Blu-ray Review: JUSTICE LEAGUE: CRISIS ON TWO EARTHS

MSRP: $29.99
Warner Premiere
Release date: February 23, 2010
Starring the voices of William Baldwin, Mark Harmon, Chris Noth, Gina Torres, James Woods
Written by Dwayne McDuffie
Directed by Sam Liu and Lauren Montgomery

In an another dimension, Lex Luthor (Noth) is the last surviving member of the Justice League. In a last-ditch effort to save his Earth, Luthor crosses dimensions and enlists the help of the newly-formed Justice League we know and love.

This is probably the highest-profile voice cast yet for a direct-to-DVD DC animated feature. All the actors are well-suited to their parts, but James Woods stands out for his quietly calculating portrayal of Owlman. Brother of a Bruce Wayne who was murdered along with his parents, Owlman (Thomas Wayne Jr.) grew up with Joe Chill as a role model. Learning Luthor has crossed dimensions, Owlman sets his mind to destroying Earth Prime, which would destroy all other Earths in turn.

Jonathan Adams also stands out as Martian Manhunter, who falls in love with the U.S. president’s daughter in the alternate dimension. The president’s daughter resists the evil versions of our heroes and works to convince her father to stand up them as well.

There are the requisite hero vs. villain battle royales, but since the characters are evenly matched, I didn’t find them especially dramatic. The final turn of the tide was something of a deus ex machina.

To me, the movie is about sixty percent of why this Blu-ray is a must-own. Also included are a hard-boiled 1970s-style Spectre short starring the voices of Gary Cole and Alyssa Milano, the live-action pilot episodes of Wonder Woman (Lynda Carter) and Aquaman (Justin Hartley), and a sneak peek of the next DC direct-to-DVD feature Batman: Under the Red Hood. These are in addition to the usual Bruce Timm-picked cartoon episodes and previous DC animated trailers.

–Gerald So