Dr. Horrible started out as an online comedy/musical mini-series written and directed by Joss Whedon, famed creator of Buffy the Vampire Slayer and Firefly. He funded it with his own money, and released in three parts over a single week.
The results were astounding.
The amount of people who purchased it after it aired was staggering, and the response was so positive that Whedon was not only able to pay his actors and team (who all volunteered for the job without any promise of payment), but also make a considerable profit.
If that’s not proof enough that Dr. Horrible’s Sing-Along Blog is something you should watch, then let me convince you further.
I’ve seen this movie more times than I can count, and listened to the entire soundtrack more times than I care to admit. I sing along to every song, quote nearly every line, and laugh like a fool no matter what. I know I’ve said numerous times how much of a genius Joss Whedon and his team is, but I have to say it again. They’re all geniuses.
Following the exploits of wanna-be supervillian Dr. Horrible (who has a Ph.D in Horribleness), this comedy, drama, musical cross-over is clever, funny, touching, and very, very (did I say very?) entertaining.
Neil Patrick Harris is brilliant in the lead role, and he brings the perfect balance of relatable protagonist with a dark side and villainous villain with a light side; which is no easy feat.
You buy into his story from the get-go, and not only can Harris sing with the best of them, his acting chops really shine in the way he portrays this conflicted character.
Part of this is due to Joss and Jed Whedon’s amazing writing, but also because Harris is just a really good actor, and it’s refreshing to see him in something other than How I Met Your Mother.
In fact, the whole cast performs extraordinarily well. Nathan Fillion is unsurprisingly great as the villain of the piece (which is ironic because he’s actually a superhero) Captain Hammer. His character is charming, witty, a little brick-headed, and a fitting yang to Dr. Horrible’s yin. Or would that be the other way around?
The chemistry between Harris, Fillion, and the oh, so cute Felicia Day is palatable, and adds that extra bit of greatness to an already great story. There is something her for everyone to enjoy, although I’m sure some people may find it a little to quirky or odd.
Dr. Horrible’s Sing-Along Blog is something truly special. Running at the length of an average hour-long TV drama, the pace moves at a nearly breakneck speed, but somehow manages to remain consistent in its story presentation and character development without ever feeling rushed or cramped.
There’s about twenty minutes of singing and twenty minutes of normal conversation here, and the balance and transition between them is incredible.
The flow from song to dialogue back to song again is seamless and natural, and makes you think that Whedon has more experience in the musical genre than he really does.
To this day I am surprised by how touching, real, and original the story is. The characters develop so naturally, so human-like that you almost forget you’re watching a scripted movie. In just forty-five minutes you’ll see these characters evolve in to many ways to count. Love is formed and broken, friendships built up and then broken down, and a man’s morality change exponentially.
It’s an experience you have to witness to truly appreciate. I friend of mine, upon her first viewing of it, called it “an unexpectedly pleasant shower of oddness that makes you happy”, and I couldn’t have summed it up better myself.
Dr. Horrible’s Sing-Along Blog is a one-of-a-kind, quirky, charming, heartfelt, and ingenious story that, while never taking itself to seriously, succeeds at being both funny and deep. There’s lots of imagery and symbolism to see if you look for it, but it also succeeds in giving the superhero/sci-fi genre a welcome breath of fresh air.
If you’ve been holding out on seeing this, then you need to stop. You can buy the DVD or Blu-ray for around ten bucks, or, if my information is correct, you can stream it from Netflix. There’s nothing to stop you from seeing this little gem of a film.
And if you’re one of those many people who have seen it, well then good for you. Now go watch it again.