Batman: Gotham Knight (2008) [Blu-Ray]
|Genre(s): Action / Animation|
|Warner Brothers || PG13 - 76 minutes - $34.99 || July 8, 2008|
|Reviewer: Brian Oliver || Posted On: 2008-06-30|
Writer(s): Bob Kane (characters); Brian Azzarello, Alan Burnett, Jordan Goldberg, David S. Goyer, Josh Olson, Greg Rucka
Cast: Kevin Conroy, Gary Dourdan, David McCallum
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The world of anime has been on the rise over the past few years (at least I’ve taken notice in that time) and now it’s entered into Batman’s world. Under the “Warner Premiere” banner, six acclaimed directors tackle interweaving stories that could take place in between Batman Begins and The Dark Knight. Here are the six segments along with my feelings on each followed by a closing remark in regards to the “movie” as a whole:
“Have I Got a Story For You” segment tells the story of Batman through the eyes of a group of kids as they recount their encounter with The Batman as he battles a skilled ninja. Each of their versions shows Batman as a mythological creature or a Terminator-like machine, etc. Not the greatest one to start things off with, but stylistically it’s pretty cool. This one was written by Josh Olson (A History of Violence). **˝ / *****
“Crossfire” mainly follows Detectives Crispus Allen (Dourdan; TV’s “CSI”) and Anna Ramirez (Ortiz; TV’s “Ugly Betty”) as they transport a criminally insane man whom Batman captures and brings to Jim Gordon at the Major Crimes Squad. After dropping him off at Arkham, they unwittingly get in the middle of a gang war between the Russians and Maroni. Good story and probably my favorite visually. Written by acclaimed novelist/comic writer Greg Rucka. ***ľ / *****
“Field Test” is about Bruce Wayne (voiced by Kevin Conroy) using a new device invented by Lucius Fox. This device uses some sort of frequency that can deflect bullets. It does have its unintended consequences so Bruce abandons it. Another visually stunning segment and the story is also pretty decent. Written by Jordan Goldberg (associate producer on The Prestige and The Dark Knight). ***˝ / *****
“In Darkness Dwells” has Batman tracking Killer Croc, with the help of Gordon and his team, in the sewers of Gotham City. While there, he runs into Begins nemesis Scarecrow who has a legion of escaped Arkham prisoners. Co-written by David S. Goyer (Batman Begins), I didn’t care for the visuals this time around but the story was alright. *** / *****
“Working Through Pain” tracks Bruce’s time in training as he wants to deal with pain and seeks methods in India. The most introspective of the stories but it is also the least visually pleasing as well... *** / *****
“Deadshot” is the final segment which pits Batman against master assassin Deadshot. Cool story but I still couldn’t really get into the style. It is better than “Working Through the Pain”, however. *** / *****
Overall the stories are alright but visually it makes it hard to go from one story to the next. As Brad Lowenberg stated in his review, there’s not much in terms of continuity, and I think that would’ve made the stories easier to follow and help it flow from one to the next.
Batman: Gotham Knight is a cool idea taking six segments and connecting them together, along with connecting it (if ever so slightly) with the feature films, but with the mixture of styles and techniques, I found a couple of the segments to be average while others above average. On the whole, it’s probably just decent, though a couple of them I might watch again later.
These features are also available in the 2-Disc Special Edition. These are also all presented in standard definition (480i/p).
Feature Commentary – DC Comics Senior VP Gregory Noveck, Former Batman Editor Dennis O’Neil and Kevin Conroy (voice of Batman) provide an informative track where they talk about using the anime style and how the stories could connect with the Nolan-verse franchise.
A Mirror for a Bat (35:47) – Interesting featurette/documentary chronicling Batman’s greatest foes from his rogues gallery and how each compliments Batman himself. This features interviews from DC Comics and others.
Wonder Woman Sneak Peek (10:29) – This was actually a lot better than I was thinking it would be. There’s not much in the way of footage for this animated movie (it doesn’t come out until Spring 2009) but it does have interviews with the cast including Keri Russell, Alfred Molina, Virginia Madsen and Rosario Dawson.
Batman and Me: The Bob Kane Story (38:25) - Incredible and fascinating documentary that tells the life history of Bob Kane from his early days growing up in the Bronx to 1989 and the release of Tim Burton’s Batman. You get to hear from those who knew him and others including Mark Hamill and Stan Lee. I can’t quite remember, but I thought there was something like this on the Batman Begins DVD...
Also included are four bonus episodes of “Batman: The Animated Series”. Since I already own every season, I’ve already seen them, but no harm in including them here.
.::AUDIO & VIDEO::.
Gotham Knight is presented with a 1.78 AR and 1080p high definition. Colors and images are absolutely crisp and clean. I think anime lends itself to look great in HD using clear lines and dark and light colors.
Strangely, Warner only provides a Dolby Digital 5.1 track for this feature rather than TrueHD or Dolby Digital Plus. This sounds good enough though at times it could’ve been a tad stronger.
Batman: Gotham Knight is an experiment that at times works, but on the whole, it’s a mish-mash of styles that you either like or you don’t. In regards to this Blu-ray, considering it’s not that much more over the 2-disc special edition, I see no reason not to spend the extra dough to get all the features on one disc. Speaking of which, the two documentaries are both very good and well worth watching.