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DVD Review: Dr. Horrible’s Sing-Along Blog

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Dr. Horrible's Sing-Along Blog is a project from Joss Whedon (Buffy The Vampire Slayer, Angel, Firefly, Dollhouse), who wanted to create something during the 2007-2008 WGA writers' strike, but get around the issues that were being protested during the strike. He recruited his brothers Zack and Jed, along with actress Maurissa Tancharoen, to write the film. The film was created for the Internet with the intention that if it did well enough a DVD release would follow. Since Whedon fans are notoriously loyal, it’s no surprise that the DVD release would soon follow. It first was an Amazon exclusive, but now through New Video DVD it can be purchased everywhere.

The film tells the tale of Dr Horrible (Neil Patrick Harris) and his various attempts to do villainy to fulfill the requirements of his application for admittance to the Evil League of Evil (ELE). He’s continually thwarted by The Hammer (Nathan Fillion) who may be the hero but is just a pompous jackass. Things get complicated when both men fall for Penny (Felicia Day) and since this is a Joss Whedon production, not everyone gets a happy ending. Throughout the film there are 14 songs penned by Whedon and crew which run the gamut from love, hate, revenge, and more.

The film was originally released in three 14-minute sections, with two days in between each part's release; the fans crashed the site hosting the film as the number of visitors exceeded its server capacity. Nathan Fillion (Firefly, Castle) is great as the smug “hero” and from the portrayal and commentaries, he enjoyed every minute of it. Felicia Day (Buffy The Vampire Slayer, The Guild – another online series) is great as the love interest and it’s nice to see a Buffy alum in another Whedon project. Neil Patrick Harris (Doogie Howser, M.D., How I Met Your Mother, Harold & Kumar) is in his first Joss Whedon production as Dr Horrible; he gets the stuffing kicked out of him on a regular basis by The Hammer and is absolutely perfect in the role. His best moment is in the song “Brand New Day” which starts with a smirk that rivals the smugness of James Marsters when he played Spike on Buffy and Angel and, given his Broadway experience, he was the best choice for the role.

For a 42-minute film, the DVD release of Dr. Horrible's Sing-Along Blog has a nice amount of extras. There are not one but two commentaries! The first commentary is a standard one with actors Nate Fillion, Neil Patrick Harris, Felicia Day, and Whedon, where the participants have fun talking about the shoot for the film, flubs, all the fun they had, and more. Then there’s “Commentary! The Musical” — this is a musical commentary track that the cast and crew perform that’s made up of entirely new numbers created just for the DVD release.

“ELE (Evil League of Evil) Applications”. At the 2008 San Diego Comic-Con Dr Horrible panel it was announced that the producers would accept short films from the fans about why their character should be inducted into the ELE. They took the ten best and included them on the DVD. Some are truly hilarious and you can see who really liked Dr. Horrible's Sing-Along Blog.

There are also several making-of featurettes which go behind the scenes of this film that are both fun and informative. Whedon has plans for a sequel but is keeping quiet as to whether it will be another Internet movie, or maybe a big screen adventure. Either way fans are eager for the next installment of Dr Horrible and it can’t get here soon enough!

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  • http://whalertly.blogspot.com Robert M. Barga

    this was and is one of my favorite DVDs in my collection

  • Ali

    For the record, it’s Captain Hammer, not The Hammer. The hammer is his p***s.

    That said, I love this production. I got it for Christmas and it has probably been played at least once a week since then. Nate, Neil and Felicia are all talented and perfectly cast. This movie is just another of the many reasons I call myself a Whedonite.