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Butch Lukic
Roger Craig Smith, Dana Snyder, Chris Diamantopoulos, Laura Bailey, Will Friedle
Writing Credits:
Heath Corson

Hi-Tech, High Stakes, High Danger!

Batman, with the help of the Flash, Green Arrow, Nightwing, and Red Robin, has to try and get to the bottom of the mysterious robotic animals attacking Gotham.

Not Rated.

Aspect Ratio: 1.78:1
English DTS-HD MA 5.1
French Dolby Digital 5.1
German Dolby Digital 5.1
Castilian Spanish Dolby Digital 5.1
Latin Spanish Dolby Digital 5.1
Castilian Spanish
Latin Spanish
Supplements Subtitles:

Runtime: 77 min.
Price: $24.98
Release Date: 5/12/2015

• “Penguin: High Society Criminal” Featurette
• 10 “DC Nation” Shorts
• Two Episodes of Batman: The Brave and the Bold
• Trailers
• DVD Copy


Panasonic TC-P60VT60 60-Inch 1080p 600Hz 3D Smart Plasma HDTV; Sony STR-DG1200 7.1 Channel Receiver; Panasonic DMP-BD60K Blu-Ray Player using HDMI outputs; Michael Green Revolution Cinema 6i Speakers (all five); Kenwood 1050SW 150-watt Subwoofer.


Batman Unlimited: Animal Instincts [Blu-Ray] (2015)

Reviewed by Colin Jacobson (May 12, 2015)

For a new animated superhero adventure, we go to 2015’s Batman Unlimited: Animal Instincts. As wealthy Oswald Cobblepot – aka the Penguin (voiced by Dana Snyder) - plans to open a massive building called “The Aviary”, Batman (Roger Craig Smith) battles a new menace.

Along with a few other do-gooders, Batman learns that Penguin formed a group called the “Animalitia”. This clan uses other animal-oriented baddies such as Cheetah (Laura Bailey) and Killer Croc (John DiMaggio) as well as robotic critters who stalk Gotham City. We follow the attempts of Batman and his pals to stop the villainous threat.

What sets Unlimited apart from other Batman projects? Its setting and tone seem to be the most obvious elements at play here.

In terms of the former, Unlimited takes place in a futuristic Gotham City where cops cruise in flying cars and wear robotic bodysuits. This doesn’t seem to be an especially prominent factor, though as it shows no real impact on the movie’s feel. Batman and other superheroes already used fancy-pants technology, so the spread of this theme to civilians adds little to the experience.

As for the tone, Instincts intends to appeal to DC’s “younger fans”. I’m not sure how young, as the project doesn’t seem overly sanitized/simplified; this isn’t something on the level of the childish Super Friends of my youth.

That said, Instincts lacks the darkness and complexity of many of the other DC “direct to video” films I’ve seen. It emphasizes more action and light comedy, without much punch or impact. We get no character depth or drama, as the movie shoots for slam-bang action, one-liners and a simple plot.

In theory, I’m fine with that emphasis, as I don’t think all superhero adventures need to be weighty and serious. In reality, Instincts creates a pretty lackluster piece of work, though.

It’s not the superficiality of the project that creates issues – it’s the blandness on display. Nothing about Instincts sticks to the screen, as it feels like a contrived attempt to get lots and lots of disparate heroes and villains in one place. The narrative goes nowhere and simply acts as an excuse for fight scenes.

Nothing about Instincts satisfies. It comes with a cut-rate feel and lacks any particular personality. I’ve enjoyed a lot of these animated adventures, but Instincts bores me.

The Blu-ray Grades: Picture A-/ Audio B/ Bonus B-

Batman Unlimited: Animal Instincts appears in an aspect ratio of approximately 1.78:1 on this Blu-ray Disc. The image consistently looked solid.

Sharpness worked well. 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, Instincts went with a somewhat dark palette. 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 Instincts opened up the comic book material moderately well but it didn’t impress. The forward channels brought out the majority of the material and became the focal point. Music presented strong stereo imaging, while effects cropped up in logical spots and blended well.

The surrounds threw in occasional elements, but they didn’t do a whole lot. Action gave us a smattering of involving components and periodically brought the material to life. However, much of the movie emphasized the forward channels and didn’t create a particularly involving mix.

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. The soundtrack merited a “B”.

As we move to the set’s extras, we launch with Penguin: High Society Criminal. In this 12-minute, 51-second featurette, we hear from screenwriter Heath Corson, Supernatural executive producer/comic book writer Adam Glass, fan/son Aidan Glass, and DC Comics Animation creative director Mike Carlin. We get history/character profile of the Penguin and a few quick notes about the other members of the “Animalitia” Though brief, this becomes a fairly enjoyable overview.

10 ””DC Nation” Shorts fill a total of 23 minutes, 32 seconds. We get “Justice League of Animals: Snack Run” (2:23), “The Bat Man of Shanghai: Cat Woman” (2:17). “The Bat Man of Shanghai: Bane” (2:17), “The Bat Man of Shanghai: Bat Man” (2:17), “Plastic Man: The Bat and the Eel” (2:23), “Super Pets: Joke’s On You” (2:23), “Super Pets: Have Your Cake and B’Dg Too” (2:23), “Super Pets: The League of Just Us Cows” (2:23), “Super Pets: Krypto Vs. Streaky” (2:23) and “Super Pets: World’s Finest Bark” (2:23).

The “Shanghai” shorts place Batman in 1930s Asia and create a highly stylized feel. All three connect to create one reasonably interesting little tale. The other seven go for a heavily cartoony tone and emphasize broad comedy. They’re goofy but fun.

Two episodes of Batman: The Brave and the Bold follow. We get “Super-Batman of Planet X!” (23:02) and “Gorillas in Our Midst” (22:36). The Brave and the Bold series offers a campy, semi-satirical take on its heroes and proves to be surprisingly winning. It’s a more creative endeavor in the vein of the 1960s Batman TV series and these episodes create good entertainment.

The disc opens with an ad for Lego Ninjago Rebooted: Battle for New Ninjago City. We also find trailers for Teen Titans Go!, Lego DC Superheros – Justice League Vs. Bizarro League and Tom and Jerry: Spyquest.

A second disc provides a DVD Copy of Instincts. It includes five of the “DC Nation Shorts” and the Penguin featurette along with two different episodes of Batman: The Brave and the Bold - we find “Night of the Batmen!” and “Requiem for a Scarlet Speedster”. The fact the Bold shows don’t repeat gives the DVD added value.

With Batman Unlimited: Animal Instincts, we get a lackluster adventure. The movie emphasizes superficial action and fails to deliver an interesting story. The Blu-ray brings us excellent visuals along with generally good audio and some decent bonus materials. Even when I account for the film’s more kid-oriented feel, Instincts disappoints.

Viewer Film Ratings: 2 Stars Number of Votes: 1
0 3:
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