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Releases - DVDs - Batman: The Animated Series, Volume 3

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Release Information:
Format: DVD
Announce Date: 2/23/05
Street Date: 5/24/05
Closed Captioning: Yes
MSRP: $44.98
Packaging Type: Slip case
Subformat: Multi Disc
Media Quantity: 4
Run Time: 609
Episodes:
Disc 1 - Shadow of the Bat, Part 1; Shadow of the Bat, Part 2; Blind as a Bat; The Demon's Quest, Part 1; The Demon's Quest, Part 2; His Silicon Soul; Fire From Olympus
Disc 2 - Read My Lips; The Worry Men; Sideshow; A Bullet for Bullock; Trial; Avatar; House and Garden
Disc 3 - The Terrible Trio; Harlequinade; Time Out of Joint; Catwalk; Bane; Baby-Doll; The Lion and The Unicorn
Disc 4 - Showdown; Riddler's Reform; Second Chance; Harley's Holiday; Lock-Up; Make 'Em Laugh; Deep Freeze; Batgirl Returns
Aspect Ratio(s):
Original Aspect Ratio - 1.33 Standard [4:3 Transfer]

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

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

Thanks to GMahler for the scans of the Lithograph.


Special Features
• Commentary on "Read my Lips" by Producer, Bruce Timm; Writer, Paul Dini; Director, Boyd Kirkland; Writer, Michael Reaves; and Composer, Shirley Walker
• Video Commentary on "House and Garden" by Producer, Bruce Timm; Writer, Paul Dini; Director, Boyd Kirkland; and Moderator, Jason Hillhouse
• Commentary on "Harlequinade" by Producer, Bruce Timm; Writer, Paul Dini; and Composer, Shirley Walker
• Featurette: "Gotham's New Knight" - [Featurette on Batgirl as Batman's Newest Ally]

Official Synopsis: Gotham City crime czars Scarface and Rupert Thorne battle evil masterminds like the Joker and the Penguin for money, power, and respect. Kidnappings rise as foe-versus-foe attacks become more vindictive. And just when you thought you knew the good guys from the bad, the craziest villains try to go straight, triggering one dangerous blowout after another. Amidst all the terror, one man walks the fine line between vengeance and justice as often as he balances his crimefighting persona and his billionaire playboy public life. This is the Batman series that introduced a new kind of super hero -- cool, composed, and uncompromising. Your Batman collection won't be complete without this compilation.

Review
It seems like Volume 1 of Batman: The Animated Series was just released and yet we’re already on the third and final volume for Batman: The Animated Series, collecting the last twenty-nine episodes of the series.

There are some shining examples of what made Batman: The Animated Series so great on this set. The debut of Batgirl, expansion on Ra’s Al Ghul’s character, introduction of Scarface, a great noir-ish detective story in ”A Bullet For Bullock,” the first and only BTAS appearance of Bane, the return of Mr. Freeze and much more of Robin, as this set encompasses the entire The Adventures of Batman & Robin set of episodes. There are a few stinkers (“The Terrible Trio” immediately springs to mind), but as with the previous sets, the fact of owning even the duds is a welcome thought.

Before I get too far into the DVD, I just want to point out some answers to questions fans had about the release. The original The Adventures of Batman & Robin intro is on the proper episodes, as well as the new theme and the red end credits background. All remaining episodes (all twenty-nine) from the series are on here; nothing was left or held off until the fourth volume (The New Batman Adventures). Packaging is the same and yes—there really are only three commentaries.

Since the thought of three commentaries is still fresh in your mind, I’ll move onto the special features. Compared to other releases, this is the lowest quantity of features yet; two audio commentaries, one video commentary and a Batgirl featurette. I can’t say I’m too pleased with the results, but the number of episodes is higher than past releases, so I guess it evens out somehow.

Both audio commentaries feature composer Shirley Walker, while Michael Reaves participates in “Read My Lips.” The video commentary on “House and Garden” really makes no sense as to why it was made into a video. You see moderator Jason Hillhouse ask questions to the crew of the episode, although it’s really just more of him “ooing” and “aahing” at all the moments in the show, along with inter-cut shots of Dini, Timm and Kirkland. The worst part of all is that the commentary is shown as a square, most of the time, in the bottom or left hand corners of the video, making it all the more pointless. Unless you have an odd desire to see them laugh, there’s no reason to look forward to the video portion. The commentary, along with the other two, is still solid and offers insight into the episode.

“Gotham’s New Knight” is a featurette on Batgirl in both BTAS and TNBA, showing more clips from her TNBA appearances (including some crystal-clear DVD quality clips of "Over the Edge" and "Old Wounds," two fan favorites), oddly enough. It’s got a few neat tidbits from the creators and writers of the show, a word or two from Alex Ross (a rather odd cameo) but its short run time (seven minutes) leaves more to be desired. Then again, I guess you can only talk about one character for a short time.

Still menus are a thing of the past at WHV it seems. Marking the first animated menu release for the BTAS Volumes, we get a nice intro to Gotham and Batman that leads up to the main menu, which has moving searchlights, The Adventures of Batman & Robin music playing over it and rotating characters, which include a horribly off-model Joker and Harley Quinn. Sub-menus are all still and without music.

Audio and video is unbelievably strong in this release; very little interlacing is present on disc one and discs after that feature little or none. Audio is crystal clear, with no distortion or glitching. It’s Dolby 2.0, and it’s about as good as you can ever make it sound.

One minor note about this release: while it plays fine on standalone DVD players, those who use their DVD drive in their PC may have trouble reading the third disc. I had it stall multiple times on each episode on the disc, sometimes pausing for only a second and other times for up to a minute. I tested it on multiple DVD-ROM drives and had the same results; while I thought it was simply a bad disc, I was able to test a second set, with the third disc having the same read problems. Not completely sure what the problem is, but like I said, the standalone DVD players I tested it on had no problems.*

Aside from the sparse special features, this is a solid release. There are a few odd graphic choices for the package (Bane on the packaging spine and the old Scarecrow design from his first appearance on the fold-out), but still a nice set overall. Fans won’t want to miss it due to the fact that it will complete their collections and those who just want the episodes will be in heaven with the largest volume for Batman: The Animated Series to be released.

* - Update: The DVD-ROM glitch seems to be very common. You can fix the glitch by holding down the SHIFT key as the disc loads. This disables auto-loading and allows the disc play skip free (if done right).

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