With a deliberate effort to convey their engrossing back-catalog to a new medium and a hungry audience, it’s safe to say DC Animation has been hitting it out of the park recently. They’ve been guilty of phoning it in on occasion over the years, but their recent work has been surprisingly terrific, with a focus on fully fleshing out their characters and plots. What better way to accomplish this than to turn their rich history of groundbreaking stories into animated films? ‘Batman: The Long Halloween Part 1‘ is a wonderful match for this mandate, and the first installment in a two-part series is a must-see for anybody looking for terrific action, compelling characters, and gorgeously produced animation.
- Jensen Ackles surprisingly good as Batman
- best animation I’ve seen from DCA
- Gripping whodunnit
- doesnt capture the source art 1:1 but nails tone
When it initially came out in 1996, Jeph Loeb and Tim Sale’s iconic work “Batman: The Long Halloween” astonished fans. Following the success of the Legends of the Dark Knight Halloween Specials (a collection of seasonal one-shots that honored Batman’s strong association with all things scary in Gotham), this year-long 13-part series had fans on the edge of their seats. It has also inspired numerous major events in Batman’s history, particularly storyline aspects that obviously impacted Christopher Nolan’s Batman Begins and The Dark Knight films. It’s an easy transition to the big screen, and it catches the heart of the narrative well, making ‘Batman: The Long Halloween Part 1’ a must-see.
The feeling of ambient style that this animated picture has developed is the first thing that strikes you. It’s typical of a comic book, with some of the best artwork even appearing in the film’s opening titles. The visual aesthetic of ‘The Long Halloween’ was quite striking. The animated film is based on the pages of a comic book, yet it maintains the same style as past DC animated films. The ultimate result is the best of all worlds, and it does credit to both mediums.
Part 1 begins on a suspenseful note, with a murder spree sweeping the streets of Gotham City. Holiday, a mystery assailant, has been murdering his victims on holidays, beginning with Halloween. Not only is Batman (Jensen Ackles) coping with this perplexing crime, but he is also developing a serious connection with Selina Kyle aka Catwoman (Naya Rivera). Captain Jim Gordon (Billy Burke) and new District Attorney Harvey Dent (Josh Duhamel) are fighting organized crime syndicates led by crime leader Carmine Falcone (Titus Welliver) and rival gang lord Sal Maroni, who is wreaking havoc on their city (Jim Pirri). As additional killings occur throughout Thanksgiving, Christmas, and New Year’s Day, Batman attempts to piece the puzzle together while also dealing with a psychotic Joker (Troy Baker) who has recently escaped Arkham.
In this film, the voice cast is fantastic, with professional performers providing each of these famous parts true depth and character development. The chemistry between Jensen Ackles and Nya Rivera is palpable. The late Rivera shines in what has unfortunately become one of her final movie performances, perfectly capturing the mystique of Catwoman and her love for Bruce Wayne. It’s one of the greatest Catwoman and Batman portrayals I’ve seen in a long time. Aside from that, famed voice-acting royalty Troy Baker is brilliant as the psychotic Joker, Titus Welliver channeling his inner Marlon Brando as Falcone, and Josh Duhamel gives Harvey Dent just the perfect amount of bottled-up rage that makes him such a sad, intriguing character.
‘Batman: The Long Halloween Part 1′ is amazing and pays homage to the miniseries’ heritage. The performances are all outstanding, the film’s aesthetic is obvious, and the tempo keeps you captivated throughout. With incredible animation efforts like these, it’s clear that DC Animation is committed to their history, and that making an effort to bring these classic stories to a new audience in such a stunning way demonstrates that they’re ready to do new things.
After the conclusion of ‘The Long Halloween,’ anticipation grows for an Injustice animated film, their next ambitious project that has the potential to shock the DC world into new frontiers once more. Meanwhile, ‘Batman: The Long Halloween Part 2′ will hit theatres at the end of next month, and I can’t wait to watch how this gripping drama unfolds.
Jensen Ackles, Naya Rivera, Josh Duhamel, Titus Welliver, Jack Quaid, Troy Baker, Billy Burke, Greg Chun, David Dastmalchian, Alastair Duncan, Amy Landecker, Julie Nathanson, Jim Pirri, Fred Tatasciore, David Dastmalchian, Alastair Duncan, Amy Landecker, Julie Nathanson, Jim Pirri, Fred Tatasciore, David Dastmalchian Chris Palmer is the director. Jeph Loeb and Tim Sheridan are the writers. Certificate number: 15 100-minute runtime Warner Bros. released the film. The film will be released on June 21st.
MAXBLIZZ CRITIC RATING: 7.5/10
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