29 November 2013

Movie Review: "Planes"

Rated: PG for some mild action and rude humor
Starring: Dane Cook, Stacy Keach, and Brad Garrett
Released: August 9, 2013 (theaters) / November 19, 2013 (DVD / Blu-Ray)
Synopsis: Dusty Crophopper (Dane Cook) is tired of the same crop-dusting routine every day; he dreams of flying high in the Wings Across the World race.  At first, his truck friend Chug (Brad Garrett, Everybody Loves Raymond) tries to help him train, but then the military veteran plane Skipper (Stacy Keach, The Word of Promise) decides to show him the ropes.  There's only one big problem: Dusty is afraid of heights.  When Dusty ends up qualifying for the race, his evil rival Ripslinger will stop at nothing to ruin his chances of winning.  Will underdog Dusty surprise everyone, or will he simply crash and burn...literally?

Artistic Merit

Plot: 4/5
Sure, we've all seen our share of celluloid underdog stories, both true and fictional; this film doesn't really tread any new ground with its story.  Still, as King Solomon wrote, "There is nothing new under the sun," and, even though the plot may be a bit formulaic, it's still quite fun.

Production Values: 4.75/5
The animation is outstanding, especially when you watch it on Blu-Ray, which I did.  The voice acting is great, too.  It only loses a quarter of a point because the soundtrack has one rather annoying song.

Moral Content

Positive Elements: 5/5
Dusty regularly looks out for others, including his competitors (Matthew 22:39).  His fellow racers also take notice of his generosity, and they help him out as well (2 Corinthians 9:6).  An airplane mentions the adage, "Nice guys finish last," but ends up vilified.

Sexual Content: 4.25/5
Dusty sees a female airplane from behind and comments on her rear propeller.  Another airplane has lip prints all over himself as a result of a female airplane kissing him, which we hear but don't see.

Nudity: 5/5
Since there aren't any humans in this film, it shouldn't be a surprise that there's no nudity.

Language: 4/5
There's a bit of name-calling, though it stays G-rated.  A vehicle uses the name "Shelby"--not a character in the film--as a euphemism for another word, and other similar usages include "heck," "gosh," and "Dagnabbit!" Probably the crudest utterance in the film is when one plane tells another to "lug nut up."

Violence: 3.5/5
The planes do get in some altercations, including one where a plane loses part of his tail, and another one where a plane loses his antenna.  A flashback shows military planes fighting a war; it is implied that only one of them survived.

Drugs: 4/5
Planes are seeing drinking oil gas, which is presented in the same way people drink wine or beer.  One scene even shows oil or gas in a beer stein.

Frightening/Intense Scenes: 3/5
Along with what was noted under "Violence," a plane crashes into the ocean, but is rescued.  Another scene involves a plane in a near-crash, then arriving somewhere and saying, "Am I in heaven?" (Spoiler: He finds out he isn't.)

Other: 4/5
Some bathroom humor is present, and reincarnation is mentioned.

Final Score: 4.5/5
My mom and I bought Planes for our family to watch on Thanksgiving.  I had my doubts, but I have to say I was pleasantly described.  Movies like this are proof that Disney knows how to make a movie that is both well-crafted and morally sound.  Sure, there are a few content quibbles, but most people won't even notice any of it.  This movie is definitely worth checking out.

25 November 2013

Book Series Review: "Star Trek: Double Helix"

Authors: John Gregory Betancourt, Diane Carey, Peter David, Michael Jan Friedman, Christie Golden, Kristine Kathryn Rusch, Dean Wesley Smith, and John Vornholt
Published: June 1999 - August 1999 by Pocket Books
Synopsis: When a mysterious illness begins to plague an entire planet--as well as Enterprise crew member Deanna Troi!--it's up to Captain Picard and his crew to figure out the cure for the illness, as well as what--or who--is responsible.  Written by several of the Star Trek Expanded Universe's best-loved writers, this series spans galaxies and ages!

Artistic Merit

Plots: 3.5/5
The series starts off interestingly enough, but the fifth novel, Double or Nothing, is a bloated mess that ruins the entire series.  Still, up to that point, it makes for good reading.

Writing: 4.5/5
The writing throughout is great; even though I didn't like the story in the penultimate book, the writing was still good.

Moral Content

Positive Elements: 3/5
The usual elements of self-sacrifice and working for the greater good are seen throughout this series.

Sexual Content: 2/5
I was a bit surprised by this: Not only do some of the space cadets visit a "pleasure planet," but it is mentioned that a woman is pregnant by a bi-gender alien, and then that said alien is also pregnant.  (Both turn out to be untrue.)  A male character also visits a brothel/nightclub of sorts, and locks eyes with a humanoid exotic dancer.

Language: 1.75/5
Profanities--both b-words, a-words, and especially d-words, h-words, and misuses of God's name--appear at least once every few pages.  There is also some slight name-calling.

Violence: 4/5
Though there are quite a few action sequences--and what is a space opera without them?--I don't recall any of them being bloody or graphic.

Drugs: 3/5
In one of the novels, a bar gets mentioned throughout, along with drinking alcohol.

Final Score: 2.25/5
It's heartbreaking when a series jumps the shark far too quickly.  Though most non-fans consider Star Trek and Star Wars to be essentially the same thing, they are about as different from each other as checkers is from chess.  The settings are dissimilar, especially the time-frame; the characters vary; and, most importantly, they are a mile or two apart content-wise.  Star Trek movies and books tend to have issues with profanity and sexual content, which is something you only see in small doses at worst in George Lucas' creation, both the original movies and the Expanded Universe.  Even though I knew that, I was still surprised by the content of Double Helix, and the fact that the next-to-last book in the series was a horribly bloated mess only makes things worse.  Star Trek fans can do better.

17 November 2013

Movie Review: "Love's Abiding Joy"

Rated: PG for mild thematic elements (US) / PG: "Mature Theme" (Canada)
Starring: Erin Cottrell, Logan Bartholomew, and Dale Midkiff
Released: October 6, 2006 (limited theatrical release) / January 2, 2007 (DVD)
Synopsis: Missie LaHaye (Erin Cottrell) and her husband Willie (Logan Bartholomew, The Ultimate Life) are enjoying life in the Old West.  Missie is a teacher at a one-room schoolhouse, while Willie works the land.  However, it all comes to an abrupt halt when their baby daughter Kathy dies in her sleep.  With Missie unable to teach anymore, Willie takes a job offer to become sheriff of their town, while his adopted son Jeff (Drew Tyler Bell) falls in love with Colette (Mae Whitman, State of Grace), the daughter of a crooked businessman who is causing Willie nothing but trouble.  Will this family ever survive?
Based on the book by Janette Oke.

Artistic Merit

Plot: 4/5
It's been a few months since I saw the film that precedes this one--this is part of a long series, in case you didn't know--so, some of the references to the previous films were lost on me.  However, even though I didn't quite understand everything, the plot was engaging if slow-moving.  Though it may start off very tragically, it has its happy moments.  Still, Missie exclaims something in one scene about it being the first time she could feel the rain that didn't exactly make sense.

Production Values: 3.5/5
The sets were great; the soundtrack, good, but nothing special; the acting mostly good, although there was a spot or two where it was overdone.  Not much to say other than that.

Moral Content

Positive Elements: 5/5
You'd expect a movie based on a Christian novel to be full of positive elements...and you'd be right.  Overcoming tragedy, the gift of a family, respect for God, and selflessness are themes seen all through this movie.

Sex: 4.5/5
Some mild kissing.

Nudity: 5/5

Language: 4.5/5
The main antagonist uses the h-word once.

Violence: 4/5
A man fires a gun, but only shoots at objects and doesn't hurt anyone.

Drugs: 3.5/5
The main antagonist is seen smoking a few times and drinking at least once.

Frightening/Intense Scenes: 2.5/5
The scenes where Kathy's death are mentioned are emotionally charged, especially when it first happens.  Also, a scene where it appears a boy will die for a crime he didn't commit is a bit startling.

Final Score: 4/5
It's amazing how well the Love Comes Softly series continues to do.  Though many of them have been released direct-to-video, they wouldn't keep making them if they didn't make money.  Maybe Hollywood needs to learn that there actually is money to be found in positive entertainment for adults.  Regardless of that, those of you who have seen the previous films know what to expect from this series...and that's exactly what you get from Love's Abiding Joy.  If you didn't like the earlier movies, you won't like this one, but fans of these flicks--of which I am one!--will find plenty to like about this one.  It'll sure take a long time to finish all of them, though...

16 November 2013

I'm Done with "The X Factor"...and My "Celebrity Crushes"...For Good This Time!

Rated: TV-14 for language and off-color dialogue
Starring: Mario Lopez, Simon Cowell, Demi Lovato, Kelly Rowland, and Paulina Rubio
Released: September 21, 2011 (Fox series premiere)
This is sort of an entertainment review, so, I'll post it here: A few weeks ago, I started watching The X Factor on Fox.  Though I like competition shows--as long as they're relatively morally decent--the main attractor for me was Demi Lovato, who was serving as judge.  Though I've liked her for a while, I made her my "number one" after I couldn't stop listening to her songs several weeks ago.  However, I am now giving up on the show.  Why? Simply because the people voting--and even the judges--have no idea what they're doing.  When they were down to the top forty-eight acts, I was a big fan of Victoria Carriger and Danie Geimer...but they got eliminated before America could vote.  To make matters worse, the two best acts in the competition--in my opinion, anyway--got voted off this past week, which makes no sense.  Even Rolling Stone writer Katy Kroll said, "You're joking, right, America? Because there's no way X Factor viewers cast their votes with a straight face this week. It's got to be pure sabotage." After this week's results, I've simply had enough, and will spend my weekday evenings with a book, a DVD, and/or the Disney Channel.

It's not just that, though; I'm done with the whole "celebrity crush" thing in general.  Though I'm not going to wipe my hard drive clean of anything related to Demi Lovato and friends--after all, celebrities and entertainment are my trademarks--there is no reason for me to have a celebrity that I call my "number one".  That's just a leftover bad habit from the days when I was hopelessly obsessed with whatever or whoever.  I can like a celebrity, and appreciate his/her work, but I don't need to bandy his/her name about like he/she is my best friend.  There's no need for me to bend over backwards to see a show with Demi Lovato in it that isn't even that great in the first place.

You all know that entertainment is my thing...and it will continue to be.  You probably also know that, as long as it is Christian-themed and/or morally decent, it's fair game to me.  What I think I need to do is expand my horizons a bit, and not just align with certain genres of entertainment, or movies/shows that feature my favorite stars.  Just after Christmas last year, when I ventured out of my normal territory and watched an episode of Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, I was surprised at how awesome it was.  Maybe I need to do that more; there are likely various pieces of entertainment that I have avoided, but would like if I actually gave them a chance.  (Isn't that what I've been telling you all to do with my shows?)  You can expect to see the reviews on here!

Final Score:

X Factor: 0/5
Celebrity Crushes: 0/5

Three words: Who needs them?

DVD Set Review: "Early Edition": The Complete First Season

Rated: Unknown, but likely TV-PG for language and violence
Starring: Kyle Chandler, Shanesia Davis, and Fisher Stevens
Released: 1996-1997 (original CBS premieres) / June 24, 2008 (DVD)
Synopsis: After his wife throws him out, and he ends up living in a hotel room, Gary Hobson (Kyle Chandler, Friday Night Lights) finds a cat on his doorstep with an issue of the Chicago Sun-Times.  However, he ends up discovering that the paper reports events that have yet to happen.  His longtime best friend Chuck Fishman (Fisher Stevens, Short Circuit) wants to use the paper for personal gain, but his other friend Marissa (Shanesia Davis), who is blind but seems to have more sight than either of the two guys, advises him to use it for good.  Between murders, accidents, and all the other bad news you can read in any daily paper, it's up to Gary to stop it from happening!
This season features appearances by Pauley Perette (NCIS), Max Wright (ALF), Cynthia Nixon (Sex and the City), and M. Emmet Walsh (My Best Friend's Wedding), as well as cameo appearance by film critic Roger Ebert and figure skater Tara Lipinski as themselves.

Artistic Merit

Plots: 5/5
This is the best part of the series.  Every episode is engaging and convoluted, with the plot taking all sorts of twists and turns.  Sure, you may know how it will end, but actually watching it will make you think otherwise!

Production Values: 4/5
The acting is great, but, these stars are top-notch.  Shanesia Davis deserves high praise for amazingly playing the part of a blind woman, despite not being blind herself.  The soundtrack isn't anything special, but it works.  Where it loses a point is the actual paper itself, if only because some of the articles don't match the headlines; seriously, one of them looks like it was cut and pasted from a Macintosh "read me" file.

Moral Content

Positive Elements: 5/5
Gary regularly puts his life on the line to save others, not only people he doesn't know, but even ones he doesn't like, such as a former boss who fired him or his ex-wife.  Marissa also dispenses some very wise advice.  Though Fishman may be a bit of a jerk, it is shows that his action do not help his case at all.  The episode "Faith" shows belief in God in a positive light, almost in a Touched by an Angel sort of way.

Sexual Content: 4/5
For the most part, kissing is as bad as it gets, though some kisses are passionate.  Sexual dialogue and references are seen or heard briefly a scant few times.  Most notable in this department is that, even though two different episodes show a woman staying in Gary's hotel room, you do not see them waking up next to each other, but instead him sleeping on his bed, and her on the couch.  That kind of morality is the exact opposite of what you'll find on Friends or Big Brother.

Nudity: 4/5
Gary is seen bare-chested in the opening sequence and a few times within the show; Fishman is shirtless in an episode or two as well.  Women wearing midriff-baring or low-cut tops are seen only about three or four times briefly.

Language: 2.25/5
The amount of profanities in each episode ranges from two or three to as many as seven or eight.  Though mild by today's standards, some discerning viewers may opt to watch this via a filter for that reason.

Violence: 2/5
With a show that involves thwarting murders, terrorist attacks, and car accidents, you'd expect there to be plenty of violence, right? Well, there is...but it's almost all the kind you would see on a family-friendly network like The Hallmark Channel.  (It's no surprise that reruns of this show previously aired on Fox Family and PAX.)  Only a select few times does it get even the least bit bloody; probably the most significant scene in this department is when a guy is seen with a bullet hole in his head.  Still, this is definitely not CSI or Saw.

Drugs: 3.5/5
Gary, Marissa, and Fishman tend to hang out in a bar and drink...a lot.  Also, smoking is seen a time or two.

Frightening/Intense Scenes: 1.5/5
There's little in this series that isn't intense or frightening; Gary and others end up in perilous situations throughout this series.  Bombs go off; people are shot at; some are nearly killed in various ways.

Other: 4/5
Gary and Fishman use the paper to gamble--well, maybe; if you know the results, is it truly gambling?--though Gary only uses it to get money for people who need it.

Final Score: 4/5
Early Edition is one of the few network shows I watched prior to it being in reruns; still, my mom and I weren't into it until the second season, so, Fox Family helped us see it from the beginning.  Though I remembered some moments from watching it on TV, the plots were all a surprise, as I didn't remember how each scene fit into the plot as a whole.  I probably won't watch this season again, but it was definitely an enjoyable journey.  Though a bit too intense for kids, teens and older would likely love this show if they gave it a chance.

12 November 2013

Book Series Review: "Left Behind" (1-6)

Authors: Tim LaHaye and Jerry B. Jenkins
Published: 1995-1999 by Tyndale
Synopsis: In an instant, millions of people all over the world vanish, sending those left behind into a panic as they search for their missing loved ones.  Among those still on Earth are Rayford and Chloe Steele, a father and daughter who lost the rest of their family in the disappearances, and Cameron "Buck" Williams, reporter for the worldwide news magazine Global Weekly.  When a preacher by the name of Bruce Barnes shares Biblical prophecy that sheds light on the mass disappearances, Rayford, Chloe, and Buck take it on themselves to reach those who are still living before it's too late.  Unfortunately, world leader Nicolae Carpathia, who is not what he seems, is against the Christians, and claims that he himself is the Messiah.  Biblical prophecies come to life in these novels, alongside plenty of action, suspense, and even a little romance, in the first half of the bestselling Christian book series since The Chronicles of Narnia.

Artistic Merit

Plot: 2.5/5
Though I have read Revelation through at least four times, the visions that John has in that book are so strange, it's hard to come down with an exact interpretation of what they are talking about.  Other end-times prophecies, whether from Jesus or in the Old Testament, are just as difficult to interpret.  That said, though this series gets off to a good start, some of the events contained within sound more like something from a SyFy channel movie than anything that will ever actually happen.  In the last two books, when demons are visibly seen attacking and killing people, I couldn't believe what I was reading.  Your feelings may be different based on your interpretation of Biblical prophecy.

Writing: 2/5
Despite some complaints elsewhere, I thought the dialogue was done well; however, there seemed to be too much of it.  Instead of luridly describing what happens to the victims of the various judgments, the authors talk about it for a few paragraphs, then go right back to what's going on with Rayford, Chloe, Buck, and Hattie.  Seriously, if you want people to realize how terrible the "bowl judgments" would be, why not make it more detailed?

Moral Content

Positive Elements: 4/5
Regardless of the theology behind the series' events, Chloe, Buck, Rayford, Bruce, and others put their lives on the line to spread the message of Jesus, and regularly show courage in the face of fear.

Sexual Content: 4/5
It is implied that a woman is pregnant as a result of an illicit affair.  A minor female character is said to be a lesbian.

Language: 4/5
Slang expressions such as "heckuva," "dang," and "bull" are used a few times each, and there is some name-calling.

Violence: 3/5
As mentioned above, the mass attacks aren't gone into detail that much, though your mind's eye may find them disturbing.  Though not terribly graphic, there is quite a bit of violence contained within these books.

Drugs: 4.5/5
Smoking and drinking are referenced, but shown to be wrong.

Frightening/Intense Scenes: 2/5
There's little within these books that isn't intense.  Between the aftermath of the mass disappearances, the deaths from the disasters, and the killings by the hordes of demons, this is pretty scary stuff, though it could have been scarier if more details had been given about the latter two subjects.

Other: 4/5
Some people may have problems with the theology behind this series...but, if you do, why would you read it?

Final Score: 2.25/5
Christian fiction is my favorite genre of literature.  Though I've read countless books by numerous authors over the years, nothing keeps me coming back like the works of Frank Peretti, Ted Dekker, Bill Myers, Bodie Thoene, and their contemporaries.  I'm glad that Left Behind brought Christian fiction to the masses; unfortunately, it seems to also have given it a bad name, as countless online critics--including some Christians--have found the whole thing to be a travesty.  I had intended to read the entire series; now, I think I'll stop at number six.  This series may have legions of fans, but I'm not one of them; I'll stick to my favorite authors.

09 November 2013

Movie Review: "The Good Witch"

Rated: TV-PG (US)
Starring: Catherine Bell, Chris Potter, and Catherine Disher
Released: January 18, 2008 (Hallmark Channel premiere) / January 5, 2010 (DVD)
Synopsis: Cassandra "Cassie" Nightingale (Catherine Bell, JAG) recently moved into a supposedly haunted house in the quiet town of Middleton, raising all kinds of suspicion, especially by "concerned citizen" Martha Tinsdale (Catherine Disher), who also happens to be married to the town's mayor.  The town's police chief (Chris Potter, Heartland) is intrigued by her, and his kids immediately make friends with her.  Still, there's something different about her: She makes potions, talks to animals, and has a strange shop called Bell, Book, and Candle.  Who is this woman? Will Martha and her minions force her out of town?
The first in a series of telefilms from the Hallmark Channel.

Artistic Merit

Plot: 3.5/5
Since this is the first in an annual series--that will apparently continue at least to next year, according to IMDb--this movie alone leaves you with a lot of questions, almost like a TV series' pilot.  However, the story, although nothing terribly special, was good enough to draw me in, though it seemed to drag slightly towards the end.

Production Values: 4/5
Though there wasn't anything excellent in this department, it still worked well.  The acting was great, and so were the sets.  The soundtrack was decent, but nothing special.

Moral Content (Warning! Spoilers in this section!)

Positive Elements: 4/5
Martha and her minions discriminate against Cassie, and are vilified for it.  A boy learns to love his enemy and that revenge is not the answer.  Cassie also shows forgiveness towards two young men who vandalize her shop.

Sex: 3/5
There was kissing, but that wasn't a big issue.  What was shocking to me was Cassie selling a woman a aphrodisiac potion; Cassie tells the lady that, since she doesn't have any kids, she doesn't have to worry about "sending them off to Grandma's." Later, the two meet again, and the customer says, "It's like a second honeymoon, but this one is so much better." Towards the end, the customer tells Cassie that, after years of being barren, she is now pregnant; it is implied that the potion had some sort of effect.

Nudity: 4.25/5
Cassie wears a gown that shows her shoulders and her cleavage in one scene, and a translucent shirt that shows her bra in another.

Language: 4.5/5
Mild name-calling.

Violence: 4/5
Surprisingly, there isn't the kind of fantasy violence like you get from Harry Potter.  A girl trips and gets a mild scrape on her knee, and two windows are smashed through.

Drugs: 3.5/5
Cassie sells potions, and she and others use them.  She and the police chief are also seen drinking wine.  It is mentioned that a boy has a father who is a drunkard.

Frightening/Intense Scenes: 3.5/5
A dog chases two kids, but is stopped by Cassie before he can hurt them.  A boy's father--not the police chief--is implied to be abusive.  The same boy is seen bullying the police chief's son, though he learns the error of his ways.

Other: 4/5
Though the movie doesn't show her actually casting spells, the ending implies that she will show further magical abilities in later films.

Final Score: 3.75/5
Believe it or not, Catherine Bell was one of my earliest celebrity crushes, before anyone even knew who Hilary Duff, Anne Hathaway, or Victoria Justice were.  Though I've since moved on--come on, I was only eleven when I had her on my desktop!--there was still a lingering attraction there for me.  Though the movie wasn't terrible, it wasn't spectacular, and the surprising addition of sexual dialogue put a slight damper on things for me.  Still, this is just the beginning, and the makers were apparently intentionally making a series.  Hallmark Channel fans should catch this either on the network or on DVD.

04 November 2013

Movie Review: "Vanished"

Rated: Not Rated
Starring: John Hagee, Bill Lake, and Robert Collins
Released: February 5, 2002 (DVD)
NOTE: Since this is technically a documentary, and features footage from previously released films, not to mention its entire length is under an hour, this review will not be as in depth as mine usually are.
Synopsis: When millions of people from all over the planet vanish into thin air, those who are left behind are unsure what to do.  A new world leader ushers in a time of peace...but he is not what he seems.  Minister John Hagee explains what the End Times will bring, and his words are illustrated by film clips from Apocalypse and Left Behind.

Artistic Merit: 3.75/5
Documentaries aren't usually my thing, but this one was decently made.  Some of the film clips could have been better produced, but many viewers aren't likely to notice that.  Whether or not you agree with the message within is a different story.

Moral Content

Positive Elements: ???
It depends on your view on the End Times.  If you think the Rapture and the Seven Years are going to happen, then you'd give it a five.  If you disagree with that interpretation of Scripture, then you should avoid this movie.

Sex and Nudity: 5/5

Violence: 3/5
As a result of the disappearances, vehicles crash, buildings are lit on fire, etc.

Language: 4.5/5
God's name is misused once in a film clip.

Drugs: 4.5/5
Drinking alcohol is referenced once.

Frightening/Intense Scenes: 2/5
Along with what is listed under "Violence," the whole somber tone may be too much for some kids.  Also startling is a scene where a family is hauled away from their house by police.

Other Negative Elements: ???
Again, it depends on your interpretation of Biblical prophecy.

Final Score: 4/5
It's short, it's decently made, and it makes its point...so, for that, I'll give it a four.  There are far too many films that fail in one or more of those regards.

03 November 2013

DVD Set Review: "Batman Beyond": Season One

Rated: TV-Y7 for fantasy violence
Starring: Kevin Conroy, Will Friedle, and Sherman Howard
Released: 1999 (original TV premieres) / March 21, 2006 (DVD)
Synopsis: Once Gotham City's best line of defense, Bruce Wayne (Kevin Conroy, Justice League) is unable to fight crime as Batman due to old age.  When Bruce's company's employee Warren McGinnis (Michael Gross, Family Ties) is allegedly murdered by Bruce's business partner Derek Powers (Sherman Howard, Day of the Dead), Warren's son Terry (Will Friedle, Boy Meets World) teams up with Wayne and ends up becoming the new Batman.  However, though technology and society might have changed, criminals are still up to their same tricks.  With several villains on his trail, the new Batman will have to learn to think on his feet...or else, the criminals will win.

Artistic Merit

Plots: 5/5
I love superhero stories, even when they're not based on comic books.  Sure, the ending is obvious--the hero(es) will win!--but they're still entertaining, especially when they're as full of action and suspense as this series is.  It's not as happy or sprightly as Mighty Morphin' Power Rangers, but the darker tone serves this series well.

Production Values: 4.5/5
Though rough in a spot or two, most of the animation contained within this set is spot-on.  The voice work is great, though that's to be expected when you have screen veterans making up most of the cast.  No serious complaints in this department.

Moral Content

Positive Elements: 3.5/5
As with many superhero stories, the main moral is simple: Crime doesn't pay! Terry also shows respect for his elders and people in general, even going as far as preventing his main nemesis from being killed.  Bruce Wayne is also there to offer advice, and serves as a second father after Terry loses his own.  Using strength-enhancing drugs is vilified.

Sexual Content: 4/5
A bit of kissing.  The dancing seen in a couple of episodes and in the opening sequence is mildly suggestive.

Nudity: 4/5
Most of the young women seen in these episodes wear revealing clothing, including the villainess in one episode.  Terry is also seen shirtless once.  Still, it isn't as sultry as it could be thanks to the stylizing of the characters.

Language: 4.5/5
One or two misuses of God's name.

Violence: 2.25/5
Wasn't this show on Kids' WB? Maybe so, but it's decidedly more violent than what I remember seeing on Pokémon and Yu-Gi-Oh!.  Batman, the villains, police officers, and other random citizens get hit, kicked, blasted, punched, tossed around, shot at, etc., countless times.  There are even at least three scenes with (slight) bloodshed.  Explosions are also somewhat frequent.

Drugs: 4.5/5
As mentioned above, the usage of strength-enhancing drugs is vilified.

Frightening/Intense Scenes: 1.5/5
Along with what was described in "Violence," the whole tone of the series is bleak.  Not only that, but the main villain--who isn't seen in every episode, but still in right many of them--is scary-looking, and a mishap turns an ordinary guy into a hideous man-blob.

Other: 4/5
The new Batman's quest starts out a bit vindictive, but he learns his lesson by the season's end.

Final Score: 4/5
Me and this series have an interesting history.  It first premiered when I was in fifth grade, and I avoided it like the plague, even though one of my best friends at school loved it.  When another friend of mine and I saw a scene during a middle of an episode thanks to leaving the TV on after watching Pokémon, it didn't make sense to us, and he said, "I don't understand that show." Looking back, I realized we probably would have if we'd seen the entire episode.  However, after discovering superhero cartoon series thanks to a random purchase of Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Fast Forward at a garage sale, I purchased the first season of Batman Beyond, and I have to say that I pretty much enjoyed it...but not quite as much as I thought I would have.  Still, if you're a fan of DC Comics' animated television shows, and you haven't seen this...what are you waiting for? As long as the above content concerns don't bother you, you should definitely check out this different take on the Caped Crusader.