Batman and Harley Quinn Blu-ray Extras
I didn’t see the need to ever rewatch Batman and Harley Quinn after seeing it in the theater, but someone wanted to keep the collection of DC original animated movies complete, so we picked up the home video release. Just to fill out my coverage, here’s a brief rundown of the special features on the Blu-ray.
The main extra is the 21-minute “The Harley Effect”, a history of the character’s origin and motivations with creators Paul Dini and Bruce Timm. Also commenting are Mike Carlin and clinical psychologist Robin Rosenberg, who fills us in on Harley’s mental underpinnings from a real-world medical perspective.
After discussing how she was created for Batman: The Animated Series — Dini decided to make the concept of yet another henchman for the Joker fresh by making her female, inspired by the idea of a “funny gun moll” — there are lots of observations about her psychology and motivations. This includes the problem that she was created as a sidekick, so fleshing out the character means retroactively inserting depth, such as trying to explain her putting up with an abusive relationship for so long. They make the point that this movie is a place for her to star without reference to the Joker or her past with him.
The other feature is “Loren Lester: In His Own Voice”, 12 minutes with the actor who plays Nightwing and formerly played Robin in Batman: The Animated Series. I felt sorry for him, since Robin is always a thankless role, but it was interesting hearing his thoughts on the character. Bruce Timm and Kevin Conroy (the voice of Batman) also chime in. Overall, though, it’s the equivalent of a congratulations card to Lester — “good job, guy, doing this all these years.”
My favorite part of the disc was the sneak peek at the next animated release, Gotham by Gaslight. That comic was the first Elseworlds title and featured Batman going up against Jack the Ripper in a Victorian Gotham City. It was written by Brian Augustyn and drawn by Mike Mignola (Hellboy), with inks by P. Craig Russell, making it beautifully atmospheric.
Timm, Carlin, and movie writer James Krieg — getting in the mood by appearing in top hat, brocade cravat, and waistcoat — did a great job getting me excited to see the animated adaptation in this eight-and-a-half-minute teaser. I particularly liked Timm talking about how much the design crew got into the Victorian setting and the overall discussion of how they’re treating the story as a mystery. Nothing included about the voices, though.
Also on the Batman and Harley Quinn disc are previous sneak peeks for Batman: The Dark Knight parts 1 and 2 and Batman: Assault on Arkham, which also stars Harley. There are an additional two episodes of Batman: The Animated Series featuring her, “Harley and Ivy” and “Harley’s Holiday”.