Original Release Date: March 29th, 2016
Number of Discs: 1
Label: La-La Land Records
Music Composed by: Lolita Ritmanis
Limited Edition run of 2000 copies
Details: La-La Land Records, Warner Bros. Animation and DC Comics present the original motion picture score to the 2003 DC Universe Animated Original Movie Batman: Mystery of the Batwoman, starring the voice talents of Kevin Conroy, Hector Elizondo and Kyra Sedgwick, and directed by Curt Geda. Acclaimed composer Lolita Ritmanis returned to the Batman: The Animated Series universe to craft a thrilling and atmospheric score with jazzy, noirish highlights – perfect for this feature-length tale in which Batman and all of Gotham are forced to reckon with a new costumed vigilante on the scene, Batwoman! Produced by John Takis and mastered by James Nelson, this special release of 2000 units also features bonus tracks and the score to the animated short "Chase Me." In-depth, exclusive liner notes by John Takis and Bat-riffic art design by Dan Goldwasser round out this exciting release!
1. Main Title (2:02)
2. Opening* (4:26)
3. He's Been Waiting / Weapons Factory (1:12)
4. Start Flexing (1:19)
5. The Reason I Called / Rocky Ballantine (1:52)
6. Bat-Signal* (0:42)
7. I'll Get Back to You / Factory / After the Explosion (4:47)
8. Chase Through Store / Rear-View Mirror (2:12)
9. Bruce and Kathy (2:01)
10. Real Muscle / Get Out! (1:54)
11. Paint the Town (1:05)
12. Revolving Door / Time to Burn a Bat (3:59)
13. I Was Wrong About You (0:37)
14. Subway / Identified (0:45)
15. I Don't Want to See You / High Stakes (1:27)
16. The Ship Sails Tonight / Batwoman in Flight (1:49)
17. Close to Our Goal (1:36)
18. This Is It / Ship Leaves the Harbor (2:22)
19. Penguin Gets a Call / Trouble (2:22)
20. Bon Voyage, Señor Batman* (1:21)
21. Close Look / It Has to End / Explosions (3:18)
22. Ship Is Going Down (5:17)
23. Bane's Demise (1:25)
24. Bullock Sees Sonia / The Badge (1:32)
25. I Missed You (1:26)
26. Mystery End Credits (1:25)
Total Score Time: 54:13
27. Chase Me (5:55)
28. Chase Me End Credits (0:33)
Total Score Time: 6:28
29. News Source (0:38)
30. Piano Source (0:40)
31. Department Store (0:44)
32. Rude Interruption (0:14)
33. Main Title (film version)* (2:13)
Total Bonus Time: 4:29
Total Disc Time: 65:10
*Includes theme from "Batman: The Animated Series" by Shirley Walker
Review by James Harvey
Revisiting this score has made one thing abundantly clear: It's a much stronger effort than many folks will likely remember. While not a flawless score, it's one that more lively, more fast-paced and more riveting than expected. Perhaps it was the special effects and voice work drowning out the score, but Lotlita Ritmanis' work here absolutely pops and sounds far more satisfying on this release, from the pros at La-La Land Records, than in the actual Batman: Mystery of the Batwoman feature itself.
When Batman: Mystery of the Batwoman hit in 2003, full orchestral scores were just on the way out for most of these projects, so getting a full synth score was a bit jarring for most listeners. However, given a score like this (more synth, less full orchestral) are now par the course for most small screen animated projects, this allows users to actually judge this score on its own merits, not the industry changes at the time. Based on hearing it again, it's safe to assume the score also got dinged due to the lukewarm reception of the animated movie (which, actually, has aged far better than it has any right to), which is unfortunate since fans might now be missing out on what's actually a solid score.
Though, admittedly, there is a little bit of an adjustment when listening to this score. When the classic Batman theme plays, without the back of a full orchestra, it does sound a little off. It doesn't sound impactful enough. In fact, it might even be a little jarring for those who have been listening to the assorted animated Batman score releases. But once the realization kicks in that this is a synth score, it nary becomes an issue, especially since some tracks don't really have that distinct synth sound, like the brief "He's Been Waiting/Weapons Factory" track. "Start Flexing" is another example, as are some of the more lighter tracks on the soundtrack. For those who watched the Justice League animated series, the score work done here sounds remarkably similar.
While the entire body of work on this soundtrack is solid, Ritmanis really excels on some of the more fast-aced tracks, like "I'll Get Back to You / Factory / After the Explosion," where you can tell she's really pushing the limits of what she can do with what she has available, even if the integration of Batwoman's sultry theme is slightly awkward. The first portion of "Revolving Door/Time to Burn a Bat" is a great tense little number, though the second half's upbeat tone mingled with Batwoman's theme sounds a little jarring, and the synth work becomes slightly distracting. However, the "Close to our Goals" track nicely encapsulates the air of mystery surrounding Batwoman heavily emphasized in the animated movie, and "This is it/Ship leaves the Harbor" brings about nice ominous tone (along with "Penguin Gets a Call/Trouble," which ratchets things up a little bit in terms of intensity.
The use of Batwoman's theme in "Bane's Demise" is definitely noteworthy, as Ritmanis tweaks it to sound more heroic and just knocks it out of the park. It's definitely one of the highlights to the soundtrack. Ritmanis is able to effectively weave some nice, mysterious, even sultry tones throughout the score, and effectively uses Shirley Walker's Batman: The Animated Series theme in sparse bits, but still manages to throw in a few genuine surprises. "Bruce and Kathy," for example, is a great, quiet understated track that brings out film's romantic side.
As an added bonus, the soundtrack also includes the fast, upbeat, kinda jazzy score to the "Chase Me" animated short (included as an extra on Batman: Mystery of the Batwoman's DVD and Blu-ray release) and it's a great catchy track. It's quite the earworm, actually, features a ton of range, and just has this great, infectious beat to it.
To note, the pop song "Betcha Never," performed by Cherie and featured in Batman: Mystery of the Batman, is not included on this CD release (thankfully). However, both the single and the album featuring said single can be purchased separately through a host of outlets.
In terms of the actual CD release, it's another great package by La-La Land Records. The tracks are crisp, clear and loud, and sound excellent. Nothing sounds muddled, nor does anything get buried or choppy – it all sounds fantastic. The liner notes inside are interesting and worth a read, offering some nice insight into the animated movie and the work done on the score. La-La Land Records really excels when it comes to these notes, and this is no exception. Presentation is also really on point, with a great selection of hi-res images used to enhance the physical release.
Overall, La-La Land Record's soundtrack release of Batman: Mystery of the Batwoman is an excellent listen. Not perfect, no, but a great piece of work. Unfortunately, given the lingering rep of the animated feature itself, this will likely remain a bit of an undiscovered gem for most fans of Batman: The Animated Series and the DC Comic animated movie scores (which is unfortunate, since the work here tops or is on par plenty of the more recent efforts). Save for a couple missteps, mostly awkwardly sandwiching in Batwoman's theme from time to time, and the limits of the equipment she had at her disposal, Ritmanis absolutely delivers here. In fact, the score sounds stronger and stronger with each revisit. Regardless of what one might think of the actual movie, fans should definitely seek out the soundtrack release of Batman: Mystery of the Batman. Highly Recommended!