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‘Batman and Harley Quinn’ (review)

In a world without Mr. J, Harley Quinn has teamed up with Batman and Nightwing in the latest animated DC movie. Confirmed by writer and producer Bruce Timm as part of the DC Animated Universe aka Timmverse, Batman and Harley Quinn is the first PG-13 installment in the universe.

Cussin’, fartin’, raunchy boudoir humor and a bizarre Batusi musical segment complete with a 70s rarity “Don’t Pull Your Love” followed by Harley Quinn blasting out Blondie’s “Hanging on the Telephone” puts a little spike in the punch of your typical Batman: The Animated Series adventure. Batman & Harley face off against Poison Ivy and Jason Woodrue a.k.a. The Floronic Man. Batman Kevin Conroy and Nightwing Loren Lester reprise their roles from the original series with Melissa Rauch voicing Harley. Even Mr. Timm gets in an off-camera cameo as Booster Gold!

Those familiar with recent New 52 lore will recognize the force of The Green as the supernatural swamp energy running the world. Poison Ivy and Plant Master are going all in to combat the destruction of the Earth and The Green by putting a plan in to place that will turn all living creatures into plants. An Inconvenient Truth indeed! In order to sway Pam from making this green-thumbed gaffe, Nightwing and Batman track down Harley who has gone off the grid for a bit. Not only that, but also in line with current DC continuity, she has gone straight. I mean, Joker’s dead, right?

There are some memorable and honestly hilarious parts of this movie, not least of all the aforementioned fart scenes. Batman wants to give Harley a chance the whole time, and she thinks he’s too tense (an old psychiatry joke!), but Bats and Harley need each other to save all life on the planet. Dick gets a little tired of her antics at points, but after him and Harley have a tickle fight all is forgiven.

Over on the side of evil, Poison Ivy and The Floronic Man aren’t the easiest bedfellows either. Floronic Man is the bossy type, and Pam isn’t exactly positive that getting scientists to formulate a serum that will turn everyone into plants is the best way to save the planet. If only she could be convinced by her best friend that this is the wrong path to take…

Newest DC animation director Sam Lui makes up for his bizarre and somewhat off-putting Batman: The Killing Joke adaptation by having fun with this movie. Its sexy, light and fun and it breathes new life into the 25 year old Batman property. Watch this one after you catch up on the Blu-Ray of Batman: Mask of the Phantasm to see two very different takes on the same world. Batman and Harley Quinn owes just as much to Batman ’66 as it does to any DC animated property.

The voices aren’t the only carry over from the Timmverse, there is also the character designs (or as I like to say, “Original Recipe” Harley), the Batmobile and overall look from the animated show with modern injections of 3D modeled vehicles and backgrounds. Coming in at an hour and 14 minutes there is plenty of space for the story to grow like a weed!

At the top of the film Nightwing tracks down Harley and ties him to the bed. What follows earns the film the PG-13 rating! Hot stuff, even though we only really see Dick and Harley in an extended tickle fight, interrupted by The Dark Knight himself.

Luckily we hadn’t seen the last of Bruce Timm after he stepped down as supervising producer at DC animation in 2013. We’ve seen some of his best work since then including Justice League: Gods and Monsters and Superman 75 (short).

As the architect of so much great Batman lore it would be a shame to see him go! Chalk Batman and Harley Quinn as a big win and hopefully a resurgence of Timmverse genius. Let the legend live on in movie form.

 

Batman and Harley Quinn is available now on Ultra HD Combo Pack
(including 4K), Blu-ray Deluxe Giftset, Blu-ray Combo Pack, DVD
and Digital HD from Warner Bros. Home Entertainment.

 

 

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