Dr. Horrible’s Sing-Along Blog

  • Title: Dr. Horrible’s Sing-Along Blog
  • Director: Joss Whedon
  • Date: 2008
  • Studio: Mutant Enemy Productions
  • Genre: Musical, Comedy
  • Music: Joss Whedon & Jed Whedon
  • Lyrics: Joss Whedon, Jed Whedon & Maurissa Tancharoen
  • Cast: Neil Patrick Harris, Nathan Fillion, Felicia Day
  • Format: Color, Widescreen
  • Format: R1, NTSC

“Destroying the Status Quo, because the status is not quo.” — Dr. Horrible

“She talked to me! Why did she talk to me now?” — Dr. Horrible (Billy)

Dr. Horrible’s Sing-Along Blog is what happens when creative people are told they can’t work. The project was made during the writer’s strike. Whedon, who as a member of the writer’s guild, couldn’t write for pay, got together with a bunch of his currently unemployed actor buddies, and produced this – and put it on the Internet for free. Which is both why it’s so short (roughly 42 minutes) and why it’s in three “acts” (the parts would have been posted separately to allow for easier streaming and downloading on-line). Later the movie was edited together and put on DVD. The DVD also includes “Commentary – The Musical”, which is a full-length musical commentary. And yes, it is as fun as it sounds.

The plot is actually very much something the average geek, nerd, or dork can identify with — though I mean that in a good way. Dr. Horrible, aka Billy (Neil Patrick Harris), hosts a video blog and is very shy around girls, especially Penny (Day) — the girl he sees at the laundromat twice a week. Penny is sweet and kind and works with the homeless. Captain Hammer (Nathan Fillion), Dr. Horrible’s nemesis, is built, handsome, and totally clueless about the way he actually treats people.

Dr. Horrible is trying to get into the Evil League of Evil, run by Bad Horse, the Thoroughbred of Sin. He’d also like to win over Penny but is too shy to really talk to her. He also manages to accidentally introduce Penny to Captain Hammer — and they start dating, much to Horrible’s chagrin. He develops his Freeze Ray to freeze time and a Death Ray but is about to realize he can’t kill a defenseless and frozen Captain Hammer when the freezing stops working. In the ensuing fracas… well, buy the DVD.

The music is fun and full of some very amusing lyrics. If you’ve seen “Buffy:  The Musical”, you’ll recognize some of the techniques used here — lots of over-lapping sung lyrics, duets and even trios between the three main characters, and returning themes in the music. Overall, the storyline doesn’t have a happy ending though, unlike most musicals – but it is 80-90 percent sung, with very little dialogue. The dialogue is only used to connect the various songs, and it’s the songs that actually move the plot along.

Overall, a fun, amusing, and somewhat strange short film.

List of Musical Numbers (Titles approximate)

  • Laundry Day — Billy
  • Bad Horse Chorus
  • Caring Hands for Homeless Shelter — Penny
  • A Man’s Gotta Do, What a Man’s Gotta Do (Dr. Horrible)
  • A Man’s Gotta Do — Captain Hammer
  • Thank You for Saving Me — Penny
  • Evil Inside me Is On the Rise — Dr. Horrible
  • Some Kind of Harmony is on the Rise — Penny
  • Story of a Girl — Penny
  • A Brand New Day — Dr. Horrible
  • So They Say — Captain Hammer
  • Everyone’s a Hero in their Own Way — Captain Hammer
  • Society is Slipping / Say It Was Horrible —  Dr. Horrible
  • Here Lies Everything, the World I Wanted at My Feet – Dr. Horrible

Recommendation: A Must See
Rating: 4
Next Film: Dr. No (James Bond)