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Releases - DVDs - Batman: The Animated Series, Volume 2

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Release Information:
Studio: Warner Home Video
Announce Date: 8/25/04
Street Date: 12/7/04; Delayed until 1/25/05
Closed Captioning: Yes
MSRP: $44.98
Packaging Type: Slipcase
Subformat: Multi Disc
Media Quantity: 4
Sound Track Language: English
Run Time: 624
Episodes:
Disc 1 - Eternal Youth; Perchance to Dream; The Cape and Cowl Conspiracy; Robin's Reckoning Part One; Robin's Reckoning Part Two; The Laughing Fish; Night of the Ninja
Disc 2 - Cat Scratch Fever; The Strange Secret of Bruce Wayne; Heart of Steel Part One; Heart of Steel Part Two; If You're So Smart, Why Aren't You Rich?; Joker's Wild; Tyger, Tyger
Disc 3 - Moon of the Wolf; Day of the Samurai; Terror in the Sky; Almost Got 'Im; Birds of a Feather; What is Reality?; I am the Night
Disc 4 - Off Balance; The Man Who Killed Batman; Mudslide; Paging the Crime Doctor; Zatanna; The Mechanic; Harley and Ivy
Aspect Ratio(s):
Original Aspect Ratio - 1.33 Standard [4:3 Transfer]

Audio
English: Stereo 2S
Francais: Stereo 2S
Espanol: Stereo 2S

Edition Details:
ē Encoding: Region 1
ē Animated, Color


Special Features
ē Commentary by Bruce Timm (Producer) and Eric Radomski (Producer) on "Robin's Reckoning Part 1"
ē Commentary by Bruce Timm (Producer), Eric Radomski (Producer), Kevin Altieri on "Heart of Steel Part 2"
ē Commentary by Bruce Timm (Producer), Eric Radomski (Producer), and Paul Dini (Producer) on "Almost Got 'Im"
ē Commentary by Bruce Timm (Producer), Eric Radomski (Producer), and Boyd Kirkland (Producer) on "Harley and Ivy"
ē Featurette: Robin Rising [Featurette detailing the evolution of Robin's character in the series RT 10:00]
ē Gotham's Guardians [Featurette about the supporting cast of The Batman Animated Series- Includes Commissioner Gordon, Alfred Pennyworth, Selina Kyle (aka Catman), Harvey Bullock, Rene Montoya. RT 10:00];
ē  Voices of the Knight [Featurette about the voices behind the characters RT10:00]

Official Synopsis: Fight crime day and night alongside the Dark Knight with this deluxe 4-disc set packed with 28 heroic adventures from the acclaimed series! Filled with gripping plots, multidimensional characters and superb voice talent, this Emmy-winning series has defined Batman for legions of fans. Enjoy amazing encounters with Catwoman, duels with the Penguin, contests with the Riddler and of course, battles of wit with the Joker - plus Exclusive Extras from the minds that conceived this cutting-edge version of the classic hero! Grab your cape and swing into action with this quintessential Batman compilation!

Review
Batman: The Animated Series is the best television adaptation any comic book superhero has ever received. A perfect blend of action, drama and character, all realized through beautiful animation, it is the gold standard against which all action adventure animation must be compared.

It was daring and bold, not just for its time but for all time. It didnít talk down to its audience, but managed to cater to the kids as well as adults. It borrowed from the comics where it needed to, but didnít follow them slavishly. Visually, it struck a consistent look even while crafting individual episodes that reflected the stories of their particular characters. The design work was ingenious. Many cartoons of the late eighties and early nineties were pretty to look at but looked like crap when they moved. Batman, with its radically streamlined designs, managed to be both striking and fluid. The backgrounds, drawn on black paper, created a dark mood, and the brilliant symphonic scores filled the silences that allowed Batman to become the strong-and-silent character we always knew he was.

Warner Bros. continues its release of Batman: The Animated Series to DVD with Volume 2, collecting twenty-eight episodes. As with any collection, it has a mix of highs and lows, of great episodes and real stinkers. Among the best of the best collected here: The critically acclaimed two-part episode "Robinís Reckoning" dramatizes Dick Graysonís origin story while also setting up his eventual break with the Dark Knight. "If Youíre So Smart, Why Arenít You Rich?" introduces the animated universeís Riddler, a character the producers rethought from the ground up. "Perchance to Dream" is an intriguing exploration of Batmanís fears and desires in a Twilight Zone-like story. It also includes the extremely enjoyable "Almost Got ĎIm," "Birds of a Feather," and "Harley and Ivy," the latter of which launched a very popular all-girl villain team.

On the other hand, admittedly, you also get "Moon of the Wolf," "Cat Scratch Fever," and "Tyger Tyger," dire episodes that actually make you grateful that the disc hasnít got chapter stops: Hit the forward button, and it sends you straight to the next story.

Extras are a real improvement from the first set. The best featurette on the discs is undoubtedly "Voices of the Knight," in which cast members Kevin Conroy, Mark Hamill and Adrienne Barbeau, as well as voice director Andrea Romano, discuss their approaches to the characters. (It includes a marvelous bit in which Hamill compares the Jokerís laugh to a musical instrument.) Also included: "Guardians of Gotham," in which the supporting cast, from Jim Gordon to Dr. Leslie Thompkins, is analyzed by the creative crew, and a featurette on Robin in which the crew expresses their mixed feelings about the character and his evolution. This featurette, surprisingly, even goes past The Animated Series to feature clips from and discussions of The New Adventures, in which Dick Grayson became Nightwing and Tim Drake moved into the Batcave.

Where the first volume contained only two commentaries, the new set has four, for "Harley and Ivy," "Almost Got ĎIm," "Robinís Reckoning (Part I)" and "Heart of Steel (Part II)." Producers Bruce Timm, Eric Radomski and Paul Dini are joined by directors Boyd Kirkland and Kevin Altieri on the latter two, respectively, and the crew has a lot of fun reacting to and discussing the episodes as they watch them.

The transfer isnít as clean as the Superman set (also recently released), and there are a few bits of grain here and there. And yet that is curiously fitting: itís a very retro-looking series and the retro-crud actually makes it feel more authentic, somehow. The sound is good, with voices that are clear and music that rings through nicely. The menus are cooler than the last set. Whilst not as pretty as Supermanís, theyíre nice and simple and donít hinder my enjoyment of the set.

If youíre reading this, youíre already more than likely to buy it anyway. But itís worth saying anyway: You must buy this set. The years of waiting have paid off. This is Batman the way he should be, in a set that truly does the show justice.

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