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Batman Unlimited: Monster Mayhem (Blu-ray Review)

Batman-Monster-MayhemThe Dark Knight isn’t seeking tricks or treats when Gotham City’s most lethal villains take to the streets on Halloween night in the newest DC Comics animated film – Batman Unlimited: Monster Mayhem.  Produced by Warner Bros. Animation and DC Entertainment, the original movie arrives from Warner Bros. Home Entertainment on Blu-rayTM and DVD on August 18, 2015, and via Digital HD on August 4.  Batman Unlimited: Monster Mayhem follows Batman Unlimited: Animal Instincts as the second release in a series of films rooted in Mattel’s popular Batman Unlimited merchandise line. The films feature characters, vehicles, designs and color schemes brought to life within this enthralling toy collection.  “We are thrilled to release Batman Unlimited: Monster Mayhem on Blu-ray Combo Pack, DVD and Digital HD. Batman fans of all ages can enjoy the newest DC Comics animated adventure,” said Mary Ellen Thomas, Warner Bros. Home Entertainment Vice President, Family & Animation Marketing. “This original movie will provide family-friendly action and electrifying plot twists, and keep viewers on their toes until the very end.”

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Film 

It’s Halloween night in Gotham City and Scarecrow, Clayface, Silver Banshee and Solomon Grundy have hit the streets to stir up trouble! Batman is on the trail of the city’s spookiest villains while, further complicating matters, the clown prince of crime himself, The Joker, is ruling over this mysterious crew of misfit criminals. It’s up to the Dark Knight to stop this gruesome gang before they unleash “digital laughter,” a computer virus that’s part of a diabolical plan to jeopardize all of Gotham City’s vital technology. Batman, Green Arrow, Cyborg, Nightwing and Red Robin must combine forces to battle these baddies and save the city.

I’ve noticed many places have been down on Batman Unlimited.  But, what they do recognizing but aren’t respecting is that its for kids and not adults.  Yes, there are things that can satisfy both at the same time, but c’mon the kids have got to have the “kids only” stuff too.  And in that regard, I think the series does quite well and gives them the goods: lots of super heroes, lots of super heroes, plenty of big spectacle animated action in super vehicles.  It works out for the toy companies too.

The thing about this series is that they really want to be a part of the Batman: The Animated Series universe or remind us of it.  On the bonus features they mention their Gotham City is supposed to look like a time in between Batman: The Animated Series and the follow up venture Batman Beyond.  If you’ll take note as well, their voice acting is trying to ape the former masterpiece cartoons as well.  Their Batman sounds like Kevin Conroy and their Joker really wants to check IMDB to make sure its not Mark Hamill.

As a full movie, this one kinda gets monotonous in its structure, but if it were a multi-part episode arc I think it’d actually work quite well.  I was happy to see seldom used characters (In the animated shows) like Solomon Grundy and Silver Banshee as well as the Red Robin character/costume being put to use.  I think its a requirement that a character like Cyborg to be forced into any sort of television show or cartoon right now as to familiarize him before the upcoming DC cinematic universe launches.  All in all, Monster Mayhem is colorful, full of character, lots of action, I say the little boy and girl superhero fans will dig it and adults will be fine with it even if its not up to snuff with the “better things”.

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Video 

Encoding: MPEG-4 AVC

Resolution: 1080p

Aspect Ratio: 1.78:1

Clarity/Detail: This is a terrific looking, modern animated film.  Its a clean, sharp and bold image that feels full.

Depth:  There are some decent moments, but this primarily is a flat 2D animated based film.

Black Levels: Blacks are at solid animated levels of its expectancy.

Color Reproduction: Colors are nice and solid.  Each primary is strong and and gives not too vibrant of an appeal, but they do look very good.

Flesh Tones: N/A

Noise/Artifacts: Clean

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Audio 

Audio Format(s): English 5.1 DTS-HD MA, French 5.1 Dolby Digital, Spanish 5.1 Dolby Digital

Subtitles: English SDH, French, Spanish (Castilian), Spanish (Latin)

Dynamics:  Not the 5.1 mix of the year, but a damn good one that brings this animated feature to life and feels as the action is right there in front of you.  The score is mixed in quite well to this adventure, having its time to shine in the most complimentary fashion to the sound effects and dialogue on screen.  Effects are well rounded and distinct themselves while vocals carry good diction from the actors.

Low Frequency Extension:  Punches, explosions and engines all get a nice hum and bump from the subwoofer.

Surround Sound Presentation:  Some flying things and vehicles chasing fill up the rear speakers at times.  The front speakers successfully depict the movement and placement of action and character throughout the film.

Dialogue Reproduction:  Dialogue is crisp and clean.

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Extras 

Batman Unlimited: Monster Mayhem comes with a DVD Copy and UltraViolet Digital Copy of the film.

Gotham Of Tomorrow: Designing A Future World (HD, 11:24) – The creators discuss making a show that aesthetically fits between the Gotham City of now and the one of Batman Beyond.

Batman: The Brave and the Bold: Mayhem of the Music Meister! (HD, 23:08)

DC Nation Shorts

  • SHAZAM!: Courage (HD, 1:56)
  • SHAZAM!: Wisdom (HD, 1:56)
  • SHAZAM!: Stamina (HD, 1:56)
  • Green Arrow: Onomatopoeia-Bot (HD, 1:54)
  • Green Arrow: Brick (HD, 1:54) 
  • Green Arrow: Cupid (HD, ) 
  • Riddler: Riddle Me This! (HD, 2:00) 
  • Deadman: Deadman Catch (HD, 2:06) 
  • Animal Man: Bank & Train (HD, 1:52) 
  • Animal Man: Beach & City (HD, 1:52) 

Trailers – Teen Titans Go!, Batman Unlimited: Animal Instincts, Tom and Jerry: Spy Quest

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Summary 

Batman Unlimited: Monster Mayhem works very well on what it sets out to do.  Its a super hero cartoon for kids.  It features a bunch of heroes and villains with plenty of fantastical action set pieces.  Sure, adults aren’t going to care for it, but we get allll the things nowadays.  Its nice for the kids to have some more squarely aimed at them.  This Blu-ray features a very good presentation and some fun extras for the kids to chew on afterward (The DC shorts should be a hit).

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Brandon is the host, producer, writer and editor of The Brandon Peters Show (thebrandonpetersshow.com) on the Creative Zombie Studios Network. At Why So Blu he is a Writer/Reviewer. Brandon is a 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. You can also find older essays on his blog Naptown Nerd (naptownnerd.blogspot.com).

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