Tuesday, June 9, 2015

ANI-MOVIES, Batman Unlimited: Animal Instincts

The Dark Knight returns for another toy line plug, but this one is actually pretty decent. Meant to tie-in to the Batman Unlimited action figure line, this is the first of two made-for-video flicks dealing with a more technophile Caped Crusaders who calls in some other DC Universe heroes to fight a new animal-themed supervillain gang.

Set in a more futuristic Gotham City, Batman is breaking his Batman Beyond prototype suit which comes with a hang glider function as he encounters a robot wolf. Nightwing corners Cheetah(Wonder Woman's nemesis)breaking into a jewelry store followed by Killer Croc, but Flash shows up to help him out. On another side of town, Green Arrow runs across the cybernetic gorilla Silverback who is aided by Man-Bat(who is introduced in this universe for the first time). It turns out that all these mutanimals are actually working for the local tycoon, Oswald Cobblepot, who in this version of Batman hasn't come out of the supervillain closet yet as the Penguin, and all of them together call themselves the Animalitia. The heroes team up along with Red Robin(allegedly the third Robin, Tim Drake with a tuft of hair sticking out of the back of his hood)and pull their resources in capturing Man-Bat along with three of the Penguin's robot army to discover that Cobblepot plans to bring a gold-filled meteor crashing into Gotham so he can wipe out any high society creeps that ever snubbed him, plus to get the fortune in space gold from the meteor. Batman finds a temporary cure for Man-Bat who is really Kirk Langstrom, the robot animals' designer, and the Batman Family heads out with their reprogrammed robots to stop Penguin and his zoo crew.

The animation in this was a little above the previous DC Universe movie based on a toy line, JLA Adventures, but this one definitely caters more towards pushing the action figures with Batman's multiple outfits which look like their rejected ideas from all the action figures they made in the 90s. There is some good nods to the regular DC continuity, like Man-Bat's design being similar to his original animated intro, plus Flash's obvious identity being Wally West from Justice League and Young Justice as he and Nightwing become "hero bros". The voice actors chosen are the biggest surprise with Roger Craig Smith from Arkham Origins again as Batman, Will Friedle formally Batman Beyond as Nightwing, Richard Epcar who played Joker in Injustice is Commissioner Gordon, Yuri "Ben 10" Lowenthal is Red Robin, and Dana "Master Shake" Snyder is pretty good as Penguin. Definitely give this one a spin if you want to show a decent Batman flick you don't have to worry about your kids seeing.

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