While the beginnings of the DC Animated Universe can be traced back to the 1992 television series, Batman: The Animated Series, the DC Universe Animated Original Movies are only half that age. Coming into its own in 2007 with Superman: Doomsday, these films are generally suited to more mature audiences and, more often than not, are direct to video releases. Last summer DC Animation Original Movies released the two-part film, Batman: The Long Halloween that, unlike previously released movies, had a film noir quality to the animation. This month, DC animation once again veered from its typical creative path with Catwoman: Hunted. The eighty-minute-long film blended typical DC animation with Anime and offered a very heavily jazz-influenced soundtrack.
Selina Kyle/Catwoman (Elizabeth Gilles; Victorious) is an agile and cunning thief and She has set her eye on, appropriately, the cat's eye emerald. Crashing a costume party held at Barbara Minerva's (Kirby Howell-Baptiste; The Good Place) Mansion, Catwoman uses her skills and gadgets to break into the safe and steal the Emerald. Pursued by the Black Mask/Roman Sionis (Jonathan Banks; Breaking Bad) and his henchmen, Catwoman eventually evades them only to be brought down by Batwoman (Stephanie Beatriz; In the Heights). Working with Interpol and the CIA, Batwoman offers Catwoman immunity from her crimes in exchange for her becoming the bait to help authorities bring down the Leviathan Organization. While she reluctantly agrees, neither Catwoman nor the authorities could imagine what she is up against.
Both Gillies and Beatriz have well-trained singing voices and their sultry and silky tones lend themselves to these two adversaries who become temporary allies. They each make the characters believable, validating the idea that casting them was a wise move. Banks' tone is harsher and much more sinister, as one should expect from Black Mask. He does a fine job bringing this villain to life, vocally. Perhaps one of my favorite vocal performances though comes from veteran voice actor Steve Blum (Cowboy Bebop: The Movie) who voices the giant Solomon Grundy as he recites the same poem repeatedly. Yet, somehow, it doesn't ever get annoying.
While most of the DCAU films don't offer the best video quality, Catwoman: Hunted is slightly a notch above many of the others. The anime offers a departure from the traditional illustrations, but the colors are bright and don't bleed through. The lines and angles are generally clean but there are a few rough edges that are visible.
The DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 fares better than its video counterpart highlighting the soundtrack that is made up mostly of jazz music. The dialogue is clean and crisp, and the sound effects make use of all the speakers offering a full and robust aural experience. The audio track is the same for both the 4K disc and the standard Blu-ray.
The combo pack includes a digital download code, and the limited extras can be found on the Blu-ray. They include the nineteen-minute featurette called When the Hunter Becomes the Hunted and the forty-minute piece, narrated by Tara Strong, called Catwoman: The Feline Femme Fatale. While somewhat interesting, the latter extra could have been more finely edited.
What Catwoman: Hunted lacks in plot, it makes up for with chase/fight scenes. Said scenes are well done but there needed to be a more well thought out story between those to make this DCAU film interesting. Fans will want to buy this pack but for those teetering on the edge, they might be a little disappointed in the set.
If you like Catwoman, anime, and tons of fight scenes with a lack of a fully formed storyline, then Catwoman: Hunted is right up your alley.