Sunday, July 22, 2012

Batman: Gotham Knight (2008) DVD

Rating:  2 out of 5 boring segments in an endless series of vignettes.

Plot Synopsis:  There are a million naked stories in the city of Gotham.  Fortunately (or not as the case may be) that is the only thing naked in this series of vignettes that are a shameless rip off of the failed franchise cash in Animatrix.

The Good:

-There’s a Catwoman tag in the background early in the first story.

-The different depictions of Batman and his villain as told through the eyes of the various kids who ran into him throughout the day.

-The animation is in the first story is very different but still good.  The characters are more cartoony with them being disproportionate (wide, round, thin bodies, skinny, long limbs) but the backgrounds have a ton of detail to them and the actual movement is very fluid.

-Kevin Conroy as the voice of Batman and he is THE voice of Batman.

-The different styles of animation telling all the different stories.

-Arkham Island, the second story the main characters go to the narrows, which after the mass breakout in Batman Begins the entire island has become Asylum grounds.

-Batman drops everything to help a bad guy with a bullet wound caused by his magnetic bullet deflection gizmo.

-Gotham has an abandoned pneumatic system that was used to connect all of Gotham’s cemeteries and transported coffin’s all around the city.  What city does that?  It’s stupid but awesome all at the same time.

-The Dark Knight version of Killer Croc.  A human freak with a Scarecrow venom bite.

-This version of Scarecrow has a good look and I love his obsession with scythes.

-Bruce learning pain management.  It’s interesting to see the non martial arts side of Bruce’s training.

-Good soundtrack, very dramatic instrumentals.  The themes in Deadshot has hints of James Bond in it.

-Deadshot is pretty awesome in this.  I prefer my Deadshot to sound like Kevin Spacey like he does in the Justice League Unlimited animated series but this is pretty good too, there’s a Spacey like quality to it.

-Deadshot is the best segment.  It has the best animation, the least terrible dubbing, the best characters and the best action.

-The voice acting in general is good (by dubbing I’ve been referring to the words matching the characters lips, not the acting itself)

-The animation is generally good and ranges from good to great.

-The various styles of the different Batman’s is always interesting to look at.

The Bad:

-There’s so much fucking skateboarding!  It’s so totally extreme to the MAX!

-This takes place in the Dark Knight universe with its continuity.  It would have been better if was its own thing.

-They flesh out characters used in Dark Knight but the characters are inconsistent with their portrayal between this and the movie.  So using that continuity is just pointless.

-If that wasn’t Kevin Conroy talking I wouldn’t have known it was Bruce Wayne.

-That is not Morgan Freemans fucking voice.  That’s not even close, you didn’t even try.  You put Fox in your animoo and you didn’t even have the fucking decency to find a celebrity impersonator.  Craig fucking Ferguson has a Morgan Freeman impersonator and you couldn’t get one for your god damn (Batman) Batman anamoo.

-This is such weeaboo bullshit at times.

-Oh noes Vash the Stampede was shot by a deflected bullet!  He may die!  Some should notify Wolfwood!

-I like to talk with my lips pulled back exposing my teeth and flapping my jaw like a fucking laughing skull.

-That is not Cillian Murphy.  He just played Scarecrow, you couldn’t get him to reprise his role for a five minute cameo?

-Batman goes out of his way to save a gunshot wound victim but in the next vignette he basically condemns Scarecrow and his cult to death by drowning.

-Working Through Pain is both interesting and incredibly boring.

-Nice fucking message hammer.  I don’t think you made it obvious enough.  Maybe next time you include a title card spelling the whole fucking thing out.

-There is an old lady on the subway in Deadshot that looks like she stepped out of Victorian England.  What the hell?

-The Alfred in Deadshot looks nothing like any Alfred I’ve ever seen.

The Ugly:

-The dubbing on this is really hit and miss.  It sometimes doesn’t look like the lips even come close to matching

-Bruce looks so bishounen, I’m pretty sure this is going to turn into a Bruce/Lucious Fox slash fic.

-The Scarecrow short has by far the worst dubbing.  It also has the worst animation.

Final Thoughts:  The story telling medium, a series of short, unconnected vignettes instead of a long, cohesive narrative really hinders the pacing of the whole thing. The action scenes are brief because each vignette is so short and they have to cram an entire story into what little time they have but something get’s sacrificed in each and every short. Whether it’s narration or characterization or action, or whatever nothing feels like a complete story and the thing as a whole sags in places and becomes boring, even during the action scenes. There’s no build up, there’s no climax, there’s no catharsis, no denouement, it’s just stuff happening for an hour and fifteen minutes which isn’t as great as you’d think. Now that I say that I realize that this is basically porn, it’s Batman porn. You see what you came here to see, it sort of scratches that Batman itch but it’s no substitute for the real thing.

  This came about, I’m sure, as a direct result of the Animatrix. I don’t know how popular that was or how much money it made but I remember it being this huge thing. The Animatrix was going to be this big universe building thing that was going to change how you approach a franchise. In between movies you could release this animated film that was a series of short vignettes to keep people interested in your product while you made the next one. It would be a way to milk fans of more money by making something that was mandatory to see to enjoy the next movie. I don’t know how well Gotham Knight did but it seems that by Dark Knight they had not only abandoned it but completely forgotten about any characterization that was in it. I don’t recommend this film. Unless you’re a Batman completist and HAVE to see everything Batman you could safely ignore the existence of this completely. The same basic concept was done much better in a 30 minute episode of the animated series titled Legends of the Dark Knight. I suggest you watch that instead, it does what this does better and is over in a half hour.

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