Blu-ray Review: Batman Unlimited: Animal Instincts

If you’ve followed my reviews at all, you’ll know I’m a big fan of most of what DC/Warner Bros. puts out in the animated film world, especially when it comes to the Caped Crusader. Which is why I a little confused by their latest offering, Batman Unlimited: Animal Instincts.

This is obviously a cartoon more geared towards kids than their recent released. It’s Not Rated, but easily ranks in at a G or PG versus the PG-13 that most of the recent stuff has been rated. I also did a little on-line research and apparently, this film is based on a toy line called Batman Unlimited, which if that doesn’t screen “for kids” than what does. I supposed I should be annoyed at an animated movie based on a toy line, but coming from a guy who grew up playing with G.I. Joe, He-Man and Transformers, that would be a little hypocritical. So do what you need to do DC, do what you need to do.

The story revolves around The Penguin putting together an all animal super villain team of Cheetah, Killer Croc, Silverback and Man-Bat. He’s also got an army of cyborg animals at his ready to take on Batman and his team of heroes consisting of Red Robin, Nightwing, Green Arrow and The Flash. I’m sure the appearance of Arrow and Flash is no coincidence thanks to their hugely popular CW shows.

Penguins plan is idiotic to say the least. SPOILERS: He wants to put a forcefield around the build he and his compatriots are in and bring a giant gold filled meteor crashing to earth to destroy Gotham and it’s heroes and leave the meteor behind, which he’ll use his new cyborg animals to dig the gold out. Ridiculous to say the least.

This story takes place in some sort of weird future world where police cars can fly. No, this isn’t Batman Beyond or anything like that, this is Bruce Wayne we’re talking about. It makes this already strange and out of place film seem even more so.

Now, I’m not knocking on this film because it’s geared more towards kids than it is adults. I’m knocking on it because it’s not a good story. Brave and The Bold is totally geared towards kids, and that show is a lot of fun. I get that Batman doesn’t have to be all gloom and doom all the time, but if you’re going to make a silly Batman story, at least make it a good silly Batman story.

The entire drive of the film is Penguins ridiculous scheme. Very little interesting happens between the heroes, they spend the entire film reacting to what the villains are doing and figuring out how to stop them.

Then to top everything off, the design of The Penguin is about the strangest I’ve ever seen. He looks more like Gru form Despicable Me on steroids, rather than The Penguin. It’s an awkward look that I never got used to and bothered me the whole way through.

Suffice to say, I didn’t like this one. There is a follow up film, Monster Mayhem coming out in the Fall and I suspect it will stink just as much as this one did.

The film is presented in 1.78:1 and DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1. The film looks and sounds fine outside its design flaws.

You get Penguin: High Society Criminal (13 min.)A brief intro to the history of The Penguin, complete with interviews with the crew of the film and some random kid who likes The Penguin. DC Nation Shorts: You get 9 of these; Justice League of Animals, 3 Bat Man of Shanghai, Plastic Man and 5 Super Pets. DC Vault: Here you get Two episodes from the TV series’ Batman: The Animated Series, Batman Beyond.

I know DC needs to make kids animated films every once in a while to draw in the young fans, but they really need to step up their game with these films. Animal Instincts was a really subpar Batman story.
Warner Bros. presents Batman Unlimited: Animal Instincts. Written by: Heath Corson. Based on characters created by Bob Kane. Directed by: Butch Lukic. Starring: Roger Craig Smith, Will Friedle and Dana Snyder. Running time: 77 min. Rating: Not Rated. Released on DVD: May 12, 2015.

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