Next Avengers: Heroes of Tomorrow (Blu-ray)
Directed by Jay Oliva
Aspect Ratio: 1.78:11080pAVC codec
Running Time: 78 minutes
Audio: DTS-HD Master Audio 7.1 English; Dolby Digital 5.1 Spanish
Subtitles: English, Spanish
MSRP: $ 29.99
Release Date: September 2, 2008
Review Date: September 1, 2008
The Marvel Comics world now expands to take in the children of some of their greatest superheroes in Next Avengers: Heroes of Tomorrow. This made-for-video film gives younger viewers and fans of the Marvel world exactly what they want: young teen replicas of some of their favorites, only with their own personalities, strengths, and weaknesses. There isn’t a great deal of originality to this first effort, but fans are sure to find it entertaining.
After the destruction of the Avengers and the takeover of Earth by Ultron (Tom Kane), four children of the various Avengers are taken by Tony Stark (also voiced by Tom Kane) to a place of safety where they have lived in anonymity for twelve years. Now, as young teens, the fledgling superheroes long to engage in combat to regain Earth from Ultron. Captain America’s son James (Noah Crawford), Wasp’s son Pym (Aidan Drummond), Thor’s daughter Torunn (Brenna O’Brien), and Black Panther’s son Azari (Dempsey Pappion) are all eager to go to war despite Tony's trying to rein them in, but they know they’re going to need help in the form of the elderly but still living Hulk (Fred Tatasciore) if they are to have any chance of success. The problem, of course, is riling up Bruce enough to become the Hulk, and that’s a dangerous mission all on its own. Along the way, the son of Hawkeye (Adrian Petrio) who’s heading up the scavengers left on Earth joins their ranks, and he seems to have an eye for Torunn as well.
The look of the Marvel comics creations is well captured in this film though the animation can’t compare to 2-D animation efforts by Disney and others since this appears to have a much smaller budget. The screenplay by Christopher Yost is filled with the brio of youth, the putdowns and snide remarks typical of young teens, and the continuous confrontations as these young people try to find their way toward assuming the heroic mantles of their parents. There isn’t much originality to be found in the battle segments which follow a very predictable path toward eventual success, but youngsters will find no problems at all with the story (except maybe that at 78 minutes which includes about 4 minutes of credits it isn‘t long enough to satisfy them in a first viewing). All of the voice work is believable and well done either by children or by adults.
The 1.78:1 aspect ratio of the feature is presented in 1080p using the AVC codec. The colors are rich and well saturated, so when slight banding occurs in some of the purple-tinted backgrounds, it’s something of a disappointment. Otherwise, though, the lines are solid, and black levels are first rate. The film has been divided into 16 chapters.
The DTS-HD Master Audio 7.1 audio mix is very active with continual use of the surrounds for music and the many explosions, crunching destruction, and fly-bys that occur during the feature. The back surround channels aren’t exploited quite enough to warrant having them, and there are opportunities for some effective pans which aren’t taken advantage of. On the other hand, there is a touch of directionialzed dialog that’s impressive, and there is some effective use of the subwoofer during the movie, too.
All of the featurettes on the disc are presented in 1080i except for the previews which are in 1080p.
“Legacy: The Making of Next Avengers: Heroes of Tomorrow” spends 10 ¾ minutes with the heads of production describing their motivation to make this movie, the fifth Marvel animated feature. Discussed during the featurette are the development of the characters, the look for the movie, and the weapons designed for the characters to have at their disposal.
“Kid Power: Next Gen Marvel” is a 9 ½-minute featurette describing the motivation of the powers that be at Marvel behind having a series of youthful heroes in the Marvel family.
There are 2 First Looks at upcoming Marvel animated features: Hulk Vs. Wolverine which runs 3 ¾ minutes and Hulk Vs. Thor which runs 3 ¼ minutes. In each, the producers behind the films discuss why they wanted to make these movies.
The disc offers 1080p previews of Ultimate Avengers 2, The Invincible Iron Man, The Forbidden Kingdom, Doctor Strange, Hulk Vs. Wolverine, and Hulk Vs. Thor.
For kids of all ages who are fans of the Marvel world of superheroes and their offspring, Next Avengers: Heroes of Tomorrow will be much anticipated. The Blu-ray disc presents the animated film with an excellent picture and a superb sound mix.