Lady Death: The Motion Picture Andrew Orjuela

In this comic book adaptation, the producer of Sinn: The Movie fails in the challenge of breathing life into these well-respected epic characters. Outlining a modified origin of Lady Death, the story follows star-crossed lovers Hope (Christine M. Auten) and Niccolo (Dwight Clark) through their journey into the depths of hell. Vowing revenge upon Lucifer (Mike Kleinhenz) for his theft of Niccolo's soul, Hope harnesses innate powers to become Lady Death, allowing her to connect with demonic animals and channel a destructive form of spiritual energy. Part of the film's problem lies within the dialogue, which serves to cheapen the film. Why would Lucifer, ruler of the underworld and arch-enemy to God himself, utter to his minion, "You once told me how good a spy you are"? Maybe speaking like a sixth grader is an unpleasant side effect of being banished to hell. As far as animation goes, the quality is decent but the overall look of the characters is similar to a Saturday morning cartoon. Actually, aside from the violence and the minimal sexual themes, the film is tame enough for television. Added to the disc are a few extras that outshine the movie itself. The "Visions of Hell" feature displays quick flashes of pre-production artwork for the scenery and characters. Unfortunately, the shots go by too fast to absorb their brilliance. "Animating Death" features interviews explaining the crew's intentions for the movie, while the director's commentary further highlights conceptual intentions with a surprisingly level of intrigue. It is obvious the crew had a true level of respect for the story and wanted the final product to complement the comic. Still, with so many "ughs" and not enough "ahhs," it is understandable why this film was a straight to DVD release. Too bad they set us up for a sequel. Plus: ADV trailer gallery. (ADV/SMA)