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DVD Review: Dr. Horrible’s Sing-Along Blog
Jack Bauerstein83   |  

Dr. Horrible’s Sing-Along Blog
Starring Neil Patrick Harris, Nathan Fillion, Felicia Day, Simon Helberg
Mutant Enemy Productions
Release Date: December 19, 2008

While most regular writers sat around and held up their picket signs during this year’s infamous writer’s strike, leave it to old fan favorite writer Joss Whedon to take action. Rather than just strike, he joined forces with his brothers Zack and Jed, along with Jed’s fiancee Maurissa Tancharoen, to create a musical that would be small and inexpensive yet look professionally done. The result is the musical Dr. Horrible’s Sing-Along Blog, a surprise hit (to anyone but Whedon fans) now available on DVD exclusively from Amazon.

Originally shown in three webisodes for free, the film stars Neil Patrick Harris as Billy. Billy is an aspiring evildoer known as Dr. Horrible who dreams of one day joining the ranks of the Evil League of Evil. His only obstacle: The charismatic and cheesy Captain Hammer (Nathan Fillion). Hammer foils his every evil plot and even takes the heart of Billy’s crush, Penny (Felicia Day). With nothing left to lose, Dr. Horrible is determined to take down Hammer for a spot on the League and proves that even villains, like heroes, are born in the face of personal loss.

There is nothing I can say about Whedon’s Dr. Horrible that you don’t already know. Dr. Horrible is a 42-minute musical that will make you laugh, think, and not surprisingly, even make you cry. I really do not want to get into the specifics of the musical, for fear that several key moments will be spoiled, but trust me when I say that if you did not see this when it first came on the net: This musical will rock your socks off. It is really that good and if you like Whedon’s previous works on Buffy, Angel, or even Astonishing X-Men, you will like this musical.

The Whedons (Joss, Jed, and Zack) and Maurissa Tancharoen have crafted a musical that should appeal to the masses. Reminiscent of the Buffy musical episode, the musical numbers are highly entertaining and catchy. From “My Freeze Ray” to “My Eyes,” each song carries the musical to another level — and don’t be surprised if you start singing a few bars from each song. My personal favorite song is the “Bad Horse” chorus, a song about the Evil League of Evil’s leader who is, according the song, “The Thoroughbred of Sin.”

No matter how great the songs are on paper, if the actors couldn’t pull it off, the musical would have been a bust. Thankfully, the entire cast is great and has a lot of chemistry with each other. Harris, known best nowadays as lothario Barney Stintson on How I Met your Mother, shows his range as up and coming villain Dr. Horrible. He plays Horrible with enough depth and humor that you almost forget that he is supposed to be the villain. He also has some set of pipes on him. I keep forgetting that he used to sing on Broadway but with this DVD out there, I am sure now no one will forget just how incredibly talented Harris really is. Felicia Day, who plays Penny and is best known as Vi in Buffy, is also equally good and holds her own as Dr. Horrible’s love interest. Whedon is best known for creating great female characters and the character of Penny is no different. She is definitely a character that will grow on you the instant you meet her.

While all the actors have done an incredible job on this, special attention needs to be placed on Nathan Fillion’s Captain Hammer. I have always been a fan of Fillion from day one, mostly because he could be funny and kick butt at the same time, but who knew he could do that and sing as well? The guy has a good voice and plays just about the biggest tool in the toolbox with such ease. Captain Hammer is cheesy, full of himself, and quite possibly the biggest superhero meathead on the block and Fillion plays it with so much gusto, it is a riot. If When the Indiana Jones franchise is rebooted, I only hope the producers will at least consider the talented Fillion as the man to wear the fedora.

The Dr. Horrible DVD looks great. It is a actual amazing to realize that the whole thing was created on a shoestring budget and a few favors cashed in by Whedon from his friends in the industry. The overall package is also pretty good for a DVR DVD available only at Amazon.

The Special Features are pretty sizable as well. There is commentary, the first ever musical commentary starring the cast and crew. If you liked the musical and clamor for more, this commentary is for you. My only problem with it is that there are no subtitles for the commentary so I could learn the lyrics of the songs. Other special features include a making of feature and fan-submitted Evil League of Evil applications. Whedon picked the best and showcased them for all to see and they are all pretty good, especially the candidates who sing (my favorite candidates include a girl dressed up as a baby and a man known only as Lord Stabbington).

Dr. Horrible is currently available at Amazon for a super low price and should definitely be bought up. The story is heartfelt and the musical is sure to entertain anyone. Do yourself a favor and pick this DVD up.

  • Rick Zimmerman

    “My personal favorite song is the “Bad Horse” chorus, a song about the Evil League of Evil’s leader who is, according the song “The Thorough Breed of Sin.”

    That’s “Thoroughbred”–a horse term.

    From Wikipedia: “The Thoroughbred is a horse breed best known for its use in horse racing. Although the word “thoroughbred” is sometimes used to refer to any breed of purebred horse, it technically refers only to the Thoroughbred breed. Thoroughbreds are considered a “hot-blooded” horse, known for their agility, speed and spirit.”

    [Ed's Note: Thanks, it's fixed now.]

  • http://nypinta.blogspot.com NYPinTA

    Nice review. However, I believe you may have chosen your words poorly in the first paragraph where you state, “rather than strike”. Joss Whedon did strike. A lot. On two coasts even. He flew to Boston for a rally even though he was sick.

    Photos:
    http://www.flickr.com/photos/89058936@N00/2098895965/in/pool-fans4writers

    http://www.flickr.com/photos/brackish-lens/2110825581/in/pool-fans4writers

    http://www.flickr.com/photos/bsearles/2111889306/in/pool-fans4writers

    His comments on Whedonesque.com:

    http://whedonesque.com/comments/14650
    http://whedonesque.com/comments/14680
    http://whedonesque.com/comments/14699
    http://whedonesque.com/comments/14772
    http://whedonesque.com/comments/14886
    http://whedonesque.com/comments/14910
    http://whedonesque.com/comments/14978
    http://whedonesque.com/comments/15023

    I’m sure there is more out there, but you get the point.

  • http://www.furyofsolace.com furyofsolace

    There were also quite a few ELE entries that did not make the cut, but were lauded in the DVD’s “Dishonorable Mentions” list. My application was among them. That and more can be viewed at http://www.furyofsolace.com. Bad things are coming.

    Fury of Solace
    Doing evil so you don’t have to
    Somewhere in Los Angeles

  • Kylinn

    Slight correction: Bad Horse is not described as “The Thorough Breed of Sin” but as “The Thoroughbred of Sin”, which makes a lot more sense, really. (Wikipedia on Thoroughbred Horses)

    [Ed's Note: Fixed, thanks!]

  • Markus

    Good review except for the line that Whedon did this “rather than strike”. Whedon most certainly did strike. Just search youtube for “whedon wga” and you’ll find plenty of strike coverage and speaches he held.

    Dr Horrible is a nice kick in the behind to the studios as internet revenue was one of the big issues of the strike. Whedon’s point was if the studios don’t want to share internet revenue with the writers and actors, maybe they’ll just do the internet projects without the studios.

  • http://geeksofdoom.com Jack Bauerstein

    When my editors informed me my article was linked onto Whedonesque, I must say I let out a “Whoo Hoo.” I am a huge fan of Whedon and all he does, so I was glad to hear I was getting some love from Whedon fans but then my editors informed me that several some goofs I made were pointed out.

    I’d like to acknowledge those goofs. The “Throughbred of Sin” was a spelling error on my part. I am terrible at spelling (a sentiment my editors can agree with), and since it was a proper name, no one else thought it was incorrect.

    The other goof, flat out saying Whedon did not strike during the writer’s strike, was a research goof on my part (goof as in I did not do any).

    I certainly hope that my comments have not offended Joss Whedon (Though something tells me a review written by a man with a man crush on Jack Bauer does not register high on Whedon’s radar). Like I said, I am a big fan of his work and it was never my intention to do him wrong.

    I also hope I have not besmirtched those on Whedonesque with my comments. I know how fabulously vocal you folks get on anything pertaining Whedon (No one believes me but I am sure folks had a hand in the dismissal of one Riley Finn, I know it) and I hope you folks can accept this apology as well.

    Thanks for reading my article and for making me (in)famous for the briefest of seconds on Whedonesque. It has totally made my day.

    Jack Bauerstein83

  • http://claimid.com/quotergal QuoterGal

    Heya, Jack – thanks for updating your post with the corrections. Just so you know, I enjoyed your review – and I don’t think people felt besmirched so much as protective of Joss’ efforts in the WGA strike.

    Many of us whedonesquers got involved in the strike due to Joss, creating Fans4writers to support the striking writers, so we’re hyper-aware of his involvement, and didn’t want folks reading your (highly laudatory) review to get the impression that he remained uninvolved in these political activities that were so close to his heart.

    For some great Joss-writing about the strike, go to Whedonesque, click on “Tag: joss+post” on the right, and scroll down to posts starting in Nov. 06; the Commentary! song “Strike” will take on new dimensions for you.

    (BTW, they tell us that drhorrible.com will eventually post the official Commentary! lyrics, but in the meantime you can either google it or poke around on whedonesque for links to some fan-generated versions.)

    I hope your seconds of infamous joy weren’t totally neutralized by our corrections – and I doubt very much that Joss took personal offense – but I think it’s great you’ve updated your blog to reflect them.

    We’ve been writing our own Commentary! commentary lyrics, so do join us if inspiration strikes: http://www.metathecommentarythemusicalmusicalcommentary.com/

  • http://claimid.com/quotergal QuoterGal

    Ooops – “Nov. 06″ should be “Nov. 07″ – I seemed to have misplaced a year somewhere. Sorry ’bout that.

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