Wednesday, July 9, 2008
DVD Review: "Gotham Knight"
I forgot to mention yesterday that I purchased the new anime Batman film, “Gotham Knight” (which was released the same day). Being the Batman freak that I am, I just had to go out and by it. More so because of the fact that this “Ani-Matrix” film deals with the events in-between “Batman Begins” and “The Dark Knight.” That to me was the major selling point. You know, I love Batman, but what I love even more is Christopher Nolan’s film adaptation of the character. Despite Nolan not directing any of these films, he and David Goyor (“Begins” and “Knight” co-writer) oversaw the project as well as the producers of both movies. As you most certainly know, I’m very much excited for the new movie as I read up on it everyday and am slowly counting down the days until it’s release. Shit, I even bought my tickets 3 weeks early!
Anywho, “Gotham Knight” is six interlocking short films directed by established (and celebrated) anime directors. I have to say I am really out of touch with anime and anime culture. I don’t know who’s who or what the new thing is, and since I grew out of anime several years ago I was a bit confused by the first several minutes of the movie. It was also weird to see Batman in anime form. I am so used to his American variation that it just seemed a bit out of place. However, rest assured that as the first feature “Have I Got a Story For You” keeps going you become to accept it with ease. It’s actually pretty cool in fact. I love the first story as it’s a re-working of one of my favorite classic Batman cartoons, “Legends of the Dark Knight”. (What makes “Gotham Knight” even more amazing is that the episode “Legends of the Dark Knight” is actually encluded in the 2nd disc!! Who cool is that!!) Basically it’s a bunch of punky preteens hanging out at a skate park talking about their personal encounters with Batman. Each of their story tells a different interpretation of Batman or how they saw him. It’s kind of cute actually. I like how the one girl overly exaggerated her experience making Batman look like not only an actual Bat-mutant but that he ripped off the head of the bad guy causing a bloody scene in the middle of on-lookers. I was like, “WTF?!”, and then her friends were like, “..what? That didn’t happen! Batman doesn’t kill anybody!” ..and thus she admitted she sort of made the experience more dramatic. It was funny and really neat.
Another great story in “Gotham Knight” is “Working Through Pain” which reminds us that there is still a very emotionally and mentally weakened Knight inside Batman. In order to try and work through some of his unrecognized demons, this chapter shows Batman going too India to train under a mysterious Indian woman, Cassandra. What I like about this chapter is that it shows you the Dark Knight’s more spiritual side and how he deals with his emotional scars and how it affects him as a hero and a person. This is something that has always attracted me to this superhero and why he stands out to me more than Peter Parker, Tony Stark, Superman, or the X-Men.
One other awesome thing about “Gotham Knight” is the chapter, “In Darkness Dwells” which introduces “Killer Croc” into the Christopher Nolan-Universe. Yup, that’s right. One of Batman’s more “unrealistic” characters is actually introduced to the much more realistic universe. I gotta tell you, David Goyor and the other writers involved in this totally updated his origin and makes me believe that he might just be a possible candidate for “Batman 3.” Instead of a the “radioactive/chemical lab experiment-gone-wrong” cop-out, they decided to make him a man born with a skin condition. Even more interesting is that the writers figured out a way to involve Scarecrow into the Killer Croc origin. Scarecrow basically made Killer Croc into even more of a monster because swimming inside his blood was the hallucination gas (as seen in “Batman Begins”). In tern, Batman got bite by Croc and thus some of the gas got inside Batman for a bit. It was pretty wicked and very action packed. It was good to see Scarecrow again and see what he was doing after his escape from the Narrows back in “Batman Begins”.
All in all, the movie is pretty sweet. It’s solid, it’s got it’s share of emotion and action. Even though some of the stories end to quickly (“Deadshot”) it’s still a good add-on to “Batman Begins” and the upcoming “Dark Knight” movie.
However, my only real big grip with this film is the voice acting. I am a fan of Kevin Conroy who voiced Batman in every single Batman Animated Series/Justice League episode, but.. Why? ..why couldn’t Warner Brothers get Christian Bale to voice Batman?! Huh? There’s no excuse! Why wasn’t Michael Cane, Morgan Freeman, Gary Oldman, Eric Roberts, or Cillian Murphy in it either?? You know, a big reason that made “The Animatrix” so special was that it actually had Keanue Reeves and Carrie Ann Moss doing the voices of their characters. Urgh.. It just kind of bugged me that they didn‘t have Christian doing the voice. He’s voiced an anime before too. So he knows the drill on how it‘s done. No excuse, Warner Bros. >:/
But whatever, that’s my only grip. It doesn’t take a way that this DVD is a badass companion to “Batman Begins“. I plan on seeing it several times before “The Dark Knight” actually. It’s that good.
Anyway, “The Dark Knight” will be released in just 8 more days!! See you guys there!! :D
Posted by George Gonzalez at 10:16 PM