Batman: The Animated Series, Volume 1
DVD | Box Set
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Batman: The Animated Series Vol. 1
Vowing to avenge the murder of his wealthy parents, Bruce Wayne devotes his life to wiping out lawlessness in Gotham City. The Dark Knight joins Robin and Batgirl, battling his inner demons as well as the evil figures who bedevil him. Volume one features appearances from villains The Joker, Scarecrow and others.]]>
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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This will be my brief review of Batman: The Animated Series. This is in my opinion a legendary animated superhero show. Definitely one of the top biggest of the nineties, if not the biggest of them all alongside Superman, X-Men etc. This is also a perfect example how America will never make cartoon series the way they used to, what with the pathetic modern day CGI technology that looks way inferior to this Batman show. But aside from
the fact that as a show it is the definition of the word perfection, the series itself is perfect with a capital P-E-R-F-E-C-T with how it depicts the character of Batman and his arch enemies that everyone knows and loves as well as the side characters such as Alfred and Commissioner Gordon.
The animation is stellar spectacular. Each and every character has unique designs to them as well as the city of Gotham itself looks dark, gloomy, and not to mention dangerous and nerve-racking. The music is ominous and suspenseful btw the theme songs for Batman and the Joker are perfect representations of the characters. For a cartoon show, pretty much every episode had much depth to it with its characters and some of those dark themes are so "dark", going back to watch these episodes, I get surprised to realize those themes were added in a cartoon for kids (as a kid myself once, I remember certain times feeling disturbed by some aspects about the show). The series is ominous by the mere presences of the antagonists of every episode ( the Joker, Scarecrow, Two-Face, and Clayface) are some of the ones that appear the most disturbing.
The voice acting is superb. Every time I think of the characters in Batman for their most accurate representations, Batman: The Animated Series is that representation. From appearances to voice acting, the one that stands out to most out of all is the Joker, voiced by none other than Mark Hamill (Luke Skywalker).He is the highlight of the show, with many of the best lines, scenes, and humor coming from him. The many great legends who have portrayed the Joker, Jack Nicholson and Heath Ledger, cannot hold a candle to Mark Hamills' spectacular Joker voice. Two words best describe him when people compare him to others who have portrayed the character: BAR NONE. Every laugh he lets out is miracle, absolute
miracle. The same goes for Batman who looks and sounds terrific like he should sound. The rest of the characters, Harley Quinn, Catwoman, Poison Ivy, Mr. Freeze, the Penguin, all stand out as perfection. Heck even Robin looks and sounds great. Alfred and Gordon are awesome. Awesome defines the show.
The show has great action too. From buildings and vehicles exploding, to intense vehicle pursuits, to Batman himself kicking the snot out of thugs who dare try to go against him, and of course epic showdowns between the caped crusader and his arch nemesis's that involve some of the best hand to hand combat fights ever seen in cartoons. Last thing I need to say is that parents should be careful to let their children see this series as some of the images, action, and disaster could be scary for them.
Finally in terms of the product and the delivery, it was a complete success. No complaints except joy cuz I'm very happy with these discs. So far they all work like a charm. And hopefully, it'll be like that for a long time. Some of the episodes that stand out to me in this collection are "Christmas with the Joker", "Heart of Ice", "Two-Face Parts I & II", "Nothing to Fear", and "Pretty Poison".
DISC 1: Contains episodes "On Leather Wings," "Christmas with the Joker," "Nothing to Fear," "The Last Laugh," "Pretty Poison," "The Underdwellers," and "P.O.V." The first episode is the best on this disc, with Batman facing the fearsome Man-Bat. The show really hit the ground running, but the immediate follow-ups are a bit weak. "P.O.V." has moments of interest because of its unusual structure, and "Nothing to Fear" has a great finale, but the two Joker episodes are particularly poor; the show hadn't quite figured out its style yet. Also on this disc is commentary by Bruce Timm and Eric Radomski for "On Leather Wings," and a two-minute demo they did to sell the look of the series.
DISC 2: Contains episodes "The Forgotten," "Be a Clown," "Two Face (Parts 1&2)," "It's Never Too Late," "I've Got Batman in My Basement," and "Heart of Ice." The last is one of the most popular episode of the series, introducing the fantastic re-imagining of Mr. Freeze as a tragic figure. "Two-Face" is also a superb villain origin story. The other episodes are minor, with a poor Joker and Penguin episode, but "It's Never Too Late" is an interesting non-super-villain story. The bonus feature on this disc is a great 18-minute documentary about the series, with interviews with the producers, writers, and some of the actors. There's also audio commentary on "Heart of Ice" with Timm, Radomski, and writer Paul Dini.
DISC 3: Contains episodes "The Cat and the Claw (Parts 1&2)," "See No Evil," "Beware of the Gray Ghost," "Prophecy of Doom," and "Feat of Clay (Parts 1&2)." The show was clearly taking off at this point; only "Prophecy of Doom" is a poor episode. "Beware the Gray Ghost" brings back Adam West to the Batman series, and is one of the most inspirational of all the episodes. "Feat of Clay" contains stunning animation, and "Cat and Claw" gives us the wonderful relationship between Batman and Catwoman. The bonus feature is a Batcave tour, basically a few screens of text and some connected montages of images from the show.
DISC 4: Contains episodes "The Joker's Favor," "Vendetta," "Fear of Victory," "The Clock King," "Appointment in Crime Alley," "Mad as a Hatter," and "Dreams in Darkness." Two lesser villains, Clock King and Mad Hatter, become the focus of great episodes. "The Joker's Favor" is one of the best Joker episodes, and introduces Harley Quinn, who would become one of the show's most popular creations. The two Scarecrow episodes aren't much, however. The bonus feature is a plug for some of the other DC heroes.