Catwoman: Hunted marks DC's 45th journey into their animated universe, and they bring a lighter, more fun outing this time around. As Catwoman is stealing gems, she teams up with Batwoman and avoids many iconic villains in the universe, while having a good time with a pitch-perfect jazzy score inside an anime visual style. It's a great time at a quick pace, all without a single frame of the actual Batman throughout. The 4K presentation with HDR looks great and the DTS-HD 5.1 audio track sounds good. The two bonus features are definitely worthwhile as well. Recommended!
There are currently a whopping 45 movies in the DC Animated Original Movie Universe. After so many films under their belt, Warner Bros. and DC have stepped outside the box and begun to make visually different movies that capture other characters in the DC realm. Last year saw Batman: Soul of the Dragon take that creative leap and now Catwoman: Hunted does the same in a lighter, fun outing that is full of action. With a quick run-time, an anime visual style, and a fantastic jazz score, Catwoman: Hunted should satisfy everyone looking for a good time.
Catwoman: Hunted immediately feels fresh from its first scene where all the creative elements remind everyone of the iconic anime show Cowboy Bebop, or even Lupin III, which makes sense because of Shinsuke Terasawa (animator of Lupin III) is also the director of this Catwoman film. The action, its humor, and the jazz score all evoke those great elements from those Japanese anime films, and it works in the DC universe perfectly. But through and through, this film examines how Catwoman and her team-up partner Batwoman escape from the villains and became semi-friends in the process.
Like any real Catwoman caper, this film starts out as Selina Kyle (Elizabeth Gillies) is hot on a heist for a precious jewel. Little does she know that the big bad terrorist organization Leviathan, led by the Black Mask (Jonathan Banks) is on the same path. Sooner than later, Cheetah and a slew of other DC villains try and kill Catwoman, which forces her to team up with Batwoman (Stephanie Beatriz) and secret agents Julia Pennyworth (Lauren Cohan) and King Faraday (Jonathan Frakes) to try and stay alive. In this 79-minute movie, there's not much more to it than a few comical moments and a ton of great animated action sequences. Everything else in between seems like filler, which is fine because this is not supposed to be a dark and brooding movie.
Gillies brings a ton of charm, sexual voice appeal, and wit to Selina Kyle in this film. She is sly, scary, confident, and sexy while having a heart of gold down at her core. She really owns that voice performance from start to finish. Of course, Banks is perfect as the mastermind criminal. But it's with Beatriz's Batwoman where things seem to fall apart. She was just not the right fit for the role and it shows. She's sarcastic, awkward, and weird, and it doesn't seem to fit into this story or character. Eventually, she finds her footing, but by then, it's too late. It's a shame too because exploring this particular duo would be excellent in both films and comics.
The visual anime style is wonderful with the action sequences looking great and choreographed to perfection. It's never too over-the-top or violent, but rather more light-hearted, which is always welcome in a sea of DC moodiness. The jazz score by Yutaka Yamada is simply phenomenal and again, takes its cues from previous Japanese animated projects, which works very well in this DC universe. Catwoman: Hunted isn't the serious journey so many have come to expect with these DC animated movies, but it hits all the right notes for fun, action, and humor, complete with a great score.
Vital Disc Stats: The 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray
Catwoman: Hunted climbs its way to a two-disc 4K UHD Blu-ray + Blu-ray + Digital Code combo pack. The discs are housed inside a hard, black plastic case with a cardboard sleeve. The artwork features excellent artwork off Catwoman, Batwoman, and Black Mask. There is an insert for a digital code for Movies Anywhere.
Catwoman: Hunted scratches its way to a 2160p UHD 4K transfer with HDR enhancement. This 4K presentation is an upgrade from its 1080p Blu-ray counterpart.
Since this visual style is coated in the anime realm, the whole image has a bigger angelic glow and comes across more like fantasy and has a hazy quality to it. This doesn't necessarily take anything away from colors or detail in the animation, but it certainly makes the image brighter than most other DC animated movies. The colors are bright, bold, and beautiful. Neon colors in the background of signs and of the jewels look great. Batwoman's red hair shines wonderfully and Catwoman's black and purple shades suit always looks good. Other colors of purple, orange, blue, and green all pop right off the screen.
The black and white levels in the animation reveal great highlights and really bring out the other levels of primary colors. The DC animation is always simple, but there are some decent textures in the animation both in closeups and in the background. But again, most DC animated movies fall flat when it comes to detail. That's just their unique style. There were no issues with banding, aliasing, or noise either.
This release comes with a DTS-HD MA 5.1 audio track and sounds great for its limitations. Never does this mix go big enough to make the walls rattle, but it's loud enough to produce a decent rumble in the bigger action scenes. Sound effects are rather robust and come with some good directionality. Bigger sequences at the costume party, vehicle chases on the ground or in the sky, and even the big climactic moments - the audio packs a punch within reason.
Ambient noises of people talking, screaming, and walking in the background can be heard from time to time as well. The fantastic jazz score by Yukata Yamada sounds wonderful and always brings an elegant, fun sound to each scene. The dialogue is crisp, clear, and easy to follow along, but for some reason, never seems to sync up perfectly with the lip movement. It's a decent enough audio mix, but not one that is memorable.
About 60 minutes worth of bonus material are included here, none of which is directly about the movie itself, but rather about the Catwoman character. That being said, there are a ton of excellent talking head interviews about the character here.
Catwoman: Hunted does a ton of great things for being the 45th movie in the DC animated Universe. Having Catwoman front and center is certainly the right move. Her relationship with Batwoman is a great starting off point for future ream-ups and the action here that has that Japanese anime style is fantastic. The jazz score is also phenomenal. Overall, this is a fun, light-hearted outing that feels fresh from previous movies. The 4K picture with HDR looks great and the DTS-HD 5.1 audio mix sounds decent enough without being too overpowering. The extras are fantastic even if they don't have much to do with the actual film itself. Recommended!