Saturday, October 02, 2004

The Batman: "The Cat & The Bat"

I never was particularly fond of the BTAS treatment of Catwoman, but she's the first villain that I feel the new series has actually gotten right. Both the Catwoman and Selina Kyle designs are sleek and effective, and Gina Gershon provides perhaps the best voice yet on the cartoon. My real indicator of success is that Catwoman is the first villain who I'm actually looking forward to seeing again.

It's a pity, though, that her premiere episode was relatively lackluster. Once again, the design and the animation were well-done, but the story and the dialogue ranged between forgettable and problematic. The cat puns got increasingly painful as they multiplied. The mob characters and heist felt like leftovers from a "Jackie Chan Adventures" episodes. The middle act was virtually a toy ad, and it suggested that despite Bruce's technological genius (which was on display last week), he apparently forgot to create an override in case someone steals the device which is most easily stolen.

Also, has Bruce been this quiet in every episode? While watching this on tape, I kept count, and Bruce/Batman had less than 30 lines of dialogue in the whole episode. Maybe this is why I haven't had more complaints about the character, because he doesn't say much in his own show.

And while there were little questionable bits (Selina's ability to avoid those lasers; urban-legend Batman having his photo on the front page), one flub stood out as just plain unforgivable. In the first act, Catwoman's heist was foiled because she tripped one of the vertical lasers surrounding the statue. When she went back with the remote-controlled Batarang, the vertical lasers were gone. Where'd they go? The Batarang's unnecessary if those aren't there. Of course, the statue was wider than the gaps between the lasers, and Selina never compensated for that.

Once again, I'm forced to accept that this show is just going to be a simple action cartoon. But at least this week offers some promise for the future.


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