Dr. Horrible's
Sing-Along Blog

 

Review by
Robert Wilfred Franson

Director: Joss Whedon
Writers: Maurissa Tancharoen, Jess Whedon, Joss Whedon, Zack Whedon
Cast:

  • Neil Patrick Harris — Billy (Dr. Horrible)
  • Nathan Fillion — Captain Hammer
  • Felicia Day — Penny
  • Simon Helberg — Moist

Mutant Enemy, 2008

42 minutes March 2009

  

The first thing to understand about Dr. Horrible's Sing-Along Blog is that it's a goof, a lark. Joss Whedon and talented colleagues having fun — but not interleaved with major serious creativity as in Buffy the Vampire Slayer or Firefly or Serenity. Just fine film-folk having foolish, flim-flamming film fun.

Of course, since this is Joss Whedon and talented colleagues improving their time during Hollywood doldrums while the Writers Guild was on strike, the busman's-holiday result is pretty good. Well, not actually pretty, because we're dealing with Evil here. Heavy stuff; as in dropping a hammer on your toe.
  

On to the plot: for yes, since Dr. Horrible's Sing-Along Blog is a well-conceived and creatively directed goof, there is a plot. Our lead character, the self-titled Dr. Horrible (played by Neil Patrick Harris), is a young fellow who aspires to be admitted to the Evil League of Evil, the highest council of dedicated evildoers. A difficult goal even for a deserving would-be super-villain.

Dr. Horrible is opposed by his arch-nemesis, Captain Hammer (played by Nathan Fillion), a bluff and brawny super-hero. While mastering the arts of villainy, Dr. Horrible also tries to work up the nerve to speak to his secret crush Penny (played by Felicia Day) whom he admires distantly on laundromat days. And we must mention Dr. Horrible's sidekick, Moist (played by Simon Helberg), a minimal-villain we may call him.

Dr. Horrible's Sing-Along Blog is sort of a nexus, or collision, of a video blog and a musical comedy and a super-hero comic. These do collide well here, although do not expect something on the order of the beautiful tour-de-force musical episode in Buffy the Vampire Slayer. This is a goof, remember.
  

The film was promoted on the Web in an experimental manner, but the full DVD of Dr. Horrible includes a capefull of goodies. There are two full-length commentaries, one with the cast and creators discussing the movie as it unrolls; and another with them singing: a sing-along commentary to a musical. Ah, yes. Wow. Moving right along, we also have behind-scenes "making-of" featurettes. And perhaps best of all, be sure to watch the handful of applications by plot-unrelated folks hoping to join the Evil League of Evil (ELE). These are video applications, in each of which a junior evildoer speaks of his or her own dastardliness and worthiness to join the Evil League of Evil.

Very fun stuff. Never again will you think so dismissively of the Evil League of Evil.

  

© 2009 Robert Wilfred Franson


  

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