages to integrate all the character introductions/explorations in a fairly smooth manner, they simply don’t get the screentime they need for the film to flesh them out in a compelling manner.

Because of this, Frontier feels far too brief. Sure, many of these DC animated efforts rush through their stories – there’s only so much they can do with their usual 75 minutes – but the problem becomes more intense here due to the slew of characters the tale introduces.

Why not make Frontier a longer movie? I’d guess this came down to an economic decision, as a two-hour or more animated film would obviously become substantially more expensive.

I wish the suits allowed that, though, as even with the brevity, I find a lot to like in Frontier. The Cold War setting and allusions to the paranoid McCarthy-related culture give us an intriguing narrative, and the action works pretty well when the film heats up.

Frontier also comes with a better than average cast. While most of these DC animated affairs include known “names”, we get more than usual here, and their presence adds flair and depth to the proceedings.

At its worst, Frontier still entertains, so I don’t want to leave the impression that the movie becomes a dud. However, it’s just way too short, as the film attempts to pack a mini-series worth of material into a mere 75 minutes.

The Blu-ray Grades: Picture A-/ Audio B+/ Bonus B+

Justice League: The New Frontier appears in an aspect ratio of approximately 1.78:1 on this Blu-ray Disc. No issues emerged across this appealing transfer.

Sharpness excelled. The movie always came across as tight and well-defined, so don’t expect any signs of softness. Jaggies and moiré effects also remained absent, and the image lacked edge haloes or artifacts. In addition, print flaws were a non-factor and didn’t appear at any point.

In terms of colors, Frontier went with a fairly orange and teal palette. The tones looked solid within those parameters. Blacks were deep and tight, while shadows showed nice clarity. Across the board, the image worked well.

I thought the DTS-HD MA 5.1 soundtrack of Frontier opened up the comic book material well. The forward channels brought out the majority of the material, but the entire package added a lot to the movie. Music presented strong stereo imaging, while effects cropped up in logical spots and blended well.

The surrounds also contributed good information. For the most part, these reinforced the forward channels, but they also contributed a fair amount of unique material.

These instances mainly occurred during bigger action scenes, but they spread out in quieter scenes as well and even featured some directional dialogue. The back speakers brought out a nice sense of space and environment.

Audio quality always satisfied. Speech was warm and natural, without edginess or other issues. Music sounded lively and full, while effects displayed good definition. Those elements seemed accurate and dynamic. All of this led to a positive presentation that deserved a “B+”.

This “Commemorative Edition” Blu-ray includes two commentaries, the first of which involves writer Darwyn Cooke. He provides a running, screen-specific look at his source graphic novel and its adaptation as well as other story/character areas.

While Cooke occasionally offers good notes, he often does little more than praise the project. He lets us know how much he likes the film and tells us about how great everyone was. We still get a moderate amount of info, but the track disappoints.

For the second commentary, we hear from director David Bullock, executive producer Bruce Timm, supervising producer Mike Goguen, voice director Andrea Romano, screenwriter Stan Berkowitz and DC Comics SVP Creative Affairs Gregory Noveck. All six sit together for this running, screen-specific discussion of the source and its adaptation, story/characters, cast and performances, visual design and animation, music and connected domains.

Though superior to Cooke’s chat, this commentary remains lackluster. Like the prior track, this one focuses too much on praise and doesn’t give us a ton of insights. It’s not a bad piece but it’s another letdown.

Four featurettes follow. Retro Action Cool runs 20 minutes, 38 seconds and offers notes from DC Comics co-publishers Jim Lee and Dan DiDio, DC Comics editor/art director Darwyn Cooke’s friend Michael Stradford, Mark Chiarello, DC Entertainment Animation Creative Director Mike Carlin,

Since the original release of New Frontier, Darwyn Cooke passed away, so “Cool” acts as a memorial toward him and his career. This leads to a lot of praise but not in a maudlin manner, so “Cool” offers good insights into Cooke’s life and work.

During the 41-minute, seven-second Super Heroes United, we hear from Timm, Cooke, DiDio, Berkowitz, Noveck, Carlin, comic book historians Alan Kistler and Michael Uslan, DC Comics president/publisher Paul Levitz, writers Rich Fogel, Joe Kelly, Michael Friedrich, Jim Krueger and Marv Wolfman, writers/former DC editors Dennis O’Neil, Mark Waid and Len Wein, former DC editor Roy Thomas, Marvel writer/editor Stan Lee, writer/artist Jimmy Palmiotti, and Once and Future Myths author Phil Cousineau.

They discuss the first superhero teams and the origins/evolution of the Justice League as well as the JLA’s depiction in New Frontier. With more than 40 minutes at its disposal, “United” manages a pretty strong view of the Justice League and turns into a winning program.

The Legion of Doom lasts 34 minutes and features Waid, Carlin, Stan Lee, Timm, Wolfman, O’Neil, Cousineau, Thomas, Friedrich, Krueger, DiDio, Kelly, Noveck, Cooke, Bullock, Levitz, Wein, Palmiotti, and Fogel. As expected, this show examines various JLA villains, with a logical emphasis on baddies who acted as part of the Legion. This becomes another informative piece.

Finally, Comic Book Commentary goes for 10 minutes, 16 seconds and brings us comments from Cooke. It shows images from the New Frontier comic as Cooke discusses aspects of it. Some of this seems redundant after his feature commentary, but Cooke still brings us a good overview.

We also get a sneak peek at Batman: Gotham By Gaslight. It goes for eight minutes, 30 seconds and features Timm, Carlin and writer James Krieg.

They tell us about the source comic and aspects of the film’s story and character areas. It’s a promo piece but it’s an effective one.

The disc opens with ads for Wonder Woman (2009) and Batman and Harley Quinn. Trailers adds promos for Injustice 2, Wonder Woman (2017) and Justice League (2017).

A second disc provides a DVD copy of Frontier. It includes the same extras as the Blu-ray.

With an intriguing story and a good cast, Justice League: The New Frontier offers reasonable entertainment. Unfortunately, it doesn’t achieve all its goals because it’s far too short for its ambitions. The Blu-ray brings us excellent picture as well as solid audio and a wide array of supplements. Frontier becomes an enjoyable but incomplete experience.

Viewer Film Ratings: 3 Stars Number of Votes: 1
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