Sunday, August 1, 2010

Batman: Under the Red Hood

The latest movie from DC Animation/Warner Premiere is one of their best. “Under the Red Hood” really elevates the level of quality that we can expect from these little stand-alone flicks. The story is about as compelling as the comic book saga (“Under the Hood”). And it should be, since Judd Winnick wrote both.

Overall, the animation quality and character design are pretty good. The only complaints I have are that Bruce Wayne and Nightwing have terrible haircuts, the animation goes from good cel animation to crappy CG when there are vehicles involved, and the Joker doesn’t really emote when he laughs.

The voice acting is good stuff. Bruce Greenwood does well as Batman, though I think I still would have preferred Kevin Conroy. Neil Patrick Harris is pretty good with Nightwing, though, once again, the original voice actor probably would have been better. John DiMaggio makes for a good Joker, I think. While I love Mark Hamill, I like to occasionally hear a different take on the Clown Prince of Crime. Jensen Ackles shines as Jason Todd/Red Hood. Unfortunately, a lot of the actors in this movie who mostly do live action stuff are in the flick unnecessarily, I think. Many of them are underused.

The fight scenes are fun to watch; especially a particularly rough-and-tumble bout between Batman and Jason Todd towards the end.

I personally think that most comic book characters who “die” should stay dead (otherwise, their deaths are always meaningless), so I would prefer it if Jason Todd was never resurrected. Still, the “Under the Hood” comics make for good reading, and “Under the Red Hood” makes for good watching.

(The DVD is lacking a commentary, which saddens me, but disc 2 has a pretty good “documentary” about Dick Grayson [I’m not sure why they didn’t go with Jason Todd, or all the Robins]. There’s one of the customary “sneak peeks” at the next movie, and I am looking forward to “Superman/Batman: Apocalypse”, which will feature Supergirl and Darkseid.)

(Also, the “Jonah Hex” short on this DVD is excellent. The caliber of actors doing voices for this ten-minute cartoon is perhaps unnecessary, but it’s good stuff and Thomas Jane is great as the eponymous anti-hero. I never bothered to see the recent live-action movie with Josh Brolin and Megan Fox, but I know it can’t have been as good as this short because then it would have been successful.)

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