Friday, 29 December 2006

Ultimate Avengers DVD Review

Santa was obviously wearing his geek hat this year; under my festive tree I found a brand spanking new laptop, all manner off comic bookery and the Ultimate Avengers movie DVD. So I was a very happy bunny. I quickly booted up my new computermotron, searched for a wireless network and promptly failed, so instead I shoved in the Avengers DVD and watched the whole thing, unfortunately I came away with very mixed feelings, let me explain why…

The film is roughly based on the first couple of story of story arcs from the Ultimates comic book, “Super-Human” and “Homeland security”, but for the sake of the film instead of having them run one after each other the stories are mixed up and intertwined. Which leads to an interesting combination of elements where we see Captain America stop a nuclear bomb during WWII then get frozen for 60 years, only to be unfrozen and then form the new super army “the Avengers”, an alien race attacking earth and Bruce Banner battling his inner Hulky demons. There is more too it than that, but I don’t want to spoil it too much for you now do I?

The voice acting and general story line are ok, but there is definitely room for a number of improvements. While I don’t mind the fact that two stories have been combined here, and actually think it makes quite a bit of sense to do so, there are a number of other changes that I’ not too pleased with.

The main issue I have is a general one, it seems that, while inspired by the Ultimates, a whole heap off this film is either watered down from the sources material of based more on the regular Avengers form the 616 universe. Tony Stark’s heart condition, the down playing of the violent relationship between Henry Pym (Giant-Man) and his wife the Wasp, and the smaller alien battle amongst many other changes may not be important to everyone, but if you know the Ultimates and Ultimate universe they will definitely bug you. I cant see the point of making this film specifically Ultimate, but then taking so much from elsewhere.
But as I said, there is a lot of room for improvement, but standing by itself the film is a fun if short little romp (always wanted to use that word, and it kind of works there. Hurray for me!!)

The animation and art style is in a similar situation to the story, good for most but with definite room for improvement. The general style is obviously that of the Ultimates, but with a cartoon network style sheen to it, this doesn’t really surprise me as literally animating the comic book would have not been easy at all, but a little more similarity to the book would not have been a bad thing at all. Also more time and effort and maybe even more should have been invested into the project as it seems to be lacking that extra quality you get from a lot of modern cartoons

Extras on the DVD come in the form of a trivia track running over the film, a doc on the making of the film and history of the Avengers feature, a brief look at the sequel and a reasonably funny look at some fan auditions for parts in the film. So not a bucket load by any stretch but what you get is good, interesting and quite informative.

So overall the DVD is quite good, not great but most definitely not terrible. it’s a good launching point for the series on DVD and hopefully things can only get better from here on out. The sequel is already out in America so I think I may have to use this inter-web thingy to try and dig out a copy.

Thanks to our Matt!

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