Review by Elliott
Dr. Horrible – A lot of guys ignore the laugh and that’s about standards. I mean, if you’re gonna get into the Evil League of Evil, you have to have a memorable laugh. What, do you think Bad Horse didn’t work on his whinny? His terrible death-whinny?
So I’m sort of cheating this week, since this technically is not a movie, but that’s ok. Dr. Horrible’s Sing-Along Blog (DHSAB) was created as a short online video series during the writers strike of 2008. I heard about it a long time ago, but never looked into it until about 2 months ago, while writing my review of Stardust. In fact I was about half way through Stardust, when I found the it on Youtube. Needless to say it was 45 min later before I started watching Stardust again.
DHSAB was created by Joss Whedon (Avengers, Buffy, Firefly) and his brothers Zack and Jed. It’s part musical, part comedy, and all awesome! It was released online as three 14 minute episodes. The Whedon brothers goal was to create an inexpensive but high quality show in a way that would circumvent the issues that were being protested during the strike. The strike is long over, but you can still watch it online for free. Here’s a link to it on Youtube: DHSAB.
- Neil Patrick Harris as Billy (Dr. Horrible)
- Nathan Fillion as Captain Hammer
- Felicia Day as Penny
- Simon Helberg as Moist
- Dr. Horrible’s Stun Ray, which he later turns into a Death Ray, is the stun gun carried by Alliance troopers in Firefly (2002), held upside-down.
- “Dr. Horrible’s Sing-Along Blog” garnered the first-ever Emmy win for Joss Whedon, despite both his long and critically acclaimed career as a writer, director, and producer of many television shows and the fact that it did not actually air on television.
- The DVD commentary consists of a second musical score, in which the cast and crew sing their comments about the on-screen action.
- Dr. Horrible’s lab coat is the same coat that Simon Tam uses to disguise himself as a doctor in Firefly: Ariel (2002). Neil Patrick Harris unsuccessfully auditioned for the role of Simon Tam.
Plot (by Ted Z).
Dr. Horrible, an aspiring supervillain with his own video blog, is attempting to join the prestigious Evil League of Evil (led by the legendary “thoroughbred of sin”, Bad Horse), but his plans are usually foiled by the egotistical superhero Captain Hammer. Horrible’s life is thrown for a loop when he falls in love with Penny, a beautiful and optimistic advocate for the homeless he meets at the laundromat, a situation which complicates itself even further when Penny begins dating the boorish, oafish Hammer after he apparently saves her life. Faced with the task of impressing the League, can Horrible overcome his own incompetence to ruin the day, kill the hero, and still get the girl?
For this section lets look at each of the main characters.
Captain Hammer -As the “superhero” he represents what should be good and honorable but instead is self-absorbed, arrogant, and in the end self-destructive. At the end of the story it is his pride that kills Penny. It’s somewhat ironic that the “good” guy is actually the bad guy. He really wasn’t all that different than Jewish leadership at the time of Christ. In Matt. 23:27 Jesus says, “Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you are like whitewashed tombs, which outwardly appear beautiful, but within are full of dead people’s bones and all uncleanness.” Non of us are perfect, so when we do mess up or realize our wrong we need to repent and change. The issues is if we live like a hypocrite. No one likes a hypocrite, especially God.
Penny – She is the truly good character of the story. She cares for those who are homeless or in need and works to help them. In her song she explains to Dr. Horrible that growing up she was lost and lonely. However she used those negative things to grow. First they grew into pity for those worse off and then transformed into hope. Instead of focusing on her problems, she put her energy into others and as a result her problems went away. The bible talks a lot about helping others, but some passages that come to mind are:
1 John 3:17 But if anyone has the world’s goods and sees his brother in need, yet closes his heart against him, how does God’s love abide in him?
1 John 4:19-20 We love because he first loved us. If anyone says, “I love God,” and hates his brother, he is a liar; for he who does not love his brother whom he has seen cannot love God whom he has not seen. And this commandment we have from him: whoever loves God must also love his brother.
Dr. Horrible – Of course he’s the bad guy, he has an evil laugh and is always trying to pull off heinous crimes. In all reality though he really isn’t very good at being a villain. Most of his evil plots are foiled by Captain Hammer. Despite acting evil, he definitely has some soft spots and keeps you wondering the entire time whether he really is the evil person that he claims. More often than not, we see the grime outlook that he has on the world, which is contrasted with Penny in a duet they sing. My own speculation is that if he could have been with Penny, then he might very well have given up the life of villainy. But unfortunately his sole source of hope is Penny, so when she begins dating Captain Hammer his hope begins to disappear. After her death, his hope disappears completely. All he has is his life of crime. In the end he gets everything he wanted infamy, wealth, and power, but as the story closes you get the impression that all of that didn’t bring him the happiness he expected. This brings to mind a verse in Mark 8:36: For what does it profit a man to gain the whole world and forfeit his soul?
I’m sure I’ve already made my opinion pretty clear already, but if not, I love Dr. Horrible’s Sing-along Blog. The actors are brilliant, both in their singing and in playing their characters. I particularly like Neil Patrick Harris as Dr. Horrible, he is a very convincing super villain. The best part of the entire show is easily the writing. The dialogue is witty and funny, yet deep and meaningful. I think I’ve watched the entire thing around half a dozen times and each time, I notice something different or new or gain a better understanding of some of the underling points. Despite being inexpensively made, the result was just what they hoped and will be highly regarded for a long time. Thanks for reading my blog about a blog.