All-Star Superman and a Tribute to Dwayne McDuffie

This is dedicated to Dwayne McDuffie who died on Monday February 21st 2011 due to complications following heart surgery that evening, he was 49.

All-Star Superman is a series (made into two graphic-novel volumes) that is loved by many and DC added it to its animated universe (or rather multi-verse). This is a standalone movie and not part of the main DCAU (DC Animated Universe), also known as the Timmverse.

I had the pleasure of attending the World Premiere in New York at the Paley Center on February 14, 2011, which was attended by the late Dwayne McDuffie, Andrea Romano, and Christina Hendricks.

Now this movie is different than the graphic novel, it is much shorter and cuts things out and changes other things. Dwayne said that was done due to time constraints and other small issues. But even with these the film sometimes feels rushed at parts. You can feel this even if you have not read the graphic novel, but you would not feel you are missing major parts of the story, if this was your first All-Star Superman experience.

All-Star Superman is a saga and something that can be hard to put into 76 minutes and Dwayne did an admirable job.

Now anyone can write a review (which I will give) but I would rather talk about yet experience of this event. Those in attendance got to do more than just watch the movie they were treated to a cast discussion and a voice direction session from Andrea Romano herself. This was a wonderful and unique experience. I grew up listening to the actors that she directed and I still do. Whenever I see her as the voice director I know there will always be a great vocal performance. They talked about the process, and the emotions that were put into their performances as well as a fun story about Anthony LaPaglia and how from a drawing done at the session, he knew actually how to portray a scene of him as Lex Luthor. The best came after this talk when Andrea wanted us to act for her.

The audience and I got to participate in a really fun walla session. Andrea Romano told us how she hardly ever gets to work with such a big cast for the walla and how she usually has the same few people do walla again and again until she makes it sound there are as many people as she needs.

She asked us to reenact the prison scene that we had just seen and it was fun. She asked us to act as if we were attacking, receiving a hit, and if we were bring gassed by tear gas. We did each one as a group and then we did or combined as sections, each part of the center doing a different piece, and it sounded like the prison riot of the movie. Andrea is a truly gifted director.

It is really to fun to do learn the process that Andrea uses and it was a great honor to perform for her.

The Paley Center actually put up this session on their website and you can see me giving a full throw of a punch on the right side of the screen at 4:10/4:11.

Dwayne McDuffie RIP February 20, 1962 – February 21, 2011

For the readers I was waiting till they put this up, so people could watch this and see and hear the late great Dwayne McDuffie and the amazing Andrea Romano.

As for the movie, a movie like this is something that you would most likely enjoy more if you had not read the series before coming in.

All-Star Superman would have be done like “The Dark Knight” a much longer movie, with a lot more development. As the movie is now it takes most of the second part of the series and focuses on that.

Now while it does feel a little rushed like I said, you would not feel that so much was cut, unless of course you had read the series. If you go back to the source after watching the movie you could basically read the second graphic novel, and feel as if you have not missed much.

All this said, this is a pretty enjoyable movie, which was more enhanced by the experience. The ending perhaps was the biggest surprise and having read the series I had to think about the endings. The ending of the movie is quite different than the novel. It is something that makes you think about how much people can change and how much Superman can have an influence on anyone, even Lex Luthor. Without spoiling it Luthor finally understands how important Superman is to the world, and that the world (and as we know more) needs Superman.

This movie makes you want to go back to the source, and read what makes All-Star Superman great, and what inspired Dwayne to adapt this into its movie form. The movie is enjoyable, but not as great as the series. This said though, Dwayne took on the task of adapting All-Star Superman, an ending of Superman. Superman who for years has created great works and inspired millions, which is exactly what Dwayne has done.

Dwayne has added to the continuities of Marvel and even more so with DC with his characters like Static Shock and worked to create and did create a multi-cultural sensibility that did not exist in comics, he made it possible for all ethnicities and genders of all backgrounds and sexual-orientations to fight the fight for good and inspire everyone, just like Superman. To me Dwayne was a Superman in his inspiration of people through the works he had done, and he should be and will be remembered as a Superman.

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