BATMAN BEYOND: SEASON THREE
BATMAN: THE ANIMATED SERIES marked a new dawn for Warner Bros television animation. In the years since its premiere, BATMAN: THE ANIMATED SERIES has become acknowledged as one of the most ground breaking animated TV series ever, because it was intelligently written, respectful of the superhero characters themselves and pretty darn faithful their established mythologies. When the studio requested a more kid friendly follow up, BATMAN BEYOND broke new creative ground, by developing its own characters, yet remaining faithful to the established Batman mythology.
Set twenty plus years after age and failing health cause Bruce Wayne to hang up his cape and cowl for good, BATMAN BEYOND introduces us to a cocky teenage character named Terry McGinnis, who becomes the Wayne’s protégé, after similar tragic personal circumstances make the teen the ideal Dark Knight for a new generation. From the Bat Cave, an elderly Bruce Wayne keeps a watchful eye on the new Batman, guiding him on his nightly prowl through the mean streets of this future tech Gotham City. BATMAN BEYOND features the vocal talents of Will Friedle as Terry McGinnis, Kevin Conroy as Bruce Wayne, Angie Harmon as Commissioner Barbra Gordon, Cree Summer as Max Gibson and Lauren Tom as Dana Tan.
BATMAN BEYOND: SEASON THREE ($27) comes to DVD in a two-disc set that features the following thirteen episodes: King's Ransom, Untouchable, Inqueling, Big Time, Out Of The Past, Speak No Evil, The Call Part 1, The Call Part 2, Betrayal, Curse Of Kobra Part 1, Curse Of Kobra Part 2, Countdown and Unmasked. Highlights of season three include Bruce Wayne being offered eternal youth as he comes face-to-face with the legacy of Ra's Al Ghul, as well as Superman knocking on the door of Terry McGinnis, offering him a place in the Justice League.
Warner Home Video has made BATMAN BEYOND: SEASON THREE available on DVD in a full screen format that is representative of the original television broadcasts. The episodes look really quite good on DVD, easily besting television broadcasts. The image is quite solid for television caliber animation, with about as much detail as one is likely to get from all this ink and paint. Colors are very strongly rendered and are free from chroma noise. Blacks are deep, whites are crisp and the level of contrast is about all that one can expect from this type of production. There are some mild imperfections in the elements, but the transfers are otherwise terrific. A bit of grain crops up in places. Digital compression artifacts are always well concealed.
All of the episodes that comprise BATMAN BEYOND: SEASON THREE come with their soundtracks presented in 2.0 Dolby Digital stereo, which decodes to standard surround reasonably well. I have the sneaking suspicion that my repeated preference for 5.1 has fallen on deaf ears, but I’m not one to let it drop. As expected, the 2.0 sound mixes are front heavy; with the surrounds being limited to slight ambience and musical fill. There are some left right stereo separations across the forward soundstage, but nothing too thrilling. Dialogue is clean sounding and easy to understand. A French language track has been included on the DVD, along with English and French subtitles.
Music underscores the basic interactive menus, which allow one access to the standard episode selection and set up features, as well as a couple of nice extra features. Inside Batman Beyond Season Three offers a nine-minute roundtable discussion of the show’s final year with the creative team. Close-Up On offers another nineteen-minute panel discussion that focuses specifically on several episodes of the season’s standout episodes.
I am a big fan of BATMAN BEYOND and am glad that the final thirteen episodes are now available on DVD. Of course, Warner does their usual great job with the DVD set. Recommended.
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