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The Batman vs. Dracula
Format: DVD
Announce Date: 7/4/05
Street Date: 10/18/05
Closed Captioning: Yes
MSRP: $24.98
Packaging Type: Amaray Case
Media Quantity: 1
Run Time: 84 minutes
Sound Track Language: English
Subtitles: English, Francais, Espanol
Aspect Ratio: Original Aspect Ratio - 1.33, Standard [4:3 Transfer]
Other Formats: Gift Set (11/22/05)

Synopsis: Gotham City is terrorized not only by recent escapees Joker and Penguin, but by the original creature of the night, Dracula! Can Batman stop the ruthless vampire before he turns everyone in the city, including the aforementioned super villains into his mindless minions?

DVD Features:
• "Science vs. Superstition": Batman's computer gives light to the legend of Dracula and all its rumors.
• 1) "City of Knight": Click on a map of Gotham and discover behind the scenes and hidden buttons with short video clips of the making of.
• 2) "Voices in Close Up": Multi-window montage with pop-up trivia boxes and interview footage give intimate interview looks at the voices behind Batman vs. Dracula.

The Batman vs. Dracula
Review by Zach Demeter

On October 18th, Warner Home Video will release the first Direct-To-Video feature for the popular The Batman animated series. Skeptics wondered how it would stand up both against the show itself as well as the rich history of the Dracula legend. You don’t need to be skeptical anymore.

The Movie: I won’t deny that I laughed at the idea of this movie when it was first revealed. Vampires in The Batman? I like my Batman to come with a bit of reality to it all—it’s what makes him the most relatable of all superheroes. I must say, however, that the film handles the Dracula lore superbly. We get the usual Vampire myths in it, but the way it’s all wrapped up in the end makes it seem less ludicrous than the idea originally sounded.

The movie was an awesome addition to the The Batman show and to Batman animation in general; it’s a fine piece of work and I heartily recommend it to anyone who might be even the slightest bit curious.

For a more in-depth review, refer to The Batman vs. Dracula movie review.

Video and Audio: What’s a movie without the proper technical specifications to show it off?

The Batman vs. Dracula comes with a gorgeous transfer; very, very little interlacing (literally only seen if you go frame-by-frame and look closely; even in those cases its rare), the transfer is just beautiful. The compression level can vary depending on the scene; luckily most of the film is in pitch-black settings, so the there’s never much compression to be seen. The only bit of strange compression to be seen is during close-ups of characters; the coloring and compression is an odd mixture of regular artifacting to what resembles GIF compression. It’s not at all distracting, however; you really have to pay attention to see it.

The audio is strong as well; there’s never too much bass, so your room won’t be thudding with this one. With Dolby 5.1 Surround on it, however, there’s plenty to be heard around the room; this is definitely another strong point in this DVD release.

The Extras: Here is quite possibly the only negative part of the DVD.

First up is a “Science vs. Superstition” featurette, narrated by The Batman. In it he discusses the history of Dracula and Vampires and actually throws around a few neat facts and discoveries along the way. It’s both entertaining and informative and should interest both the kids, any older siblings or parents that sit down to watch this DVD.

Next up is some interviews with the production crew and staff on the show and on this DTV. I do hand it to WB for providing a few more behind-the-scenes looks than what we got on the last Batman DTV (Mystery of the Batwoman), but with those extra minutes we get an aggravating menu system. In order to see these interviews with the production staff and crew, we hit the “City of the Knight” menu, where we get to choose the Batcave, Arkham Asylum or the Cemetery. Inside those are interviews specific to those areas; sound good? It does until you see how it’s set up.

In order to see each of the featurettes, you have to use your control to “navigate” through those areas and once you highlight a character or object, you hit “Enter” (or “Play”, depending on your remote) and you get to view the interview. This wouldn’t be all that bad if the menus were easier to navigate; in addition to that, you have to look out for the “Lost Ones” as they’ll “attack you” if you click a highlighted area that you’re not supposed to be on. Once that happens, you’re sent back to the navigation menu. I’m sure kids may find the “hunt” fun, but what the kids find inside all of this really wouldn’t be interesting to them. A simple navigation would’ve been better suited. If at all possible, I recommend viewing these features on your PC’s DVD drive; it’s easier to navigate with the mouse.

“Voices in Close-Up” is another enjoyable featurette for all, albeit short. We see interviews with Rino Romano (The Batman), Kevin Michael Richardson (The Joker) and Tom Kenny (The Penguin). It’s a lot of fun to see the characters do the voices and the motions they do during them; you also get to hear what the actors sound like in their “normal” voices. I must say it was a bit jarring to hear Rino Romano talk as his Bruce Wayne is his real voice.

In all we’re looking at twenty-to-thirty minutes of special features, plus eleven (yes, eleven) trailers for already-out or upcoming WHV releases and Kids WB! premieres. Not bad for a “children’s” DVD, but still not quite up to snuff.

Overall the movie is incredibly entertaining and the DVD is worth that alone. Video and audio are undeniably strong, but if you're searching for special features, don't look here. There’s really not much to see and what small bit of it exists is set up inside an annoying menu system.

Addendum (10-17-05): After receiving the final retail version of The Batman vs. Dracula, there doesn't appear to be any additions compared to what I was sent earlier to review. There is only one audio track (Dolby English 5.1 Surround) and there are no subtitles.

There are fifteen chapters on the DVD in all but they are not selectable from the main menu. You have to use your DVD remote to skip through them, one by one.

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