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Warner Home Video presents
Challenge of the Super Friends: Attack of the Legion of Doom (1978)

"Sorry to spoil your plans princess, but we've got better things to do than stand around like stiffs."
- Superman

Review By: Dan Heaton   
Published: April 13, 2003

Stars: Superman, Batman, Wonder Woman, Robin, Aquaman, Green Lantern
Other Stars: Lex Luthor, Giganta, Bizarro, The Riddler, Black Manta, Grodd
Director: Ray Patterson, Carl Urbano

Manufacturer: Wamo
MPAA Rating: Not Rated for (suitable for all audiences)
Run Time: 1h:27m:18s
Release Date: April 22, 2003
UPC: 085392348527
Genre: animation


Style
Grade
Substance
Grade
Image Transfer
Grade
Audio Transfer
Grade
Extras
Grade
B BBB- C

DVD Review

"Banded together from remote galaxies are thirteen of the most sinister villains of all time—The Legion of Doom, dedicated to a single objective: the conquest of the universe. Only one group dares to challenge this intergalactic threat—The Superfriends! The Justice League of America vs. The Legion of Doom. This is the Challenge of the Superfriends!"

Armed with superpowers and an array of bad puns, the Superfriends fight for justice and oppose the goofy villains who aim to conquer the world. However, in their second television season, the threat of The Legion of Doom will place the Superfriends in intense peril nearly every week. Lead by the evil genius Lex Luthor, the odd collection of 13 super villains each have their own devious attributes. Bizarro and Solomon Grundie are slow to speak, but both exude considerable strength. Gorilla Grodd may look like an animal, but he actually utilizes considerable intelligence. The Toyman may love to play with toys, but his gadgets can also be deadly. Can the Superfriends survive against such a diabolical group?

Our animated heroes are mostly stiff, dull characters who constantly chime on about justice and stopping evil. The worst one is Superman, who spouts clichéd statements about good and following the law. Batman and Robin still are able to state some cornball "Holy Houdini"-type statements, which I guess is not a bad thing. This group also contains the usual suspects like Aquaman, The Green Lantern, and Wonder Woman along with lesser-known heroes like Apache Chief and the Samurai. This release contains four episodes from their second season, which occurred in 1978. The target audience is definitely kids, but there are some moments to enjoy for young adults willing to have some fun watching the cartoons of their childhood.

Wanted: Ten Super Friends
"It's time for all of us to go to the Hall of Justice and turn it into the Hall of Injustice." - Braniac

Lex Luthor has created a dream machine that invades the brains of the Superfriends while they're asleep and causes them to commit nefarious crimes. For example, Superman steals gold from Fort Knox, while Batman and Robin steal from the U.S. Mint. Once our heroes are out of the way, the Legion of Doom can institute its true plan, which is to turn the entire world into Bizarros and Cheetahs. I'm not sure I understand the validity of this action, but it does make for a strange episode. This entry is probably the least interesting of the four episodes.

Invasion of the Fearians
"Have I joined the Legion of Doom or the Legion of Fools?" - Gorilla Grodd

Frustrated over their inability to stop the Superfriends, the Legion of Doom makes a deal with a strange alien race called the Fearians, who hail from Venus. First of all, they must make the world hospitable for the invading aliens. Like usual, our heroes play right into the hands of the devious villains, and everything seems to be working. As always, however, the Superfriends find a way to save the world once again. While slightly better than its predecessor and earning a few points for an odd plot, this is still only a mediocre episode.

The World's Deadliest Game
"How could an entire planet just disappear?" - Hawkman

After two fairly straightforward episodes, this entry's over-the-top silliness is very refreshing. The Superfriends are shipped all over the galaxy by their enemies in an effort to destroy them once and for all. A cloaking device over the Earth confuses Wonder Woman, Hawkman, and Black Vulcan into traveling to a planet controlled by the Toyman. While there, they must battle a real-life pinball machine and a giant mechanical baby in a large dollhouse. Enjoyable and totally silly, this episode displays plenty of creativity. The remaining Superfriends also encounter an odd race of Amazon women who try to petrify them. A fun, classic story.

The Time Trap
"Holy time traveler Batman! We're in Ancient Rome!" - Robin

Time travel may have its paradoxes, but it can be utilized wonderfully on a series with virtually no boundaries of reality. The Gorilla Grodd has somehow created a device that allows the Legion of Doom to travel back in time. Instead of just going back and killing the Superfriends at their most vulnerable times, they decide instead to steal wealth from key moments in history. The villains also plan to leave our heroes stranded in different time periods with no escape possible. Aquaman and the Apache Chief end up in prehistoric times, with Batman and Robin stuck in Ancient Rome. Probably the funniest moment of this entire release also occurs when Green Lantern has a jousting match with Sinestro. As equally good as its predecessor, this entry also helps to make up for the first two less-than-stellar tales.

Rating for Style: B
Rating for Substance: B

 

Image Transfer

 One
Aspect Ratio1.33:1 - Full Frame
Original Aspect Ratioyes
Anamorphicno


Image Transfer Review: Super Friends: Attack of the Legion of Doon appears in its original full-frame transfer and offers few notable defects. The animation is clear and has not suffered much from its significant age. There is nothing overwhelming taking place with the visuals, but this transfer keeps everything easy-to-follow. Nothing more is required for this type of release.

Image Transfer Grade: B

 

Audio Transfer

 LanguageRemote Access
MonoEnglish, Frenchyes


Audio Transfer Review: This release offers its original mono transfer, which has been cleaned up to present a clear and effective sound. The audio is obviously very centralized and has little power, but it corresponds well with my expectations. The dialogue is clear and easily understandable, and there are no major problems given the age and technological limitations of the material.

Audio Transfer Grade: B-

 

Disc Extras

Static menu
Subtitles/Captions in English, French, Spanish with remote access
Packaging: Snapper
Picture Disc
1 Disc
1-Sided disc(s)
Layers: dual

Extra Extras:
  1. Episode Introductions from story editor Jeffrey Scott
  2. Hall of Doom (with videos)
  3. Super Friend or Super Foe? Game
Extras Review: While not filled with extra features, Super Friends: Attack of the Legion of Doom does offer several fun inclusions. The most extensive one is the Hall of Doom, which contains entries for each of the 13 supervillains. Each section contains a brief audio introduction of the villain along with some pertinent information. In addition, a 30-second video showcases some of the enemy's finer moments. Perfectly aligned with the spirit of the series, the Hall of Doom is a nice collection of enjoyable material.

Each episode also contains brief introductions from story editor Jeffrey Scott, who quickly discusses specific elements of the series. While these clips are usually more general and don't really introduce the episode, they do give us a little insight into its creation. Scott seems to have tremendous enthusiasm for the series and must have really enjoyed working on it.

The remaining supplement is a quick game that isn't very exciting and was a bit confusing. Titled "Super Friend or Super Foe?", the idea is to pick the heroes disguised as villains from a picture of the Legion of Doom. The people hidden is a random process, and there seems to be no way to really tell who doesn't belong.

Extras Grade: C

 

Final Comments

I miss Saturday morning cartoons. Growing up as a young kid in the early 1980s, one of the staple shows each week was The Superfriends. Bringing so many classic villains in contact with a large group of heroes was a stroke of genius. Even while the show suffered from some bad writing and so-so animation, it still provided a good deal of fun for a young kid. Super Friends: Attack of the Legion of Doom may seem dated when compared to today's high-tech animation, but it does offer some nostalgic value that makes it a worthwhile release.

 


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