Thursday, December 31, 2015

5 Animated Films Warner Premiere should consider making

Ever checked out the DC Universe animated films from Warner Premiere? They're direct to DVD releases based on "famous" DC comics and they're often a bit of fun. Sometimes they're even better than the comic they're based on; other times, they're dross, but hey, it's only 70 minutes of your life so who cares? The good ones can be really good, and I've never found one so bad that I couldn't at least paint to it. The very best manage to tell the stories better than the comics they're based on; Flashpoint and Justice League: New Frontier are better than most of the DC live action films. The Warner Premiere films are a great showcase for some of the DC stories that could never carry a full film or television release, however, they do seem tied to "recent" events in the DCU. Yes, there are some "classics" like Batman: Year One, but it really seems like there's a wealth of untapped potential. So here are my suggestions for fun animated titles that WP and DC could potentially make some coin with.

The Dark Knight Strikes Again
Often seen as the ugly stepchild of the classic The Dark Knight Returns and the beginning of Frank Miller's slide into insanity, I actually quite enjoy DKSA on it's own merits, few though they may be. Miller's schizophrenic style and bizarre artwork actually complement the storytelling device of internet talking heads and the social decay of a digital society. Batman, having revealed his secret identity and faked his death in The Dark Knight Returns, has organised his army of former street gangs in order to take back the world from Lex Luthor and Brainiac. If The Dark Knight Returns is the story of the death and rebirth of Batman, DKSA does the same for the Justice League, with many of the old guard dying or moving on and a new generation taking up the fight. Due to the odd art and unique set-pieces, DKSA would make an interesting animated film that could highlight the cleverness of the original and hide some of the stupidity that fans tend to focus on. And who doesn't want to see Batman wail on Superman with kryptonite gauntlets?

Amazons Attack! 
A Wonder Woman crossover event that was epic in it's stupidity, this suggestion will leave many scratching their heads. This event series is infamous for having Batman spout the line "Bees... my god." and fighter jets getting taken down by spears and arrows. It's dumb, inescapably dumb, and that's why I think it should be animated for all to see. In evidence, I'd like to submit Superman vs The Elite, an, at best, passable comic, with shallow villains and childish morality but pretty cool fight scenes, but an amazing animated film, with a great villain in the form of Manchester Black, Superman actually explaining his moral stance and plenty of cool fights. Now take that approach with Amazons Attack!, fix up the dialogue slightly (but leave in the bees line), boost the action and bury the story in amazing action faster than Zach Snyder. I'd watch it. 

Probably one of the best limited series that I've ever read, and practically no one has heard of it. 52 (or DC Comics' 52 as I've seen it called), was a weekly series that covered the events of a year in the DCU without Superman, Wonder Woman or Batman. Instead the story focuses on characters like Animal Man, Adam Strange, Elongated Man, Renee Montoya, Batwoman, Booster Gold, Black Adam and Steel. The writing is sharp and the use of secondary characters really allows for some interesting storytelling. The trade is in four volumes, so more than one DVD would probably be needed, but I think it would be worth it to get the story out there and generate more interest from some of the often-overlooked characters of the DCU, like Booster Gold and The Question.

Superman: Red Son 
Everyone knows the story of Superman. Last son of a dying planet, crash lands outside a collective farm in the former Ukraine, raised under Stalin and fights for Socialism, The Worker and the International Expansion of the Warsaw Pact! Red Son is one of the best Superman stories ever told, achieving critical acclaim and spawning lesser imitators in its wake, so why is so little done with it? Is it because its an atypical Superman story? Is it because it kind of paints Superman as a villain? Whatever the reason, it's not as good as it needs to be to convince me that Red Son should be a DVD film. There's not much more I can say about this other than that you really should go pick up a copy and give it a read.

Animal Man: The Hunt    
You wanna see some fucked up shit? Check out Animal Man. Buddy Baker gets his powers from the "life grid" formed by all of the animals on the planet, but what does that look like and how does it work? Turns out the answers involve a Geiger-esque netherworld made of flesh and bone. Add in Buddy's daughter's developing powers and getting hunted by literal monsters and this series manages to be enthralling and subtle. Visually, the look of Animal Man would stand it apart from the other WP titles, as well as the more adult themes and spiritual concepts. Fans of classic Swamp Thing would be well served checking this title out, as it links back to some of the older stories from the era of Hellblazer and Swamp Thing crossovers. 

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