- The Washington Times - Thursday, August 27, 2015

Two legendary teams of super-powered characters battle within a brick-building universe in Justice League: Attack of the Legion of Doom! (Warner Home Video, rated PG, $24.98).

With an enormous sigh of relief, I can appreciate this witty and gorgeous-looking, tween-friendly, computer-animated adventure and not another angst-ridden PG-13 cartoon that Warner Bros. Animation and DC Entertainment have been obsessed with over the years.

Nope, this is part of the Lego DC Comics Superhero series and features the fledgling organization of the Justice League starring Batman, Superman, Wonder Woman, Flash, Green Lantern and Cyborg attempting to stop the newly formed Legion of Doom, led by Lex Luthor, from taking over the world.

Within 77 minutes of silly slapstick, corny puns and spirited action, viewers are taken back to the point in comic book history when the Legion of Doom began.

Luthor, with help from Sinestro and Black Manta, recruits a few more supervillains (Cheetah, Gorilla Grodd and Captain Cold) to break into the government installation (Area 52) and kidnap a familiar Martian that they will use to humiliate the Justice League.

Remember, all of the mini-block-shaped characters as well as vehicles and landscapes are beautifully crafted to look like they were ripped from a Lego set. It’s a welcomed animation style compared to more traditional cartoons.

The humor is for the kids, but superhero-appreciating adults, like this reviewer, will laugh multiple times while watching Flash and Green Lantern fight for Wonder Woman’s attention or the verbal interaction between the too-serious Batman and overtly polite Superman.

The voice cast delivers at all fronts. Mark (Luke Skywalker) Hamill is a riot as Sinestro and the Trickster while Nolan (“Uncharted’s” Nathan Drake) North plays a squeaky-clean Superman with innocent charm.

The digital transfer fills home theater screens (1:78:1 presentation) and delivers an eye-popping, high-contrast color scheme that brings a near three-dimensional detail of the mini-figures to beautiful life.

Textured cloth capes swaying the wind, painted bodies and plastic parts of a character’s appendages are realistic enough to reach out and touch while scenes such as Batman (dressed at one point an a large, too-cool exo-suit) fighting Gorilla Grodd’s Army and two mobile headquarters of the adversaries in an aerial fight really look fantastic.

Unfortunately, the only extra on the disk is a 20-minute look at the sound design of the movie.

It is an informative dive into the lesser-appreciated but always impactful part of the cartoon-making process and features interviews with foley artist Vincent Guisetti, foley mixer Aran Tanchum, producer/director Brandon Vietti and sound designer Rob McIntyre.

Viewers learn how sound effects can enhance an actor’s performance and watch examples of how different sounds are applied to scenes with different results. They even get tips on how to create the perfect footstep effect.

What’s missing is an optional commentary track from the creators and Warner Bros. animation archive offering a few extra toons from previous superhero series.

Instead, owners get a code via the Ultraviolet digital video storage and streaming system to watch the 2014 effort “JLA Adventures: Trapped in Time.”

Good news is that the more traditionally animated cartoon presents a whole bunch of superheroes (even Karate Kid and Robin) fighting the Legion of Doom over the exciting, 52-minute effort. Bad news is that it requires extra work to sign-up for Ultraviolet, enter codes and get the cartoon loaded into a device for the family to watch.

Suffice to report, I would have preferred the movie contained on the Blu-ray disk.

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