Earlier this evening I attended what was considered the "world premiere" of the film Justice League: Crisis on Two Earths at the Paley Center for Media in Manhattan. Although it has been widely available illegally on the internet, this was the first official screening of the film, before it’s debut on multiple media formats Feb. 23rd. In attendance were the writer of the film Dwayne McDuffie, voice director of the film Andrea Romano, and actor James Woods.
The film tells the story of the titular Justice League facing evil versions of themselves in a parallel universe, and really, what more could you want? This film is the latest in a series of direct to video films featuring characters from the DC Universe. The script was written many years ago to be used as a back-door pilot film for the Cartoon Network show Justice League: Unlimited. The script was never produced, until finally executive producer Bruce Timm (Batman: The Animated Series, JLU, JL: The New Frontier), a long time champion of the script, got it off the shelf and into production.
The movie is not set in the Justice League Unlimited universe and is a stand alone film. Writer Dwayne McDuffie made some changes and added some cursing and POOF! you have a new universe to play in. The tone of the film is very similar to that of the cartoon show, but since none of the voice cast of the show is present, it might fall on deaf ears. The voice work in the film, particularly Chris Noth as the "good" Lex Luthor and James Woods as Owlman, is well done. William Baldwin as Batman was an interesting choice, although at times it was hard to distinguish him from his older brother. I enjoyed the script very much and couldn’t help but wonder what a wasted opportunity this was to have used the JLU uninverse to tell the story. My only other complaint would be that at times the animation was very cheap looking and akin to some of the stuff we see on Adult Swim.
(James Woods plays the villainous Owlman)
After the film a Q&A session was held, here a few tidbits that were interesting:
Dwayne McDuffie was asked why there weren’t more characters of color in the film, to which he replied, "That was DC’s Decision." (If I had a nickel…)
James Woods was not the first choice to play Hades in Hercules and was brought in after another actor, who remained unnamed, wasn’t working out.
James Woods was originally going to play alternate universe Lex Luthor when this was going to be a JLU film.
Andrea Romano cast Maurice LaMarche as Brain in Pinky & the Brain due to his great Orson Welles impression.
(Long-time DC Animated Universe voice director Andrea Romano)
Somebody asked if future direct to video films will reference or be connected to previous films, it was confirmed that one was in the works.
Dwayne McDuffie confirmed he has turned in a few more scripts for future projects, one already in the animatic stage that will apparently "Blow us away."
According to Dwayne McDuffie the future of Justice League: Unlimited is uncertain, but he never thought his Crisis script would ever get made, "So anything is possible."
(Acclaimed writer Dwayne McDuffie)
I spoke briefly to Mr. McDuffie after the film , he collects the JLU toyline himself, he needs Vigilante and The Question for his collection. He is also clamoring for a Static figure. Thanks for reading, CZ.
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