Batman – Gotham Knight
I just got my hands on an early copy on the newest DC Universe Original Animated Movie : Batman – Gotham Knight. The movie is supposed to be a tie-in between the live action motion pictures Batman Begins and The Dark Knight. Gotham Knight is split into 6 short animation movies directed by 6 different anime masters, a concept similar to The Animatrix. They fit together as a whole story but have different styles and character designs. A special bonus is that WB once again got Kevin Conroy on board for this project. He is, and always will be, the voice of Batman in my opinion. His work on Batman the Animated Series, should speak for itself.
The animation of Batman – Gotham Knight is done by famous anime studios like Studio 4C (Tekkon Kinkreet, The Animatrix), Production I.G (Ghost in the Shell) and Madhouse (Death Note). I have to say that I personally like the style of the shorts “Crossfire” and “Deadshot” best. Their Batman just looks so incredibly bad-ass and tough, while the incarnation in “Field Test” was not really to my taste. Still, the 75 minute movie sports some of the best animation you can possibly get. Just like in the comics, it is interesting to see how different writers and directors envisage Batman’s exterior and character. As for the villains in this animation: the Scarecrow returns and the Killer Croc and Deadshot get their first appearance. On the side of the good guys we are introduced to Detective Anna Ramirez (who will also be in The Dark Knight) and Detective Crispus Allen (who is an important character in today’s DV Universe).
The special edition of the DVD will include several documentaries and four episodes of Batman the Animated Series (“Heart of Ice”, I Am the Night”, “Legends of the Dark Knight”, “Over the Edge”). This latter addition to the package is especially interesting here in Luxembourg, as the series has only been released in the U.S. and in the UK until now. Warner, we are still waiting!
I have to say that I was blown away when I first watched the animated special. The Anime style is unusual for a western comic adaptation but it fits like a glove and turns this into a must see for any Batman fans. The appearance of the more unusual (yet still canonical) foes will probably alienate those fans who only know Batman from the live action movies. Still, I think everybody who really loved Batman Begins and is planning to see The Dark Knight, should not miss out on this gem.
“I’m willing to put my life on the line to do what I have to. But it has to be mine, no one else’s.” – Batman: Gotham Knight
Re-watch value 8
Overall rating 9/10