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E.C. McMullen Jr.
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(MICHAEL MADSEN & JOHN SAVAGE).
I'm not a fan of musicals. Horror fans, generally speaking, aren't fans of musicals. And FeoAmante.com usually doesn't review musicals. So what the hell, right? Please, stand by.
DR. HORRIBLE’S-SING ALONG BLOG was created by Joss Whedon (BUFFY THE VAMPIRE SLAYER, ALIEN: RESURRECTION, BUFFY THE VAMPIRE SLAYER [TV], ANGEL [TV], FIREFLY [TV], SERENITY, DOLLHOUSE [TV]) and written by Mr. Whedon, his brother Jed Whedon (DOLLHOUSE [TV]), his other brother Zack Whedon (FRINGE [TV], DEADWOOD [TV]) and Maurissa Tancharoen (DOLLHOUSE [TV]).
This was a three episode (i.e., three act) web series released for free on drhorrible.com. The "free" aspect was very much against the advice of Mr. Whedon's business partners, who wanted him to charge for episodes.
The story begins with Dr. Horrible (Neal Patrick Harris: STARSHIP TROOPERS), aka "Billy", a supervillain who likes to keep a video blog of his career, including his long term attempts to join the ELE (Evil League of Evil), an organization of top supervillians run by Bad Horse, the Thoroughbred of Sin.
Billy is assisted by his sidekick "Moist" (Simon Helberg: The Big Bang Theory [TV]) and plans a major heist to get himself noticed by the league. He's distracted, however, by his unrequited love for a girl named Penny (Felicia Day: DOLLHOUSE [TV]), who he only sees at the Laundromat.
Now in comic book world, Captain Hammer is the good guy and Dr. Horrible is the bad guy, but this story is more complicated. It's a love triangle with multiple levels of anguish and angst, as Penny seems to fall for Captain Hammer just as Billy / Dr. Horrible finally gets up the courage to speak to her.
Penny and Billy represent two sides of the same coin in a way, as they both seek to change society for what they perceive as the better. The difference is Penny is still optimistic about changing hearts and minds while Billy is utterly cynical and has given in to the "totalitarian temptation" (the conclusion that it's easier to force people to do what you know is right, rather than talk them into it). He says, "The world is a mess and I just need to rule it."
I'm not going to do a SCIENCE MOMENT since this is comic book fantasy (although Dr. Horrible's freeze ray – which stops time – is a tempting target) and I'm not going to go into any more detail about the story because I don't want to spoil it for you. What I will say is that the characters are sad and funny, arrogant and awkward and utterly compelling. As a light-hearted comic book musical, I found DR. HORRIBLE’S SING-ALONG BLOG to be a lot deeper than you'd think, and thoroughly entertaining.
But wait, there's more! Now that Dr. Horrible is out on DVD there are some very cool extras I feel compelled to mention. Aside from an awesomely hilarious making-of featurette and commentary, there's also "Commentary! The Musical!" – commentary for the entire three episodes done as a musical within a musical.
The songs are memorable (my favorite is Brand New Day) and the story is twisty and perfect. I give DR. HORRIBLE’S SING-ALONG BLOG a five on the shriek girl scale.
This review copyright 2009 by E.C.McMullen Jr.