Batman: Under the Red Hood is a spectacular animated film with adult
comic fans in mind. Bruce Wayne is a driven man, one who has taken up
the persona of Batman to fight crime and protect Gotham City. This dark
tale deals with shocking twists and turns, without doling out too many
plot or story spoilers, the story starts in the past. Exploding the
viewer’s senses with such a shocking sadistic scene dealing with the
Joker and Jason Todd (The second Robin the boy wonder), and then jumps
ahead some years later delivering even more action, the viewer has no
danger of getting bored. While comic fans may well know some of the
events, this tale brings enough to the story to throw some surprises
even to the devout comic fan.
film deals very well with the human condition, choices made and
consequences, guilt, tragedy and betrayal.
Action in the film is thankfully not overly watered down. There are
deaths, there are massive beatings, and there is slight blood. Though
the opening violence was somewhat toned down (IE not a lot of blood) and
smartly so. The context is all there, but the visuals of the victim do
not match with the amount of violence. This is perhaps not only a story
telling choice, but also a smart choice. It is after all an animated
The Red Hood is working hard to take over Gotham’s underworld and has no
qualms for using violence and death to meet those goals. The turf war is
soon between the underworld boss, the Black Mask, the Red Hood, and the
body count and property destruction is on the rise. The Batman and
Nightwing find themselves in the middle of it all, the story lines clips
right along at a good pace, even with some flash backs and scene jumps
the viewer is never at a loss for what’s going on. In truth, it is
almost imposable to look away.
Voice acting is spot on, and though I am a fan of the Batman Animated
Series and the voice actors, Bruce Greenwood who plays Bruce Wayne and
Batman in this Warner Blu ray release is spectacular here. Other actors
such as John DiMaggio, Neil Patrick Harris, and Jensen Ackles all
deliver voice-acting performances that convey the amazing tale into a
believable tale within this DC Universe. The characters come to life
with not only the visuals, but also believable characters that are
living all of the life altering events exploding on screen.
The Blu Ray movie is a 1080p/VC-1 transfer that, depending on your HD TV
settings, either will leave you gawking or will make you feel it just
does not quit hit the mark. Myself with some minor adjustments found it
to be some astonishing animation. Characters and background are sharp,
though occasionally Jaggies or pixilation can be seen in some of the
lineart. As noted, some adjustments in video settings on our viewing set
seemed to take care a lot of that. Most of the Blu Ray visuals are
consistently good. This is not a wasted effort on the Blu Ray medium.
Colors are bold and pop. While the dark scenes can get a muddy artifact
effect, like night skies, depending on your TV settings, most of the
blacks look good on characters, only when the Gotham night sky is seen
in some scenes can banding ruin the effect. We tried our lightness
settings and found that we can adjust things where the banding effect
cannot be seen. The trade off though is a darker over all scene and
clarity of characters and the action going on can be lost.
Warner's DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 surround track is wonderfully active.
It is bold and explosive where it needs to be. From the music sound
track to the audio effects, all the sounds from a rumbling underlying
bass sound of explosions, to the tortured sounds of metal scraping
across concrete. Sound effects are all sharp sounding and for the most
part the surround sound speakers get a good work out plunging the
viewers in the middle of the action. The rear speakers are not as full
of punch on this sound track, taking a back seat most times coming into
play with ambient sounds during heavy dialog scenes. For the experience
alone though Warner really put it all out on this releases Audio. This
is perhaps one of our all time favourites to date on pure adrenalin
creating sound tracks.
The Blu Ray disk is packed with extras that explore characters, and even
offer bonus episodes of Batman the animated series and sneak peeks at
other animated film offerings. A digital portable copy is just the sweet
icing on this package. However, it is a bit jarring to watch the lower
resolution Batman the Animated Series after watching the beautiful main
Someone put some thought in the extras, nothing here seems like a throw
Robin: The Story of Dick Grayson (HD, 24 min.): Speaking with several of
the people involved with telling the story of Batman, they talk about
how robin came into being.
A First Look at 'Superman/Batman Apocalypse' (HD, 12 min.): Use of
storyboards and shots from the comics we get a look. In addition,
interviews with the cast involved, we get to see a bit about the
upcoming movie featuring Batman, Superman, and the origin of Superman's
cousin Kara (Supergirl).
Bonus Episodes – Four episodes selected by Bruce Timm are included here.
Two are from Batman the Animated Series, and two from 'The New
Adventures of Batman.' The video on the 'Batman the Animated Series'
episodes looks ok, though one can see the video is a bit jerky when the
scene zooms in on characters, and the 480p resolution is a bit jarring
after seeing such a beautiful picture with the main feature.
"Robin's Reckoning: Part 1" (SD, 22 min.): From Batman the Animated
Series, Batman and Robin go after new crime boss Billy Marin. It is soon
found that Marin is tied to Robin’s past in a most shocking way.
"Robin's Reckoning: Part 2" (SD, 22 min.): Robin goes it alone as he
tries to track down Marin and dealing once again with his past and his
"The Laughing Fish" (SD, 22 min.): From The New Adventures of Batman,
Batman squares off again with the Joker with some rather interesting
"Mad Love" (SD, 22 min.): This episode focuses on one of my favorites,
Harley Quinn. Harley wants’ to make sure to get the Joker’s undivided
attention so she plans on getting rid of Batman
DC Showcase – "Jonah Hex" (SD, 12 min.): A short animated feature, more
to promote the live action film than anything else. This short though is
bar far better at is small run time than most live action features.
Trailers (HD): 'Jonah Hex Motion Comic,' 'Legend of the Guardians,'
'Lord of the Rings Animated,' 'Justice League: Crisis on Two Earths,'
'Superman: Doomsday,' and 'Batman: Gotham Knight.' Not much more to say
Robin's Requiem: The Tale of Jason Todd (HD, 21 min.): This is the story
of Jason Todd, we hear from the DC writers and animators about Jason
Todd’s introduction, and the difference between Jason Todd and Dick
Grayson as Robin.
Batman: Under the Red Hood title here:
A must have title in your Blu ray Collection.
Have fun, Enjoy Blu Ray!
U.S Editor Impulse Gamer