Dr. Horrible’s Sing-Along-Blog [retro review]

“It’s curtains for you, Dr. Horrible. Lacy, gently wafting curtains.”

The Scoop: 2008 NR, directed by Joss Whedon and starring Neil Patrick Harris, Nathan Fillion and Felicia Day

Tagline: No tagline.

Summary Capsule: Billy really, really wants to be evil and win the girl. But the superhero is standing in his way.

Lissa’s Rating: Oh yeah – SPOILERS.

Lissa’s Review: Okay. Let’s get something straight before we begin this.

1.) Joss Whedon is not God. He’s awesome, but not everything he puts out is the pinnacle of perfection. Want to argue with me? I’ll point you to The Train Job.

2.) Joss Whedon is not a standup comedian. He tends to write drama that’s heavy on the humor, but he’s not really all about making you laugh. This guy delights in torturing his characters, all right? Want to argue with me? Here’s Wash – go for it.

See, I feel like I have to address these two preconceptions because I’ve seen so much whining about the end of Dr. Horrible, and I’ve been wondering if these people really expected hugs and puppies at the end. I mean, it’s Joss Whedon. The only writers I know that are meaner to their characters are the Battlestar Galactica crowd. And maybe me and Sue. I will agree that maybe he needs to get a new method of killing people (the impalement thing is really getting old), but anyone expecting happy endings from something even as silly as Dr. Horrible’s Sing-Along Blog needs to read back up on their Jossage.

Dr. Horrible’s Sing-Along Blog is a writer’s strike baby, and far more interesting than dumb and skeevy reality TV shows like Moment of Truth. It’s a 44 minute web musical, done on a low budget. It’s the blog of Dr. Horrible (um, as you probably guessed by the name, and played by Neil Patrick Harris), a wannabe villain who has a mild-mannered alter ego named Billy. Billy is madly in love with Penny (Felicia Day), whom he does laundry with. And Dr. Horrible has an arch-nemesis Captain Hammer (Nathan Fillion), who has the best entrance EVER. Billy/Dr. Horrible desperately wants to get into the League of Evil and win the girl, but of course, Captain Hammer is constantly standing in the way.

In typical Whedon form, Dr. Horrible/Billy is the “hero” of the piece, and Captain Hammer is the villain. Considering how many fangirls Spike has, it really isn’t a huge shock that Joss Whedon pulls this off. It also helps that Neil Patrick Harris plays Billy perfectly, with great vulnerability, and Nathan Fillion obviously had the time of his life smarming up Captain Hammer. I actually wanted Dr. Horrible to win out in the end, although I must confess he really didn’t come across as all that specifically evil. No taking over the world, no wiping out millions, no drinking blood or other bodily fluids. Oh well.

Like “Once More, With Feeling”, the music is incredibly catchy and addictive. Personally, I’m a big fan of “Brand New Day” myself, and “A Man’s Gotta Do What a Man’s Gotta Do” or whatever it’s called. (Seriously – that entrance just cracked me up. My sides hurt I was laughing so hard.) And Captain Hammer’s big homeless song. I’m definitely getting the soundtrack.

As I’ve kind of mentioned already, however, the ending is depressing. And people aren’t liking that, because you don’t expect something called “Dr. Horrible’s Sing-Along Blog” to end depressingly. There’s also been some talk of it being sexist, which I don’t agree with at all. But I will say I find it a bit ironic that this is a product of the writer’s strike, and the message is about wanting to control everything and killing off the one thing you love. Subtle, Joss. Very subtle.

I’d suggest downloading Dr. Horrible’s Sing-Along Blog from iTunes, but I have to admit, I’m waiting for the DVD. Why? I’ll tell you why. The commentary is a musical, that’s why. And that is, undeniably, totally cool.

The Academy Awards would be much more fun if this was actually a scene from that.

Didja Notice?

  • I’ll be honest – I didn’t notice much of the inside stuff. And since I haven’t downloaded it from iTunes, I still haven’t. But I’m sure there’s stuff there.

Intermission!

  • Neither Neil Patrick Harris nor Nathan Fillion let Joss Whedon make it through his pitch when they called – they were both in from the get go.
  • Apparently, Joss’s given name is Joe, which certainly fits more in line with his brothers’ names (various Whedons are in the video). He changed it to Joss, which is Chinese for luck.

Groovy Quotes:

Dr. Horrible: I hear ya. I saw Penny today.
Moist: You talk to her?
Dr. Horrible: So close. I’m just a few weeks away from a real, audible, connection. I’m… I’m gonna ask… Oh my god! Bad Horse Singers: He rides across the nation, the thoroughbred of sin / He got the application that you just sent in / It needs evaluation, so let the games begin / A heinous crime, a show of force, / (A murder would be nice of course)

Captain Hammer: It’s curtains for you Dr. Horrible. Lacy, gently wafting curtains.

Dr. Horrible: I say successful in that I achieved my objective. It was less successful in that I inadvertantly introduced my arch-nemesis to the girl of my dreams, and now he’s taking her out on dates, and they’re probably going to french kiss or something.

Dr. Horrible: RIGHT. Freeze-Ray. SO as of tonight I am in the Evil League of Evil if all goes according to plan; which it WILL because I hold a P.H.D. in Horribleness. See you at the aftermath. PEACE! …But not literally…

Dr. Horrible: I wanna do great things, you know? I wanna be an achiever. Like Bad Horse…
Penny: The thouroghbred of sin?
Dr. Horrible: I meant Ghandi.

Captain Hammer: This is so nice / I just might sleep with the same girl twice / They say it’s better the second time / They say you get to do the weird stuff.
Fans: We do the weird stuff.

If You Liked This Movie, Try These:

  • Serenity
  • Buffy the Vampire Slayer
  • Angel
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5 Comments

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