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Batman - The Animated Series - The Legend Begins

4.6 out of 5 stars 41 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

Product Description

In the original five episodes of the Emmy-winning Batman The Animated Series, Batman must battle The Joker, The Scarecrow, Poison Ivy and more to protect Gotham City.


Taking a cue from the caped crusader's comic book rebirth in Frank Miller's The Dark Knight Returns and Batman: Year One, this 1992 animated series saved the TV Batman from a fate worse than camp and drew an unexpected audience for an afternoon cartoon: adults. The initial five episodes gathered here feature such supervillains as Man-bat, the Scarecrow, and Poison Ivy, but the deliciously demented Joker (voiced by Mark Hamill) steals the show in his two appearances, especially in the twisted "Christmas with the Joke." Escaping Arkham Asylum in a rocket-powered Christmas tree, the clown prince of crime preempts a TV showing of It's a Wonderful Life with his own homicidal holiday treat. It's a solid start to a sleek, stylized, smartly written series that only improved with time. Ages 7 and up. --Sean Axmaker

Special Features

  • How to draw Batman
  • "Life on the Edge" game
  • Animation tests
  • Conversations by director Bruce Timm

Product Details

  • Actors: Kevin Conroy, Loren Lester, Efrem Zimbalist Jr., Bob Hastings, Mari Devon
  • Format: Multiple Formats, Animated, Color, Full Screen, NTSC
  • Language: English (Dolby Digital 2.0 Stereo), Portuguese (Dolby Digital 2.0 Stereo), French (Dolby Digital 2.0 Stereo), Spanish (Dolby Digital 2.0 Stereo)
  • Subtitles: English, Spanish, French, Portuguese
  • Dubbed: Portuguese, Spanish
  • Region: Region 1 (U.S. and Canada only. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.33:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Rated:
    Not Rated
  • Studio: Warner Home Video
  • DVD Release Date: April 23, 2002
  • Run Time: 23 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (41 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B00005Y71J
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #71,631 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)
  • Learn more about "Batman - The Animated Series - The Legend Begins" on IMDb

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By Scott Andrews on January 19, 2002
Format: DVD Verified Purchase
It's about time that Warner Brothers finally responded to the years of demand by the fans to release the amazing "Batman: The Animated Series" on DVD. What we've finally gotten is a mixed bag, however. I'm happy to see this first disc of episodes in chronological order (rather than the ridiculous themed releases like what we got on VHS), and hopefully Warner will continue to release the entire series in order and complete; but more episodes on the disc would have been nice! What we get here on this release called "Batman: The Legend Begins" is the first five episodes of the animated series -- based on production order, not airdate order -- (1) "On Leather Wings", (2) "Christmas with the Joker", (3) "Nothing to Fear", (4) "The Last Laugh", and (5) "Pretty Poison". Respectively, these episodes are the spectacular pilot with Man-Bat, a lighthearted Joker story, a pretty good Scarecrow story, another (slightly better) Joker story and the origin story of Poison Ivy. A pretty good introduction to the series, but the best was yet to come! As far as extras go, there isn't much. An introduction by Bruce Timm, a few webgames and CD-ROM links, and a brief documentary. (Where are the commentaries, pre-production drawings, artwork slideshows, and extended documentaries?) ... ... Now, if you've never seen the series you are in for a treat! "Batman: The Animated Series" premiered on television way back on Sep. 5th, 1992 with the episode "The Cat & The Claw, part 1" (not included on this first disc), about three months after the live-action "Batman Returns" had come out. The animated series (unlike the mediocre movies) met with almost universal acclaim.Read more ›
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Format: DVD
Batman - The Animated Series is one of the best animation shows that aired during the 90s. This DVD provides the first 5 episodes of the First Season. I have listed my reviews for the episodes separately, followed by my review of the DVD.

Review of the Episodes:

1. On Leather Wings: A winged bat-like creature is spotted flying above Gotham, stealing chemicals from various pharmaceuticals (recently from Phoenix Pharmaceuticals, where it also injured a night watchman). The Police suspect that it is Batman. To clear his name, Batman goes to the scene of the crime and finds a tape along with a strand of the creature's hair. Having his suspicions, he goes to Dr. March and Dr. Langstrom to ask their opinion on the evidence. However, since the Doctors give him a faulty explanation, Batman is convinced that one of them is the cause for the crimes. Can Batman find out who Man-Bat is and get him in time?

A good start to the series, we get to see how Batman clears his name by going after the Man-Bat. (4/5).

2. Christmas with the Joker - The Joker has escaped from Gotham Asylum during Christmas time. Meanwhile, Dick convinces Bruce to watch "It's a Wonderful Life" to let Bruce get into the holiday spirit. However, the Joker makes all the channels broadcast to his show called "Christmas with the Joker", where he intends to share his Christmas `joy' with the citizens of Gotham. It is up to Batman and Robin to save the people of Gotham while Joker holds Commissioner Gordon, Detective Bullock, and reporter Summer Gleeson hostage.

This is a little different, but still a good episode where we get to see Batman and Robin in action.
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Format: DVD
The only thing not to love about the animated Batman series is the choppy animation, itself. Everything else is stellar. Bruce Timm's artwork deliberately hearkens back to the 1940's Max Fleischer Superman shorts, and the clever stories appeal to the kids but are sophisticated enough to hold the attention of adults.
The best thing about the entire series is the "kinder, gentler" approach to the caped superhero. As opposed to Tim Burton's dark just-this-side-of-a-psycho interpretation, the animated Batman develops something of a rapport with his adversaries. He comes to understand them before even attempting to bring them in, and he tries the easy approach first - granted, it generally fails, but at least he tries. His defeat of Gotham's various criminals is invariably brought about by Batman's psychological understanding of them.
The next best thing is the new interpretation of old villains, and the introduction of several Bob Kane originals who never saw screen time anywhere. In the latter category, the Scarecrow and Poison Ivy are magnificent. The Scarecrow story on this DVD introduced Scarecrow as Kane did - as an inadequate little man who uses his advanced knowledge of chemistry to incapacitate his opponents with fear, making himself feel bigger by comparison. Beginning as a mere bankrobber, later stories saw him evolve into a more psychotic extortionist. Poison Ivy, who Kane introduced but rarely used (if I'm not mistaken, he actually only had her in a single story) - and who didn't appear often in post-Kane comics, either - is given a complete makeover and a credible psychosis of her own. Her introductory story is one of the best in the animated series, and is present in this collection.
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