Monday, August 01, 2011

Review: Batman Gotham Knight

Batman Gotham Knight blu/ray animation
Run-time 70 minutes rated PG-13

Staring Starring Kevin Conroy, Gary Dourdan, David McCallum, Jim Meskimen. Ana Ortiz

Have I Got a Story for You - animated by Studio 4°C - written by Josh Olson

Crossfire - animated by Production I.G - written by Greg Rucka

Field Test - animated by Bee Train - written by Jordan Goldberg

In Darkness Dwells - animated by Madhouse - written by David S. Goyer

Working Through Pain - animated by Studio 4°C - written by Brian Azzarello

Deadshot - animated by Madhouse - written by Alan Burnett

Batman Gotham Knight is a bit of a project film. Instead of one coherent story Gotham Knight contains six different tales all with a loose story line connecting them (though tenuous at best sometimes plus they go to some lengths to not be allied with any one particular Batman universe cannon) All by different writers, directors and animation houses. The overall look and feel of project, which could have become chaotic, comes out instead very interesting because of the visual diversity and plot-line differences.

Gotham Knight is set between Batman Begins and The Dark Knight. The diversity comes not only from the stories and their different visual styles but the different points of view from first to third person.

Because there were so many different animation styles with many of the characters being notably different (including batman in say the Field Test story where he is a much younger Bruce Wayne and Have I got a Story for You where Batman resembles more a bat or vampire than human) it was decided that each character would be voiced by the same person in each of the segments. Kevin Conroy is one of the most recognizable Batman voices, Ana Ortiz as Anna Ramirez, Jim Meskimen as Commissioner James Gordon - however did Floyd Lawton / Deadshot as well. Gary Dourdan as Crispus Allen, Jason Marsden plays a variety of characters in this series - however he is always the doctor in any of the segments. One actor of note is David McCallum who does Alfred Pennyworth in Deadshot. Corey Burton is The Russian, but also Ronald Marshall and the Scare Crow.

In general none of the segments are so long as to become tedious, though in truth, expansion on many of the themes might prove interesting. I am not sure I would like a steady diet of episodic story telling, but this one certainly works really well. Each episode is a story unto itself and holds up well but with enough tie-ins to the other stories and the Batman universe to keep everything on track. I quite enjoyed the dvd/blu-ray.

The extra track really shines! First there is an audio commentary of the film by Gregory Noveck, Dellis O’Neil and Kevin Conroy, a well as a preview of the upcoming animated movie Wonder Woman. There is a wonderful bio piece of the Batman creator - Bob Kane. Plus there are four episodes of the Batman animated series that I can not remember seeing previously! There are several other little tidbits but I will leave them for you to find you to find out. Overall I would give Gotham Knight an 8 and the extras the same or maybe a 9 because as extras, they are damn good. Which gives us an 8.5 which if your are into animation/anime you will rate it higher perhaps and if you are not and certainly not into episodic fiction you might go lower but overall...8.5 to 9 is pretty fair.

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