Tag Archives: Kevin Conroy

Review: Batman: The Animated Series (Volume 2) My Reviews 15 DEC 2011

The 1990’s produced one of the best animated television shows ever to grace the Silver Screen, namely Batman: The Animated Series, produced by legendary comic book figures like Alan Burnett, Paul Dini and Bruce Timm for example.

It has been described as one of the closest non comic book adaptations of the Batman mythos, won numerous awards for its writing which was far more mature and thought-provoking than other animated shows of the time, and introduced its iconic visual style, dubbed Dark Deco by its creators.

Volume 2 in this DC Comics Classic Collection packs 28 episodes in over four discs, and as a result you are treated to a nice variety of Batman material versus a number of his greatest foes, as well as his interactions with the newly introduced Dick Grayson as Robin. Unfortunately, as it simply was done back in those days, each episode is self-contained with no overarching story or sometimes even real continuity to speak of, which does detract a little when watching it today, surrounded by the advances in writing for today’s animated fare. Nevertheless, the stories are compelling, action-packed and for the most part, thoroughly enjoyable, meaning an absolute toe-curling thrill for existing fans of the Bat.

Visually of course, Batman: The Animated Series stands head and shoulders above the rest in terms of distinctive style, thanks to its art deco visuals, simple lines and very dark tone. However, it must be noted that its approach to place the series in a sort of a timelessness 1940’s-like bubble really does age it 20 years down the line, and unfortunately both the style and the animated objects look pretty dated and thus a little difficult to fully enjoy. Technology in particular suffers, with things like computers, servers and even telephones looking really silly.

Aurally however, Batman: The Animated Series still comes across as a powerhouse amongst animated television. With fantastic voice work from the likes of Kevin Conroy as the Batman/Bruce Wayne, Mark Hamil as the Joker, Bob Hastings as James Gordon and Adrienne Barbeau as Catwoman, and a fully scored orchestral soundtrack to back them up, Batman: The Animated Series sets the benchmark for how a rich, mature animated television show should sound.

In summary, Batman: The Animated Series is quite dated to watch nowadays, especially in the visuals department, but to be fair, you have to keep in mind that this series is basically 20 years old now! Once you have that notion in your head, you really can sit back and enjoy what truly is one of the best animated American television series ever to be produced, with strong writing, a distinct and enjoyable visual style, and a great musical score with voice acting to complement.

And then of course we mustn’t forget that iconic opening sequence and theme music!

It remains enjoyable and well worth picking up if you are a comic book fan or in particular, a Batman universe fan. As for the mileage for people not falling into either of those two categories – well I can’t say for sure, but I have a sneaking suspicion that the marked age of the show will count against it in their eyes.

Oh well, their loss! :)

Related Link: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Batman:_The_Animated_Series

Review: The Batman/Superman Movie (1998) Animation | My Reviews 07 APR 2011

What do you do if you have one story broken over three episodes from a hit 1997 television show? You merge them into one movie and make more money by selling them direct to DVD of course!

And thus The Batman/Superman Movie was born.

Grabbing episodes 29, 30 and 31 from 1997 Season 2 of Superman: The Animated Series, the story titled World’s Finest (Parts I – III) in its original form, is penned by Alan Burnett and Paul Dini, and directed by Toshihiko Masuda.

The story involves a near bankrupt Joker hatching a scheme to replace the funds blocked thanks to the Batman’s Gotham activities, by stealing a large status made of Kryptonite and travelling over to Metropolis with the aim of striking a deal with Lex Luthor in order to kill Superman in exchange for a billion dollars.

But as luck would have it, Bruce Wayne is currently in partnership with LexCorp over a new robotics project, meaning that Batman too finds himself in the unfamiliar Metropolis, setting up the first ever meeting between the Man of Steel and the Bat, as they take on the combined might of two of their most cunning foes.

As with the writing for all the DC Animated Universe series’, the story is adventure-laden, packed with snappy dialogue, one-liners and puns, not to mention the non-stop action that this time around features two of DC’s biggest attractions in tights.

And the clever little feuding over Lois Lane between Clark Kent and Bruce Wayne is a particularly nice touch.

It is a thoroughly enjoyable, classic Batman and Superman story, animated with the distinctly stylized big chin and simple lines that came with all the original DC Animated universe fare, backed up of course with the all important voice work of Kevin Conroy as Batman, Mark Hamill as The Joker, Clancy Brown as Lex Luthor, Dana Delany as Lois Lane and of course, Tim Daly as Superman. And needless to say, everything is rounded off with a full orchestral score as per usual.

Thoroughly enjoyable, classic Batman and Superman action that all fanboys should be able to enjoy, making it well worth picking up from the DVD store, even if just to relive some of that animated nostalgia coming out of the late 90s when superheroes were finally done right!

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Batman: Mystery of the Batwoman Comic Books | My Reviews 14 AUG 2008

BatmanThere is a new bat in town and she’s wreaking havoc amongst Gotham’s criminal element – the only problem is that she isn’t associated with the real Batman or even Bruce Wayne in any way whatsoever.

Her methods increasingly violent and with scant regard for human life, it is up to Batman to try and figure out her identity and stop her before things get to far out of hand and she ends up hurting him and his identity in the process. However, suspects as to her identity are plenty and it is going to take some time to solve this mystery, time that Batman and the GCPD may just not have available to them – but time that playboy billionaire Bruce Wayne might.

Batman: Mystery of the Batwoman is a 2004, straight to DVD, animated film based on the DC Comics character Batman and is the third film set in the same universe as Batman: The Animated Series. The movie is written by long time Batman Animated scribes Alan Burnett and Michael Reaves and is directed by Curt Geda.

On the story front, Alan Burnett crafts a multi-layered story that happens to build up quite a nice mystery that keeps the details nicely hidden right until the end of the movie where everything finally gets revealed. As a viewer you are kept on the edge of your seat trying to guess what is going to happen and at the same time you get entertained as Batman presses on to solve the mystery surrounding the identity of Batwoman while Batwoman continues her crusade against villainy and the team-up of Penguin, Thorne and Carlton Duquesne try their best to stay ahead of the vigilante pair in order to get their weapons shipped off before things go down the toilet.

Combined in with all these story elements is a hint of romance for Bruce Wayne and this adds a further element to what is already quite a, enjoyable story. And if all of the above still isn’t enough, all the trademark action, quips, gadgets and adventure is stuffed in as well, resulting in what can only be described as a thoroughly entertaining movie for both young and old alike.

Visually, Batman: Mystery of the Batwoman sticks very closely to the overly simplified, extremely stylish look that was first made famous in the Batman: The Animated Series cartoon and then refined over the years as the various DC Animated Universe series’ took off. The look carries extremely simple lines that are often more angular than not and combine with simple colour palettes to produce a very clear and pleasing on the eye image that gets the job done and gets it done well.

The animation itself is very smooth and the choreography, particularly the fighting scenes, all look pretty spectacular. As per usual there is a host of explosions and punch ups, and all of these end up looking pretty great on screen.

If there is one thing that has become synonymous with the animated Batman world then it is without a doubt the voice of Kevin Conroy as Batman and thank goodness this movie sticks to its source material and brings back all the familiar voices that fans have come to know and enjoy over the years. Included amongst the voice acting cast appears quite a large acting and television personality contingent, including names like Efrem Zimbalist, Jr., Tara Strong, Bob Hastings, David Ogden Stiers, John Vernon, Héctor Elizondo, Kevin Michael Richardson, Kyra Sedgwick and even TV presenter Kelly Ripa herself!

Lolita Ritmantis is responsible for the score and produces some brilliant moody compositions that captures the feel of the movie perfectly, and this combines well with the great material provided by French pop and dance music artist, Cherie.

In summary, Batman: Mystery of the Batwoman is a great new addition to the line of animated Batman movies set in the Batman: The Animated Series universe. The story is well-written, intriguing and will keep you guessing all the way until the end, while the visuals capture that great, clean and ever so stylish look that the original animated series made so popular in the first place.

A more than worthy addition to any animated feature lover’s collection and it will certainly appeal to both old and young alike! :)

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Related Link: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Batman:_Mystery_of_the_Batwoman