Tuesday, November 18, 2008

4 Color Cinema


Batman: The Brave And The Bold

With the massive, massive success of The Dark Knight, it's no surprise that Batman is one the lips and minds of people all over the country and all over the world.  And why not?  The Dark Knight was a mature, edgily engaging film which showcased the depth of darkness prevalant in the very concept of Batman.  But, as I said at the time, why won't somebody think of the children?!  

Kids like Batman.  I don't know what it is, but Batman is a character which attracts kids.  And now that Chris Nolan and company have produced one of the most adult-oriented Batman stories of all time in TDK, it's only appropriate that James Tucker and company over at Warners should produce one of the most kid-oriented Batman shows since Superfriends.  Batman: The Brave And The Bold is the answer for parents who's kids at Bat-crazed but clearly not old enough for the cinematic experience just yet.

The first episode, "Rise of the Blue Beetle," sets the tone for the series.  Before the opening credits, we get a mini team-up of The Dark Knight and the Emerald Archer, with Bats and Green Arrow escaping from a deathtrap they have been put in by the bizarrely (and yet, appropriately) Bavarian Clock King.  The action is fun and fast, as the two heroes use their brains and their gear to escape the trap and "clean the King's clock."  Then, Batman seeks out Jaime Reyes, the Blue Beetle, for a simple space mission to see if the young hero has what it takes.  But there is a change of plans, and they are catipulted to the other side of the galaxy to save a race of ameoba folk from the space warlord Kanjar Ro!

The characters leap off the screen like a page of Dick Sprang art.  Bats wears his blue and grey uniform (as he should, dang it!), his jaw looks like it was chiseled from granite, and he gives wry little narration during the action, talking about how he and Green Arrow compete with each other or how technobabble is a fancy way of saying "I don't know."   The animation is bright and colorful, fitting right in with a lot of popular kids action cartoons on the airwaves these days.  And I for one absolutely think it's great.  B:TAS is a 500 pound gorilla, so why try and ape it?  (*rimshot*)  TB&TB goes in it's own direction and does it wonderfully.  The fact that the series is set up as a series of team-ups makes it even more fun.  If you get to jet off to outer space, or Gorilla City, or Atlantis each week, it seems like its hard to get too stale or repetative.  

Diedrich Bader, who is best known to me for playing Oswald on The Drew Carey Show, has a good tone as Batman.  He's not driven like Kevin Conroy or shadowy like Jeremy Sisto or mumbly like Christian Bale, but his voice seems right on target in the lighter adventure.  His comic timing helps too.  The show itself is fun and entertaining even for the adults in the audience, such as myself.

With the first episode, this series won me over.  I am now very eagerly awaiting the rest of them, with their bevy of promised or teased guest stars ranging from such DCU regulars as Aquaman and Red Tornado to such outlandish choices as Jonah Hex and Kamandi!  It looks like Warners has another winner on their hands, and hopefully the kids will flock to this like the rest of us flocked to The Dark Knight, or, more accurately, the way we all flocked to B:TAS some 16 (!!!) years ago.  

2 comments:

Bones said...

My son and I absolutely loved the first episode. We've watched it several times now.

I agree, Hawkman would be awesome and hopefully he'll be appearing soon. The Outsiders though?! Brilliant!

Honestly, my favorite episodes of Superman TAS were the ones where other, somewhat obscure characters like Dr. Fate showed up. If this series can capture that magic, then it'll jump past Justice League right up behind Batman TAS as my all-time favorite animated series. It's definitely off to a good start. Kanjar Ro!!!! How freakin' cool is that?

More obscure DC characters, please.

word verification: pencial

Frank Lee Delano said...

I'll have to wait until DVD, but I'm looking forward to this series.