Batman: Under the Red Hood appears in an aspect ratio of approximately 1.78:1 on this Blu-Ray Disc. I felt consistently pleased with this strong presentation.
No issues with sharpness emerged. The movie always came across as tight and well-defined, so don’t expect any signs of softness. Jaggies and moiré effects also remained absent, and the image lacked edge haloes or artifacts. In addition, print flaws were a non-factor and didn’t appear at any point.
In terms of colors, Hood went with a dark palette that favored deep reds. The tones looked solid, as they showed positive richness and vivacity. Blacks were deep and tight, while shadows showed nice clarity. Across the board, the image worked well.
I thought the DTS-HD MA 5.1 soundtrack of Hood opened up the comic book material well. This wasn’t a particularly ambitious piece, but it added pizzazz to the program. The forward channels brought out the majority of the material. Music presented strong stereo imaging, while effects cropped up in logical spots and blended well.
The surrounds also contributed good information. For the most part, these reinforced the forward channels, but they also contributed a fair amount of unique material. These instances mainly occurred during storms or bigger action scenes. The back speakers brought out a nice sense of space and environment.
Audio quality always satisfied. Speech was warm and natural, without edginess or other issues. Music sounded lively and full, while effects displayed good definition. Those elements seemed accurate and dynamic. All of this led to a positive presentation that deserved a “B”.
When we head to the extras, some of them provide additional adventures. A new animated short called DC Showcase: Jonah Hex lasts 11 minutes, 53 seconds. A prostitute named Madame Lorraine (Linda Hamilton) lures wealthy bar patrons to her parlor and offs them. When Jonah Hex (Thomas Jane) comes looking for one of her victims, she meets her match.
Jonah Hex went down as maybe the biggest bomb of summer 2010, and this short probably won’t make anyone regret that they skipped it. Oh, it’s not a bad little piece, but it’s not especially exciting or memorable either. It certainly does nothing to make me curious to see more of the Hex character.
For more superhero-team adventures, we find four Batman Episodes. These include “Robin’s Reckoning” Parts 1 (21:39) and 2 (22:09) plus “Mad Love” (21:27) and “The Laughing Fish” (22:15). “Reckoning” does many things right. It deftly integrates Robin’s origin story into its main plot, and it presents these elements in a dramatic and fluid manner. It manages good drama but without sentimentality.
“Fish” is also quite good. Why is the Joker such a great character? Because he can invent disfigured fish and have it make sense. A show about a copyright battle sounds lame, but the Joker’s nuttiness turns this one into a winner.
Finally, “Mad Love” delivers another enjoyable program. It delves into the development of the Harley Quinn character and shows her origin story. It lacks a strong narrative, but it’s still a fun piece.
Two featurettes look at characters. Robin: The Story of Dick Grayson goes for 24 minutes, 13 seconds and includes notes from writer/former DC Comics publisher/president Paul Levitz, writer/screenwriter Judd Winick, DC Comics co-publisher Dan DiDio, author Phil Cousineau, Golden Apple Comics’ Matthew Mahoney, DC Comics writer/former editor Len Wein, author Thomas Andrae, and writer/former editor Denny O’Neil. As expected, the show traces the origins and development of the original Robin, with an emphasis on character themes/psychological elements. The program covers the subject well and acts as a good primer.
Robin’s Requiem: The Tale of Jason Todd lasts 20 minutes, 58 seconds and features remarks from O’Neil, Wein, Winick, DiDio, Mahoney, Cousineau, and Levitz. “Requiem” gives us notes about the replacement Robin as well as the massive controversy that surrounded his death and his resurrection. I’d like a little more depth about the character, but the coverage of the “dead Robin” issue proves to be quite interesting.
A promotional piece follows. A First Look at Superman/Batman Apocalypse goes for 12 minutes, 12 seconds and features statements from writer Jeph Loeb, DC Comics SVP Creative Affairs Gregory Noveck, producer Bruce Timm, director Lauren Montgomery, voice director Andrea Romano, and actors Kevin Conroy, Tim Daly, Andre Braugher and Summer Glau. The featurette traces the movie’s story and character elements as well as some production bits. It exists to sell Apocalypse, but it’s not bad for what it is.
A promo for mattycollector.com opens the disc. We also find trailers for Justice League: Crisis on Two Earths, Jonah Hex motion comic, The Lord of the Rings animated, Legend of the Guardians, Batman: Gotham Knight and Superman: Doomsday. Note that the ads for Crisis and Knight are actually “first looks” akin to the one for Apocalypse; they remain promotional, but they’re substantially longer than standard trailers.
A second disc provides a digital copy of Hood. This lets you plop the flick onto your computer or portable viewing thingy. I won’t use it, but you might.
Arguably the best of the animated DC Comics adventures, Batman: Under the Red Hood packs a wallop. It delves into its characters and situations with uncommon power and keeps us gripped from start to finish. The Blu-ray offers excellent visuals as well as good audio and supplements. I definitely recommend this terrific flick to fans.