Saturday, January 29, 2011

Return of the Joker Coming to Blu-ray

The first Batman: the Animated Series feature film to come to Blu-ray is the one that deserves it the most. Arguably the best of the four features based on the Timm-verse, Batman Beyond: Return of the Joker tells the story of when Bruce Wayne's deadliest adversary comes back to haunt him. And how will the new Batman, Terry McGuiness, deal with the Clown Prince of Crime? The Blu-ray will be released on April 5.

When this direct-to-DVD movie was first released in 2000 there were two versions. The PG, 76-minute, full screen version, and the "original, uncut" PG-13, 77-minute, widescreen version.

The most noticeable difference in uncut version is the flashback scene in which the Joker and Batman engage in a much more violent and brutal fight. The edited version censors the blood and rewrites the Joker's death scene to something less dramatic. I'm sure all you fans will agree that the uncut version is much better.

However, the film was originally animated in full frame, 1.33:1 as it appears in the edited release. But the uncut version has been letterboxed to make a faux widescreen format. See the side-by-side comparison below to see how much picture you loose in the edited version:

So which version will be on the Blu-ray? Well, it is rated PG-13, so maybe it is the edited version. But the runtime, according to the back of the box, 76 minutes and a 1.33:1 aspect ratio, just like the censored version. So which version is it? I don't know.

I'm not sure why both versions can't be on the disc. After all, it is Blu-ray we're talking about. There is plenty of room for both plus all the bonus features (which are all carried over from the DVD releases).


Anonymous said...

There be no point in cluding the fake wide screen. It was animated in full screen. I hope this is a real transfer from the film elements, and not just a upcale.

Salmo said...

It was drawn in full screen at the request of WB, but intended to be shown in wide screen. They did the same on Justice League.