Batman & Mr. Freeze: Sub-Zero

On the heels of last summer's Blu-ray release of Batman: Mask of the Phantasm, Warner Archive is set to unleash Batman & Mr. Freeze: Sub-Zero on March 27, 2018 for a $21.99 MSRP. Quite appropriate of a release for this extended winter we're all suffering in the States. The plot revolves around Mr. Freeze returning to Gotham City after the cryogenic chamber keeping his wife Nora alive is ruptured inadvertently by a research expedition. He forcefully recruits Dr. Belson, an old colleague and certified jerk, and kidnaps Batgirl to save Nora with a transfusion. Batman and Robin are in a race against time to figure out who the players involved are and where Freeze's hideout is. While this movie is another powerful and moving performance by Michael Ansara, I remembered the movie for also having a big spotlight for Robin and Batgirl (and it prevented Bruce Timm and co. from adapting one of their stories from a tie-in comic book annual). Certainly a subplot whose threads continued on into the Lost Years comic book mini-series, The New Batman Adventures, and Batman Beyond. To think, this was originally going to be a Batman vs. Bane story... but did I mention it won an Annie Award for Best Home Video/Animation back in the day? Or it was Mary Kay Bergman's only performance as Batgirl in the canon?

The movie itself is presented in 1080p High Definition 4x3 1.37.1 with optional English subtitles. The diehard fans out there are aware of a at-this-point mythic letterbox version made for the Laser Disc but this is not that version. Still, it is a remastered transfer on a HDTV looks amazing! Seeing Dick Grayson chase after Freeze on the motorcycle alone is worth the price of admission. For its special features, Warner Archive included the "Art of Batman: Music Montage" and "Get the Picture: How to Draw Batman" and trailer from the original DVD release. The Art of featurette provides a behind the scenes look at the movie from storyboards and production designs. Warner Archive also included the complete set of Mr. Freeze's appearances in the 'Timmverse' which they refer to as "The Mr. Freeze Saga." "Heart of Ice" from Batman: The Animated Series, "Deep Freeze" from The Adventures of Batman and Robin, "Cold Comfort" from The New Batman Adventures and "Meltdown" from Batman Beyond are presented in chronological order and in standard definition. Those who purchase Warner Archive titles know that brand new special features are far and few beyond, but the decision to port over the DVD special features and the TV appearances is a very nice compromise. One quibble on the packaging itself though is they misspelled Michael Ansara's name on the back. Hopefully they can correct that for upcoming pressings.

Batman & Mr. Freeze: Sub-Zero on Blu-ray is a welcome addition to any DC animation fan's collection and is a recommended purchase! If you're attending Wonder Con later this month, Batman & Mr. Freeze: Sub-Zero will be the subject of an hour-long panel Friday, March 23 at 1:00pm in Room 300B. Warner Archive Podcast hosts D.W. Ferranti & Matthew Patterson and some surprise guests will show remastered footage and discuss the film and the evolution of Mr. Freeze "from a goofy villain into an endearing multi-dimensional character who just wants to find a cure for his dying wife." Steel yourself for every cold pun imaginable and relive this animation classic!

Main Feature: 4 out of 5
Special Features: 3 out of 5
Average Rating: 3.5 out of 5