Batman: The Animated Series: Volume 3 (1992)

Genre(s): Action / Adventure / Animation
Warner Brothers || NR - 625 minutes - $44.98 || May 24, 2005
Reviewer: Kushmeer Farakhan || Posted On: 2005-06-30


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.:: F I L M ::.
The Film

S P E C I A L
.: F E A T U R E S :.

Special Features

A U D I O &
.:: V I D E O ::.

Audio and Video

.:: O V E R A L L ::.
Overall
.::MOVIE INFORMATION::.
Director: NA
Writer(s): Bob Kane (characters)
Cast: Voices of: Kevin Conroy, Loren Lester, Efrem Zimbalist Jr., Bob Hastings, Robert Constanzo, Michael Ansara, Adrienne Barbeau, John Glover, Mark Hamill


.::DVD INFORMATION::.
Supplemental Material:
  • Producers, Writers and Composer Commentaries
  • Video Commentary
  • "Gotham's New Knigh" Featurette
  • Superhero Trailers


Technical Information:
  • Number of Discs: 4
  • Full Screen (1.33)
  • English (Dolby Digital 2.0)
  • Subtitles: English

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.::THE FILM::.

This is the third collection of episodes from the critically acclaimed "Batman: The Animated Series". I reviewed the first one for the site (CLICK HERE), and never got around to reviewing the second one. The long and short of it: Episode-wise it wasn’t quite as good but feature wise it was equally good. I would’ve given the set 4 stars overall. This set is a tad different from the first two in that about halfway through the set, the series is retitled The Adventures of Batman and Robin. Executives at Fox (who were airing the series at the time) demanded that Robin appeared in more episodes and shockingly it didn’t effect the quality of the episodes in the slightest. In fact, these are, without a doubt the best episodes of the series (though I have a handful of favorites on the first and second disc as well).

Disc 1 - This disc is note-worthy because it has the first appearance of future Batman Begins villain, Ra’s Al Ghul (“The Demon’s Quest parts one and two”) and Batgirl (“Shadow of the Bat parts one and two”). The other three episodes are also pretty good, the highlight being “His Silicon Soul”. It’s an episode where there’s a robotic duplicate of Batman who think he IS Batman. It sounds hokey but it’s one of my favorites and it’s far more poignant than it sounds.

Disc 2 - This disc is a good mix of everything. We’ve got villains trying to reform (Poison Ivy in “House and Garden” and Killer Croc in “Sideshow”), a few good super villain romps (“Avatar” featuring Ra’s Al Ghul and “The Worry Men” with the Mad Hatter), a quiet story about a Gotham cop (“Bullet for Bullock”) and one of my all time favorites, “Trial”. In that one, all the major Arkham nuts (Joker, Two-face, Harley Quinn, etc.) kidnap Batman and hold him on trial for his “crimes” against them. Scarface and the Ventriloquist are introduced in the brilliant, “Read My Lips” as well.

Disc 3 - This is the disc where the show changes it’s name and it really doesn’t make much difference. We get a couple more new villains(Baby Doll and the infamous Bane who gained popularity during the 90’s for being the ONLY villain to ever defeat Batman), an Alfred centric tale(“The Lion and the Unicorn”), and the return of other big villains(“Catwalk”, “Time out of Joint” and “Harlequinade”) with Catwoman, Clock King, and Harley Quinn respectively. “The Terrible Trio” is a weak episode though and easily the weakest on the whole set.

Disc 4 - rounding out the collection we have THREE more episodes with villains trying to change (Riddler, Two-Face, and Harley Quinn in “Riddler’s Reform”, “Second Chance”, and “Harley’s Holiday”) which are all great. The other episodes (“Batgirl Returns” which teams Batgirl with Catwoman, “Deep Freeze” which is the follow-up to Mr. Freeze’s brilliant debut in “Heart of Ice” and “Lockup” which gives us yet another new villain) are all awesome too. “Showdown” is a different type of show. It’s the only episode where Batman plays a very minor role as it’s mostly a showcase of Ra’s Al Ghul’s past with a popular DC comics cult hero (Jonah Hex). “Make em’ Laugh” is another treat. I didn’t think anything could be enjoyable about an episode where there’s a villain named the Condiment King lol but lo and behold, it’s one of the show’s bests.



.::SPECIAL FEATURES::.

“Gotham’s New Knight” - is a 10 minute long look at the Producer’s and Writer’s creation and use of Batgirl in the series. It’s entertaining and informative and it’s fun to watch. They show the evolution of how the character grew in her brief appearances throughout the series and why they chose this version of the character.

Audio Commentaries - These seem to get better and better with every set. “Read My Lips” has commentary with Producer Bruce Timm, Writer Paul Dini, Director Boyd Kirkland, Writer Michael Reeves, and Composer Shirley Walker. As usual, the writers and producers goof on things and provide great info on how they decided to do the first appearance of Scarface. It’s also nice to see Shirley Walker on a commentary. Her work on the series is sadly underrated. The 2nd commentary is on “Harlequinade” and features Paul Dini, Shirley Walker, and Bruce Timm. This is the more fun of the commentaries as all involved are obviously in love with the episode and the character of Harley Quinn who, though created for the series, ended up being so popular she was actually added to the comic books later.

Video Commentary - Now here’s something new for the Batman box sets. How it works is when the episode, “House and Garden” plays you have the option of seeing a pop up screen where Bruce Timm, Paul Dini, and Boyd Kirkland are interviewed by Moderator Jason Hillhouse as they watch the episode. I thought it would be good but it just didn’t work. In large part, it’s because Hillhouse asks questions that are completely dumb. “Does this episode look particularly dark to anyone?”, He asks at one point. The crew briefly sat there in stunned silence at that one with the look on their faces speaking volumes before they answered him. The reason it was a dumb question is because the episode was particularly bright and colorful and the writers and producers HAD JUST FINISHED SAYING THAT before Hillhouse asked the question. Stuff like that happens throughout the commentary and it’s not pretty. I think it was a bad idea to have a moderator for this anyway. These guys are a lot of fun when they’re allowed to just say whatever during these commentaries. Reining them in with a moderator takes all the fun out of it.

Superhero Trailers - WB sells more DVDS. Yawn.



.::AUDIO & VIDEO::.

It’s good and better than the first two sets. None of the black specs present on the screen in disc 1 and parts of 2 are evident here much at all and the audio mix that made the dialogue kind of muted in set one and some of set 2 is no longer a problem either. Explosions still knock your sound system out.



.::OVERALL::.

The features good here but unspectacular. The audio commentaries are great but the video commentary is dull and the featurette is good but should’ve been longer. I think the set would’ve benefited greatly from more features on the whole. But then there’s the episodes themselves. They’re so good on this set that it counteracts any kind of negativity on the features. This is still a must-have for any Batman fan and any fan of great animation in general.