Movie Review: BATMAN NINJA (Blu-ray Combo Pack)

Warner Bros. Home Entertainment provided me with a free copy of the Blu-ray I reviewed in this Blog Post. The opinions I share are my own.

BATMAN NINJA is the creative result of a trio of anime’s finest filmmakers: director Jumpei Mizusaki, writer Kazuki Nakashima and character designer Takashi Okazaki produced the original movie with Warner Bros. Japan. The script was then reinterpreted and rewritten for English-language distribution by award-winning screenwriters Leo Chu and Eric Garcia. Benjamin Melniker and Michael Uslan are Executive Producers.

Roger Craig Smith and Tony Hale lead an impressive cast as the voices of Batman and the Joker, respectively. Grey Griffin and Tara Strong supply the voices of the antagonist & protagonist’s closest allies – Catwoman and Harley Quinn, respectively – while Fred Tatasciore provides the gruff-yet-sophisticated tones of Gorilla Grodd, a villain who must team with Batman to achieve his own personal agenda. Other voice actors include Bat-family members Yuri Lowenthal as Robin, Adam Croasdell as Nightwing and Alfred, and Will Friedle as Red Robin, and the Rogue’s gallery also features Tom Kenny as Penguin and Eric Bauza as Two-Face. Doing double duty is Tatasciore as Deathstroke, Strong as Poison Ivy, and Friedle as Red Hood.

Prepare to witness the Dark Knight, alongside many of his most famed allies and infamous foes, in an eye-popping anime display you’ve never seen before. Batman Ninja takes a journey across the ages as Gorilla Grodd’s time displacement machine transports many of Batman’s worst enemies to feudal Japan – along with the Dark Knight and a few of his allies. The villains take over the forms of the feudal lords that rule the divided land, with the Joker taking the lead among the warring factions. As his traditional high-tech weaponry is exhausted almost immediately, Batman must rely on his intellect and his allies – including Catwoman and the extended Bat-family – to restore order to the land, and return to present-day Gotham City.

The opening scene shows Batman taking on Gorilla Grodd where the villain’s time displacement machine is activated and sends Batman back to ancient Japan. He quickly realizes that his arch nemesis Joker has also made it back to the past and this is where an epic new battle of good versus evil, sane against insane begins, but this war is something completely different than what we’re used to seeing. Many of the major villains join Joker and his fight against Batman who is also joined by many of his trusted allies and just when things are really getting good, Gorilla Grodd reveals that he also has traveled back into the past and things getting even more complicated for the heroes. The entire battle is a war for control because the super villains want to seive this moment in the past (especially Grodd and Joker) so they can change everything as we know it but Batman and his super friends have a few surprises for their enemies where they ultimately put a stop to the sinister threat and return back to present day Gotham City.

The packaging comes with a slipcover/o-card. The front features the artwork you see at the top of the page and the back includes movie details, more artwork and list of special features. Each disc also features its own individual etched artwork. Inserting the disc, the menu screen was simple and easy to navigate. The picture and sound quality for the high-definition disc were crisp and clear. The picture and sound quality for the standard-definition disc were really good. I didn’t have any issues with the video and audio.

Bottom line is, Batman Ninja is the definitely craziest animated feature that DC and WB have cranked out to date. It features Batman and his allies taking on all the big villains just like the other movies except this one pushes everything to the max and turns everything upside down. If that’s not enough there’s also freaking samurai/ninja transformers inserted into the mix where they’re all fighting an epic battle that takes place in ancient Japan. Everything about this DC animated film is different from the rest, not just because of its interesting plot but the amazing animation style that’s used is jaw dropping. This is the world of Batman like we’ve never seen before because it is manga/anime style and it really is well done and visually stunning. Needless to say, the artists, animators and director did a fantastic job placing all of these fan favorite characters in this new world and giving them a new look that’s still kind of familiar. There’s also a great cast of voice actors that helped give all of these legendary DC characters their attitides and personalities. This amazing new collaboration from Warner Bros. Japan, DC Entertainment and Warner Bros. Home Entertainment is an instant classic and will be available on a Blu-ray Combo Pack (plus DVD and Digital) on May 8th.

Distributor: Warner Bros. Home Entertainment

Run Time: 85 Minutes

Rated: PG-13

Blu-ray Video: 1080p High-Definition 16×9 Widescreen (1.78:1)

Blu-ray Audio: English DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 / French and Spanish Dolby Digital 5.1

DVD Video: 16×9 Widescreen (1.78:1)

DVD Audio: English Dolby Digital 5.1 / French and Spanish Dolby Digital 2.0

Subtitles: English SDH, French and Spanish

Special Features: Good Stuff! The extras include the original Japanese audio track, two “making of” featuettes, the NYCC panel/presentation and a digital copy of the movie.

  • Original Japanese Dolby Digital 5.1
  • “East / West Batman” (Featurette) – Batman meets the anime medium, as this documentary looks into some of the Western tropes and archetypes, meshed into the world of feudal Japan.  East meets West, swords, samurai and giant robots, all playing into the clash between Batman and his Rogues gallery. (17:33)
  • “Batman: Made in Japan” (Featurette) – To make a special film about Batman requires just the right artist to bring the mix of style and energy that is unmistakably anime.  The filmmakers discuss the Japanese character models, influences and design that creates a fusion experience into this hyper real world. (14:03)
  • “New York Comic Con Presents Batman Ninja” – Meet the talented filmmakers behind Batman Ninja as they discuss their inspirations and challenges in bringing an anime version of Batman to life during a panel discussion unveiling Batman Ninja during New York Comic Con 2017. (49:02)
  • Digital Copy

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