Director: Sam Liu
Cast: Kevin Conroy, Melissa Rauch, Loren Lester (VOICES)
Release Date: August 29, 2017
A Review By: Kevin Lovell
Film Rating: 5/10
Disc Rating: 8/10
In Batman and Harley Quinn, 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.
Get ready for a Batman outing like you’ve never seen before. ‘Batman and Harley Quinn’ joins Batman and Nightwing who are forced to team up with the unbearable Harley Quinn when her old good friend Poison Ivy and her current partner in crime The Floronic Man begin taking steps toward a drastic plan that could mean the end of all life on earth as they know it. With opposite priorities and tactics preferred to each, this new temporary team up quickly leads to bickering, bantering and constant arguments as each holds true to their own principles and preferences (or lack thereof) in their quest to find and stop the threat. Now Batman, Nightwing and Harley must attempt to put aside their differences as much as possible if they hope to stand any chance of stopping Ivy and her potentially catastrophic plan before it’s too late.
‘Batman and Harley Quinn’ is a somewhat mixed bag of a movie. It has its share of positive aspects working in its favor such as beautiful animation that pays gorgeous homage to the 90’s animated series (or at least the latter part of it when it shared a slot with Superman) and even brings back fan favorite Kevin Conroy as the voice of Batman in addition to some other fun favorites and surprises including a few solid action sequences that definitely deliver the goods. Unfortunately so much of the greatness it offers is negatively affected by the choice to forgo the dark, gloomy and detective style of Batman and instead opting for focusing on cheap laughs that rarely land. I’m certainly a fan of goofy Batman done right and outright love such incarnations as Adam West’s Batman and the animated series Batman: The Brave and the Bold; the issue with ‘Batman and Harley Quinn’ is the absence of carefree, truly amusing laughs, instead delivering a barrage of jokes that rely on sexual undertones and even a ridiculous (and unnecessarily lengthy) fart joke thrown into the mix for good measure. As a whole it results in an animated adventure that has a lot going for it but also suffers a great deal, unable to find a fitting balance in which to make the goofy and serious elements properly work to each other’s advantage. While ‘Batman and Harley Quinn’ is certainly somewhat disappointing in comparison with the majority of previously released DC Animated Movies, it still has its positive aspects to offer and the gorgeous animation style, fan favorite returning voices and some fun action should be enough to at least make it worth the time of any fellow DC fan. Those who have been making a point to collect all of the DC Universe Animated Movies released on Blu-ray over the years will surely want to pick up a copy of ‘Batman and Harley Quinn’ on Blu-ray as well in order to assure that your collection remains complete at the very least, and in all fairness there are likely many fans who will enjoy this goofy romp far more than myself.
Overall, fellow DC fanatics that have been making a point of collecting every title in the ongoing DC Animated Movie Universe will probably still want to pick up a copy of ‘Batman and Harley Quinn’ on Blu-ray, even if only to make certain that your collection remains complete. The film certainly has some key elements going for it including beautiful animation and a tremendously welcome return to the animation style of the 90’s Batman animated series, not to mention fan favorite Kevin Conroy reprising the voice of Batman. It may look gorgeous from start to finish and offer plenty to put a smile on the face of fellow fans of the 90’s Batman cartoon(s) yet its decision to forsake numerous additional aspects many would consider crucial to the world of Batman and take things in an excessively goofy direction (and not necessarily a welcome one at that) overloaded with sex jokes (and even the obligatory fart joke) tends to harm the overall ride quite a bit. The fellow Batman and DC Comics fans will likely want to give it a whirl and make up your own mind, yet I would strongly recommend approaching it with limited expectations. It definitely delivers some fun and spot on animation at the very least and while it may be one of the weaker DC Universe Animated movies it’s likely still worth the time of any fan.
The Blu-ray release of ‘Batman and Harley Quinn’ features a full 1080p High Definition presentation utilizing the film’s original 1.78:1 Aspect Ratio. The video presentation looks pretty great as a whole and even while once again retaining a somewhat limited bitrate it still manages to deliver a sharp, detailed and quite gorgeous presentation from start to finish. It holds up admirably even during the numerous darkly lit and fast moving sequences, with no noteworthy faults to be uncovered along the way. Overall, this is a pretty solid high definition video presentation that should largely please the fellow Batman and DC fanatics that have been collecting (or at least enjoying) these releases for some time now.
The Blu-ray release features a lossless 5.1 channel DTS-HD Master Audio soundtrack. This lossless multichannel soundtrack offers a crisp, clean and quite active audio presentation throughout with solid placement and a generally immersive audio experience that shouldn’t disappoint whatsoever. It frequently takes advantage of all five available channels in order to send action effects, crowd chatter and plenty more throughout the various speakers with regularity, while never conflicting with any dialogue or additional auditory elements that might be occurring simultaneously. Overall, this is a wonderful 5.1 channel DTS-HD MA soundtrack that compliments the movie splendidly and sounds great every step of the way.
The Blu-ray release of ‘Batman and Harley Quinn’ includes a few worthwhile extras that fans should enjoy. Included on the release is ‘A Sneak Peak at DC Universe’s Next Animated Movie: Gotham by Gaslight’ (running approximately 9 minutes in length), in addition to a couple of behind the scenes Featurettes that explore aspects of bringing ‘Batman and Harley Quinn’ to life and featuring interviews/comments with the cast and crew. The included Featurettes are: ‘The Harley Effect’ (running approximately 21 minutes) and ‘Loren Lecter: In His Own Words’ (approximately 12 minutes). We are also treated to ‘2 Bonus Cartoons’ from the DC Comics Vault, both of which are Harley focused episodes from ‘Batman: The Animated Series’ this time around: “Harley and Ivy” (approximately 22 minutes) and “Harley’s Holiday” (21 minutes). 3 Archival Sneak Peek’s for previously released DC Animated Movies are also included: ‘A Sneak Peak at Batman: The Dark Knight Returns Part 1’ (approximately 13 minutes), ‘A Sneak Peak at Batman: The Dark Knight Returns Part 2’ (7 minutes) and ‘A Sneak Peak at Batman: Assault on Arkham’ (7 minutes).