BATMAN: RETURN OF THE CAPED CRUSADERS + Limited Edition Artcards [2016] [Blu-ray + Digital HD] POW! SOCK! BAM! BATMAN is BACK!

Holy mix-ups, Batman! Gotham City’s most vile Super-Villains – including The Joker, The Penguin, The Riddler and Catwoman unleash a plan to take over the city and, ultimately the world. Armed with the diabolical replica ray, the Super-Villains create a real who’s who for The Dynamic Duo. While it’s double trouble with batman clones running around, the real Batman falls under a spell that turns him bad. Can Robin, The Boy Wonder and with little help from dubious Catwoman, set Batman straight and free Gotham City from the clutches of fiendish felony? Starring the hit TV voice talents of Adam West, Burt Ward and Julie Newmar, this all-new DC Classic animated movie will have fans rushing to the Batcave!

FILM FACT No.1: Awards and Nominations: 2017 Annie Awards: Nominated: Outstanding Achievement in Music in an Animated Feature Production for Kristopher Carter, Lolita Ritmanis and Michael McCuistion. 2017 Behind the Voice Actors Awards: Nominated: BTVA Special/DVD Voice Acting Award for Best Male Vocal Performance in a TV Special/Direct-to-DVD Title or Short for Jeff Bergman for the voice of "The Joker."

FILM FACT No.2: Adam West and Burt Ward announced at the Mad Monster Party that one or two Batman animated films will be released on Digital HD, starting with Batman: Return of the Caped Crusaders on the 11th October, 2016 and Blu-ray on the 1st November, 2016. Adam West, Burt Ward and Julie Newmar would provide the voices of their respective characters for the series' 50th anniversary. A trailer was released on the 17th August, 2016. Five decades after the original Batman series, Adam West jokingly remarked that it took him "about twenty seconds" to get back into character.

Voice Cast: Adam West (Bruce Wayne / Batman), Burt Ward (Dick Grayson / Robin), Julie Newmar (Catwoman), Jeff Bergman (Announcer / The Joker), Sirena Irwin (Miranda Monroe), Thomas Lennon (Chief O'Hara / Prison Warden), William Salyers (The Penguin), Lynne Marie Stewart (Aunt Harriet), Jim Ward (Commissioner Gordon), Steven Weber (Alfred Pennyworth) and Wally Wingert (The Riddler)                      

Director: Rick Morales

Producers: Amy McKenna, Benjamin Melniker, James Tucker, Michael Jelenic, Michael Uslan and Sam Register

Screenplay: James Tucker (screenplay), Michael Jelenic (screenplay), Lorenzo Semple Jr. (television series), William Dozier (based on the 1966 Batman series), Bill Finger (character created by: Batman) and  Bob Kane (character created by: Batman)

Composers: Kristopher Carter, Lolita Ritmanis and Michael McCuistion

Image Resolution: 1080p

Aspect Ratio: 1.85:1

Audio: English: 5.1 DTS-HD Master Audio
French: 5.1 Dolby Digital Audio
Spanish [Latin]: 5.1 Dolby Digital Audio
English: 2.0 Dolby Digital Stereo Audio

Subtitles: English SDH, French and Spanish [Latin]

Running Time: 78 minutes

Region: Region B/2

Number of discs: 1

Studio: Warner Home Video

Andrew’s Blu-ray Review: Holy animated nostalgia trip Batman! The guardians of Gotham City celebrate their 1960s television roots in this new cartoon feature entitled ‘BATMAN: RETURN OF THE CAPED CRUSADERS’ [2016] where Warner Bros. Animation and DC Entertainment production takes Batman fans on a journey into the iconic past with this full-length animated Batman feature film which features the vocal performances of Adam West as Batman, Burt Ward as Robin and Julie Newmar as Catwoman. This is a large trip down memory lane with the Dynamic Duo’s glorious days on the American Broadcasters ABC Network back in 1966, where this cartoon is a glorious homage to those fiendish foes the Joker, Penguin, Riddler and Catwoman all looking to steal a replicator ray gun, to conquer space and end the meddling of Batman and Robin. Here we have the key trio of original actors provides the tongue-in-cheek voice-over work in making it a dream scenario for all Batman fans.

Tapping into the original series throughout, the cartoon resurfaces such fun details as that Shakespeare bust in the Wayne Manor study that is cracked open to expose a button to get to the Bat Poles, the pair of heroes casually chatting as they climb vertically up walls and where no guests pop out of the window and the appearance of the George Barris’s awesome Batmobile. Better yet, an abundance of dialogue alliteration, like “this is patently preposterous, you pretentious poser,” combined with those pop-up onomatopoeia visuals for every punch and kick with a Whomp! Boff! Umph!, and especially with the brilliant and iconic Nelson Riddle inspired jazzy musical themes cement the homage to the original TV series.

Now, if simply creating a new episode of the old show was the goal of Warner Bros. Animation and DC Entertainment production, it totally succeeded, but writers James Tucker and Michael Jelenic then concoct a devilish second act that finds an army of Bizarre-style Batmen taking over Gotham City while Catwoman and Robin team up together to try and stop them. The epic finale not only features the principals in battle but appearances by villains such as Shane, Mr. Freeze, King Tut, Egghead, Bookworm and the Mad Hatter.

It’s back to the 1960s as Batman and Robin spring into action when Gotham City is threatened by a quartet of Batman’s most fiendish foes like Penguin, The Joker, Riddler and Catwoman. The four Super-Villains have combined their wicked talents to hatch a plot so nefarious that the Dynamic Duo will need to go to outer space and back to foil their arch enemies and restore order in Gotham City. It’s a truly fantastic adventure that will pit good against evil, good against good, evil against evil . . . and feature two words that exponentially raise the stakes for both sides: Replicator Ray! Talk about Holy Multiplication Tables!

Adam West steps behind the microphone to bring Batman to fully animated fruition. Burt Ward joins the fun as Batman’s sidekick, Robin, giving The Boy Wonder his voice in animated form, and Julie Newmar, star of stage and Tony Award winner for “The Marriage-Go-Round” and silver screen with ‘Seven Brides for Seven Brothers,’ dons her feline ears to bring Catwoman back to life.

Rick Morales (LEGO® DC Comics Super Heroes of Justice League: Cosmic Clash) directs from a script by James Tucker (Justice League vs. Teen Titans) and Michael Jelenic (Teen Titans Go!). James Tucker and Michael Jelenic (Screenwriter) also serve as Supervising Producer, respectively on this animated feature film. Sam Register is Executive Producer. Benjamin Melniker and Michael Uslan are Executive Producers, coming together to create something truly special and spectacular.

‘BATMAN: RETURN OF THE CAPED CRUSADERS’ is an excellent addition to the ever-growing canon of Batman entertainment coming our way in the near future, offering a great deal of fun, and this playful animated version of the character’s adventures. “Warner Bros. Home Entertainment is proud to initiate a series of animated movies under the new ‘DC Classics Collection’ brand and totally honoured to have Adam West, Burt Ward and Julie Newmar give new life to these iconic characters,” said Mary Ellen Thomas.

The only thing I found slightly disconcerting with this animated feature film ‘BATMAN: RETURN OF THE CAPED CRUSADERS’ is with the voice of Adam West, who is as you can understand is now much older, especially as he was born on 19th September, 1928 and of course when he appeared in that hilarious camp TV show ‘Batman’ from 1966 to 1968 and was at the height of his acting career, but with this animated feature film his voice has changed dramatically, and when you hear him speak his voice tends to quiver and is to my mind slightly off putting, and especially with his 2016 voice it makes me feel I am watching the animated TV series ‘Family Guy,’ because in that animated cartoon he is the Mayor of the fictional district of Providence in Rhode Island, and when you see a photo of him today, you can understand why he looks like the spitting image of the fictional Mayor. But despite this situation, this animated feature film is totally brilliant and totally awesome, and the people who did the animation should definitely get some kind of award for their sterling professional work and I hope more of these Batman animated feature films will be released sometime in the near future.

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Blu-ray Image Quality – Warner Home Video has presented something special with this Blu-ray release in presenting the video images in stunning 1080p encoded images, and an equally stunning 1.85:1 aspect ratio that really shows off this amazing animated film with truly amazing images. Overall, this turns out to be one of DC comic books better-looking and least-problematic releases, and Batman fans of both the studio’s animated titles as well as the 1960s TV series should be pretty happy with what they get here. So full marks to Warner Home Video efforts in showing us this amazing animated cartoon in true high definition glory. Playback Region B/2: This will not play on most Blu-ray players sold in North America, Central America, South America, Japan, North Korea, South Korea, Taiwan, Hong Kong and Southeast Asia. Learn more about Blu-ray region specifications.

Blu-ray Audio Quality – Warner Home Video has once again brought us this fantastic animated cartoon in a wonderful awesome 5.1 DTS-HD Master Audio that really shows of the sound effects of the Pow! Sock! Bam! You get to hear throughout the animated film, that really shows off the sound effects to its full potential of this DC animated release, which is totally crisp, clean, and free of any noticeable defects. There’s very little use of directionality throughout, although one instance that I do remember is when Bruce Wayne throws the red bat-phone into the fireplace at Wayne Manor. The spoken word is exclusively up-front, which leaves the surrounds to be used primarily to enhance the musical score, but it is very much a dialogue-heavy release with several scenes where no surround usage is being made at all. So all in all this is a brilliant effort on the part of Warner Home Video.

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Blu-ray Special Features and Extras:

Special Feature: Those Dastardly Desperados! [2016] [1080p] [1.78:1] [10:29] The Joker, The Riddler, The Penguin and Catwoman are impossible not to watch! Those Dastardly Desperados explores how these fiends became more than just antagonists in a Batman story; they became icons in American pop culture. Here we take a look at the actors who are behind voice the dastardly evil fiendish villains, which of course consist of Jeff Bergman [The Joker], Wally Wingert [The Riddler], William Salyers [The Penguin], and of course, Julie Newmar [Catwoman]. Adam West [Batman] and Burt Ward [Robin] are also on hand to give their comments on being involved with this brilliant animated feature film. One thing that really shocked me is to see how Burt Ward, Adam West and Julie Newmar have aged quite considerably and the years have not been very kind to them and have not aged gracefully. We also get to see some behind-the-scenes in the recording studio with some of the actors. Other contributors include Michael Jelenic [Screenwriter], James Tucker [Writer/Producer] and Mike Carlin [Creative Director/Animation for DC Entertainment].

Special Feature: A Classic Cadre of Voices [2016] [1080p] [1.78:1] [10:01] A new talented cast of actors join the main three actors in the animated feature film ‘BATMAN: RETURN OF THE CAPED CRUSADER.’ We go behind-the-scenes and witness the vocal techniques and timing needed to deliver a classic animated Batman Comedy! We also take a look at all the different voice actors in this animated feature film, including of course, Adam West [Batman], Burt Ward [Robin], and Julie Newmar [Catwoman], as well as seeing how the other voice roles were cast. In addition to hearing from the actors themselves, also making comments here are Mike Carlin [Creative Director of Animation for DC Entertainment], James Tucker [Producer/Co-Writer], Wally Wingert [The Riddler], Jeff Bergman [The Joker/The Narrator] and William Salyers [The Penguin]. It was also nice to see behind-the-scenes of Adam West and Julie Newmar doing their voice recording session and also seeing the backroom technicians at work. Despite being quite short, it is still an interesting special feature.

Special Feature: A Sneak Peek at ‘BATMAN Vs. ROBIN’ [2014] [1080p] [1.78:1] [10:07] Here we get to see a nice long preview of this Blu-ray Release and looks really exciting and dramatic, but also looks like it has gone in a totally different direction and brought the Dynamic Duo up-to-date and a totally different direction of the DC Comic franchise and here we see a much darker side of the Batman and Robin characters and has a hint of the Japanese Anime animation. We also get contributions from Jay Oliva [Director], Andrea Romano [Voice Director], James Tucker [Producer], Jason O’ Mara [Batman], Stuart Allen [Damian], David McCallum [Alfred], Jeremy Sisto [Talon] and Robin Atkin Downes [Grandmaster Owl].

Special Feature: A Sneak Peek at ‘SON OF BATMAN’ [2013] [1080p] [1.78:1] [9:28] This is a sort of follow up to the previous sneak peek special feature, where we get to view the Blu-ray Release of ‘SON OF BATMAN,’ plus we get to see behind-the-scenes in the recording studio, especially of the actors doing their voice over recordings. Contributors include: Alan Barnett [Co-Producer], Ethan Spaulding [Director], Mike Carlin [Creative Director/Animation for DC Entertainment], James Tucker[ Producer], Andrea Romana [Voice Director], Stuart Allan [Damian Wayne] and Morena Baccarin [Talia Al Ghul].

Trailer: DC TV Brands Trailer [2016] [1080p] [1.78:1] [00:42] Here we get to view a trailer for the following Blu-ray Releases that includes: ‘DC’s LEGENDS OF TOMORROW;’ ‘ARROW;’ ‘THE FLASH;’ ‘GOTHAM’ and ‘SUPERGIRL.’

Theatrical Trailer: ‘WONDER WOMAN’ Coming To Theaters Trailer [2017] [1080p] [2.35:1] [2:34]

Theatrical Trailer: The LEGO BATMAN Movie Trailer [2017] [1080p] [2.35:1] [1:34]

Theatrical Trailer: ‘WONDER WOMAN’ Animated Film Trailer [2017] [1080p] [1.78:1] [00:59]

BONUS: You have a brilliant designed Blu-ray Cover, plus equally three brilliant and glorious multi coloured Limited Edition Artcards, that makes this brilliant package so wonderful to own and I suspect in time the Artcards will be very rare items.

Finally, Holy Batman! This ‘BATMAN: RETURN OF THE CAPED CRUSADERS’ is really a wonderful glorious spectacular camp colourful release and is like a gift from the DC comic book people, in bringing back everything we have loved about the original “Batman” television series, which is now brought to us in the glorious Warner Home Video Blu-ray disc in a brand-new cartoon adventure. It is full of fun, action, and great bits of camp dialogue, and this has turned out to be one of DC comic's best animated releases so far and I suspect the fans of this series and especially me will hopefully look forward to new releases in the near future. Highly Recommended!

Andrew C. Miller – Your Ultimate No.1 Film Aficionado 
Le Cinema Paradiso 
United Kingdom

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