The Batman/Superman Movie appears in an aspect ratio of 1.33:1 on this single-sided, single-layered DVD; due to those dimensions, the image has not been enhanced for 16X9 televisions. The WB animated superhero DVDs have been a mixed big. Some - like Batman Beyond: Return of the Joker looked quite good, while programs such as Batman and Mr. Freeze: SubZero seemed much less satisfying. Unfortunately, Movie fell into the second category due to a mix of problems.
Sharpness looked erratic. The image showed moderate softness much of the time, as the program often displayed a mildly gauzy appearance. The picture displayed acceptable crispness much of the time, but the vaguely filmy quality made the movie seem “off” during a lot of the program. Some jagged edges and moiré effects appeared as well, and print flaws became awfully prevalent at times. I saw various examples of speckles, grit, grain, dust, nicks and hairs throughout the film, and these occasionally seemed pretty heavy.
Colors usually looked fairly good. The various hues came across as nicely vibrant and lively, and they lacked any signs of noise, bleeding or other issues. Black levels seemed acceptably deep and dense, while shadow detail was fairly solid for the most part. Some scenes appeared a little too muddy, but the program usually showed those situations with good clarity. At times, Movie showed a pretty positive image, but the combination of print flaws and frequent softness left it with a “C-“ grade.
The Dolby Surround 2.0 soundtrack of The Batman/Superman Movie seemed much stronger than the picture. However, that doesn’t say much, and overall, the mix sounded fairly lackluster. The film featured a decent but unspectacular soundfield. The forward channels demonstrated good stereo presence for the music and also offered a reasonable sense of atmosphere. Elements blended together well and panned nicely. The surrounds contributed general reinforcement of the front speakers but didn’t add much unique audio; they supported the overall impression without much more.
Audio quality appeared positive but somewhat bland. Dialogue sounded natural and distinct without any signs of edginess or problems related to intelligibility. However, I heard a little vocal bleeding to the side speakers at times. Music seemed clear and acceptably rich; low-end response was acceptable but a little flat at times. Similar issues affected the effects. They appeared clean and distinct, but they lacked much punch. The overall impression I received from the track was that it came across as adequate but not anything special.
Movie includes only a few minor extras. Cast and Crew just lists a mix of participants; we find no information about their careers. Better is a Conversation With Producer Bruce Timm. This five minute and five second piece offers some decent general information about the program and the characters, but it lacks much depth.
The Art of Batman provides a three-minute “music montage” of material. We see snippets from the movie intercut with various examples of storyboards, character designs and other conceptual art, all of which appears on top of some aggressive techno-influenced guitar music. Some of the information seems interesting, but the presentation stinks; the drawings fly by too quickly, and the hyperactive music video style display gets irritating quickly.
Get the Picture also suffers from weak implementation. We find two segments that purport to teach us how to draw both Batman and Superman. These last 100 seconds and 60 seconds, respectively. Both show sped-up video of an artist as he draws the characters. Unlike a similar feature on Larryboy, we don’t receive any actual instruction about how to draw the heroes; we just watch the rapid pencil strokes. It’s brief and fairly useless.
Similar comments relate to the The Joker’s Challenge. This pointless game has you select different items to aid in your “quest”, which you can play as either Batman or Superman. Correct choices show the appropriate scene from the film. At the end, nothing happens; there’s no reward other than bits of the movie itself. It’s a waste of time.
Lastly, we find some trailers. There’s a clip for Movie as well as ads for Return of the Joker, Batman and Mr. Freeze: SubZero, a series of Scooby-Doo DVDs, and a preview of the summer 2002 live action Scooby Doo flick. While I expect the latter to stink, I must admit the trailer’s funny.
Ultimately, I liked The Batman/Superman Movie, though it wasn’t one of the best flicks from its genre. The movie petered out after its first half, but it still managed to offer enough fun and excitement to work for fans of the series. Unforutnately, the DVD offered a lackluster piece. It suffered from fairly poor picture along with average sound and a blah package of extras. If you’re really in the mood for a superhero fix, Movie will do, but my recommendation can be lukewarm at best, largely due to the rather weak DVD.