Batman vs. Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles (4K Blu-ray) (2019)
|Year Of Production||2019|
|RSDL / Flipper||
Dual Disc Set
|Cast & Crew|
|Region Coding||1,2,3,4,5,6||Directed By||Jake Castorena|
Roadshow Home Entertainment
|Pan & Scan/Full Frame||None||
English DTS HD Master Audio 5.1
French Dolby Digital 5.1
|Widescreen Aspect Ratio||1.78:1|
|Original Aspect Ratio||1.78:1||Miscellaneous|
English for the Hearing Impaired
|Annoying Product Placement||No|
|Action In or After Credits||Yes, Post-credits scene|
One of several standalone DC Comics animated movies released in 2019, Batman vs. Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles is based on the recent crossover comic-book miniseries created by James Tynion IV and Freddie Williams II. Fun and fast-paced but not excessively flippant, the team-up of these recognisable animal-inspired icons is largely satisfying and surprisingly logical, emerging as one of the better animated DC titles in recent memory. Furthermore, Batman vs. Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles verifies that the low-risk, budget animation format is ideal for obscure crossovers of this ilk. Hell, in comic books, Batman alone crosses over with Scooby-Doo, Power Rangers, Elmer Fudd, Predator, Alien, and even Captain America - now there are some ideas for future productions.
Shredder (Andrew Kishino) and the Foot Clan arrive in Gotham City to join forces with Ra's al Ghul (Cas Anvar) and the League of Assassins, planning to steal experimental tech to assemble a machine for nefarious purposes. Leaving their New York City home to pursue Shredder, the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles - Raphael (Darren Criss), Leonardo (Eric Bauza), Michelangelo (Kyle Mooney), and Donatello (Baron Vaughn) - soon encounter Bruce Wayne/Batman (Troy Baker), who is initially suspicious about their presence in Gotham. However, once Batman and the Turtles discover that they share a common goal, they team up, with Batgirl (Rachel Bloom) and Robin (Ben Giroux) also joining the fight. Meanwhile, Shredder breaches Arkham Asylum, promptly recruiting the likes of the Joker (Baker, again), Harley Quinn (Tara Strong) and Mr. Freeze (John DiMaggio) as he enacts his plan to release a dangerous mutagen over Gotham.
The main attraction of Batman vs. Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles is seeing the lore of these two properties collide - the Turtles interact with (and fight) various Batman characters, the Turtles' van features in an action sequence, and Batman even exclaims "Cowabunga!". Screenwriter Marly Halpern-Graser could have called it a day on this premise alone, using a tenuous plot to string together a feature teeming with encounters and in-jokes like this, but such a movie would run out of steam after the novelty wears off. Thankfully, there is a bit more innovation at play, with a worthwhile story that goes beyond a bog-standard "destroy Gotham City" plot. It's not a groundbreaking narrative, nor does the movie exhibit the thematic significance of something like Batman: Under the Red Hood, but Batman vs. Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles is more effective than anticipated, incorporating as many faces from Batman's rogue's gallery as possible. Running a lean 87 minutes, Batman vs. Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles wastes no time from the outset, diving straight into an action sequence as the Foot Clan stage a violent robbery at Powers Industrial. The resultant sense of brevity is welcome - it never feels as if director Jake Castorena is unnecessarily padding out the narrative to reach feature-length. Remarkably, too, the story does not feel short-changed or underdone either.
Despite the gimmicky, goofy premise implying a fun ride suitable for children, Batman vs. Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles is unexpectedly hard-edged and adult, pushing the M rating to its boundaries. On-screen bloodshed is graphic, with throwing stars slicing heads open, a security guard being decapitated, and Scarecrow's (Jim Meskimen) fear toxin inciting some disturbing imagery for an M-rated animated movie. Also, the fights are brutal and furious to boot; Batman's throwdown with Shredder is a particular highlight, while the Turtles also do their fair share of fighting. The fight choreography is superb - Batman and the Turtles practice noticeably different styles of martial arts, which shows that the animators went to some real effort here. Admittedly, as ever, the animation remains relatively basic from a fine detail perspective, with the budgetary restrictions still evident to a certain degree, but the character designs are nevertheless cool, and the endeavour is appropriately stylised. Indeed, compositions are frequently compelling, and the animators make great use of shadows. Other fun touches also litter the frame, from a Superman mug on Batman's computer desk, to a classic Batcave design incorporating the iconic T-Rex statue. Additionally, the original score by DC animation veteran Kevin Riepl elevates the sense of excitement, plus the main title theme over the opening credits is, in a word, badass.
Even though Batman vs. Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles is unexpectedly dark at times, the titular Turtles are as jovial and wisecracking as ever, and maintain their longstanding love for pizza. The highlight is Mooney as Michelangelo, who's mischievous and overexcited, and even makes a meta observation about the blimps flying over Gotham for no discernible reason. Plus, in another moment, Mikey jokingly tells The Penguin's (Tom Kenny) henchmen that they're aliens, a knowing wink to the fan backlash to Michael Bay initially announcing that the Turtles would be aliens in the live-action 2014 TMNT reboot. It's this type of humorous, self-aware interplay which elevates the picture, making it feel smart and fresh. Meanwhile, Baker is terrific, and is actually the first actor to do the double duty of voicing both Batman and Joker in the same feature. Baker's Batman is reminiscent of the imitable Kevin Conroy, but it doesn't sound like a poor imitation, while his Joker (a role he played in several video games) is likewise distinctive and effective. Another fine addition is Tara Strong, a DC animation veteran who's right at home playing Harley Quinn.
Without reinventing the wheel, radically changing up the formula, or delivering any emotional resonance, Batman vs. Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles is a highly entertaining addition to the DC comics animated canon. There's an effective dynamic between Batman and the Turtles, while it's a thrill watching Batman fight Shredder, and Leonardo battling Ra's al Ghul. Stylish and confidently assembled, this is a more interesting feature than its gimmicky premise and title implies. This team-up could have made for a great live-action blockbuster, but that's not to impugn the work of the filmmakers here, who are fans of both properties and worked to deliver colourful action sequences as well as some tongue-in-cheek humour. With a post-credits stinger, room is left wide open for a sequel, assuming the movie sells well enough on home video.
|Surround Channel Use|
NOTE: To view non-R4 releases, your equipment needs to be multi-zone compatible and usually also NTSC compatible.
This is the same 4K disc released in North America by Warner Brothers. Plus, extras on the regular Blu-ray are the same. Buy local.
|DVD||Sony UBP-X700 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray Player, using HDMI output|
|Display||LG OLED65E6T. This display device is 16x9 capable. This display device has a maximum native resolution of 2160p.|
|Audio Decoder||Built in to amplifier/receiver. This audio decoder/receiver has not been calibrated.|
|Amplification||Samsung Series 7 HT-J7750W|
|Speakers||Samsung Tall Boy speakers, 7.1 set-up|