Title: Batman: The Long Halloween, Part One
Director: Chris Palmer
Starring: Jensen Ackles, Josh Duhamel, Naya Rivera, and Troy Baker
Movie length: 1 hours 25 minutes
DC has lagged behind Marvel in the movie game, but there is one area in which it has always excelled – animated movies. The DC animated features typically skew towards more mature audiences, and THE LONG HALLOWEEN PART ONE is no exception. Inspired by the classic story from Jeph Loeb and Tim Sale, the film is set during Batman’s early years. He, Gordon, and a pre-Two Face Harvey Dent search for a killer dubbed Holiday, because he leaves a new victim each holiday.
The Long Halloween aims at a noir vibe, with classic looking cars, a dark color palette, and even retro dial phones. The movie’s plot is a slow burn, with the action dialed back in favor of building suspense. While it spins a pretty nifty mystery (which isn’t resolved in Part One, so be prepared to see the second part), it can drag on at times in the service of atmosphere. While the Holiday story is a new element, The Long Halloween doesn’t bring much else to the table that hasn’t been done before. The Catwoman, Falcone, and Harvey Dent stories have been done before.
The voice work, while solid, feels derivative of prior performances. The Joker (played by Troy Baker) in particular feels like an homage to Mark Hamill’s portrayal. Given the creative ways the character has been played, I wish they’d gone a different route. I was less bothered by the similarity in Batman’s voice (Jensen Ackles) because having Batman sound the same adds a feel of consistency that I can appreciate. I should also give a shout out to Josh Duhamel being Harvey Dent, mostly because he was in Transformers movies and the Las Vegas show. He’s fine, but I figure his real work will come in part two.
While the animation bears some fleeting resemblance to the classic Timm-verse, it bears more in common with Archer – with thick lines and very little texture giving the appearance of a comic strip brought to animated life. Unlike a typical cartoon, The Long Halloween features plenty of death and even some blood (One scene involving a boat was particularly surprising).
Overall there is nothing wrong with movie. It just doesn’t add much to the long line of Batman stories that have been told. If you can deal with the slow pace, it does tell a decent mystery story. As I indicated before, there is more death in this movie than a typical comic adaptation, so parental discretion is advised.
Batman: The Long Halloween, Part One is now available as a digital download as well as on DVD, and Blu-ray.
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