Just saw the Ultimate Avengers direct-to-DVD movie over the weekend…

§ March 7th, 2006 § Filed under Uncategorized Comments Off on Just saw the Ultimate Avengers direct-to-DVD movie over the weekend…

…and, as far as this sort of thing usually goes, the isn’t terrible. It’s watchable, doesn’t overstay its welcome (it’s only about an hour and some change in length), and though the best bit doesn’t come ’til the end, when the team battles the Hulk:

…which involves a lot of fun-to-watch destructive superhero mayhem, it remains reasonably entertaining.

Anyone expecting an exacting adaptation of the Mark Millar/Brian Hitch Ultimates series, on which this was based, is going to be disappointed. For one thing, the characterizations are much lighter…in the comic, the most sympathetic character was Thor, and he was (maybe) crazy. In the movie, the only two heroes with darker aspects to them are Hank “Giant Man” Pym (whose marriage problems and general dickatude are given special focus) and Bruce Banner (who comes across as a emotionally stunted creep). Tony Stark’s drinking problem is hinted at as well.

Unsurprisingly, Stark’s butler Jarvis is no longer the Bitchy Gay Jarvis of the comics…well, maybe he is, but you only really get Lightly Sardonic Jarvis from the two lines he has in the cartoon.

And certain plot points and incidents from the first Ultimate series are reproduced throughout the film, which only served to remind you (as similar circumstances did in the Constantine movie) of how those same scenes were handled better in the comic. Things are simpler, more condensed.

The movie does earn its PG-13 rating with plenty of onscreen deaths…no “falling into the water and landing safely out of harm’s way” here. There is a particularly unsettling and effective scene near the beginning of the film with a space shuttle falling to Earth, its pilot shouting “We’re burning up! We’re burning–” just as the transmission is cut. Plus, the scenes with the recently revived Captain America reuniting with his old war buddies, both alive and dead, is genuinely affecting.

Overall, it’s worth a rental…it’s cheesy, harmless fun for those of you who like the guys in tights punching each other. It doesn’t advance the medium, but it doesn’t set it back, really, either.

The special features include a lengthy discussion of the Avengers comic books (with lots of comments from Kurt Busiek and George Perez), a collection of fan tryouts for voice work on the cartoon (couldn’t finish watching it, it hurt so bad), and a text commentary for the film.

The text commentary…hoo boy. A while back I tried watching the text commentary for Kingdom of Heaven, a mindlessly-entertaining sword-em-up with Orlando Bloom and Liam Neeson, but after a handful of typos and misspellings, I just gave up. It was entirely too frustrating.

Such was the case for Ultimate Avengers‘ similar feature. The commentary is rife with typos, misspellings, and outright grammatical errors throughout the length of the film. An example:

And that’s not the worst of it…you’d think that there would be certain words that couldn’t possibly be spelled incorrectly, considering what film this is. For example, Marvel:

…or Stan:

…or even Ultimates:

Yes, they misspelled “Ultimates.” It’s in the title of the movie. And this wasn’t the only time…it’s misspelled several times over the course of the commentary.

Most of the errors are clearly just typos, what with “Y” being right next to “T” on the keyboard, in the “Stan Lee” example, and I noticed a couple missing or transposed letters here and there as well (“destyoed,” “emloyed,” “Word War II”), not to mention several non-capitalized names (“sub-mariner,” “hulk”). But, honestly, a once-over by an editor would have caught the majority of these, I’m sure. Was the DVD rushed out to market that quickly?

Well, avoid the commentary feature, I guess…hopefully the one on the promised second Ultimate Avengers DVD will be an improvement.

In other news:

Hey, longtime customer (and fledgling pro funnybook artist) Weshoyot has a new column over at The Comics Review. Go, read, tell her I sent you.

Speaking of columns, I have a new installment of BEHIND THE COUNTER up over at Comic Book Galaxy, in which I talk about selling the naughty books.

And as long as I’m on my favorite topic — me — let me point out a few things I just put up on the eBay. These are personal items, duplicates from my collection, which I’m not selling through the store. Bid early, bid often.

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