Batman Begins and Gotham Knight Animation

Warner released “Batman Begins” on HD-DVD in 2007, and this month it is releasing the 2005 movie on Blu-ray. Due to the curiosity about “The Dark Knight,” it’s been big hit, outselling other Blu-ray titles but standard DVDs as well.

The first installment of Christopher Nolan’s take on the character offers interesting differences between the two films. The new movie plays less like comic-book than the first one, in which one of the most thrilling sequences was the one in which Batman lashes himself to a moving elevated train and flis through the city.

“The Dark Knight” has several fantasy elements, but of a different kind. Witness, as I wrote elsewhere the technology that allows Batman to spy almost without constraints, a comment no doubt on the way we live now, in the post 9/11 era.

Then there’s “Gotham Knight,” a “Warner Premiere” animated title, sort of straight-to-DVD format, an anthology film with shorts viewing the hero from different angles. The stories are quite predictable and the animation quite routine.

“Gotham Knight” is preceded by Bat-toon siblings. Two animated TV series have run in recent years, and both are available in complete season box-sets, along with standalone discs like “Batman Beyond: Return of the Joker.”

Despite the presence on DVD of everything from amateurish 1943 “Batman” movie serials and a cartoon crossover in which the Dynamic Duo visited Scooby-Doo in the 1970s, the 1960s series whose Pop Art jokiness linked the “Biff! Bang!” graphics to the crimefighter.

The pilot of the Adam West/Burt Ward “Batman” has been on disc, and was just released in HD. But the series is not available on DVD due to legal issues between studios over rights.