Gotham City is terrorized not only by recent escapees Joker and Penguin, but by the original creature of the night, Dracula! Can Batman stop the ruthless vampire before he turns everyone in the city, including The Caped Cr... more »usader, Joker and Penguin, into his mindless minions?« less
"As far as animated Batman series go I much prefer the series that ran during the '90's on the WB rather than the current incarnation. In fact I've only seen a mere handful of the new series and just wasn't inspired enough to tune in for more. Well, if this direct to DVD movie is anything to go by I may have to change that attitude.
I had no intention of buying this DVD (no really, I swear I didn't) but something made me take a chance on it while I was picking up the other Batman DVD releases on that fateful Tuesday afternoon. Frankly I'm glad I did because "Batman vs Dracula" is really a dang good animated Batman adventure and a fine Halloween treat to boot. Now I won't claim it to be perfect (because it isn't) but it is a more than decent direct to DVD release.
The story involves Joker and Penguin escaping from Arkham Asylum in search of a treasure hidden within the depths of Gotham Cemetary. The Joker/Penguin alliance falls apart and it is the Penguin who stmbles not upon the treasure but the remains of Count Dracula himself. In true Hammer film style Penguin accidently resurrects Dracula, becomes his thrall and the two begin to unleash a reign of terror upon Gotham City as the Count begins to transform its citizens into vampires. The creation of these "Lost Ones" is blamed on the Dark Knight and he begins to realize he has more on his hands than the average maniacal super villain he usually has to contend with. The irony of two individuals who use a bat as their avatar to achieve their ends is not lost upon Dracula (or the writers) and he soon sets out to destroy the Cowled One. I won't go into any more of the plot, you get the general idea. However I should point out that the writers have included a few more story threads and plot twists than what I've revealed here and thats what makes this film both enjoyable and a bit frustrating. On the one hand there is more substance to the story than I would have expected for what is generally considered "kiddie fare" and while there are some good adult oriented story ideas and concepts they aren't always as fully explored as I would have liked. Still, its hard to fault this film too much. I can tell that the film makers were genuinely enthusiastic about the project and that really comes across in the final product more than any flaws and plot holes the film may have.
A word of warning to parents of small children. This film does contain considerable amounts of blood and violence not to mention the sheer creepiness of many of the vampire scenes. If you have little ones who are easily frightened you may want to pass on this particular Batman adventure. When I say that the vampires are creepy I mean just that. There were one or two moments when even this jaded horror movie junkie got a goosebump or two. The sight of a vampire Joker lapping blood up off the floor (while not the creepiest scene in the film) is one I'll not get out of my head for awhile.
As for the DVD itself: the transfer is good and crisp and the sound is presented in Dolby 5.1. No widescreen unfortunately. A few meager extras such as the voice actors hamming it up, a science vs superstition segment, and trailers round out the supplemental features.
Bottom line: this isn't the greatest animated Batman yarn out there but it is a good thrill ride none the less. It offers more substance than many films of its kind and will appeal to adults and older kids alike. I can't reccomend it for sensitive younger viewers but for the older kids and adults who would like a good Batman Halloween treat you can't go wrong with this one."
Very good feature!
Ervin Griffin | Bluefield, WV | 10/22/2005
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Because I am not really a fan of the new "THE BATMAN" series, I was not looking forward to this feature film. However, having read so many good reviews on it, I decided to plunk down $20 bucks and give it a chance. I AM GLAD I DID!
As far as compared to the original Batman animated series storyline in terms of the animated films, I would have to rank it either third or tied with Batman Beyond: Return Of The Joker (Batman: Mask Of The Phantasm WILL ALWAYS BE number one to me)! Though not rated, I wouldn't recommended to young kids. Much like "Phantasm" and "Return Of The Joker", I would only recommend it to young teens or adults that are fans because there are some intense scenes in it.
As for the film itself, I think the makers of Blade: Trinity could've took notes on how to really bring out Dracula as THE BATMAN's version is very good! It sticks to the legend but goes about it very smartly and even educates on what's fact and what's fiction on vampirism! I was also surprised to see the introduction of Vicky Vale, one of the few characters that the original Batman: The Animated Series DIDN'T use!
I also find this version of Batman has a bit more of a lighter side than the one we are used too but still retains a lot of the "dark knight" side. The use of Vale to show the conflict between his own desires and his commitment to being the champion of Gotham was well done too. While I would've liked to have seen it explored further, this wasn't about Bruce's love life so I can live with what was shown.
Another thing I hated about this version is their Joker! But, on the plus side, I DO like their version of The Penguin! In this feature, I think both are handled well. The Joker is probably at his most frightening and slightly disturbing in this one! While not on the level with the classic Mark Hamil version, he comes very close here!
As for the fights, they were handled well and it made sense too. Batman basically had to use smarts here because while he is the ultimate of physical perfection, Dracula IS Dracula so physical strength, endurance and even weapons wouldn't be enough this time around!
Overall, I think even detractors of THE BATMAN series will like this feature! I am not a fan of the new series BUT I certainly DID like this piece! Worth the money!"
"The newest animated version of Batman has been put to the ultimate test. His own made for video feature.
If you haven't read what I said regarding this new dark knight animated series. I suggest you read my review of the first season of this new Batman. (Under The Batman - The Complete First Season (DC Comics Kids Collection). If you haven't the next paragraph will be an abridged repeat of that.
This new version of Batman year one is good animation . It is better than most of recent cartoons that is out there. This is a cartoon version of the film Batman Begins, it works in some ways and fails in others. This Batman may have the cave, the tools and the toys-but he is very green and still learning how to put it all together. The modern day non art demo of this cartoon works as well. The voice talent for this Batman is first rate. Now the BAD news, the animation of most of the Batman's arch-villains seem off in my opinion... too weird and strange from the classic Batman Mythos-the Comics of old. Remember this isn't your father's Batman
Now that we are up to speed of what I think of the new Batman. Lets tackle this Made for video DVD.
This pairings of the Dark Knights is a great feature, playing on their dark nature of Dracula and Bruce Wayne's nativeness as the New Batman. The sub plots with Penguin and Joker mesh well in this story line. The ending came too pat and quick for me, I wished it left it open for an animated sequel.
The voice work on this feature is great, not so Hollywood as Batman the Animated series made for DVD movie "Secrets of the Batwoman." The Animation is interesting and works on many levels. It doesn't hype itself to grand levels. but better than most of the new animation shows on Cartoon Network. The story line has been treated in comics (the graphic novel Red Rain), but this DVD goes further and makes this animated work special.It impressed me and I dont impress that easy
In my opinion, the wide-screen version of this cartoon should have been in theaters next to BATMAN BEGINS as a second feature. On second thought, get it and do that yourself!
Bennet Pomerantz, AUDIOWORLD
If Looney Tunes did Batman...
Inspector Gadget | On the trail of Doctor Claw | 11/08/2007
(3 out of 5 stars)
"Although it is rather serious in tone and deals with vampires and the undead, The Batman vs Dracula just seems to childish and too cartoony to be really effective. The color pallet is suitably drab and washed out and it does have a decent amount of atmosphere but I can't help but think that it could have been better if it just didn't seem toned down.
I prefer the 90s series of Batman, which had an overwhelming amount of darkness and Gothic pathos. This new THE Batman series appears to be reconfigured to appeal to kids who weren't even born in that decade. I know it's a cliché to moan that animated shows were always better when my age-group were kids, but it's so true.
The Penguin and The Joker (now looking like a cross between Krusty the Clown and The Predator) escape from Arkham (there's something new) and make their way to a hidden treasure trove in the cemetery. But the bird stumbles upon Dracula's tomb (why he is in Gotham is not explained) and resurrects him by accident.
But The Batman doesn't approve of a Vampireman stalking his streets and a drawn-out conflict with a predictable and hokey ending fills up the rest of the movie. It's fun, it's entertaining, but it's just not the Batman I'm used to.
The DVD is in good looking 1.33:1 full frame with Dolby 5.1 sound and a fair amount of extras. But why, in an age of almost every household having a widescreen TV (be it HD or not), animated features such as this are STILL being transferred in full frame is beyond me. I am willing to be that BvsD was drawn and storyboarded in 1.78:1 widescreen. So why not give us an anamorphic transfer Warner?"
This belfry isn't big enough for the both of them
H. Bala | Carson - hey, we have an IKEA store! - CA USA | 11/26/2006
(3 out of 5 stars)
"I was bummed out when BATMAN: THE ANIMATED SERIES and JUSTICE LEAGUE (UNLIMITED) were taken off the television. I did give the new BATMAN series a try, but I couldn't really get into it. Part of the reason, no doubt, is that I miss Kevin Conroy's never-to-be-surpassed voice portrayal of Batman/Bruce Wayne. Another reason is that the new series just isn't as good as the classic 1990s version. Nevertheless, on a whim, I purchased this animated movie and, to my surprise, ended up enjoying it. The Batman meets his perfect adversarial foil in the sanguinary Count, who taunts our hero: "Try as you may, you cannot out-bat me." This version of the Caped Crusader might be younger and, therefore, not as experienced or battle tested, but the same intensity and obsessive brooding are present. Definitely, he broods more here than he does in his regular series. True, Rino Romano isn't Kevin Conroy, but there's an earnestness and a certain timbre in his voice that made me not be as critical as I might've been. By the same token, Kevin Michael Richardson isn't Mark Hamill, but I actually relished Richardson's different take on the demented Joker, whose latest incarnation here seems to be more formidable than ever.
The storyline: The Joker and the Penguin's escape from Arkham Asylum accidentally leads to the resurrection of Count Dracula. Soon thereafter, Gotham citizens, dubbed the "lost ones," alarmingly begin to vanish. When the Batman investigates, he ends up clashing with the original bat-man, who then proceeds to convincingly stomp on him in their first tussle. Nevertheless, the Dark Knight is intent on not only defeating the master vampire but also on curing his infected victims. However, as the plague of vampirism continues to contaminate Gotham and the ranks of Dracula's children of the night swell, the Batman realizes that time is indeed drastically running out. But can his specially crafted arsenal of garlic bombs and antidote bullets save the night and Vicki Vale, on whom the Count's covetous eyes have set? And where do the Joker and the Penguin fit in all this bloody mess?
At 84 minutes, BATMAN VS. DRACULA is an eerie, atmospheric film which might prove to be too intense for the tots. There are moments rife with neck-sucking and visions of blood rampantly gushing, pouring, and dripping. But the more adult audience will find this dark adventure of the Batman to be diverting stuff. There are neat battle sequences between Drac and Bats somewhat done ala MATRIX style. These confrontations are executed in such a way that the viewer is made fully cognizant of just how vulnerable the Batman is and how precarious is his situation as he tries to hold his own against the supernaturally powerful Dracula, who can willfully disrupt the senses and move in a literal blur.
BATMAN VS. DRACULA is perfect Halloween fare; in fact, this dvd was released about two weeks before Halloween. The voice acting is good, if not stellar. The animation is decent, on par with the Batman's current series and is reminiscent of the JACKIE CHAN ADVENTURES, which isn't that surprising when you factor in artist/animator Jeff Matsuda, who had a hand in crafting both shows. Anyway, it's a pretty entertaining animated movie, and, based on my enjoyment of it, I just might have to give THE BATMAN another chance. "