The Heart of Batman: The Batman: Complete Animated Series Blu-ray Extra
Warner Bros. Home Entertainment was kind enough to send me a review copy of the on-everyone’s-wish-list Batman: The Complete Animated Series Blu-ray set. Due to the incredible demand, as indicated by the huge increase in the print run, I didn’t get any of the extras, so I can’t speak to those, but I was thrilled to be able to check out the new movie-length feature, “The Heart of Batman”.
There are 10 Blu-rays in the set (not counting the movies). Five are labeled season one, with two each for seasons two and three. That leaves one special features disc. It has two items. One, “Concepting Harley Quinn”, is a minute and a half of a young Paul Dini talking about the character. It’s nice to have for completists, but not really necessary. The other is the reason we’re here.
“The Heart of Batman” runs 1 hour, 38 1/2 minutes in two parts, plus a “Musical Interlude”, an intermission of a little over two minutes accompanied by painted background images. The two sections are titled “Season of Darkness” and “Season of Light”.
The approach is best described as a great anniversary party or reunion. Fans won’t find a lot new here, but it’s a wonderful overview of what it took to make the show, with just about everyone possible participating. Here are all the people who comment on-screen, in rough order of their appearance:
Bruce Timm (co-creator), Andrea Romano (voice director), Mike Carlin (creative director, animation for DC Entertainment), Jean MacCurdy (executive producer), Eric Radomski (co-creator), Kevin Conroy (voice of Batman), Paul Dini (writer), Ames Kirshen (VP interactive & animation for DC Entertainment), Bob Goodman (writer), Dick Sebast (director), Alan Burnett (producer), Sidney Iwanter (VP programming for Fox Kids), Avery Cobern (VP Fox Kids BS&P (Broadcast Standards & Practices)), Dan Riba (director), Tom Ruegger (executive producer), Rich Fogel (writer), Glen Murakami (art director), Michael Uslan (executive producer of the Batman film franchise), Kevin Altieri (director), Loren Lester (voice of Robin), Frank Paur (director), Stan Berkowitz (writer), and Mark Hamill (voice of the Joker)
Key points covered include
- The goal of making mini-movies that they as adults would want to watch
- An amusing section where they slam on Hanna-Barbera Saturday morning cartoons for kids as having bad animation and dumb concepts
- Discussion of the content issues, in contrast with things like Super Friends
- The important influence of Tiny Toon Adventures
- The ground-breaking “dark deco” design
- Humanizing the characters, particularly villains, while keeping noir influences
- Voice casting and how the recording process worked
It’s a lovely topper to the remastered complete edition of the best superhero cartoon.