|Reviews & Columns|
TV on DVD
Reviews by Studio
Collector Series DVDs
Easter Egg Database
DVD Talk Radio
The M.O.D. Squad
DVD Talk Forum
DVD Price Search|
Customer Service #'s
Teen Titans Go! vs. Teen Titans
Teen Titans Go! vs. Teen Titans Go!
Wait, that's not it.
Closer, I guess, but not versus-y enough. Ooooh! I got it. Teen Titans Go! vs. Teen Titans!
...only in, like, a more action-y way!
Now we're talkin'. So anyway, The Master of Games is scouring the multiverse, pitting Earth's mightiest heroes ::cough:: against their counterparts from parallel worlds to see who will emerge victorious. A Contest of Champions, if you will. And look, I don't know how many rounds into this thing we are, but next on the docket are the Teen Titans versus the Teen Titans – the taller, more serious Teen Titans, I mean. Don't get too thrown off by all the primary colors, magic marker linework, glitter bombs, and cutesy character designs, though; the wee Teen Titans can still hold their own in battle. They'd really be able to play superhero if Lil' Raven could do more than...y'know, stand there. It's just that the gem holding her demon half at bay is starting to crack, and the more she uses her powers, the less of a hold on her humanity she has. And if Raven really lets loose in this battle royale, her heckspawned father Trigon will absorb her demonic self and become truly unstoppable.
But hey, don't sweat it. Raven insists that she's not going to fight. The Master of Games respects her feelings. Trigon never gets his mitts on all that power and definitely doesn't kidnap his daughter(s). The other Titans return to their world having made a bunch of new pals. No muss, no fuss!
Oh. Nevermind. But what follows is an adventure that sends the Teams Titans to the North Pole and through the multiverse, in search of their friends Raven. Friend Ravens. Friends Ravens. Look, they don't cover parallel universe selves in the AP Stylebook, but I'm pretty sure you get where I'm going with this.
Teen Titans Go! to the Movies ranked only behind Into the Spider-Verse as my favorite comic book flick of 2018. I've gotta say that if I ever get around to sorting the class of 2019, I don't think I'd place Teen Titans Go! vs. Teen Titans quite so high, but that isn't exactly a bad thing. Whereas Go! to the Movies was an 88 minute Gatling gun barrage of gags, brilliantly satirizing superhero movies and their dominance in pop culture, Versus is a bit more driven by story and characterization. Go! Raven's inner turmoil resonates more than, say, grrr-that-Robin-sure-is-a-fame-chasing-jerk. There's more of a plot to get invested in rather than just a vehicle for gags. And there's a moral, even – about accepting others' differences and of accepting yourself. Especially when the others are yourself too.
So, to a point, Versus has to dial down the silly just a tad to make room for that substance. Then again, we're talking about a movie that has a laserblast thumb war, a siege on Santa's heavily fortified workshop, and a geometry pun about the sum of two Trigons. It's bookended with Weird Al voicing completely different supervillains. The biggest musical number quips about Teen Titans' lousy ratings and Terra's death. If you're a cartooning geek, you'll appreciate all the meta jokes about animating mouths and characters being measured in how many heads tall they are. As howlingly laugh out loud funny as the movie so often is, it does take a little while to get to its best jokes, but...whew. When Versus really goes nuts with the multiverse concept – everything you love about Endgame and Into the Spider-Verse in one convenient package! – my jaw dropped, I laughed harder than I probably have at any movie year-to-date, and I kinda teared up a little. This is a love letter to all things Teen Titans. It delivers the best and most literal adaptation of a comic from print to screen since Marvel Super Heroes in the '60s. Oooh, and the Easter eggs. They're glorious.
If you've been jonesing for a sixth season of Teen Titans, then...well, this isn't it. Still! It sure is a thrill to see the late, great series revived in some capacity, and Teen Titans sure could do a whole lot worse than a movie this ridiculous, hysterical, clever, sweet, and hyperreferential. Recommended.
Teen Titans Go! vs. Teen Titans looks pretty slick, considering that nearly four and a half hours of high-def video have been heaped onto this single-layered Blu-ray disc. Heck, the movie itself is compressed so heavily that you could just about fit its AVC encode on a DVD. Not that you'd be able to do much of anything with it if you had, but...whatever, I'm trying to make a point here. Anyway, the strain does show at times. Look at all the nasty digital artifacts in the screenshot below, as well as how the reds of Mini-Trigon are practically blooming:
...and, yeah, banding:
Other than that, though, Teen Titans Go! vs. Teen Titans is pretty much a knockout. The bright, candy-colored palette of the Go!-i-verse is such a treat for the eyes. I can't get enough of seeing these disparate visual styles sharing the screen together, with the wildly different palettes, shadowing, and line weights forming their own sort of visual language. Blacks are deep and inky. The movie has a blast fiddling with aspect ratios, whether it's poking fun at Serious Robin's cinematic speechifying or paying homage to Spaghetti westerns. Heck, there's even some faux-grain and speckling during the "We Are Teen Titans" rap number. I do wish that Warner had ponied up for a second layer to give Teen Titans Go! vs. Teen Titans a little more room to breathe, but the list of gripes pretty much begins and ends there.
I know, right? Eye-popping. Oh, and unlike Teen Titans Go! to the Movies – which did make the rounds in 4K and Dolby Vision, even if that spiffier presentation tragically never made it to disc – the streaming/downloadable versions of Teen Titans Go! vs. Teen Titans cap out at 1080p. So, you're not missing out on anything by sticking with Blu-ray.
Teen Titans Go! vs. Teen Titans is rockin' a six-channel, 24-bit DTS-HD Master Audio soundtrack. And while no one's gonna mistake this for some $300 million capes-'n-cowls summer blockbuster, the lossless audio will still sound terrific on your fancy home theater rig, whether it's ominous whispers inside Raven's noggin or a titanic, one-legged Trigon stomping around all kaiju-stylie. Bass response can pack a healthy wallop, especially during the big daddy-versus-daughter showdown near the end. There's a really strong sense of separation across the front channels, such as when some demonic crystal shards come tumbling down in the arena, and I love how expansive the musical numbers sound. And, yeah, the score and superpowered effects swoop in from just about every conceivable direction too. Not exactly reference material but a solid showing just the same.
If English isn't your thing so much, there are also lossy 5.1 dubs in Spanish, French, and German, as well as subtitles in all four of the disc's languages.
- Sing-A-Longs (3 min.; HD): Follow the bouncing ball and sing along with "Worlogog" and "We Are Teen Titans"! Okay, there isn't actually a bouncing ball; words just kinda pop up on the screen and wiggle around, but you know what I mean.
- Bonus Episodes and Stuff (165 min.; HD): Yup! You're lookin' at close to three hours of goodies here. There are six episodes of Teen Titans Go! – "Legendary Sandwich", "Mr. Butt", "Cat's Fancy", "Shrimps and Prime Rib", "The Scoop", and "Chicken in the Cradle" – along with three Top of the Titans specials. Birdarang counts down a dozen of the show's "Raddest Songs" along with thirteen bangers for your "Dance Party". Robin takes over hosting duties for the "Best Rivals" countdown, which is...yeah, you got it. As for Teen Titans, there's the series premiere, "Final Exam", as well as "Deception" and the portalriffic-alternate-versions-of-teammates-adventure "How Long Is Forever?"
- Trailers (4 min.; HD): Last up are trailers for LEGO DC Batman: Family Matters and Nancy Drew and the Hidden Staircase.
So what else does Santa have under the Christmas tree? A slipcover. A regular ol' DVD. A digital copy code. That's it. See ya next year!
The Final Word
Okay, okay, maybe Teen Titans! Go vs. Teen Titans isn't as deliriously, infectiously fun as Teen Titans Go! to the Movies, which...y'know, would be tough, seeing as how last year's movie was pretty much the best thing ever. But I still had a blast with this year's model, and whether you only know the team from basic cable or if you've followed 'em for decades in comics, TV, and edgy PG-13 animation, this movie's a Valentine-with-a-heart-shaped-sticker to just about every possible incarnation. Recommended.
The Other Final Word
Oh, and in case it wasn't on your radar, Warner Archive is about to release the entire run of Teen Titans on Blu-ray. Just in time for Christmas too! Right, Santa?