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BATMAN: UNDER THE RED HOOD ($30) is definitely one of the very best entries falling under Warner’s direct-to-video, DC Universe Animated Original Movie banner. Taking its inspiration from the Batman comic book story arcs Under The Hood and A Death In The Family, BATMAN: UNDER THE RED HOOD forces the Caped Crusader to deal with old wounds and past mistakes, as he faces a new threat to Gotham City. The premise of the story finds that a vigilante calling himself Red Hood has begun ridding Gotham City of some of its worst criminal elements. However, Red Hood is not bound by the same moral and ethical code as Batman, and as such, Red Hood is ready, willing and able to kill criminals… whenever he deems necessary.

When Batman crosses paths with Red Hood he discovers him to be a worthy adversary, who proves to be a little too familiar with The Dark Knight’s methods. Dick Grayson AKA Nightwing, Batman’s original Boy Wonder, joins his former mentor to help unravel the mystery of the Red Hood. However as the two piece the puzzle together, Batman finds himself manipulated into another confrontation with The Joker, which also dredges up the incident, in which the criminally insane Clown Prince of Crime murdered The Caped Crusader’s second Robin, Jason Todd. The vocal cast of BATMAN: UNDER THE RED HOOD features Bruce Greenwood, Jensen Ackles, John DiMaggio, Neil Patrick Harris, Jason Isaacs, Wade Williams, Carlos Alazraqui, Robert Clotworthy, Gary Cole, Brian George, Kelly Hu, Phil LaMarr, Alex Martella, Vincent Martella, Jim Piddock, Kevin Michael Richardson, Andrea Romano, Dwight Schultz, Fred Tatasciore, Keri Tombazian, Bruce Timm and Michael Villani.

Warner Home Video has made BATMAN: UNDER THE RED HOOD available on Blu-ray Disc in a 1.78:1 wide screen presentation that have been encoded onto the disc with the VC-1 codec. BATMAN: UNDER THE RED HOOD comes with a very strong 1080p presentation that maximizes the strong lines of the animation style. The image appears wonderfully crisp on Blu-ray, with the comic book styled 2D animation making a very strong impression. In typical comic book fashion, bright primary and secondary hues contrast nicely against the noir-ish blacks of the moody landscapes. Blacks are decidedly inky, while the whites appear crisp and stable. Contrast is truly excellent, or as excellent as this type of animation will allow. BATMAN: UNDER THE RED HOOD wasn’t produced on film, and therefore, is free from grain and print flaws associated with the medium.

BATMAN: UNDER THE RED HOOD is presented on Blu-ray Disc with a 5.1 channel DTS-HD Master Audio soundtrack. Warner is definitely on the right page by taking their animated productions into the lossless soundtrack realm. The track is definitely quite punchy, even if the sound design isn’t quite at the theatrical level. Perhaps that has more to do with the dialogue driven storyline than an actual flaw in the sound design. Whenever the story allows for action, the soundtrack does a fairly impressive job of drawing the viewer in. Sure, the track is a bit front heavy, but the sound effects do find their way into the surround channels. The lossless encode makes for full-bodied music and convincing effects, plus the bass channel provides a nice solid kick throughout. Voices are cleanly reproduced and the dialogue maintains complete intelligibility. A Spanish Dolby Digital 5.1 channel track has also been encoded onto the disc, as have English, French and Spanish subtitles.

The interactive menus allow one access to the standard scene selection and set up features, as well as the supplemental materials. First up is a DC Showcase animated short featuring Jonah Hex. Featurettes and other programs include the following: Robin: The Story Of Dick Grayson (twenty four minutes), Robin's Requiem: The Tale Of Jason Todd (twenty one minutes) and Superman/Batman Apocalypse First Look (twelve minutes). Next up are some bonus Batman TV Episodes: Robin's Reckoning, Parts 1 & 2, Mad Love," and The Laughing Fish. Other animated Trailers and Previews close out the standard supplements. A Digital Copy of the film is also provided.

As I stated above, BATMAN: UNDER THE RED HOOD is definitely one of the very best entries falling under Warner’s direct-to-video, DC Universe Animated Original Movie banner. The Blu-ray presentation is very solid and I am glad the audio is lossless. Recommended.


Batman: Under the Red Hood [Blu-ray]


DVD & Blu-ray Disc reviews are Copyright 2010 THE CINEMA LASER and may not be copied or reprinted without the written consent of the publisher.
THE CINEMA LASER is written, edited and published by Derek M. Germano.



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