March 27, 2011

#123: Batman: Under The Red Hood

Of all the cartoons I used to watch as a kid, Batman: The Animated Series was always one of my favorites. I loved the style of animation and in general Batman is just awesome. He is my favorite super hero by far. Despite the awesomeness of the Christopher Nolan films, the animated series will always be my favorite Batman franchise. When I saw Under The Red Hood on Netflix instant I was super excited. Based on my nostalgia there was little chance I would dislike it. It did not disappoint.

I remember getting off the school bus, coming in the house and turning the tv on. I'd watch Batman, then spend the next hour playing with my action figures and Batmobile. It was the sweet looking Batmobile from the animated series and one of my all-time favorite toys. Unlike most most cartoons, Batman could get dark and almost scary to a little kid. It was violent and funny at the same time. Under The Red Hood brings that same grittiness combined with levity. I was surprised by the brutal violence in the opening scene. It was probably never that severe in the television show, and it was a bit jarring to see at first. It wasn't quite the same as I remembered it as a kid, it was almost better.

I hate when I turn on Saturday morning cartoons and see that every single show it computer generated. It makes me all kinds of sad to see the decline of pencil drawn cartoons. I'm sure it is a lot faster and cheaper, and requires less artists to do computer generated, but they lose so much character. The distinctive artistic style of the Batman series was always one of my favorites. It was so nice to see that again. The Joker looked a lot different that I remembered, but Batman was pretty much the same.

No matter what Under The Red Hood would have been about I was going to enjoy it. Having said that, I didn't find the storyline to be all that compelling. I am sure my young mind didn't evaluate the plot like I do now, so it is tough to compare. I was definitely interested in the film from beginning to end, but it had more to do with the style and action, and very little to do with the plot. I am not familiar with the over-arching story of Batman, or the different avenues it has taken. I knew nothing of The Red Hood character before seeing this film. While it was sort of cool, I didn't find it all that intriguing. The super-natural elements also felt odd. Overall I can't complain much. It was an exciting 1.5 hours spent watching my favorite masked crusader.

If you love Batman, and have Netflix instant, you need to watch Under The Red Hood. In fact, I might watch it again. I would love to watch some of the episodes of the animated series I need to see if I can find them anywhere. I would also love to have my Batmobile to play with while I watched it.

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