Batman: The Animated Series, Volume One (DC Comics Classic Collection)
DVD | Box Set
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Batman: The Animated Series Vol. 1]]>
Warner Brothers' Batman: The Animated Series (1992-1995) remains a striking, stylized program that helped to revitalize the familiar comic book hero. Drawing on such diverse influences as Frank Miller's graphic novel The Dark Knight Returns, the Fleischers' Superman cartoons of the early '40s, and contemporary Japanese animation, the filmmakers stress interesting designs and cinematography. The Caped Crusader prowls a sinister, Art Deco-styled world of tall verticals, sharp angles, silhouettes, searchlights, and grid-like shadows cast by window frames. Its visual pizzazz eclipses Filmation's pallid kidvid, The Batman/Superman Hour (CBS, 1968), which ran off and on in various incarnations through 1981. Many of the same artists worked on the Batman animated features (e.g., Mask of the Phantasm (1993), Batman Beyond--The Movie (1999)), which display similar strengths and weaknesses.
Ironically, Batman: The Animated Series looks better in stills than it does in motion. The artists fail to stylize the movements of the characters to match the dramatic settings, as Genndy Tartakovsky and his crew did in Samurai Jack. Batman uses sophisticated computers to combat the well-known villains--the Joker, the Penguin, Mr. Freeze, Catwoman--as well as some less celebrated baddies: Manbat, Clayface, The Mad Hatter. The bad guys cram a lot of plotting and scheming into each 22-minute episode, but the violence is kept to a broadcast standards minimum.
The Dark Knight's First Knight easily ranks as the most interesting of the extras. Producers Bruce Timm and Eric Radomski recount the genesis of the series, and show their mini-pilot, which is more violent and more fully animated. If the complete episodes had matched the pilot, the series would have been much more exciting. (Unrated, suitable for ages 8 and older: violence, mild grotesque imagery) --Charles Solomon
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Top customer reviews
The show has awards and nominations befitting the respect that it has earned from fans and critics alike.
Volume One of the series features some of the most memorable episodes, which include "Cat and the Claw," "Two-Face," and "Feat of Clay," the latter showcasing top-notch animation, and the brilliant "Heart of Ice."
One of the show's real pluses is the use of real actors, many familiar in name and voice, to add life the characters. Kevin Conroy is the definitive "Bat-voice" and it's no wonder that he has done the character for twenty years. Other regulars include Bob Hastings as Commissioner Gordon and Loren Lester, occasionally popping up as Robin.
Watching the first episodes, though the packaging doesn't have them in their original order, viewers will note a different "Alfred." Clive Revell assayed the role but was replaced by Efrem Zimbalist, Jr., a wise move on the part of the producers. Zimbalist took the role and "patented" it as Conroy did the Dark Knight.
Mark Hamill (The Joker), Michael Ansara (Mr. Freeze), the late John Vernon (Rupert Thorne), Ed Asner (Roland Daggett), Adrienne Barbeau (Catwoman/Selena Kyle), John Glover (The Riddler), Richard Moll (Two-Face/Harvey Dent), Ron Perlman (Clayface/Matt Hagen), the late Brock Peters (Lucius Fox), Paul Williams (The Penguin), Kate Mulgrew (Red Claw), Diane Pershing (Poison Ivy/Pamela Isley)and Arlene Sorkin (the wonderfully ditzy Harley Quinn) are just some of the actors that add class to the show.
A fitting homage to the 60's campy "Batman" series is the appearance of Adam West in "Beware of the Gray Ghost."
Kudos must also be given to the series chief composer, the late Shirley Walker. Her scoring, along with the work of others, mixes appropriate action cues and lighter ones.
Volume One is a good introduction to the series and for the uninitiated, it will make them savor for the remaining volumes in the collection.
However, there is something else that needs to be touched upon: the story lines are simply brilliant. Although this began as a kid's cartoon, it brought with it an immensely complex and compelling level of psychological depth. It is not too much to say that Dini, Timm, and company effectively raised a number of existentially big questions in the series, ranging from the nature of friForendship, the trauma of memory, betrayal, jealousy, loss, and above all justice and the possibility of redemption. I think that Batman: The Animated Series is not far removed from a form of moral pedagogy. I treasure this series; my girlfriend and I have watched its many episodes many times and, above all, I look forward to sharing it someday with my own children. I do believe that this is the finest compliment that I can give it.
This show was so different than the other cartoons, it was extremely dark for a show that was intended for children. But I like it when it is dark haha. This volume has a lot of great epsidoes. They all depict Batman as a dark and omnious figure, but he shows compassion even to his enemies. I love the drama and the emotion in the scenes, it really makes each episodes speacial. The animation is also top notch especially the Clay Face origin episodes.
This volume has plenty of great espidoes, here's some of my favorite. On Leather Wings- A giant Bat terrorizes Gotham lab's, the action is top notch and you see a lot of Batman's toys. :) It's Never To Late- Two mob bosses fight eachother for control of the drug trade in Gotham city, this epsidoes has a lot of emotion which leads to a great episode, I've got Batman in the basement-Two kids save Batman by hiding him in the basesment away from Penguin, great and funny episode. There's so much more, but you must watch for yourself!
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