DC Comics latest animated film was release this week on Blu-Ray and DVD. What has been boasted as a nostalgia fest, set within the Batman: The Animated Series universe with the same animiation style, sees the caped crusader reluctantly teaming with villain Harley Quinn. So, is Batman And Harley Quinn any good?I could not be more emphatic about this no. If I had a number system it wouldn’t even be a 1 out of 10. It is actually difficult for me to write anything about this animated feature as it is that bad. I have never wanted to walk out of a Batman movie ever, but within the first 10 minutes, that is exactly what I felt like doing. As a Harley fan, I feel like I’ve been abused.I’m going to start first with the animation. The backgrounds are beautiful and probably the only thing that was appealing about the film. Using the same style of sandpaper art to give the buildings texture and depth, we are given the same gothic Gotham City we are familiar with, only brighter. Where the rest of the animation fails is in the actual moving parts and cell drawings. The art looks sloppy and rushed. The criticisms that plagued season 4 of the animated series hold truw here, with specific changes to character design and aesthetics that are way off. It looked as if children had drawn the series, and so too this movie.
What is even more disappointing is that Bruce Timm is the writer of the film, with the animation based on his original interpretations. I would be ashamed to have my name that set the bar so high 20 years ago, attached to this film.That brings me to the actual story. Is there a story? Apparently so. There is that much crap tossed in the middle that is completely irrelevant that, if that rubbish was removed, the movie would have gone for 10 minutes at the longest. There is a 4-minute musical number for some reason! Poison Ivy is the standout, which is saying something as even she was given an over the top role for an eco terrorist. Basically, Ivy and Fluronic Man want to wipe out all of human-kind by turning everyone into plants. That’s it, movie over.
The voice cast was spot on, with the exception of Melissa Rauch as Harley. Many of the characters were reprising their role from that animated series which added to the nostalgia effect. Kevin Conroy is always a standout, as was Loren Lester as Nightwing and Paget Brewster as Ivy. However, Raunch’s voicing of Harley was very hit and miss. At times, mostly in the softer and quieter moments, she fitted Harley’s naïve persona, but when she got angry or on a ramble, the voice was harsh and painstaking to listen to. It sounded like a Jewish Nanna mixed with a Brooklyn housewife.What’s more is the characterisation. It is apparent that DC have no idea what direction they want to take Harley since the Suicide Squad came out. They want her to be taken seriously but also want her to be over the top. What we actually get is a character who overpowers the direction of the film, making every scene cringeworthy to watch. Also, Harley has officially become the resident sex object of DC Comics, this time having an awkward, borderline abusive one night stand with Nightwing that is out of nowhere. Not even Randy Orton could’ve predicted it happening! Have you learned nothing from The Killing Joke DC? This film clearly shows that no writers can understand the intricacies of Harley like original co-creator Paul Dini. Dini has returned to the character so many times over the years and produced perfection.
Harley is not a powerful character, rather a tragic figure who is driven by a hopeless romance and Stockholm syndrome. She’s been emotionally abused and fragile, unassuming and naïve, but able to kick ass when required due to her unassuming, innocent nature. What we were given here is multiple personalities, fart noise making, double entendre stating, and hyper-sexual annoyance that completely misses the mark. The only thing that is close to resembling Harley is the jester suit and her relationship with Ivy coming into play.This movie should be avoided at all costs and is a big Fuck You to fans of the animated series, as well as Batman and Harley. But who knows, maybe people who somehow like Suicide Squad may also like this steaming mess.
BATMAN AND HARLEY QUINN is available on Blu-Ray and DVD now.