Oct 312018
 

Batman: The Animated Series is easily one of the best animated shows ever, able to transcend generations appealing to both kids and adults alike, and from a technical standpoint a (darkly) wonderful achievement with the design to go along with the pitch perfect voice castings.

 

 

Batman: The Complete Animated Series
— Deluxe Limited Edition —
(1992-95)

Genre(s): Animated, Action, Adventure
Warner Bros. | NR – 2534 min. – $112.99 | October 30, 2018

Date Published: 10/31/2018 | Author: The Movieman


SERIES INFO:
Directed by: Various
Writer(s): Bob Kane with Bill Finger (creator, Batman), Paul Dini, Eric Radomski and Bruce Timm (creator)
Voice Cast: Kevin Conroy, Mark Hamill, Efrem Zimbalist Jr., Robert Hastings, Loren Lester, Robert Costanzo, Richard Moll, Arleen Sorkin, John Vernon, Adrienne Barbeau, Melissa Gilbert, David Warner, Helen Slater, Roddy McDowell
DISC INFO:
Features: Episode Commentaries, Featurettes
Digital Copy: Yes
Formats Included: Blu-ray
Number of Discs: 12
Audio: English (DTS-HD MA 2.0)
Video: 1080p/Full Frame 1.33
Subtitles: English SDH
Codecs: MPEG-4 AVC
Region(s): A, B, C

Warner Bros. Home Entertainment provided me with a free copy of the Blu-ray I reviewed in this Blog Post.
The opinions I share are my own.


THE MOVIE — 4.5/5


Batman: The Animated Series is a show I watched as a kid growing up, from middle through high school. There are several things striking about the show. For one, whether you’re a kid or an adult, it was a series that would appeal to all age groups, where it’s not too dark to be too much for a child and yet not too kid friendly to turn off the adults.

Watching it again after a few years, this show captivated me, I liked how the series just starts out without any of the Wayne murders back story and begins with Batman facing off a generally underutilized foe: Man-Bat aka Dr. Robert Kirkland Langston. Pretty bold not to just jump right to The Joker, saving him for the second episode, “Christmas with the Joker”, a fun-filled holiday episode.

Another stand out: the animation, it is utterly stunning with an art deco style; there’s nothing simple about how Gotham City or even Wayne Manor were created. This goes into the whole thing about appealing to a varying age group, but many animated series from the 80s through the 90s, were simplistically done, likely for budgetary reasons. Perhaps someone in that 9-14 age range might not appreciate it, but as an adult, it is a thing of beauty.

If the animation and storytelling weren’t already amazing, the voice casting and talents were absolutely incredible. First you have Kevin Conroy who might not have the looks to be the Dark Knight, but by god that voice of his is perfect, both with his smoother Bruce Wayne versus the gruff and honestly terrifying Batman; if only Christopher Nolan just dubbed Conroy’s voice over Bale’s, The Dark Knight Rises especially. Conroy might only be rivaled by Mark Hamill as The Joker, just horrifyingly maniacal. Special acknowledgement to Efrem Zimbalist Jr. as Alfred, Robert Hastings as Gordon and Adrienne Barbeau voicing Selina Kyle/Catwoman.

As I’m not well versed in the world of animation, but Batman: The Animated Series was just all around incredible, with an audience that spans generations and still holds up exceptionally well since it first debuted 26 years ago. And re-visiting it, I found it amazingly entertaining all these years later.

 

SPECIAL FEATURES – 5.0/5


This 12-disc set comes housed in a book-like folder with each disc top-sliding into slots with corresponding episodes and features on that page. Discs 1-9 are for the three seasons, disc 10 is a bonus disc and discs 11 and 12 are the animated movies, Batman: Mask of the Phantasm and Batman & Mr. Freeze: SubZero. Included inside is a redemption code for the Digital Copy of the entire series.

Now, this book top slides into a nice outer-box, which looks nice and can sit on the shelf. This also top slides into a box which also holds three collectible Funko Pocket Pops for Batman, Harley Quinn and The Joker. With those, there is an envelope containing 7 exclusive Lenticular Collector Cards of Original Animation Artwork, which are pretty nifty. On the back is a Limited Edition number, mine was #38484 of 69048.


SEASON ONE
DISC 1:

  • ‘On Leather Wings’ Commentary – Bruce Timm and Eric Radomski
  • Introductions by Bruce Timm on ‘On Leather Wings’, ‘Christmas with the Joker’, ‘Nothing to Fear’, ‘The Last Laugh’ and ‘Pretty Poison’
  • The Dark Knight’s First Night Pilot Promo (5:03) is a promo reel from 1991 as Timm and Radomski discuss the origins of The Animated Series.

DISC 2:

  • ‘Heart of Ice’ Commentary – Paul Dini, Bruce Timm and Eric Radomski
  • Batman: Legacy Continues Retrospective (18:03) – Those involved with DC Comics and the creators of the animated series explore the combination of the design and storytelling.
  • Tour of the Batcave (2:49) are some clips from the series showing off Batman, Utility Belt, Bat-Vehicles and Alfred. Kind of pointless. No, pointless period.

DISC 3:

  • ‘Robin’s Reckoning Part One – Bruce Timm and Eric Radomski
  • ‘Heart of Steel Part Two – Bruce Timm, Eric Radomski and Kevin Altieri
  • Robin Rising: How the Boy Wonder’s Character Evolved (8:24) looks at the evolution of Dick Grayson from young ward to crime-fighter.
  • Gotham’s Guardians: The Stalwart Supporting Characters (10:15) breaks down the importance of the Dark Knight’s allies from Commissioner Gordon, Alfred, Catwoman and others in the Batman mythology.

DISC 4:

  • ‘Almost Got ‘Em’ Commentary – Bruce Timm, Eric Radomski and Paul Dini
  • Voices of the Knight (8:08) is on the talents involved in the series. Includes interviews with the voice actors like Kevin Conroy, Mark Hamill, Adrienne Barbeau and Efrem Zimbalist Jr.

DISC 5:

  • ‘Harley and Ivy’ Commentary – Bruce Timm, Eric Radomski and Boyd Kirkland
  • ‘Read My Lips’ Commentary – Bruce Timm, Paul Dini, Boyd Kirkland, Michael Reaves and Shirley Walker
  • Gotham’s New Knight (7:40) is a featurette on Barbara Gordon and her becoming Batgirl.

SEASON TWO
DISC 1:

  • ‘House & Garden’ Video Commentary – Bruce Timm (producer), Boyd Kirkland (director) and Paul Dini (writer). This is a picture-in-picture commentary now being able to see the participants.
  • ‘Harlequinade’ Commentary – Bruce Timm, Paul Dini, Shirley Walker and Eric Radomski

SEASON THREE
DISC 1:

  • ‘Over the Edge’ Commentary – Bruce Timm, Paul Dini, Glen Murakami and James Tucker
  • Arkham Asylum (27:41) is a multi-part set of featurettes where you can examine the “case files” of Batman’s many foes like Clayface, The Joker, Mr. Freeze and many others.

DISC 2:

  • ‘Critters’ and ‘Legends of the Dark Knight’ Commentaries – Bruce Timm, Paul Dini, Dan Riba, Glen Murakami and James Tucker

BONUS DISC:

  • Heart of Batman (1:38:27) is a fantastic new documentary, split into three parts (but can be watched via a Play All option) with interviews by members of the cast and crew 25 years later discussing how special The Animated Series Participants include Bruce Timm and others involved with the series and within DC.
  • Concepting Harley Quinn (1:28) – Older short featurette where creator Paul Dini talks about how he incorporated the character into the series.

You can read my Blu-ray reviews for Batman: Mask of the Phantasm and Batman & Mr. Freeze: SubZero.

 


VIDEO – 4.5/5


Each episode of the series is presented with a 4:3 full frame 1.33 aspect ratio. This series looked rather brilliant in 1080p high-definition. Normally animated movies or shows getting the Blu-ray treatment was not always perfect, as sometimes you do get hints of banding, but here, at least from what I could see, transition scenes were smooth. The colors were the right balance never appearing artificially boosted but just the right amount, such as the blue in Batman’s cowl. This is also a nice and sharp detail throughout.

If you go to the bottom of this review, I have posted the opening sequence comparison shots.

AUDIO – 3.75/5


This release comes with DTS-HD Master 2.0 tracks and although I won’t say I was blown away as the depth is on the limited side, even so dialogue comes through with good clarity. The action scenes do have a nice minor punch to them, but nothing exhilarating. Still, probably a modest improvement over its DVD counterpart.

 


OVERALL – 5.0/5


Overall, Batman: The Animated Series is easily one of the best animated shows ever, able to transcend generations appealing to both kids and adults alike, and from a technical standpoint a (darkly) wonderful achievement with the design to go along with the pitch perfect voice castings. This “Complete Animated Series” release from Warner Brothers brings this classic show onto Blu-ray porting over all of the features along with the two animated movies.

 

 

 

Check out some more 1080p screen caps by going to page 2. Please note, these do contain spoilers.

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