Monday, July 23, 2012

AUDIO DRAMA REVIEW: Kingdom Come

Synopsis: It is the early years of the Twenty-First Century. Without the guidance and values long championed by the old guard -- Superman, Batman and Wonder Woman -- a younger generation of super heroes is ravaging the world. But when the Man of Steel returns from self-imposed exile, his very presence could be the catalyst that pushes us all into Armageddon. Seen through the eyes of Norman McCay, an aging minister who embarks on a disturbing odyssey of revelation with an angel known as the Spectre to guide him, "Kingdom Come" is the story of what defines a hero in a world spinning inexorably out of control...of the heroes who adapted to that changing world, and those who couldn't...of personal battles fought with inner demons, and the final war that would determine the fate of our planet.

Kingdom Come, while an epic story in the original graphic novel, lacks the same punch as an audio drama. Don't get me wrong. It's a serviceable production.

But it could've been so much more.

The adaptation by John Whitman (who also wrote adaptations we'll cover in upcoming reviews) works well for the most part. I had issues with some lines that bordered on badly executed exposition.

I think the biggest problem I had were the actors. In particular, the actor playing Norman McKay. (Sorry I can't tell you who that was; there was no cast list). A tepid performance for the most part. While there were snippets of "real" acting here and there, I got the sense that he wasn't really performing the role. That he was just doing a dramatic reading of the lines.

And even then, that dramatic reading wasn't too dramatic. More ho-hum.

The other actors weren't as bad.

Superman had the voice quality I expected but the actor struck me as a one-note performance. Not much vocal variety.

Lex Luthor and Wonder Woman were the two I thought who were wonderfully played. Wonder Woman seemed to take a little time to get her groove but once she does, I thought her performance came alive. Same for Luthor, played with a restrained but manic glee. Effective and not too over-the-top.

The biggest problem I had with the production overall was the pacing and delivery of lines. As if the actors were just reading the script instead of actually performing. An excellent example of Read-Acting Syndrome.

I wish the director had done a better job coaxing more life out of the performances.

But, as I said earlier, it's a serviceable production.

I hung onto my copy and I listen to it again from time to time.

Get your copy from Amazon here. (Fair warning, though--it's on cassette. Can't tell if it ever came out on disc.)

(um...you do know what a cassette is, right?)

(...right?...)
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3 comments:

  1. Seems kind of disappointing that a work which was so well-regarded and even somewhat visionary in it's original medium would be given a half-hearted treatment in other formats.

    And I may even have a cassette player around here somewhere.

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  2. It was disappointing. I'm not sure why they didn't give it the same kind of "love and care" that Alex Ross gave to his illustrations.

    Reminds me a bit of what Shyamalan did to The Last Airbender.

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  3. And thanks for dropping by, sir.

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