Sunday, July 22, 2012

Batman: Year One (2011) Blu-Ray

Rating:  3 out of 5 pimps who sound like Spike beaten to a pulp.

Plot Synopsis:  It’s Bruce Wayne’s first year as Batman and Jim Gordon’s first year on the GCPD.  Along for the ride is a Catwoman short.

The Good:

-Pretty strong opening, we get narration from Bruce who’s flying into Gotham (giving us a great view of Gotham from the air) and Gordon who’s taking the train into Gotham (giving us a great view of how seedy the city it).

-The animation is pretty good, it looks nice and crisp.

-Gordon sizing up his partner and analyzing how he roughs up a criminal.

-Gordon owns a bunch of punks before one of them get’s lucky with a bat.  I always knew Gordon was a badass even if he doesn’t often get a chance to show it.

-First fight of Bruce against a bunch of pimps and ho’s in the red light district is pretty awesome.

-The voice work is actually really, really good.

-First appearance of Batman is pretty badass.

-You can really tell that the source material was written by Frank Miller.

-Batman busts up The Roman’s dinner with a surgical approach.

-I love Selina’s short hair.  She’s pretty hot in this.  Eliza Dushku’s voice really pushes it over the sexy limit.

-Bruce pulls a Sharon Stone on Mrs. Gordon.

-This show get’s pretty graphic at times, especially the Catwoman short.  I can’t imagine it actually being for kids, 16+ maybe.  Those kids are probably seeing way worse on the internet but that’s the internet’s job, as a parent or some kind of legal guardian I would feel kinda weird about giving this to anyone under 18 and even if they were 18+ I don’t know if I’d watch it in the same room.

-That all being said the Catwoman short is super fucking hot.  Catwoman takes a turn on the pole in a strip club.

-Every action scene is really well done.

The Bad:

-Slow-mo bat infiltration is a little stupid.

-You can really tell that the source material was written by Frank Miller.

-I don’t like Alfred’s voice.

-Bruce working out, apparently in his boxer briefs, in front of Alfred.

The Ugly:

-You can really tell that the source material was written by Frank Miller.

Final Thoughts:  I didn’t realize how short this was when I sat down to review it.  When I decided to do the Blinky Productions short films I ran into a similar problem.  The film is too short to really review in my typical style.  There just isn’t enough going on over time to really develop a bullet point list of what’s good, bad and ugly.  What I’m saying is that this would probably have been better off reviewed in a different form.  But it’s too late for that now.
  Batman Year One is an animated adaption of Frank Millers Year One storyline in the Batman comics.  I haven’t read all of Year One so I don’t know how close it is to the source material.  After reading Dark Knight Returns I was kind of turned off of Frank Miller and really any of his work so when it came time to read Year One (which I bought at the same time) it just seemed to daunting of a task, so I read maybe just the first 10 pages and the first bit of the film follows those ten pages pretty well, after that I couldn’t tell you.  But it’s a decent story, it’s well animated, the action scenes are fun and it’s well acted.  I don’t really have a feeling for anyone’s relationship to each other however.  This movie is too short, I feel, to develop any of the characters beyond Jim Gordon.  We get a good feeling for him, we spend more time with Gordon than we do Batman and it’s his narration that carries us through most of the film.  But even with that I’m left feeling like I only really know Gordon and only a little bit at that.  I don’t really get a feeling for his interpersonal relationships or how he really feels when interacting with the people around him.  He has an affair but why?  He hates corrupt cops but why?  They hint at why he’s in Gotham but don’t actually say.  He does good things and is a stand up guy but why?  I just don’t get a good feeling for anybody in this movie.
  Don’t get me wrong, if you’re a fan of Batman and a fan of the Year One storyline specifically, you won’t go away disappointed.  The movie hits all the right notes to not make you feel like you wasted your time.  I would go for a rental on this unless you can get it cheap, like under $20 cheap and even then I might be tempted to tell you to wait until it’s $7 at Target before I’d really recommend this.  But it’s not terrible by any stretch, it’s just really short and really fast paced, it doesn’t give you a lot of time with the characters.  If that’s important to you it may affect your enjoyment more and if it’s not that important to you then you’ll probably enjoy it more than I did.

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