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Batman And Harley Quinn – Deluxe Edition (Blu-ray Review)

Ahh, another trip to the DCAU. Which, I believe this one isn’t really canon with the sort of ongoing series of what is going on. A sort of one-off side story to highlight the super popular Harley Quinn. This little featurette debuts The Big Bang Theory star Melissa Rauch as the laughy daffy villainess and returns Kevin Conroy (Many’s pick as the best Batman ever) to his iconic role. Loren Lester returns as Nightwing, too. Batman and Harley Quinn was released briefly as a theatrical event, as well, to some pretty scathing reviews from the critical side. It comes out for home video on the 4K Ultra-HD format, but here at Why So Blu, we’re going to be covering the Blu-ray edition for our review, namely the Deluxe Edition, available August 29th.

Film 

Poison Ivy and Jason Woodrue (a.k.a. The Floronic Man) embark on an ecological quest to save the planet – and, unfortunately, eliminate most of humankind along the way. To save humanity, Batman and Nightwing are forced to enlist Harley Quinn to catch Poison Ivy, Harley’s BFF and frequent partner-in-crime. But Batman’s patience is put to the test by the unpredictable and untrustworthy Harley during the twists and turns the reluctant companions face during their bumpy road trip. The result is a thrill ride of action, adventure and comedy no Batman fan has seen before.

Batman and Harley Quinn is not going to be everyone’s cup of tea. While the trailer played for humor, I didn’t expect the film to be completely dipped into the silly sauce. But it is what it is. I can completely see why the critics were not too kind on this one, as it kinda hits you in the face with something you weren’t expecting. However, they may have been a bit too hard on it. Its not a movie to take completely seriously. Yes, the film is pretty adult (Sporting the PG-13 rating, including “Sexual Situations”), but the humor is plenty juvenile (Which most critics tend to hate).  However, while I too was shaking may head at things, I did find myself getting some pretty solid snickers and chuckles while watching.

Batman: The Animated Series is one of my favorite television shows ever, let alone maybe the greatest depiction of Batman ever, and Batman and Harley Quinn is a bit of a both a follow up to it and a sort of parody/satire at the same time. Kevin Conroy and Loren Lester return as Batman and Nightwing. Melissa Rauch debuts as Harley Quinn, which, no brainer, she’s a perfect fit for the role. Also enticing me here is Paget Brewster as Poison Ivy. Which, honestly, could we get her as a live action Poison Ivy, too? I’d love that so much. There are so many references, cameos and easter eggs to Batman: The Animated Series, I found myself smiling with nostalgia at many turns. Its not just left to that, there are 60s Batman references too.

Batman and Harley Quinn is a very very different direction for the DCAU, and honestly a little bit of a welcome one. While it doesn’t completely work and isn’t insanely successful, I do give it credit for being one to try. I also loved how they have Harley Quinn here and completely resist the temptation to use the Joker as a crutch at any turn in this thing. As a matter of fact, I don’t think he’s even mentioned. The show had me both nostalgic for The Animated Series and snickering at some of the lower brow humor its full of at times (Also rolling my eyes), so I’d have to say its successful enough.

Video 

Encoding: MPEG-4 AVC

Resolution: 1080p

Aspect Ratio: 1.78:1

Layers: BD-50

Clarity/Detail: Following its grand-dad, Batman: The Animated Series, Batman and Harley Quinn has a specific sytle-ized, but simple, look to it. The animation is sharp and clean. Its not the most detailed looking in its nature. But overall, the coloring pops and the image is crisp which is all you can ask for. It looks terrific and I truly have no major qualms.

Depth:  Its 2D animated, which is overall flat by nature and not lending to three dimensional appeals, but it moves pretty smoothly with no jitter problems and some sequences show good spacing.

Black Levels: Blacks are, well, black. Solid when used to color something or outline, and the shading is pretty good. No details are hidden and no crushing is present.

Color Reproduction: Colors look like a nice modern update on Batman: The Animated Series. They are very solid, strong and bold in this distinct palette. Reds and greens are the overall star of this thing, but its such a simple display that everything looks good overall.

Flesh Tones: N/A

Noise/Artifacts: Clean

Audio 

Audio Format(s): English 5.1 DTS-HD MA, French 5.1 Dolby Digital, Spanish (Latin) 5.1 Dolby Digital, Spanish (Castilian) 5.1 Dolby Digital, German 5.1 Dolby Digital, Italian 5.1 Dolby Digital, Portuguese, 5.1 Dolby Digital

Subtitles: English SDH, French, Spanish, German SDH, Italian SDH, Korean, Portuguese, Danish, Finnish, Norwegian, Swedish

Dynamics: Batman and Harley Quinn doesn’t go the full 7 channel or Atmos route, but does a pretty admiral job with the 5.1 mix. Its balanced and features a seamless relationship with the music, vocals and sound effects in the mix. The vocals take center stage more often, but the effects are pretty well layered with good depth as well as having a nice punch to them. Overall, this isn’t spectacular, but its does the job.

Height: N/A

Low Frequency Extension: Deep sounds like the Floronic Man causing destruction, gun fire, explosions, engines roaring and overall rampage gives a nice thump to your viewing.

Surround Sound Presentation: Its mainly a front heavy track, with the rear providing more ambiance than anything. Sound travel is very accurate, fun and impactful.

Dialogue Reproduction: Dialogue is loud, crisp and clean with all good recorded voices spouting terrific diction in their performances.

Extras 

Batman and Harley Quinn – Deluxe Edition comes with the DVD edition, an UltraViolet digital copy and a limited edition (60,000) figurine of Harley Quinn.

A Sneak Peek at DC Universe’s Next Animated Movie (HD, 8:30) – A look at Gotham By Gaslight, a tale of Batman vs Jack the Ripper in the Sherlock Holmes era. Contains scenes and interviews about bringing the film to light.

The Harley Effect (HD, 21:15) – Paul Dini (Who gets pretty emotional when discussing Harley’s legacy) and Bruce Timm lead the conversation on the history and evolution of the character through the years going into making this movie.

Loren Lester: In His Own Voice (HD, 11:46) – The Robin/Nightwing voice actor looks over his legacy and how Dick Grayson has now been more associated with Nightwing than is Robin. Lester even touches on his relationship with fans through conventions and such.

A Sneak Peek – These are archived sneak peeks from previous releases.

  • Batman: The Dark Knight Returns, Part 1 (HD, 12:36) 
  • Batman: The Dark Knight Returns, Part 2 (HD, 6:52) 
  • Batman: Assault on Arkham (HD, 7:29) 

From the DC Comics Vault

  • Batman: The Animated Series, “Harley and Ivy” (SD, 22:23) 
  • Batman: The Animated Series, “Harley’s Hoiday” (SD, 21:15)

Trailers – Teen Titans: The Judas Contract, Justice League Dark, Justice League, Wonder Woman

Summary 

Batman and Harley Quinn is very much a film with the style, vibe and overall sensibilities of its title character. Its a stupid comedy taking place in the Batman world. And that’s okay, different and pretty welcome. While not entirely successful, I thought it was fine. The picture and video on this is rock solid and it comes with a load of new and old extras. This particular version came with a nice figurine. I’m interested to see the more general public reaction to this one to see if it may pull from another end of the spectrum.

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Writer/Reviewer, lifelong obsessive film nerd. As eager to educate in the world of film as I am to learn. An avid lover of horror, schlock and trash, Brandon hosts the Cult Cinema Cavalcade podcast on the Creative Zombie Studios Network (www.cultcinemacavalcade.com) You can also find more essays on his blog Naptown Nerd (naptownnerd.blogspot.com).

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