Dr. Horrible's Sing-Along Blog
What parents need to know
Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that this short movie is fun and quirky, but includes some sexual innuendo and a suprising death. The movie reverses the standard "hero" model, by focusing on Dr. Horrible, an evil villain bent on world domination who is hoping to win admission to the Evil League of Evil. Though his plans include stealing rare materials for his secret weapon, and attempting to kill his nemesis, the valiant Captain Hammer, inside Dr. Horrible is also a sweet, shy romantic, who has fallen in love with Penny, a girl he met at the laundromat. Captain Hammer, conversely, is a vain egomaniac who uses his hero status to get women into bed. There's some cartoonish violence and mild swearing ("ass"), as well as references to sex and one character's penis.
What's the story?
Dr. Horrible (Neil Patrick Harris) is an evil villain straight from central casting – mad-scientist laugh: check. Plans for world domination: check. Outlandish weaponry, distinctive costume, and a super-powered nemesis: check, check, and check. And now he's planning one of his biggest heists ever, hoping to impress his fellow bad guys and earn a spot in the Evil League of Evil. Yet he also shows a distinctly non-villainous side, a shy, awkward young man too nervous to ask out Penny, the cute girl he meets at the laundromat. Unfortunately, when Penny (Felicia Day) finds herself in peril, it's Dr. Horrible's arch-enemy, the valiant Captain Hammer (Nathan Fillion), who saves the day and wins a date with the girl. Can the evil Dr. Horrible find a way to win her over from a true hero?
Is it any good?
This clever film plays with convention, by making a villain into the star of the show. Yes, he's cooking up a dastardly scheme, and we even see him pulling off a heist. But his evil deeds pale in comparison to the smarmy Captain Hammer. The hero is the real villain here, a smug, conceited cad who uses his hero-status to charm the ladies. While Dr. Horrible really loves Penny, Captain Hammer just wants to get her into bed, and it's up to the bad-guy to prove that he can sing about being her hero.
Yes, sing. Because not only is this a brilliant send-up of the standard superhero format, it's also a musical. Sure, it might sound like a strange idea, but then, so does the whole concept. On paper, it may be hard to see how all of this comes together. But on the screen, it fits together perfectly. It's a great idea, executed perfectly, and wildly entertaining.
Families can talk about...
Families can talk about the standard hero storyline. Is Dr. Horrible a hero or a villain? How does he differ from traditional heroes? Does Captain Hammer seem like a hero? Is there more to being a hero than fighting crime? How does this film tweak convention? Do you think it's OK to make a criminal into the good guy? Who do you like more, Dr. Horrible or Captain Hammer?