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Batman Unlimited: Animal Instincts

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Batman Unlimited: Animal Instincts Home Entertainment Release
Studio: Warner Bros. Home Entertainment
Release Date: April 28th, 2015 - Digital; May 12th, 2015 - Blu-ray, DVD

Synopsis: Gotham City is under siege by a series of bizarre crimes, and only the world's greatest detective, Batman, can unravel the mystery! The trail leads to none other than the Penguin and his Animilitia, an animal-inspires squad of villains including Silverback, Cheetah, Killer Croc and the monstrous Man-Bat. Commanding a rabid pack of cybernetic carnivores, the Animilitia seems unstoppable, but Batman has some backup of his own as Green Arrow, the Flash, Nightwing and even Red Robin join the fight. So get ready for a wild, snarling showdown in the concrete jungles of Gotham!

Blu-ray and DVD Bonus Features
-"Penguin: High Society Criminal" Featurette
-A collection of DC Nation shorts
-From the DC Comics Vault - Bonus Cartoon

Digital Bonus Features
-"Penguin: High Society Criminal" Featurette
-A collection of DC Nation shorts



Batman Unlimited: Animal Instincts Blu-ray Review
by James Harvey

Like the recent Batman Versus Robin Blu-ray, Warner Bros. Home Entertainment has opted to add a little extra incentive for consumers to pick up the high-def home video release of this all-ages Bat-adventure. And, thankfully, the results are positive across the board.

Looking first at the video and audio quality, the studio has done a really fantastic job at giving this film a near perfect presentation. Batman Unlimited: Animal Instincts looks absolutely crisp and clean. Save for a little bit of banding in some of the dark and hazy moments, everything just pops. The film's color palette really helps, too, as colors look bold and full. In terms of audio, this movie sounds awesome. There's really no other way to put it. The Master Audio track really gets a workout here, providing quality that surpassed my expectations for this release. Given all the high-tech gadgets and futuristic settings, the film is full of cool sound effects, which are nicely matched to the film's audio work. Action scenes come at the viewer from all sides, the explosions and big beats sound thunderous and massive. Flying cars give out this cool low bass feeling, as do some of the robotic creatures our heroes duke it out with. Just fantastic work. 

And the surprises really keep coming with the bonus material. While there isn't a wealth of bonus material, there is a key extra that really make this Blu-ray an extra special release. 

First up, in terms of bonus content, is a short 13-minute featurette focused on the classic Bat-foe The Penguin. "Penguin: High Society Criminal" tells Penguin's backstory and it's evolution over the years, leading to the modern interpretation of the character. Some of the other villain's of the movie are briefly touched upon, but this extra gives the vast majority of it's running time to the felonious feathered foe. It's a nice, quick watch for those looking to get a re-education on the classic Bat-foe.

The Blu-ray also includes two Batman: The Brave and The Bold episodes, "Super-Batman of Planet X!" and "Gorillas in Our Midst!" Both are, of course, fantastic and fun as heck to watch. Here's hoping Warner Archive announces a Blu-ray collection for the show's third season soon...

Last up is a collection of DC Nation shorts which, to me, is pretty much worth the price of admission alone. The Batman Unlimited: Animal Instincts Blu-ray release includes the Farm League short "Snack Run", the Plastic Man / Batman team-up "The Bat and the Eel", a complete collection of Super Pets shorts and the stunning three-part "Batman of Shanghai" short. Ten shorts, all offering varying levels of quality, but all very much enjoyable. Personally, for me, the "Batman of Shanghai" shorts alone are worth picking up this Blu-ray for. It is some flat-out gorgeous stuff! Each shorts runs around 2 - 2 1/2 minutes, give or take and offer some very different, very intriguing takes on established DC heroes. It's a great initiative by DC Comics and Warner Bros. Animation that I wish lasted longer and was treated better by Cartoon Network. 

In terms of additional packaging extras, Batman Unlimited: Animal Instincts comes with a digital copy, a DVD edition of the movie and a Fire Bat figurine, which ties into the film's Mattel toyline source material. It's great to see Warner Bros. Home Entertainment showing support for the physical releases of their movies and, with such, providing a little incentive for collector's in the form of an exclusive figurine. The studio did this with Batman Versus Robin, and it's encouraging to see it continuing here. 

Overall, it's a good release for what would usually be a barebones title. All-ages titles usually get the short-end of the stick when it comes to extras, and it's nice to see Warner Bros. Home Entertainment buck that trend with the Blu-ray Deluxe Edition release of Batman Unlimited: Animal Instincts. Please note the bonus content on this Deluxe Edition is identical to the Blu-ray Combo Pack. A fun main feature coupled with some enjoyable extras - including the stunning "Batman of Shanghai" DC Nation short - make this a release worthy of adding to any Batman fan's collection. Recommended.

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