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Justice League: Starcrossed the Movie

Repackaged as a (sort of) feature-length DVD, Justice League: Starcrossed (2004) was originally broadcast as the three-part season finale for Cartoon Network's "Justice League" cartoon series, marking a notable change in the direction of the series. When the totalitarian Hawkmen from the planet Thanagar take over Earth as a strategic part of their interstellar battle with longtime enemies, Hawkgirl (Maria Canals) is torn between her JL cohorts and her own people — including her longtime love, the leader of the Thanagarian armada (Victor Rivers). While the complicating romance between Hawkgirl and Green Lantern (Phil LaMarr) seems a bit contrived, the battle between the Hawks and the Justice League — Batman (Kevin Conroy), Superman (George Newbern), Wonder Woman (Susan Eisenberg), the Flash (Michael Rosenbaum), and Martian Manhunter (Carl Lumbly) — is exciting, funny, surprising stuff. As with the rest of the "Justice League" cartoon, Starcrossed offers gorgeous animation, fresh stories, and crisp, witty writing — in particular, the in-jokes about Batman's glum attitude and Flash's snarky asides. There's the none-too-subtle political commentary, too, as when the leader of the Hawkmen transmit a message to the enslaved people of Earth saying, "We are here to serve the people of Earth. We serve the people of Earth by making sure you do what is in your best interest. And what is in your best interest is to do as we say. Only by obeying us, can we serve you." Hmmm. Warner's DVD release offers a beautiful, sparkling clean transfer with bright, rich colors and impressive contrast. The DD 5.1 audio is equally impressive, especially during the segments when the surprisingly complex score gets a workout or the obligatory explosions go ka-BOOM! To make up for the skimpiness of the main feature, which runs a mere 63 minutes, there's some nice extras to be had. "Hawkman: From Comics Cartoon" (8 min.) is a featurette on the decision to make the bad guy in Starcrossed a Hawkman and not the Hawkman, as well as the writing and art design of the episodes; "Tour of the Watchtower" (4 min.), an overview of the JL space station; "Watchtower Bios," a text-based feature offering a blurb on each superhero; five minutes worth of random deleted scenes, presented without music; and trailers for Starcrossed plus Batman: Mystery of the Batwoman and Superman: Last Son of Krypton. Snap-case.
— Dawn Taylor

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