Dr. Horrible’s Sing-Along Blog Review
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“A Ph.D. in horribleness.” That’s what Neil Patrick Harris’s Dr. Horrible (a.k.a. Billy) says he’s got, and he’s out to prove to Bad Horse, the head of the Evil League of Evil, that he really has those chops. So he’s required to carry out a heist, followed by a murder, to prove his worth. And Horrible’s invented a secret weapon: a Freeze Ray that stops time, sharing his plans on his video blog (a mistake, it turns out—apparently secret plans don’t stay secret on the web). Like all super villains, though, he’s got a weakness: his deep, very un-horrible puppy-crush on Penny (Felicia Day), the pretty girl at his local laundromat.

Dr. Horrible’s Sing-Along Blog is a three-act, 42-minute film released directly to the Internet in 2008, from the scrumptiously offbeat mind of Joss Whedon, creator of this year’s record-breaking movie blockbuster, The Avengers, and the iconic cult TV series Firefly. The question in his mind was simple: Can we make a super villain musical? And he went over the top with it. It’s a campy, gut-busting romp of a parody of ‘50s film noir and comic superheroes. And, true to the title, it has terrific sing-along-songs. (I’m singing, “Bad Horse, Bad Horse! The Thoroughbred of Sin!” as I type this. And no, I did not make that up.)

  
 
The film stars Neil Patrick Harris as Dr. Horrible. His archnemesis is the smarmy, self-worshiping Captain Hammer (Nathan Fillion), who’s about to pull Penny out of Billy/Horrible’s reach as well—just because he can. Will Dr. Horrible carry out his fiendish plans and join the Evil League of Evil? Will Captain Hammer hammer him and steal Penny? Will the Freeze Ray become a Death Ray?

Harris’s acting is hysterically nuanced, and his vocals are perfect. Fillion, known lovingly as Captain Tightpants to his Firefly fans, plays the dashing Captain Hammer with relish—and with gobs of extra Velveeta on top. And Felicia Day hits just the right notes as the endearing, freckle-faced, good-hearted Penny, completing this comic-book love triangle.

The first time I saw Dr. Horrible, I laughed non-stop through the first two acts. The third act involves a dark, unexpected—and, at the time, unwelcome—plot twist. Still, I was able to get over that really quickly, and, since then, I’ve watched it over and over and over and…well, you get the picture. I guess I’ve always had a secret thing for singing dork super villain wanna-bes.


DVD Review:
There are over 90 minutes of fantastic extras on the Dr. Horrible’s Sing-Along Blog DVD—so, by all means, rent it. Commentary! The Musical is a second musical that runs as a voiceover while the original film is playing—and it has nothing to do with the film itself (of course!). Instead, it’s a compilation of songs performed by individual members of the cast and crew about their pet peeves. My favorites: “Nobody’s Asian in the Movies” (by an Asian cast member, about Asian movie typecasting;) and Nathan Fillion’s song, “Better than Neil,” in which he sings about all the ways he’s superior to Neil Patrick Harris. There actually is a real commentary, too, as well as a making-of feature, and a segment called Evil League of Evil Application Videos, which makes Bad Horse seem oh-so-conventional as a diabolical world leader.

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