Welcome to the dystopian future, everyone. At least we have Batman Beyond blu-rays?
Just announced at the show’s 20th Anniversary celebration panel at San Diego Comic-Con, Warner Bros. will officially release the complete Batman Beyond series, as well as the movie Return of the Joker, for the first time on Blu-Ray this October in the U.S. and Canada. Whether that includes an Australian release is currently unknown.
The limited edition set, which will cost $US100 ($141), includes all 52 episodes of the future-set continuation/spinoff of the legendary Batman: The Animated Series, which itself received the high-definition Blu-Ray treatment for the first time last year, as well as the aforementioned Batman Beyond: Return of the Joker, across four discs, alongside 15 bonus featurettes. Also included in the packaging is a special chrome-plated Funko Pop figurine of Terry McGinnis as Batman, as well as four lenticular art cards designed for this new set.
However, unlike the Batman: The Animated Series release, not every episode of the series has been remastered from its original 35mm film footage. 41 of the 52 episodes have, but 11 — specifically “Eyewitness,” “Final Cut,” “The Last Resort,” “Armory,” “Sneak Peek,” “The Eggbaby,” “Zeta,” “Plague,” “April Moon,” “Sentries of the Lost Cosmos,” and “Speak No Evil,” — have been put through a process known as “Smart Rez” from digibeta video copies, due to, according to a provided press release from Warner Bros. Animation, “time-worn irreparable damage” to their original film. While an improvement over the standard definition, the quality of these episodes won’t quite reach the same level of the 41 remastered directly from the original film copies.
Still, even if it’s not quite a 100 per cent upgrade, it’s still nice to finally see Batman Beyond shine in a high definition format. The subversive series was a bold and intriguing moment in animation, both providing a fresh twist on the Bat-canon while offering a sentimental, powerful continuation of the themes and characters met in its predecessor series.
Batman Beyond swoops onto digital-on-demand services (where it will cost just $US50 ($71) compared to the physical set) October 16 in the U.S., before the limited edition box set hits store shelves on October 30. Stay tuned for news on a local release.