Director(s): Jay Oliva, Ethan Spaulding
Cast: Kevin Conroy, Neal McDonough, Hynden Walch (VOICES)
Release Date: Own it today on Blu-Ray Combo Pack & Digital HD
A Review By: Kevin Lovell
Film Rating: 10/10
Disc Rating: 9/10
Based on the hit video game series, Batman must find a bomb planted by the Joker while dealing with a mysterious team of villains called, The Suicide Squad.
While the title of the film is ‘Batman: Assault on Arkham’, the story focuses for the most part not on Batman himself, but on the team of villains dubbed ‘The Suicide Squad.’ Each of these villains has been kidnapped from their individual incarcerations and thrown together into a dangerous mission to infiltrate Arkham. They naturally are given no choice in the matter, forced by Amanda Waller (the woman behind the team) to either comply or have their heads blown off, thanks to a failsafe she’s had implanted in each of them. Now this team including such villains as Harley Quinn, Deadshot and a number of others will have to try and accomplish their seemingly impossible mission while also staying alive, as well as trying to avoid any interaction and notice from Batman. Fortunately for them, Batman is busy looking for a dirty bomb that The Joker has hidden in an unknown location.
‘Batman: Assault on Arkham’ is directed by Jay Oliva and Ethan Spaulding who do a pretty solid job co-directing this one together. Oliva, many fellow fans surely know as being heavily involved in the DC Animated Universe for a long time now and bringing us too many memorable titles to list, co-directing with Ethan Spaulding this time around who directed the previous DC Animated Feature ‘Son of Batman’ and also a few of the Scooby-Doo Animated Feature’s which I’m a huge fan of too. The cast is once again compiled of a number of talented individuals, probably most notable to DC fans is the ever infamous Kevin Conroy returning as the voice of Batman, a fact I know will make a lot of fellow Bat-fans like me incredibly excited. Also included among the voice talent for this one are Neal McDonough, Matthew Gray Gubler, Troy Baker, John DiMaggio, Giancarlo Esposito and more; every member of the cast for the most part giving pretty decent voice performances in each of their respective roles.
I had an incredibly good time with ‘Batman: Assault on Arkham’ and can easily say it is without question one of my favorite DC Animated Feature’s to date. While some may be slightly annoyed at the lack of Batman’s presence for the majority of the runtime, I honestly felt that the route they took really gave this a new perspective and unique touch when compared to the majority of these features. It was also quite the treat seeing so many of Batman’s villains in one of these films, some really impressing me in their menace, some even more so than ever before, a perfect example being Poison Ivy who I felt they did a truly phenomenal job with here. The focus on The Suicide Squad made for a chaotic, action packed and fun time and it was a truly refreshing change of pace to follow along with the villains, this time bringing Batman in for a mere supporting role and I could not have been more pleased with this one overall. I would definitely give it my highest recommendation to the fellow DC fans and I hope you all enjoy it as much as I did. This is one Blu-Ray that will most certainly be getting a number of repeat viewings in the not too distant future.
The Blu-Ray release of ‘Batman: Assault on Arkham’ features a full 1080p High Definition presentation utilizing the film’s original 1.78:1 Aspect Ratio. The video presentation looks pretty solid for the most part, with the only noticeable fault being some mild banding issues with lines appearing at times during darker moments, but even so the video looks bright, colorful, sharp and pretty beautiful overall. It’s very similar to the majority of DC’s Animated Releases, so fans (such as me) that have been pleased with the quality on the previous releases should be quite satisfied with this high definition video presentation as well.
The Blu-Ray release features a lossless 5.1 channel DTS-HD Master Audio soundtrack. This action packed animated feature features a very active lossless multichannel soundtrack that adds to the overall experience of the film in a significant way, really throwing you into the midst of the action. There is quite frequently all sorts of debris, people and other artifacts making its way throughout all five channels and delivering a heavy, often hard hitting effects filled soundtrack, while never detracting from the audibility of the dialogue which is mostly focused to the center channel. Fellow fans and audiophiles alike should definitely have a pretty great time with this DTS-HD MA track.
As per usual with the DC Animated Films, the Blu-Ray release of ‘Batman: Assault on Arkham’ also includes a pretty nice collection amount of bonus content. Included on the release are a couple of featurette’s: ‘Arkham Asylum: The Secrets Behind The Asylum’ which clocks in at nearly thirty minutes and provides us an impressive in depth look at the history and world of Arkham; and another titled ‘The Joker’s Queen: Harley Quinn’ which as you can surely guess, takes a detailed look at the character of Harley Quinn. Also included on the release is a nine minute Sneak Peek at the next upcoming DC Animated Film ‘Justice League: Throne of Atlantis’ as well as 4 bonus DC cartoons from the vault and a feature length commentary for the film featuring writer Heath Corson and a couple of others.
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