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Releases - DVDs - Batman: The Animated Series - Secrets of the Caped Crusader

Release Information:
Studio: Warner Home Video
Announce Date: 7/7/04
Street Date: 10/19/04
Run Time: 89
Episodes: Cat and the Claw, Pt. 1 and 2; Heart of Ice; See No Evil
Aspect Ratio(s):
Orginal Aspect Ratio - 1.33 Standard [4:3 Transfer]

English: Stereo 2S, Francais: Stereo 2S

Edition Details:
Encoding: Region 1
Animated, Color

Special Features
3D Animated Menus
Other: Pop-Up Trivia over "Heart Of Ice" episode

Official Synopsis: Defending the streets of Gotham City, Batman stands as a beacon of justice, a crusader for good, a one-man crimefighting force. In these four fabulous adventures from the Emmy-winning TV series, the Caped Crusader takes on Gotham's toughest criminals! When Batman's favorite feline villain Catwoman stirs up trouble, the Dark Knight flirts with danger--literally! He certainly can't believe what he doesn't see as he searches for an invisible crook. And he gets a chillingly lethal reception from arch nemesis Mr. Freeze. Join the heroics with Gotham's finest for more than an hour of action-packed thrills and excitement! Episodes: "The Cat and the Claw, Parts I and II"; "Heart of Ice"; "See No Evil."

Continuing their goal of collecting episodes of Batman: The Animated Series in production order on single volume DVD releases, Warner Home Video unleashes Batman: The Animated Series - Secrets of the Caped Crusader. A fine effort by Warner, the DVD ends up offering a mixed bag of episodes, but some surprisingly interesting extras.

Four episodes from the original run of Batman: The Animated Series are included - "The Cat and The Claw, Parts One and Two," "Heart of Ice," and "See No Evil." Once again, I'll skip the already common knowledge background on this animated series and just jump ahead to reviewing this DVD.

The four episodes included are equally divided between entertaining and mediocre. The two part "The Cat and Claw" actually starts out pretty good, but hits a wall half way through part one and slinks along until poorly animated conclusion. Bad car chases, some virus, a sorta cool Bond-esque villain dubbed Red Claw, an apparently underfed pet cat string this episode out far longer than they should. Not only is the story lousy, but it's a poor introduction to Catwoman, as well.

"Heart of Ice" and "See No Evil" make up for it with two excellent stories. "Heart of Ice," my personnel favorite (check out the "Heart of Ice" Tribute Section) provides us with the tragic backstory of Mr. Freeze, a man turned into a monster after an experiment meant to save his wife goes tragically awry. Grade-A stuff here, folks. "See No Evil," while not as good, tells a frightening tale of child abduction with a classic Batman twist.

The episodes themselves are offered in full frame with standard 2.0 audio mixes. Dust and scratches intentionally remain on every episode, on request from the producer. As usual, there are no chapter breaks within the episodes and the menus are still and boring.

While the number of extras is small, the content is actually pretty strong. An informative trivia track for "Heart of Ice" reveals provides information on Batman's history and offers tidbits for the animated series. The "Voices of the Knight" featurette gives us a look at the voice actors and offers a behind-the-scenes perspective on bringing the characters to life. Both extras end up providing some rather substantial information on the cartoon. Trailers are also included.

This is a fine DVD for anyone wishing to test out Batman: The Animated Series, the hardcore completist fans, or for parents who want intelligent kid-friendly fare that will keep kids occupied for about 90 minutes, but the release isn't to anyone outside of this rather small market group. The trivia and featurette add some nice content to this small release.

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