Batman: The Complete Animated Series — Deluxe Limited Edition

BLU-RAY REVIEW: 

Warner;
Animated;
$112.99 Blu-ray;
Not rated.
Voices of Kevin Conroy, Efrem Zimbalist Jr., Bob Hastings, Robert Costanzo, Loren Lester, Mark Hamill, Arleen Sorkin.

The classic “Batman: The Animated Series” has never looked better thanks to a remastering that makes the series shine in high-definition. Although designed to be dark, the show nonetheless presents a dazzling array of color that gives new life to these heroes and villains of comic book legend.

This is an essential addition for any Batman fan’s collection.

The show was developed in the early 1990s to take advantage of the popularity of the Tim Burton “Batman” movies. While it shares some music and a darker edge, the show really stands on its own, and is considered by many to be the definitive on-screen adaptation of the character. About the only limitation it faced was that the network sensibilities for shows aimed at younger viewers at the time precluded how the show depicted violence, and restricted the depiction of blood and gun use.

The distinctive style is reminiscent of the Fleischer “Superman” shorts from the early 1940s, and itself spawned an animation franchise that came to include new “Superman” and “Justice League” cartoons, not to mention the cult-classic “Batman Beyond” reinterpretation of the character. (Thus far, the “Justice League” has been the only other DC Animated Universe series released on Blu-ray.)

The set includes 109 episodes from the series spanning four seasons, including the final 24 that were produced under the “New Batman Adventures” label with a modified design aesthetic. As a bonus, the set includes the theatrically released Batman: Mask of the Phantasm and the direct-to-video spinoff Batman & Mr. Freeze: SubZero (the discs are the previously released Blu-ray versions of each).

In addition to a bevy of legacy bonus content that includes audio commentaries and making-of featurettes from the previous DVD releases of the show, the new Blu-ray also comes with a bonus disc containing the new hour-and-a-half “Heart of Darkness” retrospective documentary, in which the show’s creators and cast reflect on developing the series and the qualities that gave it such an enduring legacy.

Warner Reorganizes PR and Marketing Teams

Warner Bros. Motion Picture Group has undergone a reorganization of its public relations and marketing teams, cutting 15 jobs in New York and Los Angeles and promoting some executives, according to reports.

Variety broke the story about the cuts.

Warner is consolidating the marketing and public relations teams under Blair Rich, president of worldwide theatrical and home entertainment marketing, Variety reported, noting that the cuts were not related to the AT&T-Time Warner merger.

The studio is combining domestic and international publicity units under Michelle Slavich, head of global publicity and strategy.

“Back in January, we announced a restructure of our film and home entertainment businesses to enable us to remain competitive while facing an evolving business environment that grows more global every day,” Rich wrote in a memo to staff, Variety reported.

Dana Nussbaum will oversee theatrical media, Deadline reported, and will more closely align it with the home entertainment media unit. As part of the move, Jack Walker has been promoted to SVP, media and digital marketing, home entertainment, reporting to Nussbaum and Jessica Schell, EVP and GM, film at Warner Bros. Home Entertainment, according to Deadline. Walker will work with Andrew Hotz, who oversees theatrical digital marketing and media, and Jeff Brown, who oversees home entertainment television, Deadline reported. Walker had previously reported to Schell and Brown.

Lynne Frank, president, international marketing and worldwide planning and operations for Warner Bros. Pictures, will be leaving the studio at the end of the year to pursue new professional opportunities, the studio announced Oct. 23.

Also leaving are EVP of international publicity Lance Volland and Ernie Johnston in promotions and field publicity, according to Deadline.

‘2001: A Space Odyssey’ to Debut on 4K Ultra HD Dec. 18 From Warner

As part of the 50th anniversary of Stanley Kubrick’s 2001: A Space Odyssey, Warner Bros. Home Entertainment will release the groundbreaking science fiction epic on 4K Ultra High Definition Blu-ray in premium collectible packaging Dec. 18.

The classic returned to U.S. theaters in May following the debut of an “unrestored” 70mm print at the 71st annual Cannes Film Festival. The film is playing throughout the summer at select theaters. For the first time since the original release, new 70mm prints were struck from pristine printing elements made from the original camera negative. A longtime admirer of the Kubrick, director Christopher Nolan (Dunkirk, Interstellar, Inception) worked closely with the team at Warner throughout the mastering process. Building on the work done for the new 70mm prints, the 4K UHD with HDR presentation was mastered from the 65mm original camera negative. The 4K UHD also includes both a remixed and restored 5.1 DTS-HD master audio track, as well as the original 1968 six-track theatrical audio mix (formatted for 5.1 DTS-HD master audio).

2001 to me is the most cinematic film that has ever been made and it has been an honour and a privilege to be able to share the film with a new generation,” Nolan said in a statement. “4K UHD allows the closest recreation of viewing the original film print in your own home. Kubrick’s masterpiece was originally presented on large format film and the deeper color palette and superior resolution comes closest to matching the original analogue presentation.”

Originally released in the 70mm Cinerama roadshow format on April 4, 1968, 2001: A Space Odyssey was directed and produced by Kubrick and written by Kubrick and Arthur C. Clarke, inspired by Clarke’s short story “The Sentinel.”

The 2001: A Space Odyssey 4K UHD Blu-ray with premium packaging ($41.99) includes the feature film in 4K resolution with HDR (including Dolby Vision HDR), a remastered Blu-ray disc, a Blu-ray disc with the special features in HD, and a digital version of the feature film. The premium packaging also includes a collectible booklet and art cards featuring iconic images from the film.

The remastered Blu-ray Disc will also be available as a standalone product at $19.98.

2001: A Space Odyssey is also available for purchase in 4K UHD from select digital retailers, including iTunes, Google and Vudu on October 30.

The 2001: A Space Odyssey 4K UHD contains the following 4K and Blu-ray elements:

  • 4K UHD Blu-ray with Commentary from Keir Dullea and Gary Lockwood
  • Remastered Blu-ray with Commentary from Dullea and Lockwood
  • “The Making of a Myth”
  • “Standing on the Shoulders of Kubrick: The Legacy of 2001
  • “Vision of a Future Passed: The Prophecy of 2001
  • 2001: A Space Odyssey – A Look Behind the Future”
  • “What Is Out There?”
  • “2001: FX and Early Conceptual Artwork”
  • “Look: Stanley Kubrick!”
  • a Nov. 27, 1966 Interview with Stanley Kubrick (audio only)
  • the original Theatrical Trailer
  • a premium booklet
  • art cards

The 2001: A Space Odyssey Blu-ray disc contains the remastered Blu-ray with commentary from Dullea and Lockwood.

Update: This story previously posted June 21, 2018, has been altered to reflect a change in street date from Oct. 30 to Nov. 20, later changed to Dec. 18.

Animated ‘Reign of the Supermen’ Slated for January

Warner Bros. Home Entertainment will release the animated superhero movie Reign of the Supermen through digital retailers Jan. 15, and on Blu-ray, DVD and 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray Jan. 29.

The latest entry in the DC Universe brand is a sequel to The Death of Superman, released earlier this year, and continues the adaptation of the popular 1990s comic book storyline. Reign of the Supermen finds Superman’s absence filled by four super-powered individuals, each claiming his legacy after the Man of Steel’s body disappears, fueling rumors that he could still be alive.

The cast includes Jerry O’Connell as Superman, Rebecca Romijn as Lois Lane, Rainn Wilson as Lex Luthor, Cress Williams as Steel, Cameron Monaghan as Superboy and Patrick Fabian as Hank Henshaw, plus Jason O’Mara as Batman, Rosario Dawson as Wonder Woman, Shemar Moore as Cyborg, Nathan Fillion as Green Lantern, Christopher Gorham as The Flash, Nyambi Nyambi as Martian Manhunter and Tony Todd as Darkseid.

The Blu-ray and digital versions will include a “Lex Luthor: The Greatest Nemesis” featurette; a preview of the next DC Universe Movie, Justice League vs. The Fatal Five; and bonus cartoons

“Heavy Metal” from “Superman: The Animated Series,” and “Panic in the Sky” from “Justice League Unlimited.”

Warner Releasing ‘The Nun’ Digitally Nov. 20, on Disc Dec. 4

Warner Bros. Home Entertainment will release The Nun through digital retailers and Movies Anywhere Nov. 20, followed by Blu-ray Disc and DVD Dec. 4.

The film delves into the origins of Valak, the demonic presence that first appeared in The Conjuring 2.

The cast includes Demian Bichir, Taissa Farmiga, Jonas Bloquet, Charlotte Hope, Ingrid Bisu and Bonnie Aarons.

The Nun earned $116.7 million at the domestic box office.

Bonus materials include more than 10 minutes of deleted scenes and the featurettes “A New Horror Icon,” “Gruesome Planet” and “The Conjuring Chronology”

Final Season of ‘Longmire’ on Disc Nov. 20

Warner Bros. Home Entertainment will release Longmire: The Sixth and Final Season digitally and on DVD Nov. 20. A Blu-ray edition will be available from Warner Archive.

All six seasons will also be available in a complete-series DVD set.

Season Six finds Wyoming Sheriff Walt Longmire (Robert Taylor), his deputies Vic Moretti (Katee Sackhoff) and The Ferg (Adam Bartley), his best friend Henry Standing Bear (Lou Diamond Phillips), and daughter Cady (Cassidy Freeman) facing the biggest personal and professional crises of their lives as Walt’s job and home are under threat by an unscrupulous lawyer.

‘Crazy Rich Asians’ Coming to Digital Nov. 6, Disc Nov. 20 From Warner

The romantic comeday Crazy Rich Asians is coming out on digital (including Movies Anywhere) Nov. 6 and on Blu-ray Combo Pack and DVD Nov. 20 from Warner Bros. Home Entertainment.

The film has earned $169.6 million in theaters.

The international cast of stars includes Constance Wu (TV’s “Fresh Off the Boat”), Gemma Chan (TV’s “Humans”), Lisa Lu (2012), Awkwafina (Ocean’s 8, Neighbors 2), Ken Jeong (the “Hangover” films) and Michelle Yeoh (TV’s “Star Trek: Discovery,” Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon). The ensemble also includes Henry Golding, making his feature film debut, Sonoya Mizuno (La La Land), Chris Pang (TV’s “Marco Polo”), Jimmy O. Yang (TV’s “Silicon Valley”), comedian Ronny Chieng (TV’s “The Daily Show”), Remy Hii (TV’s “Marco Polo”), Nico Santos (TV’s “Superstore”) and Jing Lusi (TV’s “Stan Lee’s Lucky Man”).

Based on the bestseller by Kevin Kwan, the film follows New Yorker Rachel Chu (Wu) as she accompanies her longtime boyfriend, Nick Young (Golding), to his best friend’s wedding in Singapore. Excited about visiting Asia for the first time but nervous about meeting Nick’s family, Rachel is unprepared to learn that Nick has neglected to mention a few key details about his life. Not only is he the scion of one of the country’s wealthiest families, but also one of its most sought-after bachelors. Being on Nick’s arm puts a target on Rachel’s back, with jealous socialites and worse, Nick’s own disapproving mother (Yeoh) taking aim.

The Blu-ray Combo Pack special features include commentary by director Jon M. Chu and novelist Kwan, “Crazy Rich Fun,” a gag reel, and deleted scenes. Special features in the DVD include “Crazy Rich Run.”

First Season of ‘Castle Rock’ Available for Digital Download Oct. 15, on Disc Jan. 8

The first season of Hulu original series “Castle Rock” will be available for digital purchase Oct. 15, and on Blu-ray, DVD and 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray Jan. 8 from Warner Bros. Home Entertainment.

The psychological horror series is based on the works of Stephen King and brings together elements from several of his books to follow the story of an attorney (André Holland) who is embroiled in a mystery in the fictional town of Castle Rock, Maine. The first season consists of 10 episodes.

Bill Skarsgård, Sissy Spacek, Melanie Lynskey, Jane Levy and Terry O’Quinn also star. The series is executive produced by King, J.J. Abrams, Sam Shaw, Dustin Thomason, Ben Stephenson, Mark Lafferty and Liz Glotzer.

Extras include behind-the-scenes featurettes for each episode, plus new featurettes “Blood on the Page” and “A Clockwork of Horror: Merging the styles of Stephen King & J.J. Abrams.”

‘The Meg’ Swimming to Blu-ray Nov. 13, Digital Oct. 30

Warner Bros. Home Entertainment will release The Meg digitally Oct. 30, and on Blu-ray, DVD and 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray Nov. 13.

Based on the novel MEG by Steve Alten, the film follows a deep-sea rescue team’s efforts to save the crew of an undersea observation platform from a 75-foot-long prehistoric shark.

Directed by Jon Turteltaub, the film stars Jason Statham, Li Bingbing, Rainn Wilson, Ruby Rose, Winston Chao, Page Kennedy, Jessica McNamee, Ólafur Darri Ólafsson, Robert Taylor, Sophia Cai, Masi Oka and Cliff Curtis.

The Meg has earned more than $142 million at the domestic box office.

Bonus materials include the featurettes “Chomp on This: The Making of the Meg” and “Creating the Beast.” The 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray will feature Dolby Vision HDR and a Dolby Atmos soundtrack.

1978 ‘Superman’ Movie Flying to 4K UHD Blu-ray Nov. 6

Warner Bros. Home Entertainment is releasing 1978’s Superman: The Movie on 4K UHD Blu-ray Disc Nov. 6.

The combo pack, which also includes a standard Blu-ray and digital copy, marks the 40th anniversary of the film and the 80th anniversary of the Superman character.

Directed by Richard Donner, the film stars Christopher Reeve as Superman, Margot Kidder as Lois Lane, Gene Hackman as Lex Luthor and Marlon Brando as Jor-El. John Williams composed the film’s iconic theme and musical score.

The film depicts how Jor-El sent his infant son away from the dying planet of Krypton to become a protector of Earth, where his alien physiology gives him great superpowers.

Superman was nominated for three Oscars, including Best Film Editing, and Best Sound and Best Music (Original Score). It also received a Special Achievement Academy Award for Visual Effects.  Superman was inducted in to the Library of Congress National Film Registry in 2017.

The 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray edition of Superman will feature Dolby Vision HDR and a Dolby Atmos soundtrack.

The UHD Blu-ray and regular Blu-ray will include a previously released commentary with producers Pierre Spengler and Ilya Salkind. The regular Blu-ray will also include legacy bonus material such as a 1978 making-of featurette, “Superman and the Mole-Men” and cartoons.