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Baton Rouge Brent
- Publié sur Amazon.com
I was prepared to dislike the new DC direct-to-dvd animated film, Batman: Under the Red Hood. I've been annoyed with these animated films for a number of reasons, some admittedly nitpicky and petty, but annoyances just the same. However, after watching a review copy I was quite pleased with the way it worked out! Having read the original story arc in the comics, I wondered how they were going to take such a complex tale, one that draws on various Batman stories going as far back as 1951, and roll it all up into a neat little self-contained package lasting under an hour and 20 minutes (short running time--another gripe of mine). The answer is, quite deftly!
The story has to do with the Batman's greatest failure, the sadistic, violent death of the second Robin, Jason Todd, at the hands of the Joker, who began his career as a masked criminal known as the Red Hood, which is established in short, succinct flashbacks. The story begins five years after the death of Jason Todd and involves a criminal turf war between the Black Mask, an aggressive and entrepreneurial mob boss who wears a black skull mask, and a new masked criminal--a new Red Hood. This new Red Hood is trying to clean up Gotham by controlling the gangs, and his methods are violent, ruthless, and murderous, and thus he comes to the attention of the Batman. A showdown is inevitable, but who's manipulating who, how will the Black Mask react, and what role does the volatile Joker play in the plan?
The story is action-packed, very dark, and should make casual viewers and fans quite happy. Some gripes; Bruce Greenwood and John DiMaggio turn in terrific jobs as the Batman and the Joker, respectively, but I really wish they would have gotten Kevin Conroy and Mark Hamill to play the parts. Those two actors are so well associated with the roles and it would have been quite interesting to see how they would have handled such a dark and violent story. Sometimes the violence is kept to a nil when it should be amped up. For example, the death of Jason Todd is fairly unbelievable; the Joker spends a good deal of time beating him with a crowbar, yet afterwards he looks only as though he fell down and scraped himself up a little. The comic book story, A Death In the Family, regulated by the Comics Code Authority no less, showed blood, bruising, swelling, a shredded costume, and made him look more than half dead. The movie fails to convey this, and when they're dealing with a PG-13 rating they could certainly have done better.
Another big problem I have with this film, and the DC direct-to-dvd movies in general, is the short running time. Again, with a PG-13 rating and such dark and complex stories, it's more than obvious that the intended audience is NOT young children and pre-teens, but rather an older, more mature audience. So why the short running times geared towards the short attention spans of young children?! This film runs one hour and 15 minutes. The last film, Justice League: Crisis on Two Earths, ran only one hour and 13 minutes. Please, DC, PLEASE--know your audience and realize that the vast majority of people purchasing these films are adults who can keep track of sophisticated plots, complex character development, and running times that are closer to those of adult movies--an hour and a half to two hours! If you did that, you could do so much more with these animated films.
Depsite my gripes, I have to give this movie four out of five stars. It was very entertaining, with lots of action and some seriously twisted moments from both the Joker and the Black Mask. Parents, please take note from a fellow parent: just because this is an animated film, that does not mean it is suitable for young children. Please take the PG-13 rating seriously.