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Batman: Under the Red Hood Blu-ray Review - -

Feature 10
Video 9.5
Audio 10
Special Features 10
Total 9.8

Distributor: Warner Bros
Running Time: TBA
Reviewer: Edwin Millheim
: M15+


Batman: Under the Red Hood

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.

The 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 film.

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 feature.

Someone put some thought in the extras, nothing here seems like a throw away.

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 parent’s death.

"The Laughing Fish" (SD, 22 min.): From The New Adventures of Batman, Batman squares off again with the Joker with some rather interesting story line.

"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 there.

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.

Check Batman: Under the Red Hood title here:

A must have title in your Blu ray Collection.

Have fun, Enjoy Blu Ray!
Edwin Millheim
U.S Editor Impulse Gamer


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