Eye For Film >> Movies >> Batman: The Long Halloween, Part One (2021) DVD Review
Batman: The Long Halloween, Part One
Reviewed by: Andrew RobertsonRead Andrew Robertson's film review of Batman: The Long Halloween, Part One
The DVD release of the animated The Long Halloween, Part One has a significant number of extras, all of which are likely to be of interest to Bat-fans. For the actual feature there are four audio tracks (English, French, German, Spanish), subtitles in those and also Dutch, and scene selection though those divisions are somewhat arbitrary and the selected images not always helpful.
There are three separate 'previews', I've wrapped them in inverted commas as (spoiler alert) two of them have been around for ages.
Gotham By Gaslight, Mike Mignola (Hellboy) pitting the Dark Knight against Jack the Ripper. The first of what would become known as 'Elseworlds', it relocates not just the Bat-Man but the associated characters to new places and times. Elseworlds would give us Superman: Red Son which had Kal-El land not in the grainbelts of the United States but the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics. Elseworlds is part and parcel with Marvel and the multiverse, here What-If given wings by Warner Brothers. It is, however, from 2018.
Further back, doubly so, a preview for The Dark Knight Returns, the comic that helped spawn those headlines that explained comics weren't just for kids any more, 35 years ago. The animated version, two parts like The Long Halloween, was released in 2012. Here in a preview contemporary to the actual release, there's preview imagery, significant quantities of pages from the actual comic, and sight of the cast. What a cast too: Robocop and Ivan's XTC's Peter Weller as the voice of Bruce Wayne and Batman, Ariel Winter of Sofia The First and Modern Family as Carrie Kelley and Robin, and David Selby (that guy from that thing) as Commissioner Gordon.
More presently, the preview for The Long Halloween, Part Two. It directly builds on elements introduced in the post-credit sting, sets out quite a lot of the other moving parts without breaking into the central mystery of the piece, and features animatics, previews, moving story-boards too of what is to come. It certainly builds anticipation.
There's also a DC Comics presents - a short of about five minutes focusing on The Losers. Not the Jock/Andy Diggle Vertigo comic, also with a film adaptation, but the Second World War action comic upon which those Losers were (very) loosely based. This is as notable as much for the vocal talents (Ming-Na Wen! Dean Winters!) as for the fact that it's got dinosaurs in it.
Bruce Timm, who was one of the major forces behind Batman: The Animated Series and deserves much of the credit for the quality of DC animation in general appears as a talking head a few times in the previews. Appropriate too that two episodes of that show appear as extras 'From the DC Vault'. The first, Christmas With The Joker, is only the second episode. It is the first appearance of the Joker, and of Mark Hamill as his voice. As iconic as Kevin Conroy's Batman is in The Animated Series Hamill's performance is and remains a treat. There's also It's Never Too Late (series one, episode six) which explores a succession struggle in Gotham's gangland. Both have thematic ties to The Long Hallowe'en, and both are treats in their own right.
The feature is some 85 minutes long, the previews and other episodes in total come close to that. The age of the episodes of the Animated Series is apparent, they're in 4:3, but so distinctive is the style that it just adds to the period feel. They're a lot crisper than I remember, but I first watched these episodes when they were aired. Nearly 30 years later my eyes are not as good, my memory not that sharp, and my television of significantly higher resolution than either. It doesn't matter, they're a treat. As with the Simpsons, the animation is showing its age, the quality is timeless.Reviewed on: 20 Jun 2021