Dr. Horrible’s Sing-Along Blog
Starring Neil Patrick Harris, Nathan Fillion, Felicia Day, Simon Helberg
Mutant Enemy Productions
Release Date: December 19, 2008
While most regular writers sat around and held up their picket signs during this year’s infamous writer’s strike, leave it to old fan favorite writer Joss Whedon to take action. Rather than just strike, he joined forces with his brothers Zack and Jed, along with Jed’s fiancee Maurissa Tancharoen, to create a musical that would be small and inexpensive yet look professionally done. The result is the musical Dr. Horrible’s Sing-Along Blog, a surprise hit (to anyone but Whedon fans) now available on DVD exclusively from Amazon.
Originally shown in three webisodes for free, the film stars Neil Patrick Harris as Billy. Billy is an aspiring evildoer known as Dr. Horrible who dreams of one day joining the ranks of the Evil League of Evil. His only obstacle: The charismatic and cheesy Captain Hammer (Nathan Fillion). Hammer foils his every evil plot and even takes the heart of Billy’s crush, Penny (Felicia Day). With nothing left to lose, Dr. Horrible is determined to take down Hammer for a spot on the League and proves that even villains, like heroes, are born in the face of personal loss.
There is nothing I can say about Whedon’s Dr. Horrible that you don’t already know. Dr. Horrible is a 42-minute musical that will make you laugh, think, and not surprisingly, even make you cry. I really do not want to get into the specifics of the musical, for fear that several key moments will be spoiled, but trust me when I say that if you did not see this when it first came on the net: This musical will rock your socks off. It is really that good and if you like Whedon’s previous works on Buffy, Angel, or even Astonishing X-Men, you will like this musical.
The Whedons (Joss, Jed, and Zack) and Maurissa Tancharoen have crafted a musical that should appeal to the masses. Reminiscent of the Buffy musical episode, the musical numbers are highly entertaining and catchy. From “My Freeze Ray” to “My Eyes,” each song carries the musical to another level — and don’t be surprised if you start singing a few bars from each song. My personal favorite song is the “Bad Horse” chorus, a song about the Evil League of Evil’s leader who is, according the song, “The Thoroughbred of Sin.”
No matter how great the songs are on paper, if the actors couldn’t pull it off, the musical would have been a bust. Thankfully, the entire cast is great and has a lot of chemistry with each other. Harris, known best nowadays as lothario Barney Stintson on How I Met your Mother, shows his range as up and coming villain Dr. Horrible. He plays Horrible with enough depth and humor that you almost forget that he is supposed to be the villain. He also has some set of pipes on him. I keep forgetting that he used to sing on Broadway but with this DVD out there, I am sure now no one will forget just how incredibly talented Harris really is. Felicia Day, who plays Penny and is best known as Vi in Buffy, is also equally good and holds her own as Dr. Horrible’s love interest. Whedon is best known for creating great female characters and the character of Penny is no different. She is definitely a character that will grow on you the instant you meet her.
While all the actors have done an incredible job on this, special attention needs to be placed on Nathan Fillion’s Captain Hammer. I have always been a fan of Fillion from day one, mostly because he could be funny and kick butt at the same time, but who knew he could do that and sing as well? The guy has a good voice and plays just about the biggest tool in the toolbox with such ease. Captain Hammer is cheesy, full of himself, and quite possibly the biggest superhero meathead on the block and Fillion plays it with so much gusto, it is a riot.
If When the Indiana Jones franchise is rebooted, I only hope the producers will at least consider the talented Fillion as the man to wear the fedora.
The Dr. Horrible DVD looks great. It is a actual amazing to realize that the whole thing was created on a shoestring budget and a few favors cashed in by Whedon from his friends in the industry. The overall package is also pretty good for a DVR DVD available only at Amazon.
The Special Features are pretty sizable as well. There is commentary, the first ever musical commentary starring the cast and crew. If you liked the musical and clamor for more, this commentary is for you. My only problem with it is that there are no subtitles for the commentary so I could learn the lyrics of the songs. Other special features include a making of feature and fan-submitted Evil League of Evil applications. Whedon picked the best and showcased them for all to see and they are all pretty good, especially the candidates who sing (my favorite candidates include a girl dressed up as a baby and a man known only as Lord Stabbington).
Dr. Horrible is currently available at Amazon for a super low price and should definitely be bought up. The story is heartfelt and the musical is sure to entertain anyone. Do yourself a favor and pick this DVD up.