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Headsup: Bats, Birds, Bots and Beasties

An ongoing attempt to make sense of the onslaught of new swag that people want you to buy. Should you? I’ll try and help.

Batman Gotham Knight DVD Cover Art
Transformers Cybertron : The Ultimate Collection DVD Cover Art
Birds of Prey: The Complete Series DVD Cover Art

Batman: Gotham Knight is what happens when anime meets the Bat. It’s six stories, with not only different anime artists but also different writers, with folks like Greg Rucka, David Goyer, and Brian Azzarello. And Kevin Conroy is back to voice Batman, so that’s got to be pleasing. And the sticker on the front proclaims it’s the first-ever PG-13 Batman animated movie–which I guess means they’re splitting hairs and saying that Return of the Joker was a Batman Beyond animated movie rather than a Batman one. Whatever. They sent us the one-disc version, which features commentary by DC exec Gregory Noveck, former Batman editor Dennis O’Neil and Conroy. If you’re going to buy it, then get the two-disc version as it comes with two bonus featurettes that between them are just about equal in length to the main event. (Click here to buy it from Amazon.)

[ad#longpost]I’m not going to pretend that I know enough in order to put Transformers Cybertron into context for you. That’s like me trying to explain differential equations. I mean, honestly, I’m lucky that I know the original Transformers series. What I do know is this: it was the animated series that came before the current Transformers: Animated series and concerns the black hole that could destroy Cybertron if the Autobots don’t step up and find a series of Keys that will save them. This is out from Hasbro and Paramount and has all 52 episodes across seven discs. It’s just a skoche under 20 hours of content. Which begs the question–if you were to somehow snag all the various versions of Transformers, figure out how to put them in order, then watch them back to back, would that last longer than the lifespan of the Sun? Anyway, if you’re a fan of the series, I don’t think this is being aired anywhere at present, so this might be your best bet, bonus bits or no. (Click here to buy it from Amazon.)

Weren’t we just speaking of Gotham? Yes, and here we are again. It’s the Birds of Prey hitting DVD for the first time and the last time because this is the complete shebang. And it’s sort of based on the comic book in a Smallvillization sort of way, and the sort of is a freaking shame, because I actually liked the comic book back when I was reading DC. We get a version of The Huntress, a version of Oracle, and a version of a new character that is nowhere near to being Black Canary. This release comes with all thirteen episodes across four discs plus the unaired pilot and all thirty episodes of the flash-based animated series, Gotham Girls. Again, this doesn’t appear to be airing anywhere, so if you want it, this is probably the best version you’re going to get on DVD. (Click here to buy it from Amazon.)

The Spiderwick Chronicles DVD cover art
The Spiderwick Chronicles Blu-Ray cover art

Spiderwick Chronicles is based on a series of fantasy books about a book, a field guide to faeries, that shouldn’t be read, but because this is a fantasy series for kids, it gets read anyway. The result is an ogre who wants the book for himself and a bunch of nasties come along for the ride with only magic, their wits, and a conveniently badass older sister who can fence to protect them. This is out from Paramount and it’s available on both vanilla and Blu-Ray flavored DVDs. There are feaurettes covering the origins of the story, production design casting and effects, plus there’s the ability to get info on the beasties while the film’s going. The Blu-Ray edition doesn’t have anything special except for a “Blu-Ray enhanced” version of the pop-up trivia bits on the beasties, whatever that means. You do get all the bonus bits in HD, however. The film made back its money worldwide but didn’t light the box office on fire, plus as I understand it they’ve covered the entire series in one movie. Now, that doesn’t mean there won’t be a three-disc uber edition later on, but for now if you’re a huge fan of the film, I think you won’t feel too bad if you buy. (Click here to buy it on DVD or here to buy it on Blu-Ray, both from Amazon.)


  • Ha, I remember watching Birds of Prey when it came aired. “It’s based on Batman!”, we said. “Everything’s better with Batman!”. How naive we were.

  • Well, growing up one learns to avoid hypothermia. Just like one learns to avoid bad television. So it still fits.

  • Actually, that was a Calvin and Hobbes reference. Where’s your childhood, Widge?

  • Well, it’s like this: I was originally only supposed to have my elementary school memories removed using ECT, but they weren’t very precise. So…