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"All-Star Superman" Premiere Report at the Paley Center for Media

Last week, Toonzone News was invited to the Paley Center for Media in Beverly Hills for a first look at the new DC Animated Universe/Warner Bros. Premiere release, All-Star Superman. The new movie was released on February 22, 2011 on Blu-ray/DVD Combo pack, DVD, and video on demand, and is based on the hit miniseries and graphic novel created by writer Grant Morrison and artist Frank Quitely. The story chronicles the last days of Superman on Earth as well as his final confrontation with his arch-nemesis Lex Luthor.

Cast and crew members for the show attended the red carpet premiere at the Paley Center. Due to capacity, media including Toonzone and overflow viewers watched a closed-circuit video feed of the actual screening of the movie and conference with the crew. The event was moderated by Warner Bros.’ Gary Miereanu. In attendance was the movie’s executive producer Bruce Timm, director Sam Liu, screenwriter Dwayne McDuffie, voice of Superman James Denton, voice of Jimmy Olsen Matthew Gray Gubler, and last but not least casting and voice director Andrea Romano. Following the screening, Miereanu moderated a question and answer session with the crew in attendance and fans were also given the opportunity to ask questions.

All-Star Superman is an incredible and emotional story. It does well in adapting the basic story of Morrison’s graphic novel as well as incorporating Morrison’s quirky and sometimes wacky sense of humor. At times, certain events in the film happen too quickly with little actual depth or discussion into their effect, like how a Kryptonian couple is able to invade and take over the Earth and alter the entire architecture of the city of Metropolis, with little insight in how it was quickly changed back.

James Denton is aptly cast in the role of Big Blue, capturing the fake clumsiness of Clark Kent as well as the quiet strength, purity, and integrity of Kal-El or Superman. Christina Hendricks of Mad Men fame does serviceable work as Lois Lane. And in an interesting and surprising but welcome turn, Ed Asner voices Perry White. While he doesn’t achieve the definitive take on the character found by Clancy Brown, Anthony LaPaglia does fine work as an extremely cunning Lex Luthor. The project avoids some of the more controversial, deeper theological and philosophical ideas of original comic. While Superman and many comic heroes are cast as saviors and Christ-like figures of sorts, in Morrison’s comic, Superman transcends savior and literally and figuratively becomes quite possibly God itself. The animated version stops short of these ideas, I imagine to try and stay more accessible and be less meta and fourth-wall breaking. It’s rare to see a play like a comic character creating or meeting his own creator without it coming off as comedic or hokey (see Turtles Forever; the series finale of Spider-Man: The Animated Series; The New Avengers). Instead, Dwayne McDuffie is smart enough to simply cast Superman in the role of being a source of inspiration and uplifting feelings that transcends the page or animated motion picture.

Our condolences to the friends, family, and loved ones of the tremendous talent, Dwayne McDuffie, who passed away on Tuesday.

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