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Superman: Brainiac Attacks(2006)
Embittered by Superman's heroic successes and soaring popularity, Lex Luthor forms a dangerous alliance with the powerful computer/villain Brainiac. Using advanced weaponry and a special strain of Kryptonite harvested from the far reaches of outer space, Luthor specifically redesigns Brainiac to defeat the Man of Steel.work together to get past the coconut-throwing monkeys, a giant slimy octopus and outsmart the pirates to find the buried treasure.
For more about Superman: Brainiac Attacks and the Superman: Brainiac Attacks Blu-ray release, see Superman: Brainiac Attacks Blu-ray Review published by Kenneth Brown on April 2, 2013 where this Blu-ray release scored 2.5 out of 5.
Starring: Tim Daly, Dana Delany, Powers Boothe, Lance Henriksen
Director: Curt Geda
» See full cast & crew
Superman: Brainiac Attacks Blu-ray Review
One looooong beat-em-up, knock-em-down after another...
Reviewed by Kenneth Brown, April 2, 2013
My, my. How far Warner Bros. Animation has come. Watching Superman: Brainiac Attacks -- the last of the old guard, just before the DC Universe Animated Original Movie machine came to be -- is akin to a trip back through time. Instead of a seven-year trip to 2006, though, when Brainiac Attacks first attacked, it's a leap and a bound beyond, tapping Richard Donner's Superman: The Movie and even George Reeves-era Adventures of Superman rather than Alan Burnett, Bruce Timm and Paul Dini's Superman: The Animated Series. And not in a good way either. Campy, hokey and dissatisfying all in one icy breath, it's a decidedly kid-oriented actioner with wince-inducing one-liners, harmless 'splosions, sneering baddies and dim-bulb dialogue aplenty.
Lex Luthor (Powers Boothe) is at it again. This time it's a satellite designed to do what Superman (Tim Daly) can't: patrol the stars and skies 24/7. But on its first live test, the orbital station fails miserably when invading alien menace Brainiac (Lance Henriksen) runs circles around the machine, hijacking its super-laser and using its blasts to nearly defeat Superman. Normally, such failure might irritate a man like Luthor. With Superman's destruction in sight? Luthor sees nothing but opportunity. Teaming up with Brainiac, now upgraded and reborn as an enormous robot, Luthor sets his sights on taking the Big Boy in Blue down a notch and subsequently positioning himself as world savior. Of course, honesty and loyalty don't come naturally to either supervillain, and it isn't long before Superman has to deal with the combined and separate threats that are his greatest nemeses. Not that Luthor and Brainiac are Superman's biggest worries. That would be Lois (Dana Delany), who is infected with a poison with just one cure: a chemical antidote found only in the Phantom Zone.
Brainiac Attacks is no brains, all brawn. Action, action, action is the movie's M.O. If it can't be punched, blasted or blown out of existence, it isn't of much interest to writers Duane Capizzi and Christopher Simmons. Even longtime franchise superbad Lex Luthor -- downgraded here to a Smallville Joker without any semblance of a razor's edge or a substantial threat -- fails to flex his neurons, dutifully spouting exposition, whining ad nauseum and scheming with all the intelligence of a lunk-headed '30s screen gangster. (Gene Hackman's Lex was a camp villain, but he would best Boothe's Luthor in seconds flat.) It gets worse. Brainiac is much too bland a Big Bad, Clark and Lois' relationship is sweet but much too simplistic, the Phantom Zone creature fights and mid-Metropolis battles are a bit too rock 'em, sock 'em robots, and the persistent humor lacks the classic corny charm it's working so hard to evoke. Add to that decent but unremarkable animation, an elevator-music score and less than riveting voicework and you have a mediocre entry in the DC animated universe that doesn't hold a candle to the TV series that inspired it.
And the story? What little there is doesn't amount to much at all. Characters are thinly sketched and woefully underdeveloped, relying on prior love of the heroes and villains to resonate in the slightest. Super-powered clashes and Phantom Zone diversions come down to action beats and briefly compelling twists, none of which linger in the imagination. The villains are given far more to do -- not to mention more thrilling robot-on-robot dust-ups -- than the iconic hero, revealing Brainiac Attacks to be exactly that: Brainiac's movie. And the aforementioned action, action, action only exacerbates the problem, reducing the script to one or two hyper-extended action scenes. Conflict is solely of the big dumb brute variety. Consequence doesn't enter into the fray. And drama is largely absent, relegated to Lois' illness and Lois' illness alone. Even then, her healing is all but assured, as predictability is Superman: Brainiac Attacks' chief currency. So come for the action and stay for the action... or skip this subpar Supes outing altogether and stick with the bigger, badder, better DCU animated movies that came after.
Superman: Brainiac Attacks Blu-ray, Video Quality
Like Batman: Mystery of the Batwoman, Superman: Brainiac Attacks and its 1080p/AVC-encoded presentation are dragged down to Earth by a number of issues; each one inherent to the original animation and its video source, yes, but each one a distraction all the same. Aliasing is a prevailing problem, particularly along the edges of Superman's cape. Shots of the hero look fantastic, minus the rippling pixels and jagged lines that compose one of the most iconic elements of his costume. It isn't limited to his cape, though, as other imagery is just as prone to the anomaly. (Thankfully, there aren't any shots or scenes that resemble the DVD, as is the case in Batwoman.) Other issues abound, albeit none so severe. Moderate banding, minor macroblocking and slight ringing are apparent on occasion; again, though, most every eyesore traces back to the source, exonerating the encode itself. In fact, if it weren't for the presentation's mishaps, this would be an open-shut case. Colors are bright and beautiful, with vivid primaries, inky blacks and striking contrast leveling. Moreover, the animators' line art is razor sharp, backgrounds fare well and noise and softness aren't at play whatsoever. There's even an argument to be made for a much higher score based on the precision and proficiency of the encode alone. In this case, though, that score would be much too misleading. All things considered, Superman: Brainiac Attacks looks the high definition part and thoroughly bests its DVD counterpart. For some, especially fans of the movie, that will be more than enough.
Superman: Brainiac Attacks Blu-ray, Audio Quality
Note: despite information to the contrary on the back cover, the Blu-ray edition of Superman: Brainiac Attacks does not include French audio or French subtitles. Only English and Spanish audio and subtitles are available.
Though an undeniably two-dimensional, front-heavy actioner, Superman: Brainiac Attacks leaves something of a lasting mark thanks to its big, bad, brawny DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 surround track. The LFE channel certainly throws its weight around, with meaty super-punches, sky-splitting laser blasts and energy beams, earth-shaking explosions, throaty thrusters, clunk-clunk-clunking robot steps and ground-pounding slams. Dynamics and low-end output aren't necessarily nuanced -- power bests prowess here -- but it adds welcome oomph to a story that offers little more than one action beat after another. Rear speaker activity is assertive as well, even if directionality is lacking. Pans are at least smooth and the soundfield is relatively engaging (albeit not as immersive as those of later Warner Bros. Animation movies). Dialogue is also clear and intelligible at all times, and voices are never muffled or lost in the midst of battles. Thomas Chase Jones' score is downplayed in the mix, but only insofar as the original sound design is concerned. Otherwise, this is a fine representation of the movie's sonics as intended.
Superman: Brainiac Attacks Blu-ray, Special Features and Extras
The Blu-ray edition of Superman: Brainiac Attacks doesn't include any special features.
Superman: Brainiac Attacks Blu-ray, Overall Score and Recommendation
Superman: Brainiac Attacks swings hard but swings wide, ramping up the action and superheroics but neglecting to ramp up much else. The script languishes, the voice performances suffer, the animation lags, the music flatlines... it all falls flat. And with grander, bolder ideas on the horizon -- in the DCU animated movieverse that followed -- it only gets better and better once Brainiac Attacks is in the rearview mirror. Fortunately, Warner's Blu-ray release isn't quite so disappointing, with a solid video presentation and super-powered DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 surround track. It isn't packing anything in the way of special features, but most fans won't mind, especially when the disc is so easy on the wallet. Ultimately, Superman diehards and action-animation junkies will enjoy themselves, at least to a point; most everyone else should continue their search for richer animated fare elsewhere.
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Superman: Brainiac Attacks Blu-ray, News and Updates
• Superman: Brainiac Attacks Blu-ray - November 28, 2012
In another early announcement, Warner Bros. Home Entertainment has revealed the Blu-ray release of the 2006 original animated movie, Superman: Brainiac Attacks, which features the voice talents of Tim Daly, Dana Delany, Lance Henriksen and Powers Boothe. Lex Luthor ...
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