Mar 9, 2009

[Movies] Batman: Gotham Knight (2008)

Batman: Gotham KnightThe DC Universe Original Animated Movie line is pretty interesting, to say the least, starting with their release of Justice League: The New Frontier (since I wasn't too enthused by Superman Doomsday). One has to admit that they're a lot better than some of the similar direct-to-DVD ventures Marvel has been getting into as of late, and credit definitely has to go to the DC writers behind the original inspiration for their stories.

And to think I was a Marvel Comics kind of guy most of my life.

Thus far they've generally been taking a sort of Elseworlds approach to these stories / movies in order to justify a little artistic license. Marvel's been trying that as well with their Marvel Ultimate stories, although I have to admit those never really left a good taste in my mouth.

Batman: Gotham Knight is positioned as a collection of short animated stories that feature within the context of the Batman Begins / The Dark Knight universe, although without a specific time-place set nor a definite anchor in the Nolan continuity. The point is that this is an early Batman and Gotham is only beginning to appreciate his efforts and even get their facts straight about the mysterious figure trying to keep the city safe. The six stories are done in a style that features heavy <a class=" zem_slink="" href="http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Anime" title="Anime" rel="wikipedia">Japanese Anime influence.

The film reminded me a lot of The Animatrix, given it does perform that "supporting" function in terms of the larger Batman universe. The fact that the animation style matches that of The Animatrix doesn't help much either, haha. The only thing different between the two is the lack of CGI-rendered stories.

There are limited interconnections between the stories, although don't expect for things to add up into one overall story arc by the end. It really is six different stories that more or less stand up on their own well enough and thus you just need to work with that concept. This is not to say that the way things were handled wasn't good - in fact there are moments that are outright brilliant and one wonders why they don't venture into making some of these stories part of a full-blown series.

Any Batman fan is bound to appreciate the efforts here, although the differing styles and ways of depicting Batman will get a tad dizzying at times. It helped that Kevin Conroy reprised his role as the voice of Batman / Bruce Wayne as he has done for previous animated versions of the character within the past decade or so, although there are some stories where the animation doesn't seem to match the fullness of his voice. Oh well.

Batman: Gotham Knight is an interesting venture that is at least worth the once-through, regardless of your appreciation of the Batman universe. Here's to more DC animated movie ventures!


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