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Batman: Mystery of the Batwoman


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#1 of 32 Jon Mercer

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Posted October 22 2003 - 12:58 AM

Has anyone stopped watching Indiana Jones long enough to watch this and is it any good?
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#2 of 32 Adam Tyner

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Posted October 22 2003 - 01:35 AM

I first watched Mystery of the Batwoman a month or so ago, and my initial reaction was tepid. The jazzy score seemed entirely out of place, lacking the sort of energy I'd expect from an animated action flick. The first half of the movie dragged, unable to really capture my interest until the mystery aspect was dropped and action really amped up. A pop song inserted into the middle of the movie seemed jarring and interminable. The premise came across as little more than a blurry photocopy of Mask of the Phantasm -- detailing some of the comparisons would require diving into spoiler territory, but both movies have a mysterious, newly-introduced vigilante who has it out for a group of gangsters, and Batman spends a large portion of the movie trying to uncover who's behind the mask. Heck, even the movies' titles are similarly structured. There was also a brilliant intermingling of past and present in Mask of the Phantasm as well as Return of the Joker, not only telling a great story, but further fleshing out the Batman mythos. Mystery of the Batwoman is more linear and straightforward. Since this movie is predicated on being interested in Batwoman's secret identity, the fact that I couldn't have cared less left me fairly bored for a substantial chunk of its 75 minute runtime.

few weeks later, this DVD showed up in my mailbox, and my thoughts about the movie took a near-180. I'm not entirely sure why that is, but I think it's because I stopped comparing Mystery of the Batwoman to Return of the Joker and Mask of the Phantasm and started appreciating it for its own merits. Mystery of the Batwoman bears little resemblance to them, and that's entirely by design. Judging by the comments by producer Alan Burnett in the disc's extras, the movie's mission statement is to avoid being as dark as those two films. So, sure, Batwoman doesn't have a body count the way the Phantasm did. There are no insights into Bruce's past, though fans of Batman Beyond, particularly Return of the Joker, may enjoy a nod to his future in the form of an awkwardly flirty phone call with Barbara Gordon. Mystery of the Batwoman is lighter but still heavy on the action, offering a more accessible blend of character development and explosive battles. I found myself appreciating some of the more subtle details -- eye movements, slight changes to a character's facial expression, the sorts of details that don't overtly whack the viewer over the head -- the second time around. Admittedly, the movie didn't completely endear itself to me with that second viewing. The subdued score still didn't seem to mesh with the action on-screen, and several lines of dialogue continued to leave me wincing: "Geez Louise, it's a woman!" and "For a computer geek, you're pretty smart," in particular. (The thrice-damned phrase "computer geek" is actually tossed around twice.) Still, the majority of the gripes I had after that first viewing completely dissipated the second time through, propelling itself from a movie I at first considered to be 'passably okay' at best to 'pretty good'.

Mystery of the Batwoman is a confection. There are no layers to peel and explore...no deep, introspective examinations into its characters' psyches. The filmmakers set out to make a fun, straight-forward animated action flick, and at that, they succeeded.

I have some screen caps and more information in a review I wrote this past weekend, if you're bored.

#3 of 32 JonZ

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Posted October 22 2003 - 01:50 AM

Theres a review at Dark Horizons.

#4 of 32 Rob T

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Posted October 22 2003 - 03:48 AM

I got it yesterday. I hope to watch it today or tomorrow. Posted Image

#5 of 32 David Williams

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Posted October 22 2003 - 11:14 AM

I'm a huge fan of BTAS and all of its incarnation and offspring. I really enjoyed Mystery of the Batwoman even though it wasn't as dark or personal as ROTJ, but then not all of the TV episodes were dark either. The story was very mature, in tone with the series, and even referenced an episode as character motivation for Sonia Alcana (the episode is Appointment in Crime Alley) and the inside joke about Ace was amusing. It was fantastic seeing Rupert Thorne again (who hasn't been seen since the original series).

Lolita Ritmanis did an admirable job again. Her score here sounds very much like the music she did for TNAB and STAS, although Batwoman's theme is a little more bluesy than her usual stuff (I really liked it). I think it's more of a shock coming off Kris Carter's work on Batman Beyond and ROTJ. It's obvious that WB's music division was pushing a new artist, but the song, "Betcha Neva", was catchy and it fit pretty well in the context of the film (i.e. all action did not stop).

I was worried that without Dini and Timm, the new generation of artists couldn't make a great animated Bat film, but Alan Burnett and Curt Geda put those fears to rest. I really hope Batwoman does well so they can make another movie soon.

BTW, if Halle Berry wasn't the character model for Kathy Duquesne, I'll eat my keyboard!
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#6 of 32 Tom Brennan

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Posted October 22 2003 - 05:16 PM

I must be living under a rock...when did this come out?
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#7 of 32 Rob T

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Posted October 22 2003 - 05:55 PM

Quote:
I must be living under a rock...when did this come out?

Yesterday.
It was kind of easy to miss with all the big releases out yesterday as well, though.

#8 of 32 Rob T

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Posted October 23 2003 - 10:21 AM

I liked it.
I kind of missed the original voices for The Penguin and Bane though.

#9 of 32 JustinCleveland

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Posted October 23 2003 - 12:57 PM

Now if we can just the TAS on DVD in season sets...

#10 of 32 Tom Brennan

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Posted October 27 2003 - 04:12 PM

I just watched it. I liked it, it's not in the same league as some of the other animated features, but it was very well done. It's certainly better then any of the 4 live action films. I loved all the voices, especially the new Bane. As always, Kevin Conroy nails both Batman and Bruce Wayne. He is by far the best incarnation of Batman outside of the comics.

I think the best thing on the DVD is the animated short on Batman and Catwoman. It's worth the price just for that! This makes me foam at the mouth for Batman Animated season sets!
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#11 of 32 Bill Burns

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Posted October 30 2003 - 06:11 AM

DVDFile's Dan Ramer has a very eloquent argument in his review for the OAR presentations of children's films (Batman: Mystery of the Batwoman has apparently been cropped to 1.33:1; yes, it's a direct-to-video title, but it seems it was animated for the HD/widescreen television spec, 1.78:1), and so I thought I'd bring his write-up to the attention of fans; OAR and 16x9 formatting when OAR is wide will always stand as DVD matters of the foremost importance to me, and I'm always happy to hear those arguments further explored in on-line reviews:

http://www.dvdfile.c....yofthebat.html

An excellent review. Posted Image Has there been any further word on season sets for the OAS? I disagree that the series deteriorated with Batman Beyond, a show I found shockingly good (I was expecting the worst when I first tuned in), and would love to see that covered in season sets as well (it didn't have a terribly long run). Justice League comes and goes (many episodes are excellent), but isn't really a Batman product -- his appearances are too few.

The last I heard (possibly from a post by David Lambert? I'm not sure now), WB had confirmed that they were planning season sets for Batman: The Animated Series (after long rejecting the idea), presumably for 2004. But that was months ago, and I haven't heard it mentioned since (until this thread). Hopefully these are still shaping up, and when the time comes for these releases, I also hope that all MAR animated product from the studio will be revisited in OAR and 16x9 formatted, and of course each and every episode of Justice League should be so presented. I won't buy them MAR, but I'll be first in line for sets that are OAR (I believe this is 1.33:1 for the Batman: The Animated Series and Batman Beyond, but correct me if I'm mistaken; and, again, this would be 1.78:1 for Batman: Mystery of the Batwoman, and all episodes of Justice League, and this of course also demands 16x9 formatting to maximize resolution ... of the direct to video Batman movies, which, by the way, are designed for 1.78:1 presentation? I know the series premiere of Batman Beyond was so designed, and of course the theatrical Batman: Mask of the Phantasm, which Dan mentions, but what about the Subzero OAV, and wasn't there a Batman/Superman team-up OAV? Complete sets of the Superman animated series will also be most eagerly welcomed. Posted Image).

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#12 of 32 David Lambert

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Posted October 30 2003 - 06:32 AM

Quote:
The last I heard (possibly from a post by David Lambert? I'm not sure now), WB had confirmed that they were planning season sets for Batman: The Animated Series (after long rejecting the idea), presumably for 2004



Not from me.


Although I can confirm that Superman: Last Son of Krypton is on the way.
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#13 of 32 Rob T

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Posted October 30 2003 - 06:48 AM

Quote:
(Batman: Mystery of the Batwoman has apparently been cropped to 1.33:1; yes, it's a direct-to-video title, but it seems it was animated for the HD/widescreen television spec, 1.78:1)

After watching the special features (which showed the scenes being drawn), I figured that is what happened.
It's too bad that they don't realize that the kids don't mind widescreen. Posted Image

#14 of 32 Bill Burns

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Posted October 30 2003 - 06:48 AM

I wrote:
Quote:
The last I heard (possibly from a post by David Lambert? I'm not sure now), WB had confirmed that they were planning season sets for Batman: The Animated Series (after long rejecting the idea), presumably for 2004

Dave wrote:
Quote:
Not from me.

Ah, my mistake, Dave -- sorry about that. I read word of it somewhere, but can't recall now just where (it might have even been a studio comment; I just don't recall). It sounded on the up and up (more than a rumor), but only WB can say with certainty. I hope the sets come to pass.

“That line was screwy.”

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#15 of 32 Adam Tyner

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Posted October 30 2003 - 07:25 AM

Quote:
yes, it's a direct-to-video title, but it seems it was animated for the HD/widescreen television spec, 1.78:1

I noted that in the review I linked to a week ago as well. Though it was animated at 16x9, the storyboards shown in the supplements look a lot like the monitors I've seen on supplements of live-action movies.

Those monitors are typically 4x3 and generally show a similarly 4x3 image, but the intended widescreen area (1.85:1 or what have you) is clearly marked. The storyboards for ...Batwoman are similarly designed, only in reverse. The storyboards are 1.78:1, but a 1.33:1 area in the center is clearly marked. I'm not suggesting that 1.33:1 is necessarily the intended aspect ratio, but it appears to have been designed to accomodate cropping, at least, and I didn't notice any composition issues in my two viewings of the movie. Actually, if not for the widescreen material in the supplements, I wouldn't have thought twice about its aspect ratio.

#16 of 32 John Berggren

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Posted October 30 2003 - 09:50 AM

I'm very hesitant about this disc because of the AR.
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#17 of 32 Adam Lenhardt

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Posted October 30 2003 - 01:15 PM

Warners just plain can't get Batman right. They crop Return of the Joker from the 4x3 animated ratio to 16x9 for the unedited version. Now they crop a 16x9 film to 4x3.Posted Image

#18 of 32 Adam Tyner

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Posted October 30 2003 - 02:19 PM

Quote:
They crop Return of the Joker from the 4x3 animated ratio to 16x9 for the unedited version.

Look at the extras. The movie was storyboarded for 16x9, and the letterboxed version is reportedly preferred by the creators. (I don't remember if that's in the commentary, but I remember hearing or reading a direct quote about that somewhere. I can dig it up, if necessary.)

It's premature at this point, I would say, to assume that the OAR is 1.78:1 just because it was animated that way..."more" doesn't mean "right", especially considering that the full-frame version of ROTJ has more animation and is reportedly not the preferred version.

#19 of 32 Robert Floto

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Posted October 31 2003 - 04:55 AM

I'm sorry, I'm really only skimming this thread because I haven't watched my copy yet...and fear I might find a spoiler somewhere here. So correct me if I'm wrong...

This was created for 16x9, but is being shown full screen...does this mean it is open matte, or is it actually pan & scam?
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#20 of 32 Adam Tyner

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Posted October 31 2003 - 08:09 AM

Quote:
This was created for 16x9, but is being shown full screen...does this mean it is open matte, or is it actually pan & scam?

Posted ImagePosted Image

It's center-cropped, but the 16x9 storyboards in the extras have a 4x3 portion clearly delineated in the center, which would seem to indicate that it was created with 4x3 as at least a viable viewing option. There is no word (as far as I know) on which aspect ratio is preferred by the filmmakers.


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