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Discussion in 'TV on DVD and Blu-ray' started by Jon Mercer, Oct 22, 2003.
Has anyone stopped watching Indiana Jones long enough to watch this and is it any good?
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.
Theres a review at Dark Horizons.
I got it yesterday. I hope to watch it today or tomorrow.
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!
I must be living under a rock...when did this come out?
I liked it.
I kind of missed the original voices for The Penguin and Bane though.
Now if we can just the TAS on DVD in season sets...
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!
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:
An excellent review. 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. ).
I'm very hesitant about this disc because of the AR.
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.
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?