Sunday, September 25, 2011

Batman – The Brave and the Bold Season 2 Part 1 DVD Review

Film (4 out of 5 stars) 

There have been many iterations of Batman and his world that have spanned decades and medias and all are valid and have their own dedicated fans.  There was the “Golden, Silver, Bronze, and Modern Age of Comics,” the early Batman movies from the 40s, the 60s Batman show with Adam West and Burt Ward, the Tim Burton movies, the Joel Schumacher movies, and the Christopher Nolan movies.  On the animated side, there were the various Superfriendsshows and other shows like The New Scooby Doo Movies. It took awhile for the Batman movies to become serious and following the blockbuster success of Tim Burton’s BatmanBatman: The Animated Series was born to great acclaim.
The success of Batman: The Animated Series led to several animated spin-off films, as well as other animated series set in the same continuity and the same regular cast, including The New Batman AdventuresBatman BeyondJustice League, and Justice League Unlimited.  After that, more animated Batman series followed such as The Batman and then finally this series Batman: The Brave and the Bold, with Diedrich Bader as Batman.
While Batman started out in an adventurous tales and gradually shifted into a campier tone before an ill advised science fiction/fantasy period in the 70s, it turned into something else entirely when Frank Miller created a much darker story with Batman: The Dark Knight.  Much like the comics, the animated shows also ventured in new directions with the Animated Series continuing the dark path of the movies, Batman Beyond looking into the future, The Batmangave us a look at the young Bruce Wayne’s efforts to become Batman, and The Brave and the Bold seems like the culmination of all of those shows with it’s varying tones and story-lines.  One one episode it could have Detective Chimp and on another we might see the death of a hero.  Despite the occasional high stakes episodes, this is by far the most family friendly Batman show since Superfriends. This set covers the first half of the second season and the episodes provided include:
  1. Death Race To Oblivion
  2. Long Arm Of The Law
  3. Revenge Of The Reach
  4. Aquaman’s Outrageous Adventure
  5. Golden Age Of Justice
  6. Sidekicks Assemble
  7. Clash Of The Metal Men
  8. Bat Divided
  9. Super-Batman Of Planet X
  10. Power Of Shazam
  11. Chill Of The Night
  12. Gorillas In Our Midst
It took me awhile to adjust to this new show and it’s mostly whimsical story-telling as I’m a die hard fan of both The Animated Series and Justice League.  This show seems to have combined the approaches of both the Superfriends andJustice League Unlimited to combine them into a kid friendly showcase that features tons of known and obscure DC Comics characters.  This show seems to favor the more obscure heroes and villains which sometimes works and sometimes doesn’t.  I would have liked to seen more of the regular rogue’s gallery but I still like how this show handles them better than Justice League Unlimited did.

Video (4 out of 5 stars) 

This anamorphic wide-screen transfer looks very good for a DVD.  Colors are bright with varying hues that show off the show’s visual palette.  The animation looks sharp with crisp pictures that offer a lot of nice clarity.  Black levels are acceptable and overall I’m happy with the visual quality.  I would have preferred to have this on Blu-ray but that option isn’t available at this time.

Audio (4 out of 5 stars) 

The Brave and the Bold’s Dolby 2.0 stereo track is also pretty good for an animated show.  The show’s jazzy theme song by Andy Sturmer sounds great and my son loves to dance to it, which is rare for a Batman show unless you count the 60s show or possibly Prince’s “Bat-Dance” from the first movie.  Dialogue for the show sounds very clear and understandable and the sound effects are well balanced with the dialogue and the great music by Kristopher Carter, Michael McCuistian, and Lolita Ritmanis.

Special Features (0 out of 5 stars) 

There are no special features on this disc sadly as that will bring down the final score.

Final Thoughts (3 out of 5 stars) 

I have to admit that I love this show now, especially the episodes that Paul Dini writes which included the Scooby Doo episode which just kicked my nostalgia into overdrive.  The show provides a lot of in-jokes for fans, and the more you know about the Batman universe the more you will appreciate.  That’s not to say that new fans can’t jump on board because they can, as this is a very accessible show.  This is a perfect entry point for new and young Batman fans alike.
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