Reviews - DVD - Double Feature: Sub-Zero and Mask of the Phantasm
Studio: Warner Home Video
Street Date: February 12, 2008
Announce Date: January 2, 2008
Run Time: 143 minutes
Package Type: Amaray Case
Original Aspect Ratio - 1.33
Standard [4:3 Transfer]
English (Dolby Digital 2.0 Stereo), Spanish (Dolby Digital 2.0
Stereo), French (Dolby Digital 2.0 Stereo), Portuguese (Dolby
Digital 2.0 Stereo)
ē Encoding: Region 1
ē Animated, Color
Description: Warner Home Video (WHV) and DC Comics will release the
Batman Double Feature DVD which contains two feature length animated
made-for-video movies to DVD for one value price Ė a first time for
Batman! The Batman Double Feature DVD will be available on February 12,
2008 for $14.97 SRP. Order due date is January 8, 2008.
Batman and Mr. Freeze: Sub Zero is a breathtaking animated adventure
that explodes into action when the villainous Mr. Freeze kidnaps
Batgirl. Now, racing the clock, Batman and Robin face off against Mr.
Freeze in the iciest showdown of the century. Batman Mask of Phantasm
was called ďone of the most imaginative films of the past yearĒ by Chuck
Rich (Westwood One). Only here will you discover all-new revelations
about Batmanís past, his archrival the Joker and the most grueling
battle of Batmanís life Ė the choice between his love of a beautiful
woman and his vow to be the defender of right.
Note: At this time it is believed that this release is just the
previous individual releases of Sub-Zero and Mask of the Phantasm
The original Batman: The Animated Series remains one of Americaís
most wildly praised and award winning cartoons of the past several
decades and the two films contained on this latest Warner Home Video
release are two shining examples of what the show was able to
accomplish. Unfortunately for the fans expecting an all-new DVD release
will be so severely disappointed in this recent release, itís not even
funny. There are so many confusing things to talk about on this DVD
release that I donít know where to begin.
In terms of the films contained on this disc, youíll find two of the
greatest stories told in the BTAS universe. Despite what the
order of the DVD would tell you, Mask of the Phantasm is actually
the first of the two and the more ďmature.Ē Originally released in
theaters on Christmas of 1993, Mask of the Phantasm opened to
critical praise that an animated film had not seen in American theaters
prior. Not that it helpedóits eventual box office intake was low and it
was quickly shooed from theaters. I can remember watching my VHS copy so
frequently that by the time I had bought the DVD of it, I thought it was
the most wonderful format in the world because the image was so clear
(and now the transfer included on this DVD and the last Mask of the
Phantasm releases are some of the dirtiest animation transfers Iíve
For SubZero I actually rented the Space Jam VHS just to
watch the trailer for it and I frequently called up my local WB Studio
Store to inquire about the release date for the film. Perhaps it was
because I was ten at the time, but the employees never seemed to tire of
answering my calls. I canít recall how many times I called them or why I
thought the studio store would know to begin with, but I was ten so I
canít claim to have had any real train of thought. Even weirder is that
once the movie finally did come out, I was so stingy with what little
allowance I had saved up that I didnít want to buy the film until I had
seen it first, to see if it was something I really wanted to see over
and over. I waited an additional two to three months before my local
library got a copy in. My hold was finally called, but being sick, I was
unable to pick it up. After a short walk by my family to go pick up the
video, I was finally able to pop it into the VCR and with a box of
Kleenex in hand (for my cold, not because I was going to cry) I
proceeded to watch one of the best animated stories from the series Iíd
In retrospect SubZero isnít the groundbreaking film my ten year
old self thought it was, but it was certainly a great story nonetheless.
These two films, the only feature length pictures that Warner Bros.
Animation produced for BTAS, are a great example of the quality
that came out of the series, what with its deep, dramatic and emotional
characters. Mask of the Phantasm to this day remains one of my
childhood and adulthood favorites and kids and adults can enjoy the film
on their own levels. Itís a great story for the Dark Knight and when
paired with the traumatic story of Mr. Freezeís life in SubZero,
this single disc set makes for a fair pairing.
Yes, you read that right. Single disc. While initially thought to be a
two-disc release of the previous releases for the films, Warner Home
Video has pressed a whole new flipper disc for this DVD release, putting
SubZero on one side and Mask of the Phantasm on the other
(featuring the films fullscreen transfer). Also confusing is the DVDs
packaging that puts SubZero before Mask of the Phantasm in
nearly every respect.
The rear art simply smashes too much information about the two films in
a little spot, with the run time for the films being warped around the
PG rating. They donít make any mention that SubZero is actually
unrated either, not that it really mattersÖjust a strange omission. Then
again I donít know where theyíd shove that information; the rear jacket
is packed enough as is.
The two sides of the discs are complete duplicates of the original
releases and contain nothing new. Exact same menus and exact same video
transfers. They couldíve taken the time to hunt down that 5.1 surround
track for SubZero that was released on LaserDisc and tossed it on
here, but thatís not what this release was meant for. A quick cash in on
the ever growing popularity of one of comic books most famous heroes.
Hereís hoping weíll see a more worthy release for Mask of the
Phantasm come itís twentieth anniversary.
For those that donít already own these two films, itís a cheap
alternative to buying two different DVD releases, but for those that
already have these two releases itís a definite downgrade. Not only do
you have to still deal with a flipper disc, you lose the widescreen
transfer of Mask of the Phantasm. Not a huge loss considering the
film was animated in fullscreen, but still. This is really just a cash
cow release that, one can hope, was just released to check the interest
in these two films to see if future special editions are warranted.
Letís all hope for a Phantasm special edition to coincide with The
Dark Knight DVD release, shall we?
Those that donít own the films: Recommended.
Already Own the Films: Big, fat Skip It.