Justice League Dark (Review)

Justice League Dark

Justice League Dark
Story by J.M. DeMatteis and Ernie Altbacker
Screenplay by Ernie Altbacker
Directed by Jay Oliva

Justice League Dark
The animated world is in danger once again (stupid world, stop being in danger!) and only the Justice League can save them. No, not the normal Justice League, this is Justice League Dark! And Batman for some reason. That reason is money. Keep in mind this is Justice League Dark, not Justice League After Dark, that’s the porn version debuting on Cinemax next year! Just kidding. Or am I? Yes.

Now let’s get to an actual review and not string of consciousness awful jokes. Justice League Dark follows the loose continuity the animated films have had since they got rebooted with Flashpoint/Justice League: War, including voices (and Matt Ryan from the Constantine tv series voices John Constantine here!) This time the team isn’t able to handle the threat, as the threat is supernatural in nature, so we need a different kind of hero. Supernatural heroes for a supernatural threat. Mainly John Constantine (of Keanu Reeves movie fame) and Zatanna, the magician lady I’m vaguely familiar with. There are others heroes like Deadman, who I hadn’t really known much about, but a ghost as a super hero does make a certain amount of sense. Maybe Casper should stop being so friendly and start taking down crime syndicates! This time, the ghosts are busting YOU!
Justice League Dark
I enjoyed the change of focus of heroes despite Batman being included so he could grunt every time something spooky happens. (And he does, Gotham City must be showing a lot of Home Improvement reruns) Usually movies like this have a regular guy character who all the characters that are steeped into the universe can explain things too (and thus explain to the audience!), but as Batman already knows a lot of things, he doesn’t really fit that well in the role.
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Tasmanian Devils

Tasmanian Devils

Written by Brook Durham
Directed by Zach Lipovsky

Tasmanian Devils
Inspector Mom is now Ranger Mom!

What if the Tasmanian Devil from the Bugs Bunny cartoons was a SyFy killer movie animal? Well, that’s not going to happen, so enjoy the next best thing, a group of supernatural real Tasmanian devils that attack a group of base jumpers and park rangers. And let’s throw in a flip-flopping gender politics theme for good measure! Thus we have Tasmanian Devils, the best movie about supernatural killer Tasmanian Devils ever! Unfortunately, due to the weird flip-flop the aforementioned gender politics thing takes, Tasmanian Devils gets the fun sucked out of it, and manages to finish as just your average SyFy flick. A shame, because there are some really good things about it. If only they had keep this pot on the stove a few minutes longer…

Dancia McKellar’s Alex is a female park ranger who becomes the defacto voice of authority when all the other rangers are slaughtered. Despite that event, in general her ideas are pretty good and her knowledge of Tasmanian devil habits and aboriginal folklore are assets to survival. But some of the basejumpers (mainly Anderson, a character who is used to being in control and having the answers himself) doesn’t listen to her and does things that work against what is best for survival because he thinks his ideas will work. They just end up in tragedy, and Alex begins to look like the golden child of knowing how to survive a horror film. She even saves a male character named Jayne (and a prior scene points out that both characters have names of the opposite genders!) But by the end of the film, Alex has suddenly become weak and helpless, needing Jayne’s protection and ideas to figure out a way to finally kill the last Supertaz. This sudden shift is strange to say the least, and makes me wonder if there wasn’t some script-flipping schenanigans going on.

Tasmanian Devils
Dental plan! Supertaz needs braces!

Alex is afraid of heights because when she was a child, her brother fell out of a high tree they both were in and died. She says in this confession that she feels guilt that she couldn’t save her brother and vowed to not get into a situation like that again. But it takes so many deaths to get to the realization that she is in the situation that is comes too late. She’s been constantly being the one to save people while working against characters doing dumb things. And instead of overcoming the obstacles and finding a way to get her and Jayne out alive, she doesn’t. Jayne, who at this point would be acting as the surrogate brother, figures out what to do to save the day. In addition, besides being a nice guy who thinks Alex knows what she’s talking about, Jayne hasn’t really come up with solutions to prior problems. His sudden inspiration is out of character. A bad conclusion to what would have been more fun.

The characters Walsh and Lisbon are developed more than Jayne. If anything, Walsh was the coolest character in the film, an awesome cop who both really loved Lisbon but also did stupid things occasionally. Their deaths impact the film by sucking much of the charisma out of it, which takes a further hit when Dancia McKellar’s Alex goes all wimpy. I wanted so hard to like Tasmanian Devils, but it made it too difficult. Instead we get a pretty by the numbers SyFy flick, complete with require references to Jurassic Park.

Tasmanian Devils
I’m about to publish my mathmatical theorem on burning your butt!

Tasmanian Devils is also pretty darn gory, which is cool. More blood for the blood god! The Tasmanian blood god! Writer Brook Durham wrote the fun SyFy flicks Showdown at Area 51 and Mammoth, while director Zach Lipovsky is an effects artist who occasionally dabbles in directing, though this looks like his first SyFy feature.

Alex (Danica McKellar) – American working for the Tasmanian Parks Service because she researches aboriginal mythology and Tasmanian devil biology. Don’t tell her the Tasmanian devils are like the cartoon! She is afraid of heights.
Jayne (Kenneth Mitchell) – A man who was afraid of heights and became a basejumper to get over his fear. Usually listens to others.
Anderson (Mike Dopud) – The man with the plan, helicopter pilot and extreme planner. But his plans are too extreme at times, resulting in some characters dying.
Walsh (Terry Chen) – NYPD officer and extreme sports enthusiest. Base jumping is his religion, the most important part of him. Is the coolest character in the movie, so you know he dies. BOOOOO!!! You might know Terry Chen from Snakes on a Plane and Battlestar Galactica.
Lisbon (Rekha Sharma) – Walsh’s fiance and a ER doctor. Walsh asked her out on a date when he came into the ER with multiple gunshot wounds. Is also a pretty cool character, so you know she dies. BOOOOO!!! Rekha Sharma is best known for her role on Battlestar Galactica.
Simon (Roger Cross) – Basejumper who trusts Anderson, but is unable to properly kick.
Supertazes (CGI) – 6 super Tasmanian devils are unleashed on our characters thanks to some idiot who fell into a hole. Good job, hole guy! When a supertaz is coming, get out of the way! A supertaz will get bigger when it eats the fallen body of a fellow supertaz.
Tasmanian Devils
The best ET shot ever.

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