Subject: I have found a DVD that I think you would enjoy
|The Batman - The Complete First Season |
DC Comics Kids Collection
Actors: Rino Romano, Alastair Duncan, Evan Sabara, Danielle Judovits, Kevin Michael Richardson
Genres: Action & Adventure, Kids & Family, Television, Mystery & Suspense, Animation
The Batman is an action-packed animated series that chronicles the life of Bruce Wayne and his alter-ego Batman who lands him in a variety of precarious situations. The newly anointed Caped Crusader of Gotham City confront... more »
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Very rough, uniquely decent
Simon | Brampton, ON | 12/21/2005
(3 out of 5 stars)
"This set collects the first 13 episodes of The Batman, the newest incarnation of the Dark Knight. Warner Home Video has finally wised up, ditched the meager single discs and given fans and collectors an affordable way to get this series on dvd.
But wait...are there any fans and collectors? The general bat-fan will tell you this show sucks, while the small but vocal die-hards will pump The Batman for all its worth. This is a very difficult show to rate. Not only does it feel like Batman as envisioned by corporate focus groups, but the general writing is way below par compared to the classic Batman: Animated series.
In my opinion, these problems are mostly confined to the first season. This is definitely the show at its worst, and the newer seasons have been much more kinetic and entertaining. It's painful here to watch Bruce eat nachos and cast opera aside for bubblegum pop. It's painful to watch him resort to an endless array of bat-gadgets to take down foes. But the show has occasional moments of brilliance. When Batman slips into a coma after being thrashed by Bane, there's a very poignant look at the night of his parents' murder. The villain designs, wacky and grotesque as they may be, are fiercely original and fun if you go in with the right expectations. And the season finale, written by Gargoyles creator Greg Weisman, brings the show to a near-BTAS level with a brand new interpretation of Clayface. It's really worth checking out.
Again, this is a difficult recommendation. Season 1 is mostly weak, and I can't blame anyone for shunning it. However, the second season onwards is definitely worth looking into. I at least give kudos to WB for giving us The Batman in a season set that has more appeal to adult collectors. For those on the fence, check out season 2 when/if it is eventually released, then go back and see if you'd like season 1 for completion purposes. In the meanwhile, rent for the Clayface finale."
Just Because It's a Cartoon Doesn't Mean the Characters Need
D. C. Ober | Boston, MA | 02/01/2006
(2 out of 5 stars)
"Let's start with what I do like. The style of the cartoon is actually pretty good. At first I was a little turned off by the whole "X-treme" Batman, but considering this is Bruce Wayne in his younger days I think it works.
However, the characters are reduced to nothing. Batman has absolutely no edge to him. In the original series we got to know his past and saw him really struggle with the death of his parents, and lets be honest, the best thing about Batman is that he's the first superhero who's given a real motive. In this series the death of his parents are brough up a few times, but as a driving force it's generally ignored.
The villians are all one-note characters. In the original series each villian had some kind of conflict. It wasn't just good versus evil; it was about that in-between grey. The Man-Bat is just some mad scientist. Mr. Freeze is just some jewel thief. They're run of the mill pedestrian characters. The only exception is Clay Face. Lets hope this new version of Clay Face is pointing to a new direction to the series. Maybe the writers will wise up and give us some good stories. Until then I'll be watching the DVDs of the original Batman: The Animated Series."
All style and no substance does not a good show make...
David C. Scott | 01/29/2006
(1 out of 5 stars)
"In every incarnation of Batman since the first movie, Batman has always been a silent stalker of the night hunting down criminals and bringing them to justice. While the 'bringing them to justice' part might not change in this series, everything else does.
Batman is no longer the dark hero he used to be. He's turned into a young, cocky, 'style over substance' character which can only have been made up in the minds of the corporate focus groups who created this fluff. While older incarnations of batman (such as his excellent portrayal in the Animated series which ran from '92 to '99) had Batman as a character that could be enjoyed by adults and kids, this show portrays him in a way that would get a him killed in any other Gotham city.
Bruce Wayne's "reimagining" is that of a shallow guy who doesn't seem realistic at all if you post him into the world of Gotham City that all the older Batman's lived in. But Bruce Wayne as a shallow guy whose poor acting doesn't support the show is only the half of it. One thing that made all the other Batman shows so great was the portrayal of the villains as interesting people. Not here.
Joker has turned into a big demon-faced guy with no personality (a huge difference from Mark Hamill's amazing portrayal of Joker in both The Batman Antimated Series and Batman Beyond) Mr. Freeze has no reason to be doing what he's doing anymore (he looks like a demon with an icecube on his head, which Batman makes fun of with some horrible puns). And Penguin...well basically EVERY villan in the series looks like a demon. Not surprising, because this show was designed by the people who did the Jackie Chan Adventures (a show about demons). But Batman isn't about demons, it's supposed to be about the humanity of the characters. The depth, and not just the style.
This show falls through in story, acting, and is barely held together by the style. Old Batman fans will be horrified, comic book fans will be disgusted, and new fans will have their image of Batman forever tarnished. It's very obvious that this show was made for money to cash in on the new movie of Batman, and not because of any love for the characters. It's downright horrible."
Casting a long shadow
M. U. Siddiqi | White Plains, NY, United States | 11/24/2006
(4 out of 5 stars)
"Characters like Batman and Superman cast long shadows. The aura of these characters is that they have no reality to bind them to. They are borne of our imagination and own psyche and that is why they can be resurrected in the image of different eras in time. They are symbols of our own internal selves, that is why you can draw them up again and again and they never die. Superman represents that part of the human psyche that is beyond destruction and rises uncorrupted no matter what you throw at it, no matter what you do to it. Batman is the exact opposite. Batman is a mortal, tormented soul on the edge that lurks in the shadows, and takes on evil with a dark vengeance. Superman is the real person and Clark Kent is the mask, but Bruce Wayne is the real person and The Batman is the mask. In a sordid sort of way, Superman is like Dr. Jekyll and Batman is Mr. Hyde - two sides of the same coin.
And once again, Batman has been resurrected in this retro series. "The Batman" is constructed in a time before the one depicted in the classical "Batman: The Animated Series", probably a decade or so earlier. Bruce Wayne is in his mid-20's and Batman is not yet the legend depicted in The Animated Series. He has just appeared on the scene of Gotham and started his shadowy crime-fighting career where the law sees him no differently than the characters he is at odds with.
Some of the characterizations are good and you can feel how they gel in given the above backdrop. Sobriety and age doesn't seem to have caught up with an also-younger Alfred Pennyworth, Bruce Wayne's confidant and surrogate-guardian. He is presented as being slightly perkier and more wisecracking compared to the depiction in The Animated Series.
Batman is defined by the villains he faces and in season one, his old nemeses The Joker, Penguin, Bane, Dr. Langstrom, Mr. Freeze, Firefly, Scarface, and Clayface are all back. The Joker lives up to his maniacal aura and Kevin Michael Richardson's voice doesn't deviate far from the signature personality that Mark Hamill gave Joker in TAS; KMR's voice has more timber and gruffness at times compared to the diabolical cackle of Mark Hamill. I thought the look of the Joker was a bit too "jack in the box" making him look grotesque at first glance. Oswald Cobblepot a.k.a. the Penguin is cast more in the image of Tim Burton's rendition from the movie. Again, Tom Kenny does a good job giving more deviousness to Penguin's character. Bane, Dr. Langstrom a.k.a. The Man-Bat, and Scarface don't deviate much either apart from their color schemes compared to TAS. Firefly looks better. I liked the Firefly character line better in the TAS but this series has done a decent makeup job on him especially with the buzzing audio f/x.
Mr. Freeze is a heresy. The whole Mr. Freeze character in TAS was a masterpiece between his personality as defined by his accident and his quest to save his wife, and Michael Ansara's "poker-faced", emotionless, superb voice characterization completing things full circle. This series has turned Victor Fries into a common thug in a walking icebox for a suit.
However, the delight of season one, as everyone has commented below is the whole Clayface arc. This series has done for Clayface what TAS did for the Harvey Dent/Two-Face and Victor Fries/Mr. Freeze story arcs, and the story and production teams get kudos for the way they draw out the entire Clayface story arc in the fantastic two-episode season finale.
As for the presentation, The Batman is slightly more colorful and more detailed than TAS. Part of the power of TAS was that it was drawn entirely on black and created its ambiance by capitalizing masterfully on abstraction and lack of details in animation, while sticking with a more restrictive color palette comprised of dark, crimson, shadowy colors. This series has more details in the artwork and a wider use of colors. It takes a few episodes to get used to it if you are a die-hard TAS fan. The TAS also mixed in some retro elements such as the cars and buildings at times very aesthetically. The batmobile looks more commercial in this series, more high-tech, but more like Bruce Wayne decided to have Toyota, Honda or Audi build it for him. :-) Arkham Asylum looks better in this series in my opinion; the addition of detail such as the brickwork walls and pipe-grill doors, have done it good. It looks more creepy than cozy and you can see it as this really creepy holding place for mentally insane criminals. It augments the dark aura of the Batman character itself.
Finally the voice characterization of Rino Romano fits given the background. Kevin Conroy's voice was perfect for a mid-30s Batman, who had been "at it" for a decade or more -- an established legend in Gotham, more sure of himself, used to facing whackjobs and weirdos. Kevin Conroy gave Batman "the coming of age" personality. Rino Romano gives personality to a younger Batman, more unsure of himself, just out of adolesence and still coming to grips with what he is becoming. Rino Romano's voice characterization lacks the command and force of Kevin Conroy...which is correct.
All in all, it's a new Batman for a new era and if you like the Batman character, don't miss it.