I feel obligated with the whole holiday dealie to review a Halloween movie but Halloween movies are generally horror movies and I'm not much for horror, either it's stupid and uninteresting or pants-crappingly scary, which I don't need in my life.
So yeah, no real Halloween movies. Unless you wanna count Batman: Under The Red Hood...
This movie may not be terribly Halloween-oriented, but it is AWESOME. Most of the direct-to-DVD DC movies have been pretty lame and neutered. And also always coupling Batman with Superman which I hate because I hate Superman. SO MUCH.
Under The Red Hood, on the other hand, does everything I yelled at the other DC animated movies to do, has more fight scenes, more blood, a darker storyline, and it's also the first and only animated anything of Batman to explore the Jason Todd storyline. For those not geeky enough to know, Jason Todd was the second Robin who popped up after Dick Grayson had gone off to become Nightwing and brood and junk. And then Jason went and got his ass killed by the Joker. You know how this movie opens? With the Joker beating the living hell out of Jason with a crowbar.
And just how is that wacky Joker, anyway?
John Di Maggio takes over for Mark Hamill, the classic voice of the Joker, and though I was initially skeptical, Di Maggio is brilliant as a much more sinister Joker that you can actually take seriously. Youtube, in its continuing efforts to be a butt, won't let me embedd the clip, but if you go here, you can see for yourself the dangers of giving the Joker a glass of water.
Seriously, it's worth watching just for him.
Anyway, five years after the whole dead Robin thing, a new vigilante appears, Red Hood, who has no issues with murdering bitches to get results and is voiced by Dean Winchester from Supernatural. And if that isn't incentive enough, Nightwing shows up for awhile to help Batman and unlike the Nightwing from the cartoons of my youth who was a moan-y whiner with Bat-daddy issues, this Nightwing is actually funny and quippy and most importantly is voiced by NEIL PATRICK HARRIS.
So yeah, Red Hood does awesome things, Batman broods and is generally Batman-like, Black Skull shows up and manages to not be embarrassing and the fight scenes are incredibly well-choreographed for an animated film. The animation itself is fine, except for the CGI, which is noticeably crappy. With the exception of that kooky Ra's Al Ghul and his Magical Lazarus Pits of Magic, it's a gritty, believable story, tackling delightfully dark and fucked up themes concerning Batman's moral code and INTENSE BAT-GUILT, putting munchkins in colorful costumes in the line of fire, and the Joker just being awesome. Apparently, for DC the 8th time's the charm and they've finally crafted an excellent animated Batman film for big people. Three and a half bats out of five. (Who wants my half a bat? You know you do)
This is Sugary Cynic, donning a red hood for Justice, Revenge and General Awesome-ocity. 'Night!
Jason: "Bruce, I forgive you for not saving me. But why? Why on God's earth..."
(Smashes a closet door open that was holding Joker)
Jason: "...is he still alive?"
Joker: "Gotta give the boy points. He came all the way from the dead to make this shindig happen. So who's got a camera? Ooh! Ooh! Get one of me and the kid first. Then you and me, then the three of us. And then the one with the crowbar!"