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Batman Beyond (S1)
DVD disk
Apr 10, 2006 By: Quigles
Batman Beyond (S1) order
Director:
Curt Geda, Various

Actors:
Will Friedle
Kevin Conroy
Jane Alan

Rating:
Movie:
Extras:
Overall:

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WHAT'S IT ABOUT?
Set in the somewhat near future, Bruce Wayne has now become too old to fight the injustices of the world. Cue the entrance of Terry McGinnis, a seemingly ordinary teen with an incredible ability to kick ass. Wayne recruits the youngster to take his place, and with the help of the now much more hi-tech batsuit, McGinnis becomes the future's new Batman.
IS IT A GOOD MOVIE?
Despite only lasting three seasons and seeming to be nothing more than a ploy to cash in on some new merchandise, BATMAN BEYOND was a surprisingly cool show. It doesn't merely pander to the interests of youngsters by taking the Batman character and plopping him into the future as a teen. It actually takes the time to develop an interesting story that retains the feeling of the original animated series. This is especially good because the show still has that "dark" attitude to it. Plus, I will admit, having seen so much of the traditional Batman in loads of movies and TV shows, the character was starting to get a little tiresome. BATMAN BEYONDS manages to put a new spin on things while still managing to attract both the kids and long-time Batman fans.

Speaking of fans, comic book lovers out there should be psyched, because the first season of BEYOND cleverly incorporates past villain favorites (like Mr. Freeze), as well as neat homages to other comics (like Fantastic Four). Then of course you have your slew of new villains, many of whom are equally as cool. And quite honestly, your enjoyment of the episodes will probably rely on how much you dig the bad guys, since they're what propel most of the later chapters. Some of my favorite episode installments include "Shriek", which deals with a guy who can manipulate sound to terrific effects, and "Meltdown", simply because it marks the cleverly executed return of Mr. Freeze. Also worth mentioning is the new female villain, Inque, who feels like a bizarre mix of Venom, Sandman, and a few other creations as well. Very cool.

On the down side of this show, because of the brief 21-minute run time of each episode, the stories sometimes don't get much of a chance to explore their more interesting aspects. Another issue I found was that some of the emotional material for specific episodes felt a little cheesy and melodramatic. Despite those minor issues, BATMAN BEYOND still marks a very solid debut for a great, albeit sadly short-lived, animated series.

NOTE: To those looking for a guide to this season's 13 episodes, look no further than HERE.
THE EXTRAS
This 2-disc set doesn't have a ton of extras, but what's here is worth checking out.

Commentary on REBIRTH - PART 1 (with producers Bruce Tim, Alan Burnett, Paul Dini, Glenn Murakami, and director Curt Geda): This commentary pretty much goes over the show itself, as opposed to the specific episode. They talk about the series' style, creation, as well as their attempts to avoid the Network's push for a full-on kid's show. Definitely worth a listen.

Commentary on SHRIEK (with producers Bruce Tim, Alan Burnett, Paul Dini, Glenn Murakami, director Curt Geda, and writer Stan Berkowitz): This commentary features the same folks from the last round, as well as an additional speaker, writer Stan Berkowitz. This time they actually discuss the specific episode. They go over the creation of the villain, the idea for the gnarly audio-less fight scene, and more. A very cool commentary - I only wish there were more of them.

Music of the Knight: Presented here is a minute-long introduction and 5 episode segments featuring isolated tracks. In other words, it lets you watch the parts of the show with simply the video and music intact. If you dig most of the show's tunes, then you'll definitely like this.

Inside BATMAN BEYOND (9:36): This discussion/making-of featurette has the show's creators talking about the process of how the show came into existence, etc. Some of it is pretty interesting, but unfortunately, they don't actually go into detail about a whole lot.

There are also 4 Trailers.

Packaging Note: This set is featured in a very slim slipcase that is actually thinner than normal DVD packaging. This would seem to be a plus, but the downside is that the 2 DVDs are stacked on top of each other. This sounds a little worse than it is, since there are actually two layers holding the DVDs (so they don't actually touch each other). However, it does make it slightly aggravating when trying to switch over the DVDs. Anyone familiar with the 2-disc SIN CITY packaging should know what I'm talking about.
FINAL DIAGNOSIS
Even if you're not a big fan of Batman, this cleverly executed new take on an old series is cool enough to make me suggest you take a closer look. And if you are a Bat-fan, then there shouldn't even be a question here - pick it up right now!
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