The 2nd Dimension

Tuesday, January 06, 2009

Viewing Journal: Batman - Gotham Knight

Movie Overview
DVD Info

Overall= C+
Story = C
Video = B
Audio = C+


From the producers of Batman Begins and The Dark Knight comes an original animated movie chronicling the establishment and progression of Bruce Wayne into Gotham City's legendary caped crusader through 6 standalone episodes: "Have I Got a Story for You" (the mythos of Batman from the minds of children), "Crossfire" (the initial distrust and the eventual gaining of it from the perspective of the police), "Field Test" (the compassion of Batman, even towards his enemies), "In Darkness Dwells" (tracking down Killer Croc and The Scarecrow to foil his plot of resurgence amongst the villainous of Gotham), "Working Through Pain" (a look back at Bruce's training to manage both the physical and psychological pains he would later endure as Batman), and "Deadshot" (a race against the clock to protect Lt. Gordon from a highly-renowned assassin). (Source: ANN)

Storywise, there isn't anything new that Gotham Knight adds to the Batman mythos. Each tale in this 6-episode conglomeration has been done before -- and more successfully -- either in other animated series, movies, or comics. Most notably, "Have I Got a Story for You" uses the same concept as that episode for the Batman: the animated series where a kid imagines him as an old man (a la Dark Knight Returns).

I'm not sure if Batman just doesn't jell well with Japanese storytelling, or if the Japanese directors were not given much creative freedom, but I was disappointed with how traditional, if not outright cliche the stories were. I guess I was hoping for to see more Japanese influence in the story, instead of just in the animation.

Of course, the animation was still top-notch. It added a new level of intensity to the fights -- especially the brawl between Batman and Killer Crock in "In Darkness Dwells", and the chase on top of the train with Deadshot (who's he?). It also adds an extra layer of moodiness to the already brooding Dark Knight.

And if I'd never heard of anime and had just assumed that the animation was something created in the US, I probably would have thought that it was all pretty sweet just due the PG-13 rating and stylish animation. But since I am in fact an anime fan I do want to see more of that Eastern influence, even when the story originated in the West (see my previous Witchblade review). So from that perspective I was unimpressed with this DVD.

Although, for those who are really into Batman, you'll probably end up picking this up regardless of whether or not you think it'll be any good out of curiosity if nothing else. If you are, and you don't expect anything new, then it very well may be worth your while.

No comments: