The Batman vs. Dracula (2005) / Animation-Action
MPAA Rated: Not rated, but probably PG for scary images and violence
Running Time: 83 min.
Cast (voices): Rino Romano, Peter Stormare, Tara Strong, Alastair Duncan, Kevin Michael Richardson, Tom Kenny
Director: Michael Gougen
Screenplay: Duane Capizzi
Review published October 21, 2005
DC Comics' Batman has been linked to the original "bat man", Count Dracula, in a few capacities over the years. Andy Warhol alluded to the connection in his unauthorized 1964 homage, Batman Dracula. In 1967, Batman Fights Dracula emerged in the Philippines. In the comic book world, Batman has faced Dracula (albeit only in an alternate universe) in an Elseworlds series. It seems people never tire of seeing the Dark Knight battle the Prince of Darkness. Now in 2005, we have another reunion. The Batman Vs. Dracula, a spin-off from the 2004 animated television series on the WB, "The Batman". Released on October 18, 2005, it has been purely manufactured to coincide with the release of Batman Begins on DVD, while also trying to gain appeal to those looking for innocuous Halloween fare for the kiddies.
This animated adventure starts off with the escape of perennial nemeses Joker and Penguin from the Arkham Asylum. Their nefarious schemes for riches get sidetracked when a drop of Penguin's blood inadvertently brings the cadaver of Dracula to life. Dracula uses his mind-altering powers to overwhelm Joker, Penguin, and a slew of other innocent victims in Gotham in an attempt to bring him back to prominence. Due to their similar appearances, the mayhem that ensues is blamed on the Batman, so to clear his name and save the world from the ghoulish scourge, Bruce Wayne gets to work on trying to take the nearly invincible master of evil down.
I've only seen one episode of "The Batman", which is another Warner Brothers incarnation of the DC Comics hero, except in this series, Batman fights alone (no Robin, no Batgirl, etc.) and he has a "The" before his name. It bored me, so I never watched it again. Well, that is until this movie. The results are the same here. Trite dialogue, uninteresting confrontations, bland music, and very predictable plotting mars this entry. The only hook here is the appearance of Dracula, which really doesn't amount to a whole hell of a lot, especially since most other Batman villains are more colorful and interesting. Contrivances abound to get the two titans of the bat together, but once the ground is set for the showdown, (The) Batman goes through predictable motions in order to try to defeat his foe (holy water, sunlight, etc.)
We know these characters through and through, so the fact that there are absolutely no new twists here shouldn't come as a surprise. The voice work and animation are all competent, as you'd expect if you've seen the television series, and it is nicely presented in terms of the looks and sound effects. Sadly, the story is a dog, compounded by some atrocious dialogue, making this uninteresting to anyone not already a die-hard Batman fanatic. Batman fighting a supernatural bad-ass like Dracula should be a major event, but this entry remains undistinguished. For less discriminating Bat-fans only.
©2005 Vince Leo