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'The Batman vs. Dracula/The Batman Superman Movie'
(DVD / NR / 2009 /Warner Home Video)

Overview: If given the chance, would Batman have the hots for Lois Lane? Would Lex Luthor get along well with The Joker? And what, if anything, would be left for Robin to do? All these questions and more are answered in this conflation of two of the most venerable comic book legends, The Batman Superman Movie. And in The Batman Superman Movie, The Dark Knight faces off against the Dark Prince when Dracula arrives in Gotham with a nefarious plan to enslave the entire city -- including Batman, The Joker, and Penguin!

DVD Verdict: The 'Batman vs. Dracula' portion of this double bill is a 2005 direct-to-video animated movie based on The Batman television series. It has a much darker tone than the show, and features Vicki Vale (in her first animated appearance, voiced by Tara Strong, who voiced Barbara Gordon / Batgirl on The New Batman Adventures). The movie was released to DVD on October 18, 2005 and made its television debut on Cartoon Network's Toonami block on October 22, 2005.

The plot is great ... The Joker and the Penguin break out of Arkham Asylum and race each other to find a stash of stolen money hidden within a crypt in Gotham Cemetery. The Joker is quickly intercepted by the Batman, after which he is apparently killed when he falls into a river and is electrocuted by his super-charged joy buzzers. The Penguin takes the opportunity to enter the cemetery himself.

While searching through a crypt, the Penguin accidentally cuts his hand while using his umbrella-sword to open a coffin he hopes contains the money, finding a body instead. The blood from his hand drips on the corpse's heart, which brings it to life; it is none other than Count Dracula, his coffin moved from Transylvania to Gotham City.

In 'The Batman Superman Movie,' originally aired on the Batman Superman Adventures as a three-part miniseries. As always expected, Bruce Timm and Paul Dini deliver first-rate production and screenwriting for this movie. Kevin Conroy once again delivers a superlative performance as the Dark Knight. The antagonism and reluctant team up of Batman and Superman is very credible and true to each superhero's character. My favorite events must be the way each superhero uncovers the other's identity, along with the animosity over Lois Lane's affections.

While great, this storyline is perhaps not as riveting as some of the other Animated features, yet it is great to see The Last Son of Krypton and the Dark Detective battle the Prince of Knaves and The Very Rich Bald Guy. Some of the best scenes include Batman's awesome gadgetry (On flight: "When in Rome...") and the battle with the robots. A great comic scene is watching Joker and Lex negotiate as Mercy and Harley Quinn duke it out in the background.

On the whole, I must say these are both great films for every fan of Batman and Superman, and for all lovers of first-rate animation. This is a Full Screen Presentation (1.85:1) enhanced for 16x9 TVs and comes with the Special Features of:

The Joker's Challenge Game
Get the Picture: How to Draw Batman
Get the Picture: How to Draw Superman
Converation with producer Bruce Timm
Music montage
Scence vs. Superstition: Batman's Computer
Data files probe the Dracula legend
City of Knight: interactive Gotham city map reveals cool making-of segments
Voices in Close-up: pop-up trivia and interviews reveal the voices behind the movie

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