Dave’s 3-Word Review:
Amazing and Unique
Joss Whedon is one of my favorite filmmakers, the same goes for many others. That much is unsurprising. Most of us have already seen most of his work, whether it be his hit TV shows Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Angel, Dollhouse, or Firefly; his movies such as The Avengers, Much Ado About Nothing, Cabin in the woods, or Serenity…he is a well-known filmmaker for his unique view on film and humor. One of his creations can almost be called its own genre, but still retains that classic Whedon feel, and that is the musical short film, Dr. Horrible’s Sing-Along Blog.
Neil Patrick Harris stars in this short as Dr. Horrible himself, a wannabe mad scientist who just wants to succeed in something, really be considered evil, to be feared. His application to Bad Horse came back with a “maybe” until he proves his worth, and in order to do that, he may have to kill someone. Among his planning to join Bad Horse, he must battle his feelings towards Penny (Felicia Day) and arch nemesis, Captain Hammer (Nathan Fillion) through song and dance. The main question arises on if he truly wants to be evil, or if the possibility with being in a relationship with Penny could turn his life around.
There’s no question about it, this is a Joss Whedon production. There is enough over-the-top, but serious humor to go around. Those of you who are Buffy fanatics could describe Dr. Horrible’s character as a blend between the characters Spike and Xander. Spike, for his never-ending strive to be evil, and want to be seen as evil, and Xander for his nerdiness, yet innocent and loveable vibe. Obviously, this had nothing to do with Buffy, but it’s sometimes cool to see how Whedon still writes similar, but different material.
The themes in this short film are actually quite interesting and intelligent. This is another form of flipping gender-roles, or a switch in what we see on a stereotypical basis. We have an evil genius, but we love him as much as say, we’d love the hero. On the other side of the spectrum, we have a hero who we hate, because he’s an absolutely inconsiderate jerk. When movies do this, it allows the audience to view the production from a separate perspective than we’re used to, which is always welcome.
The singing, I should mention, is different than your typical musical. Joss Whedon is a very special guy when it comes to musicals, he proved this in the musical episode of Buffy the Vampire Slayer. He takes the idea of your typical musical and molds it into his own thing. At some points, he’ll make fun of how stupid musicals can be, at others, he’ll really write something that will dig deep into your brain and nest in it for weeks. If one isn’t familiar with “Whedonisms”, then this musical may not be for you, at least not until you understand how the man operates, especially when it comes to his sense of humor. Once you understand that…this is one of the funniest things you’ll ever watch.
Neil Patrick Harris is an unbelievably great actor, and fits so well into a Joss Whedon production as if he has been doing it for years. Felicia Day, Nathan Fillion, and some others were already in the Whedon universe before this project began, and because Whedon reuses most of his cast, that was understandable. Why Harris hasn’t been involved in any Whedon project since Dr. Horrible’s Sing-Along Blog is honestly beyond me. All I have to say is that after The Avengers 2, I can’t wait to watch the announced and long-awaited sequel to Dr. Horrible.