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DVD Review: ‘Dr. Horrible’s Sing-Along Blog’ Phenomenon Comes to DVD

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CHICAGO – I know I’m the last person with internet access to catch up with “Dr. Horrible’s Sing-Along Blog” but I am now officially one of the converted masses. Joss Whedon’s incredibly clever, award-winning internet phenomenon starring Neil Patrick Harris (“How I Met Your Mother”) and Nathan Fillion (“Firefly,” “Castle”) has now been widely released on DVD.

HollywoodChicago.com DVD Rating: 5.0/5.0
DVD Rating: 5.0/5.0

“The world is a mess and I just need to RULE it.” These are the sentiments of the most idealistic wannabe super-villain ever to apply for the Evil League of Evil, Dr. Horrible (Neil Patrick Harris), on his popular internet blog. The first act of the 3-act-42-minute “Dr. Horrible’s Sing Along Blog” starts with the title character laying out his plan for world domination and then reading a bit of viewer email.

When a viewer asks for more information on the identity of this “her” the good doc always refers to, he breaks into the first of many songs in the piece, the lovely “My Freeze Ray,” which details his desire to build a freeze ray if just to take the time to build up the courage to speak to the cute Penny (Felicia Day) at the laundromat. By the end of the first act, Dr. Horrible will have had an actual conversation with the object of his unrequited love, made a move that caught the attention of the deadly Bad Horse, and accidentally pushed her into the arms of his nemesis, Captain Hammer (Nathan Fillion).

Dr. Horrible's Sing Along Blog was released on DVD on June 2nd, 2009.
Dr. Horrible’s Sing Along Blog was released on DVD on June 2nd, 2009.
Photo credit: New Video

“Dr. Horrible’s Sing Along Blog” is simply fantastic. It’s Whedon at his best in that it both mocks conventions of an often predictable story like the super-villain origin tale and embraces them at the same time. As he did on “Buffy the Vampire Slayer” and “Firefly” (and a few episodes of the hit-and-miss “Dollhouse”), Whedon finds an amazing balance between being satirically tongue-in-cheek and completely, romantically earnest.

Some of the music is more genuine and moving than most big-budget theatrical musicals of the last few years. I’m humming these tunes way more than the ones from “Dreamgirls” and don’t get me started on “Mamma Mia!”

The songwriting and dialogue are not the only strength of “Dr. Horrible’s Sing Along Blog”. Harris, Day, and Fillion are all spectacular. In particular, Harris finds a great balance between the evil doctor’s dark side and his blatant romanticism. He’s perfect.

Born during the writer’s strike in 2008 as a free internet miniseries, “Dr. Horrible’s Sing Along Blog” premiered on iTunes as the #1 downloaded TV seasons for three weeks running and still resides in the Top 10 of all TV shows. The following soon became so big that stage versions were in production, action figures were created, and rumors of a feature length film follow-up have surfaced.

With so many people having already seen and adored “Dr. Horrible’s Sing Along Blog,” why buy it on DVD? Well, call me old-fashioned, but I’ll always choose to watch something in widescreen on my TV over watching it on my laptop monitor. And the Dolby Digital 5.1 Surround Sound track is the only way to hear “A Man’s Gotta Do”.

And then there are the special features, including one of the best audio commentary tracks of all time. The crew produced a normal commentary track but they also made an hysterical piece called “Commentary! The Musical,” which features 42 minutes of all new music where the cast and creators ignore the movie and sing about the writer’s strike and each other. It’s hilarious and if you haven’t heard it, you can’t call yourself a big “Horrible’s” fan until you do.

Other special features include behind-the-scenes featurettes, the top ten video applications submitted by fans who want to join the Evil League of Evil, and three Easter eggs (blooper reel, rehearsal footage, and up-close-and-personal interviews with the members of the ELE).

I’m clearly late to the bandwagon but the “Dr. Horrible’s Sing Along Blog” is still just building up speed with a sequel in some form - probably internet, possibly TV or film - not just likely but inevitable. Jump on before this internet phenomenon becomes a household name.

‘Dr. Horrible’s Sing Along Blog’ was released by New Video and stars Neil Patrick Harris, Nathan Fillion, Simon Helberg, and Felicia Day. It was written by Maurissa Tancharden, Jed Whedon, Joss Whedon, & Zack Whedon and directed by Joss Whedon. The film was released on June 2nd, 2009. It is not rated.

HollywoodChicago.com content director Brian Tallerico

By BRIAN TALLERICO
Content Director
HollywoodChicago.com
brian@hollywoodchicago.com

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