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Batman and Harley Quinn (Blu-ray Review)

31 Aug, 2017 By: John Latchem



Warner
Animated
$19.99 DVD, $24.99 Blu-ray, 39.99 BD gift set, $44.99 UHD BD

Rated ‘PG-13’ for sexual content, language, violence and action, and for rude humor
Voices of Kevin Conroy, Melissa Rauch, Paget Brewster, Loren Lester, Kevin Michael Richardson, John DiMaggio.

Though she started out as a side character on “Batman: The Animated Series,” Harley Quinn has become one of the most popular characters in the DC Comics canon. Almost 25 years after she was created as little more than another underling for the Joker, Harley became a huge presence in the live-action Suicide Squad film and was a huge factor in the movie’s commercial success.

Thus, it’s no surprise to see more stories focus on Harley as her own character. In fact, the Joker is barely mentioned in Batman and Harley Quinn — an intentional choice, according to the filmmakers in the bonus materials included on the Blu-ray.

Batman and Harley Quinn is the 30th film in the DC Universe line of animated superhero films designed to carry a ‘PG-13’ or above rating in order to tell edgier and/or more provocative stories. Batman and Harley Quinn certainly qualifies in this regard, ramping up the sexuality of the characters to a degree that might surprise viewers who expect a bit more sophistication and maturity in their Batman stories (one sequence is just an extended fart joke). But this is mostly a comedy, after all, and the movie offers its fair share of laughs.

The main plot does offer some topicality, as Poison Ivy (voiced by Paget Brewster) teams with another villain with plant powers, Floronic Man (Kevin Michael Richardson), to create a serum that will turn all humans into plant hybrids, and thus put an end to man’s ability to harm the environment.

In an effort to track down Ivy before the plan can be implemented, Batman and Nightwing (Kevin Conroy and Loren Lester, reprising their roles from “Batman: The Animated Series”) recruit Harley (Melissa Rauch of “The Big Bang Theory”), one of Ivy’s best friends in the criminal underworld.

Newly released from prison, Harley is attempting to go straight, and Rauch nicely conveys Harley’s bitterness over her abusive relationship with the Joker.

The animation style is very reminiscent of “Batman: The Animated Series,” and aside from the cruder subject matter, the movie could almost be an extension of the show.

For good measure, the Blu-ray includes two Harley-centric episodes of “Batman: The Animated Series,” including the one in which she and Ivy first team up.

The Blu-ray also includes “The Harley Effect,” a 21-minute featurette about the origins, evolution and impact of Harley Quinn as a character.

Also included is the 12-minute featurette “Loren Lester: In His Own Voice,” in which the voice actor recounts his career, in particular his work voicing Robin/Nightwing for various DC Comics adaptations.

Rounding out the disc are a number of previews for other DC Universe movies, including an eight-and-a-half minute preview of the upcoming Batman: Gotham by Gaslight, an “Elseworlds” story that re-imagines the Batman characters in a 19th century Sherlock Holmes-type mystery dealing with Jack the Ripper.

A gift set of the Blu-ray includes a Harley Quinn figurine.


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