Warner Bros. // 1978 // 86 Minutes // Not Rated
Reviewed by Judge Patrick Naugle // April 9th, 2003
Their mission: to fight injustice, to right that which is wrong, and to serve all mankind!
When the world comes under attack from some of the most feared foes in history, who ya gonna call? No, not the Ghostbusters...the Super Friends! In a flash (pun intended), help is on the way via Superman, Batman and Robin, The Human Tornado, Hawkman, Aquaman, The Flash, Wonder Woman, Green Lantern, and the Samurai. Sworn to protect the citizens of earth, these amazing heroes risk life and limb to keep out streets safe from evildoers everywhere. The scum of the earth have formed a spectacularly treacherous "Legion of Doom" that features such super villains as Gorilla Grodd, Brainiac, Cheetah, Black Manta, Sinistro, The Scarecrow, The Riddler, Bizarro, Solomon Grundy, Giganta, Captain Cold, and their mastermind leader, the vile Lex Luthor. In space, in the sky, under water, and on land, the Legion of Doom will do whatever it takes to fight their way to world domination (fun fact: you can't be an official card carrying member unless you've attempted world domination at least twice in your career). But close on their heels will always be the members of the Hall of Justice: the Super Friends!
Included on this disc are four episodes from the classic TV series: "Wanted: Ten Super Friends," "Invasion of the Fearians," "The World's Deadliest Game," and "The Time Trap"
Those of us who grew up in the 1970s and '80s know that there were some great cartoons floating around television during that time period. Who amongst you doesn't get slightly teary-eyed when thoughts of the Autobots or Cobra Commander dance in your head? Those who have no idea what I'm talking about should stop reading this review immediately. For the rest of us, here comes Challenge of the Super Friends: Attack of the Legion of Doom, four episodes from the classic TV show featuring the famous DC Comics heroes and villains. Every grainy, stilted character is intact just as you remember them. Of course, when compared to the animated shows of today, Challenge of the Super Friends is creaky by comparison; the characters move with a stiffness reserved for wooden nickels and the storylines are outrageously uninspired (Captain Cold's monumental plan: let's freeze the planet!). Even hokier is the dialogue -- when a frozen building begins teetering towards The Flash, he finds the time to pause, reflect and pronounce, "Great winds of mercury! I've got to stop that falling building before it smashes into a thousand pieces!" While long winded speeches were of the essence, apparently time was not. But, I digress -- Challenge of the Super Friends was never meant to be great Saturday morning TV. The show was supposed to be fun and exciting for kids, a theme that changed dramatically after the dark vision of Tim Burton's 1989 blockbuster Batman. Many of the characters (especially the villains) are played for laughs, while Batman and Robin still retain their solidified goofiness from their classic 1960s TV show. I'd do a breakdown of each episode, but does it really matter? The bad guys want to take over the planet -- 'nuff said. Challenge of the Super Friends: Attack of the Legion of Doom must be watched on its own terms -- both fans of the series and parents who used to run around the house with a sheet tied around their necks for a cape will delight in the release of this disc.
Challenge of the Super Friends: Attack of the Legion of Doom is presented in its original 1.33:1 full frame aspect ratio. There isn't a whole lot to say about these transfers -- they're full of grain and imperfections, which comes as no shock considering the age of the low budget nature source material. Generally the colors and black levels are solid and dark, making this disc a somewhat mixed bag. While these episodes look better than they did on TV, don't expect anything in the way of a miracle. The soundtracks for each episode are presented in Dolby Digital 1.0 Mono in both English and Spanish. Much like the video transfers, each sound mix sports limitations due to the source materials. There aren't any directional effects or surround sounds to be found here, just mostly clear dialogue, effects, and music with only the smallest amount of hiss bleeding through the mix. Also included on this disc are subtitles in English and Spanish.
POW! ZAP! CRACK! Yes, those are the sounds of fans beating the living snot out of me if I don't inform them of all the special features included on this disc. Warner has done a better than average job on these new super hero DVDs, and Challenge of the Super Friends: Attack of the Legion of Doom is no exception. The best feature on this disc is four small interviews with one of the show's original story editors, Jeffery Scott. Scott waxes nostalgic about his time working on the show, and throws in a few fun asides about his job as a writer (he liked penning for the bad guys more than superheroes). Another fun little diversion is the Hall of Doom feature, which gives descriptions of the villains (with funny narration) and shot compilation clips of each baddie in action. Finally there is a pointless game titled "Super Friend or Super Foe" which allows the player to guess which Super Friend is in disguise as a villain.
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Scales of Justice
Studio: Warner Bros.
* Full Frame
* Dolby Digital 1.0 Mono (English)
* Dolby Digital 1.0 Mono (Spanish)
Running Time: 86 Minutes
Release Year: 1978
MPAA Rating: Not Rated
* Episode Introductions by Story Editor Jeffrey Scott