Sunday, July 17, 2011

DVD Review: Batman the Brave and the Bold: Season One Part Two. The General Review.

Batman the Brave and the Bold: Season One Part Two

(Released March 15, 2011 by Warner Home Video)

Another Looong DVD Review -- in Three Parts -- by Joe Torcivia.  Part One: The General Review.  

Despite once being the best DVD producer in the business, witness my animation and movie DVD Reviews of earlier Warner product throughout this Blog – more and more WHV simply pisses me off!

Their handling of Batman the Brave and the Bold on DVD is just another reason why!

For the longest time, the only way to obtain this wonderful series on DVD was to purchase THREE SEPARATE volumes of four, four, and five (!) episodes apiece – each with a retail price of 14.98. No season sets – or half-season volumes… just these piddly little packages at an over-inflated price (x 3)!

Then, after I dutifully bought all three of these, for a total of 13 episodes… Only then, did they release Batman the Brave and the Bold: Season One Part One -- encompassing the same 13 eps in ONE package, for a more justifiable MSRP.

Well, at least they “did the right thing” with the remaining 13 episodes of the First Season, resulting in the product reviewed in this post.

As there are many more episodes to cover, I’ll skip the usual background and the specifics of the series. You can catch up with that in my review of Volume One HERE.

Briefly, the animated TV series is based upon the notable comic book series from DC Comics called The Brave and the Bold. It was best known for its team-up stories that paired Batman with virtually ALL the heroes and villains of the DC Comics Universe.

The voice cast of Diedrich Bader as Batman, Dee Bradley Baker, Will Friedle (Batman Beyond) , Tom Kenny (SpongeBob Squarepants), James Arnold Taylor, Corey Burton (…You name it!) , Jeff Bennett (Johnny Bravo) , John DiMaggio (Futurama) and others are first rate, and superbly walk the delicate balance of adventure and surprisingly good humor that the series has become known for.

A particularly endearing quirk of the series is that the TEASER of most episodes tells a short and completely different story than the main body of the program. This way, you get even more DC Heroes and Villains per show.

As is our custom in these reviews, we’ll break it into CONS and PROS.


The Extra Features: Once again, as with the previous volumes, there are NO extra features! A pity for a series with such a rich comic-book heritage! Also, there are some pretty special episodes in this collection that just cry out for a commentary track!

Robo-Promos: “Robo-Promos” is my term for advertisements that play automatically before you even reach the initial menu. The four-episode collection “Volume Two” inflicted FOUR of these upon the viewer before “getting on with the show”! Here, however, there is only ONE Robo-Promo – and that is for the DVD production of the great comic book series “ALL STAR SUPERMAN” by Grant Morrison. It is presumed that, if you enjoy BATMAN: THE BRAVE AND THE BOLD, you will also enjoy ALL STAR SUPERMAN – so, even though it’s only ONE Robo-Promo, and for a good and related product, it’s still a “CON”. …Just not as much of a “CON” as in volumes past.

Too Many Warnings: Like Disney, Warner has lawyered itself to excess. A more recent result of this is that, when the program content ends, there are ELEVEN (I’ll repeat it for effect: ELEVEN!) warnings against copyright violations and the like – and in more languages than anyone purchasing this DVD would be likely to comprehend!!! I can certainly understand ENGLISH, SPANISH, and even FRENCH, but this expansive journey into multi-lingual legalese includes various Asian and Arabic languages! WHY? This excessive exhibition kicks in the moment the final show on a disc ends. If I promise to never exhibit this DVD on an OIL RIG (…Honestly, they really do warn against this!), could we be spared this experience in future sets? Huh? Please?


Bugs Bunny: The animation of Bugs Bunny that leads off each episode of Batman the Brave and the Bold just may be the best looking version of the wabbit since the late forties / early fifties! Sure would like to see a new cartoon with THAT design!

Characters and Settings: If there’s one thing you can count on from Batman the Brave and the Bold, it is new animated interpretations of “Characters-And-Settings-of DC Comics Lore”. Needless to say, we are not disappointed…

Featured Characters (In Order of Appearance): Batman, Gorilla Grodd, The Question, Equinox, Aquaman, Adam Strange, Alanna, Zardath, The Gordanians, Golden Age Flash Jay Garrick, The Scarecrow, Jason Blood/Etrigan the Demon, Jim Craddock/ Gentleman Ghost, Sherlock Holmes, Doctor Watson, Solomon Grundy, Black Canary, Huntress, Blue Beetle III (Jaime Reyes), Babyface (Edward G. Robinson parody), Tweedledee and Tweedledum, Wildcat, Bane, Booster Gold and Skeets, Punch and Jewelee, Kru’ll the Immortal, Robin, Crazy Quilt, Ace the Bat-Hound, Catman, Bat-Mite, Green Arrow (Silver Age, no beard), The Joker, Red Tornado, Major Disaster, The Outsiders, Despero, Jonah Hex, Mongul II, Mongal, Lashinia, Stompa, Steppenwolf, Mister Miracle, Big Barda, Oberon, Kamandi, Professor Carter Nichols, Man-Bat (future version), Hawk and Dove, OMAC, Shrapnel, Two-Face, Dr. Fate, Green Lantern Hal Jordan, Fire, Black Lightning, Plastic Man, The Music Meister, Black Manta, Clock King, Catwoman, and Psycho Pirate.

Villain Cameos: Dr. Polaris, Archer, Riddler, Felix Faust, Cluemaster, Fun-Haus, Bookworm, Mad-Hatter, The Cavalier, King Tut, Falseface, (…and, it would seem, Medulla and Oblongata from Freakazoid!), Weather Wizard, Calculator (voiced by Ethan Phillips “Nelix” from Star Trek Voyager), Sportsmaster, Zebraman, Shame, Abra-Kadabra, Penguin, Mr. Freeze, Egghead, Kite-Man, Killer Moth, The Brain, Copperhead… Blink and you’ll miss a lot of ‘em!

It’s Not TV: Viewers can enjoy Batman the Brave and the Bold with no “Network Identifying Bugs” in the corner of the screen, no pop up ads for other shows, and credits that you can “freeze-frame” and read. Viewers can hear the “extended version” of the show’s ending theme, which has probably NEVER played on TV because promos are always running over it! Indeed, one of the best reasons for collecting ANY contemporary TV show on DVD is that is has probably never been seen in this particular way ever before!

Image Quality: Batman the Brave and the Bold: Season One Part Two is not offered as a Blu-ray release. However, the standard definition release is presented in wide-screen and, when upconverted by a Blu-ray player, the image is so rich and vividly colorful that it looks just as good as a Hi-Def broadcast of the show!

Go on to the next post for the ultimate “PRO” for Batman the Brave and the Bold: Season One Part Two... The Episodes: 

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