Neil Patrick Harris stars in “Dr. Horrible’s Sing-Along Blog,” a tongue-in-cheek, superhero/villain, writer’s-strike-born, musical comedy, originally released in three (roughly) 15-minute acts on the internet in 2008. Created by Joss Whedon of “Buffy the Vampire Slayer” and “Firefly” fame, this movie shows Dr. Horrible’s (Harris) efforts to earn a coveted place among the Evil League of Evil, win the affections of girl-next-door Penny (Felicia Day), and defeat his nemesis, Captain Hammer (Nathan Fillion).
First, the music: the actors each display a surprisingly good voice talent in this movie whose plot is largely driven by song. The songs are well written, funny, and delivered to great comedic and/or dramatic effect to advance the plot in a way that dialog alone could not have achieved so well. Of special enjoyment were “My Freeze Ray,” “Brand New Day,” and “Everything You Ever.”
The acting: Harris and Fillion especially display a great sense of comedic timing in the delivery of their lines and songs, and their physical acting and body language really contribute to the fun of this movie. Felicia Day also puts in a good performance as Penny, and her interaction with Horrible’s bumbling alter-ego “Billy” is both sweet and funny. But it is mostly in the interaction between struggling villain Dr. Horrible and over-the-top “good guy” Captain Hammer that the comedic glory of this movie shines.
The production: Hey, this is a low-budget film. Still, it looks great for what it is, and the props and locations are used to good effect. (Trivia fact: according to IMDB, several props from “Firefly” are used in this film.) The movie is 45 minutes, so is shorter than most feature films; I wanted more! However, the editing is concise and effective; there is no filler dialog or useless shots. The story moves along in a flowing current up to the climactic showdown between Dr. Horrible and Captain Hammer.
Watch this film, not looking for something deep and insightful, but as a fun satire on heroes and villains super; you might find something deeper all the same. When I watch this, I am moved to think of the emptiness of blind ambition, achievement of one’s goals at the price of that which is more important in life. After I catch my breath from laughter, that is.