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Customer Review

101 of 117 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Dark, violent, and action packed!!!, July 12, 2010
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This review is from: Batman: Under the Red Hood (Two-Disc Amazon Exclusive Limited Edition with Litho Cel) (DVD)
I was prepared to dislike the new DC direct-to-dvd animated film, Batman: Under the Red Hood. I've been annoyed with these animated films for a number of reasons, some admittedly nitpicky and petty, but annoyances just the same. However, after watching a review copy I was quite pleased with the way it worked out! Having read the original story arc in the comics, I wondered how they were going to take such a complex tale, one that draws on various Batman stories going as far back as 1951, and roll it all up into a neat little self-contained package lasting under an hour and 20 minutes (short running time--another gripe of mine). The answer is, quite deftly!

The story has to do with the Batman's greatest failure, the sadistic, violent death of the second Robin, Jason Todd, at the hands of the Joker, who began his career as a masked criminal known as the Red Hood, which is established in short, succinct flashbacks. The story begins five years after the death of Jason Todd and involves a criminal turf war between the Black Mask, an aggressive and entrepreneurial mob boss who wears a black skull mask, and a new masked criminal--a new Red Hood. This new Red Hood is trying to clean up Gotham by controlling the gangs, and his methods are violent, ruthless, and murderous, and thus he comes to the attention of the Batman. A showdown is inevitable, but who's manipulating who, how will the Black Mask react, and what role does the volatile Joker play in the plan?

The story is action-packed, very dark, and should make casual viewers and fans quite happy. Some gripes; Bruce Greenwood and John DiMaggio turn in terrific jobs as the Batman and the Joker, respectively, but I really wish they would have gotten Kevin Conroy and Mark Hamill to play the parts. Those two actors are so well associated with the roles and it would have been quite interesting to see how they would have handled such a dark and violent story. Sometimes the violence is kept to a nil when it should be amped up. For example, the death of Jason Todd is fairly unbelievable; the Joker spends a good deal of time beating him with a crowbar, yet afterwards he looks only as though he fell down and scraped himself up a little. The comic book story, A Death In the Family, regulated by the Comics Code Authority no less, showed blood, bruising, swelling, a shredded costume, and made him look more than half dead. The movie fails to convey this, and when they're dealing with a PG-13 rating they could certainly have done better.

Another big problem I have with this film, and the DC direct-to-dvd movies in general, is the short running time. Again, with a PG-13 rating and such dark and complex stories, it's more than obvious that the intended audience is NOT young children and pre-teens, but rather an older, more mature audience. So why the short running times geared towards the short attention spans of young children?! This film runs one hour and 15 minutes. The last film, Justice League: Crisis on Two Earths, ran only one hour and 13 minutes. Please, DC, PLEASE--know your audience and realize that the vast majority of people purchasing these films are adults who can keep track of sophisticated plots, complex character development, and running times that are closer to those of adult movies--an hour and a half to two hours! If you did that, you could do so much more with these animated films.

Depsite my gripes, I have to give this movie four out of five stars. It was very entertaining, with lots of action and some seriously twisted moments from both the Joker and the Black Mask. Parents, please take note from a fellow parent: just because this is an animated film, that does not mean it is suitable for young children. Please take the PG-13 rating seriously.
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Showing 1-10 of 19 posts in this discussion
Initial post: Jul 13, 2010 6:58:03 PM PDT
Watched this last night much the same way I'm sure you did and the run time is my only complaint. Freeze was cut out of the movie, and while I realize that it probably wasn't due to time constraints (since he was replaced by no namers), it would have been awesome to have a scene with him after they fought the replacements. Overall, my favorite DC animated feature yet.

In reply to an earlier post on Jul 14, 2010 12:52:58 AM PDT
[Deleted by the author on Jul 14, 2010 12:55:37 AM PDT]

Posted on Jul 14, 2010 5:40:15 AM PDT
John Alston says:
The reason that these movies have a run-time of 75 minutes is not because they aim it at an easily bored audience, but because of production and animation costs. It would be nice if they made longer movies, but the limited budget doesn't allow for the two hour epics that we should be seeing.

Posted on Jul 16, 2010 6:29:13 AM PDT
StuCF says:
Haven't seen this one yet, but fully intend on buying it on blu-ray once released. I have some of the other DC animated releases on BR (Green Lantern, JL: CO2E) and they're pretty damn good too! I'm not a comic book person though (never got into them as a kid), but still enjoy the characters and their stories through animation. I kinda agree with you on the run-time, but I understand WHY they have it so short. I also fully agree about the voices of Batman and Joker. I'm use to hearing Kevin Conroy as Batman and Mark Hamill as the Joker. They do terrific jobs at voicing those characters and have been associated as voicing them for 20 years now, yet they haven't been using them in these recent films. WTF?!

In reply to an earlier post on Jul 16, 2010 6:40:25 AM PDT
Yeah, they made such a big deal out of having Kevin Conroy, Tim Daly, and Clancy Brown reprising their roles in the Superman/Batman: Public Enemies movie--another great one if you've not seen it--so I don't understand why they don;t continue to use them. I sort of see the point on the run times, however, with the sales a Batman dvd does, the argument is a bit moot. They're keeping it short so they can break it up into three seperate blocks for Cartoon Network and still leave room for commercials. Fine--I understand the need to capitalize on these projects wherever and however they can--but that should not cut the writers' intent and concept off at the knees. I still say I want to see these run 1 1/2 to 2 hours long.

Cheers

B

Posted on Jul 19, 2010 2:45:21 PM PDT
Don't misunderstand me. I love Kevin Conroy and Mark Hamill in their roles. But they can't do it forever, and if they keep getting cast, it just makes it harder to cast anyone else. I myself am trying to enjoy the variety. I kinda liked Michael McKean as the Joker that one cameo he did on an episode of Batman: The Animated Series. That's one example.

Of course, I find I really miss Loren Lester as Dick Grayson/Nightwing.

In reply to an earlier post on Jul 19, 2010 3:15:49 PM PDT
You have a good point, Jessica. I liked Loren Lester as well, and Michael McKean as the Joker... well, I just kept waiting for him to bust out with
"Big bottom, big bottom;
talk about mudflaps;
my girl's got 'em!"

LOL! Goodness... "Spinal Tap" never gets old!

Posted on Jul 22, 2010 8:27:02 AM PDT
[Customers don't think this post adds to the discussion. Show post anyway. Show all unhelpful posts.]

In reply to an earlier post on Jul 28, 2010 9:03:33 AM PDT
dallas reid says:
waaaaaah!

In reply to an earlier post on Jul 28, 2010 12:59:01 PM PDT
B. Daniel says:
They're using them again for Superman/Batman: Apocalypse. The reason they switch it up though is to distance things from the past shows like Batman and Superman The animated Series and Justice League. And personally I think that having them throughout all would actually get boring. I really liked Bruce Greenwood and John DiMaggio's performances. Especially DiMaggio's Joker.
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