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‘Batman: The Long Halloween – Deluxe Edition’ – Blu-Ray Review

I was a little wary at first when I saw the runtime of this movie: 168 minutes, or nearly three hours. I fully expected to end up splitting it up into two different viewings. But honestly, it doesn’t feel like a long movie. It rarely drags, and it kept me engaged throughout. And before I knew it, I’d spent three hours in front of the television. How did that happen?

The reason the movie is so long—about twice the length of your standard DC Universe Animated film—is because it was originally two movies. The 13-issue comic was a bit much to contain in a single 80-minute movie, so they released it last year in two parts. Now, this Deluxe Edition Blu-ray combines the two into a single, animated epic that spans the course of a full year and features virtually all of your favorite Batman villains.

As our story begins, Batman (Jensen Ackles), still in his relatively early days, along with Commissioner Gordon (Billy Burke) and D.A. Harvey Dent (Josh Duhamel), are trying, and largely failing, to take down the Falcone crime family; however, it seems they’re not the only ones with a grudge against the Falcones, and late Halloween night, a masked assassin takes one of them out. That same assassin then stages another hit on Thanksgiving, another on Christmas, etc. As “The Holiday” racks up an ever-increasing body count, the goal of Batman and the police shifts from taking down the Falcone family to protecting them. None of them are particularly happy about this, especially Harvey Dent.

As the year progresses, a number of Batman’s more colorful nemeses begin wreaking havoc, as well. The Joker perpetrated a gas attack on the city. Scarecrow perpetrates an attack of his own, with a very different brand of gas. The Mad Hatter, Poison Ivy, Solomon Grundy, and more all get involved. And as the stress of his job continues weighing on Harvey Dent, and the conflict continues to fester between wanting to take down Falcone and having to protect him, it quickly becomes clear that another Batman villain may make an appearance before long.

And then, of course, there’s Catwoman (Naya Rivera). She somehow seems less interested in wreaking havoc and more interested in protecting Batman—or at least helping him out of a few tight scrapes against some of the other aforementioned villains. Meanwhile, Bruce Wayne and Selina Kyle are dating, which may have something to do with it.

And so we work our way through New Year’s, April Fool’s, Fourth of July, and more. With each month comes a new holiday, and a new murder. Security is tightened, everyone is on their guard, but somehow, even Batman can’t stop The Holiday from this cruel and bloody mission.

There’s a whole lot going on in this movie as the year progresses, even aside from the Holiday killings. All of the different villains have their own agendas. A few of them have someone pulling their strings, and a few of them are just their own brand of chaos. It’s difficult to keep track sometimes of who’s orchestrating what, and why. I think there are also at least a couple of loose ends left by the end, and more than a few red herrings as Batman investigates a myriad of different suspects for the identity of The Holiday. Still, all in all, it’s an entertaining film and worth watching, with just the right amount of levity to balance out the otherwise very heavy subject matter.

As is common with the animated DC films, there are several episodes of Batman: The Animated Series as special features on the Blu-ray, including the two-part episode that depicted the origin of Two-Face. I always look forward to these, as an important part of DC animated films. There’s also a featurette and several previews of other DC films—though none that are upcoming.

The Long Halloween is a fairly well-known Batman comic, so I imagine a lot of people’s main question will be: Does the movie do it justice? Unfortunately, I can’t answer that, as I haven’t read it. Though I’ll admit now I kind of want to, if only to find out what they did in August, when there are no major holidays.

Taken on its own, however, this is a solid film with great visuals, a stellar cast, and a story that’s just complicated enough to be engaging without getting too overwhelming. If you’re a Batman fan, you’ll probably want to check this one out.

Creative Team: Tim Sheridan (writer), Chris Palmer (director), Jim Krieg and Kimberly S. Moreau (producers)
Released By: Warner Bros. Animation, DC Entertainment
Click here to purchase.

Steven W. Alloway, Fanbase Press Contributor



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