May 15, 2011

Blogging about Dr. Horrible's Sing-Along Blog, starring Neil Patrick Harris, by Joss Whedon [review by starlight]

"And by the way it's not about making money, it's about taking money. Destroying the status quo because the status is not quo. The world is a mess and I just need to rule it."
Dr. Horrible is just another of those nerdy cult things that requires a few watches to really fall in love with, which in my opinion makes a great piece of "film". Of course, Dr. Horrible is difficult to classify as either movie or tv series because it is too long to be a short flim, too short to be a movie, and there's only one episode. So maybe it's a single-episode TV show? Anyways, if you like either Joss Whedon or Neil Patrick Harris, there's really no downside to taking about 40 minutes out of your life to enjoy this weirdly unclassifiable piece of... whatever it is.

What I love about Dr. Horrible is that Whedon does a far superior job of reversing the roles of good and evil, hero and villain, than I have seen anywhere else. Of course, he relies a lot on over-the-top humour to accomplish this, which gives him an advantage over a more serious movie that confuses these roles, such as any drama where the villain is the protagonist (or antihero). That said, we follow Neil Patrick Harris' character Dr. Horrible (real name, Billy) through the show and of course we root for him to accomplish his evil deeds, get into the Evil League of Evil, and get the girl. We empathise with the villain because his awkward infatuation with Penny is weirdly relatable, and he's funny and likable. It's also that we're staring at his for the entire duration of the production, and he's clearly not an evil, cold-hearted person incapable of feeling human emotion, or anything of the sort. How could we not be on his side?
"'I waited at Dooley Park for forty-five minutes...' Ok, -dude-, you are -not- my nemesis! Look, I'm just trying to change the world, ok? I don't have time for a grudge match with every poser in a parka! Besides, there's kids in that park, so..."
If you love Neil Patrick Harris, even if Dr. Horrible doesn't seem like it would be your "thing", watch it. It's just 40 minutes of NPH singing and making jokes, what's not to love?

"Wow, sarcasm! That's original." - awesome NPH moment of realization that he himself is using sarcasm. I love that guy's face.

Then we have Captain Hammer. Even if you love Nathan Fillion (Captain Mal Reynolds on Firefly) with all your heart and try with everything you have to be on his team, he is just the epitome of asshattery to the point where it is impossible to side with him. Trust me, I tried. He's the hero! But he's just such a "corporate tool". And that's the point of his role, so I don't feel any disloyalty to Nathan for completely despising his character. Kudos, really.
"I'm gonna give Penny the night of her life, just because you want her. And I get what you want. See, Penny's giving it up, she's giving it up hard. Cause she's with Captain Hammer. And these..." *holds up clenched fists* "are not the hammer." *starts to walk away and comes back to clarify* "The hammer is my penis."
If you love Joss Whedon's humour, as seen above, just watch Dr. Horrible. Case closed.

I also have to shout-out to Felicia Day mostly for being beautiful, nerdy and awesome as Penny.

As hinted by the title, there is music, a la Once More with Feeling. Whoever composes Whedon's musicals isn't a complete genius, but it works for this sort of thing. A nerdy-awkward show deserves nerdy-awkward humoured music, as seen below.

Finally, to solidify my earlier point, it is evident that Dr. Horrible is the show's (anti)hero/protagonist and Captain Hammer is the antagonist because of the tragedy in Penny's final words. She says, "Don't worry Billy, Captain Hammer will save us," showing that she dies without understanding that Captain Hammer is not the pillar of fortitude and high moral standard that she imagines him to be. If this doesn't upset you, then I'll take my theory back, and we can call Dr. Horrible the antagonist, but I really think he's our hero. I take it to be a tragedy.
Billy: I cannot believe my eyes/how the world’s filled with filth and lies
Penny:I cannot believe my eyes/how the world’s finally growing wise

Billy: But it’s plain to see/evil inside of me/is on the rise
Penny: And it’s plain to see/rapture inside of me/is on the rise

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