On the heels of the live action motion picture, The Dark Knight, comes this animated film from Warner Video.
Adapted from the Batman:Under the Red Hood comic arc by Judd Winick, this tale delivers Batman and his enemies as we’ve come to know them recently.
The Joker keeps pulling his old tricks, while Ras Algul comes up with a new one. All the while, Batman remains only a step behind…but throw The Red Hood into the mix, who won’t stop at killing his enemies, and has a blatant disregard for Batman.
Voice talent includes John DiMaggio (as hear on Adventure Time) as the Joker, Bruce Greenwood as Batman, Jensen Ackles (of Supernatural) as The Red Hood, and Neil Patrick Harris (How I Met Your Mother) as Nightwing.
Part of the reason we love Batman is that he is human, he has weaknesses, loyalties, and regrets. There is also something in Batman’s past that he has to contend with, which complicates his character. Even villains start to feel like old friends to Batman fans, with history of their own. So this story is enjoyable for Batman fans for a few reasons: it can hold them over until the next live action feature-length film is released, it brings to life the story of The Red Hood which explores the relationship between Batman and Robin, and it also allows for some nostalgia for Batman the Animated Series.
It seems as though the lastest reincarnations of Batman, in both comic book form as well as films, have been darker and more adult than they have in the past. This animated film is no exception. It definitely takes some cues from The Dark Knight, including a frightening Joker who leaves explosives out for Batman’s loved ones. The Joker imagery in this film includes gas masks and smoking weapons, much like the recent live action film did, which everyone agreed was memorable. Heath Ledger and director Christopher Nolan changed the face of The Joker which clearly inspired the filmmakers responsible for Batman: Under the Hood.
This version of Batman includes quite a lot of animated blood and limp bodies, as casualties are common, making it inappropriate for young children, unlike The Animated Series.
The animation is not quite on par with the dynamic musical score and top notch voice acting, (in fact it can be slightly distracting in some action sequences,) but fans of the Batman television series of the early 1990s will accept the look and format of this new film, which is also offered on Blu-Ray.
After Batman loses Robin in an explosion, a mysterious new face arrives on the scene in Gotham: The Red Hood. Batman quickly learns that The Red Hood is a monster of his own making, who must be dealt with along with The Joker.
About the Author
Judd Winick, responsible for the Batman: Under the Hood comic book arc and the adaptation for this film, was born February 12th, 1970 and raised on Long Island in New York. He began cartooning professionally at age 16 with a single-paneled strip called Nuts & Bolts. This ran weekly through Anton Publications, a newspaper publisher that produced town papers in the Tri state area. Judd attended the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, where Nuts & Bolts was also printed in The Michigan Daily.
Judd starred in MTVs The Real World, III, before deciding to finish with comic strips and move into comics and graphic novels. His strip Frumpy the Clown, was deemed inappropriate for family viewers and he decided that comic strips were no longer fulfilling.
Comic Book based Action/Adventure
-Discuss the new crop of darker Batman titles and films, and why this is so popular today
Reading Level/Interest Age
The film is rated PG-13, but the violence and blood makes it more appropriate for older teens aged 15-18+.
If the PG-13 rating is adhered to, then some younger teens may surprise their parents with this dark film.
Still, the Batman franchise provides so much in the way of materials for young adults, from DVDs to comics to graphic novels, that teens who choose to check out this title will have many more to choose from afterwards.
Why Did You Include This DVD?
Comic books and graphic novels are great for reluctant readers, and they can also help to develop visual storytelling skills. The addition of films like this in the library collection can help to create a culture and community at the library based on the interests of patrons.