Sunday, June 20, 2021



Label: Warner Bros. Home Entertainment 
Region Code: A
Rating: PG-13 
Duration: 85 Minutes 
Audio: English DTS-HD MA 5.1 with Optional English  Subtitles 
Video: 1080p HD Widescreen (1.78:1) 
Director: Chris Palmer 
Cast: Jensen Ackles, Naya Rivera, Josh Duhamel, illy Burke, Titus Welliver, David Dastmalchian, Troy Baker, Amy Landecker, Julie Nathanson, Jack Quaid, Fred Tatasciore, Alastair Duncan, Frances Callier, Greg Chun, Gary Leroi Gray, Jim Pirri

Based on the iconic mid-1990s 13-issue DC story from Jeph Loeb and Tim Sale, Batman: The Long Halloween, Part One takes place not too long after the events of Frank Miller's Batman: Year One story arc, with a still green Batman (Jensen Ackles, Supernatural) teaming-up with Police Captain James Gordan ( (Billy Burke, Lights Out) and upcoming District Attorney Harvey Dent(Josh Duhamel, Netflix's Jupiter's Legacy) to take down Carmine "The Roman" Falcone (Titus Welliver, TV's Bosch), the head of Gotham's notorious Falcone Crime Family. At the start of the film Falcone's nephew Johnny Viti is gunned down in his bathtub, a murder which is assumed to be a mob hit from rival gang. However, when more Falcone connected associates end up dead each month on major holidays it becomes clear that there's a serial killer stalking the crime family, but who and to what end? The identity of the killer is difficult to suss out due to conflicting clues, leaving the World’s Greatest Detective to sleuth the identity of a serial killer dubbed the Holiday Killer, with Batman enlisting the help of Catwoman (the late Naya Rivera, Glee) and Arkham Asylum inmate the Calendar Man (David Dastmalchian, Ant Man and The Wasp) to get to the bottom of it all. 

Adapting such a beloved work as Batman: The Long Halloween is no enviable task but the first half of this two-part story seems up to the task. This first half is laying it all out, setting up the story and characters,  and doing a lot of the heavy lifting in the process, so it's a bit of a slow-burn, but it's very well done. There are bits excised from the original story to streamline it and I thought it was done organically and that the animated film stands on it's own, sort of. It's a two-part story, so it's obviously it does not resolve by the end, but the set-up is fantastic, and the tone and atmosphere feels spot-on to the source material. 

I love the animated style of it, which looks a bit like Superman: Man of Tomorrow by way of Batman: The Animated Series, it does not ape the Tim  Sale artwork from the comics, though images from the comics are gleaned during the opening title sequences, and the film pays plenty of respect to the iconic images from the comics, replicating many but in it's own style. The backgrounds are particularly great, the architecture of the Gotham skyline is some of the best I've seen, the scenes of pouring rain and falling snow are also quite nicely done. I dig the character designs, which are often a departure from the comics, particularly the design of Catwoman, which much more Batman: The Aminated Series than Batman: The Long Halloween comic. The story also features villains by way of an down in the sewers appearance from Solomon Grundy (Fred Tatasciore, Looney Tunes Cartoons), and the Joker, voiced by Troy Baker (Batman vs. Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles), a talent who has been voicing the the Clown Prince of Crime in various animated films for a few years now and is pretty great. The voice cast in general is fantastic, including Jensen Ackels who turns in a fine performance as Bruce Wayne/Batman. 

The first half of the story caps off on a high-note, with Joker attempting to laughing-gas bomb a New Years Eve celebration and the Holiday Killer making an appearance on a party Yacht owned by Carmine Falcone, nicely setting-up the second half of the story, I am definitely keen to checkout out part two, which is set for release on Blu-ray on August 10th, with a deluxe 4K UHD edition arriving later in the year that will combine both parts one and two.

The single-disc release arrives in a standard keepcase with a single-sided sleeve of artwork featuring very attractive  illustration, which is mirrored on the slipcover. Inside there's a redemption code for a digital copy of the film, which I have not been able to checkout yet, as it is not active till 6/22. 

Audio/Video: Batman: The Lon Halloween Part. 1 arrives on Blu-ray from WBHE in 1080p HD framed in 1.78:1 widescreen. The bold-lined animated style looks great in 1080p, the visuals are well-defined with deep color-saturation, it has excellent contrast and looks wonderful in motion. 

Audio comes by way of English DTS-HD MA 5.1 with optional English subtitles, and it's a lively and atmospheric presentation. There's not a ton f action in this first half but what we do get is well done, the sound design gives weight to the scenes in the sewer, the shoot-outs are piercing, and the Michael Gatt score sounds great.

Extras come by way of the all-new animated short The Losers which runs about sixteen-minutes, a story about a rag tag group of WWII searching for missing scientist on a South pacific island inhabited by dinosaurs. This was alright, not great, the animation style did not do much for me. We also get a 9-minutre advance looks at  Batman: The Long Halloween, Part Two with cast and crew interviews, animatics and more. There are also two vintage episodes of Batman: The Animated Series, and they recycle the previews of Batman: The Dark Knight Returns - Part One  and Batman: Gotham by Gaslight, which seems kind of lazy. I am hoping when this gets the deluxe UHD treatment we get more new animated shorts at least. 

Special Features:
- Digital Copy 
- DC Showcase – The Losers (New Animated Short) (16 min) 
- A Sneak Peek at the next DC Universe Movie – An advance look at the next animated film in the popular DC Universe Movies collection, Batman: The Long Halloween, Part Two. (9 min) 
- From the DC Vault – Batman: The Animated Series – “Christmas With The Joker” (22 min) 
- From the DC Vault – Batman: The Animated Series – “It’s Never Too Late” (22 min) 
- A Preview of Batman: The Dark Knight Returns - Part One (13 min) 
- A Preview of Batman: Gotham by Gaslight (9 min) 

Batman: The Long Halloween, Part One is a solid watch, it's not big on action, but does the heavy lifting setting up the second act that's coming in August. The animation looks great, the voice cast is terrific, and I thought the adaptation nicely captures the tone and atmosphere of the comic, looking forward to the second half! 

Screenshots from the Blu-ray: