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Dr. Horrible's Sing-Along Blog (2008)

EZ Viewing: Dr. Horrible’s Sing-Along Blog

December 9th, 2010
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The fourth feature in my EZ Viewing movie marathon is Dr. Horrible’s Sing-Along Blog!  (Click here to read about film one: The Complete Works of William Shakespeare (Abridged), here to read about film two: Star Trek VI: The Undiscovered Country, and here to read about film three: Tropic Thunder.)

This is one of my very favorite things ever.  It’s a super-villain musical!!  (Click here to read my original review.)

Only 45 minutes long (the series was originally created as three 15-minute-long internet shorts), Neil Patrick Harris (TV’s Doogie Howser, M.D. – and also now a lead on How I Met Your Mother) stars as the titular Dr. Horrible.  He’s a fairly pathetic loser, desperate to be taken seriously and accepted into the Evil League of Evil.  Unfortunately, his schemes keep getting foiled by the heroic and handsome Captain Hammer (Nathan Fillion – Mal from Firefly).  In his personal life, the good doctor has an enormous crush on the pretty girl-next-door, Penny (Felicia Day) who he keeps bumping into at the Laundromat.  Will he ever be able to defeat Captain Hammer and speak to Penny???

The ridiculously-talented Joss Whedon created and Wrote Dr. Horrible’s Sing-Along Blog along with his brothers Jed and and Zack Whedon and Maurissa Tancharoen during the WGA strike.  Mr. Whedon told NY Magazine: “I was in meetings with companies to make deals to create stuff for the Internet, in a cheaper fashion — but still on a grander scale than Dr. Horrible — but nothing was going. Nothing was going! So I did something I should’ve done a long time before — I took matters into my own hands.”

He elaborated to TV Guide’s Matt Roush: “”I was really sick of not doing things. I’d been writing movies nobody was making. I got tired of that. And even though I had this series (Fox’s Dollhouse) coming up, we were on strike—and well, I thought we were going to hold out a little bit longer—but it just felt right.”

Whedon funded the project himself.  He commented: “Freedom is glorious… The fact is, I’ve had very good relationships with studios, and I’ve worked with a lot of smart executives. But there is a difference when you can just go ahead and do something.” As a web show, there were fewer constraints imposed on the project, and Whedon had the “freedom to just let the dictates of the story say how long it’s gonna be. We didn’t have to cram everything in–there is a lot in there–but we put in the amount of story that we wanted to and let the time work around that. We … [continued]

 

How did I miss this?? Dr. Horrible’s Sing-Along Blog!

January 14th, 2009
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I cannot believe this has been in existence since the summer and I only just saw it a few days ago!!!

What am I talking about?  It’s the incomparable Joss Whedon’s 3-part web-series Dr. Horrible’s Sing-Along Blog, which has just been released on DVD.  

Some back-story: Conceived during the writers strike, Joss Whedon (Firefly, Serenity, Buffy the Vampire Slayer), along with a gaggle of his friends, created a 3-part web series (each installment totaling approx. 15 minutes in length) that was released, for free, on the web this past summer.  It was quite a success, crashing various web-servers and garnering a lot of acclaim in the mainstream media.  

Dr. Horrible’s Sing-Along Blog is pretty much exactly what it sounds like: a super-villain musical.  Neil Patrick Harris (How I Met Your Mother) turns in quite possibly the best performance of his career (certainly the best performance of his that I’ve ever seen) as the titular sad-sack super-villain, Dr. Horrible.  His nemesis: the handsome and super-strong hero Captain Hammer, played by Nathan Fillion (Captain Tightpants himself — Mal Reynolds from Firefly and Serenity).  In addition to their repeated conflicts over all of Dr. Horrible’s nefarious schemes (undertaken in an attempt to join the League of Evil), the two quickly fall for the same girl:  the beguiling Penny, played by Felicia Day.  And did I mention this was a musical?

All of the actors (the three leads and a variety of other talented folk) all turn in magnificent performances, but Neil Patrick Harris’ Dr. Horrible is one of the great creations of recent memory.  The story opens with a lengthy monologue straight into camera by Harris, delivered without cuts — this is our introduction to his video blog.  The sequence is astounding — a magical combination of a talented actor and a sharp, hilarious script by Whedon.  If you’re not hooked by its end, then I really don’t think we have anything in common.

Great actors and a hysterical, poignant script — that would be enough, no?  But I was blown away by the quality of the songs.  There are 14 songs in total, and they are really astounding.  Judging music is not my forte, but I found all of the songs to be catchy, witty, and well incorporated into the overall story.  I was humming quite a few of them after my first viewing.

Although I am astounded that I let something of such high quality go un-watched by me for so many months, I don’t regret too strongly holding out for the DVD release.  That’s because in addition to a high-quality image and some terrific special features (an in-depth “making-of” and a fun, insightful commentary) there is … [continued]