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Batman: Gotham Knight(2008)
Batman: Gotham Knight is a fresh and exciting new entry into the Batman mythos, spinning out of a 40-year history in animation including the Emmy-winning Batman: The Animated Series, widely considered a pivotal moment in American animation. A cross section of distinguished creators, award winning producers, and acclaimed writers weave six interlocking stories that reveal Bruce Wayne’s journey to Dark Knight, each with stylish art from some of the world’s most revered animation visionaries.
For more about Batman: Gotham Knight and the Batman: Gotham Knight Blu-ray release, see Batman: Gotham Knight Blu-ray Review published by Martin Liebman on April 23, 2012 where this Blu-ray release scored 3.5 out of 5.
Starring: Kevin Conroy, Gary Dourdan, David McCallum, Parminder Nagra, Ana Ortiz, Brian George
Directors: Yasuhiro Aoki, Futoshi Higashide, Yoshiaki Kawajiri, Toshiyuki Kubooka, Hiroshi Morioka, Shojiro Nishimi
» See full cast & crew
Batman: Gotham Knight Blu-ray Review
Six short films, one good Blu-ray set.
Reviewed by Martin Liebman, April 23, 2012
For those who have been living in a cave (the Batcave excluded, of course) and may not know, "Batman," a.k.a. "Bruce Wayne," a.k.a. "The Dark Knight," a.k.a. "The Caped Crusader" is a pretty big figure in popular culture. Has been, still is, probably will continue to be. He might not enjoy the same massive cultural impact as his D.C. Comics counterpart Superman, he of an alien origin and the defender of "truth, justice, and the American way," but the darker, more mysterious, all too human Batman has dazzled audiences for decades both on the inky colored page and on the big and small screens alike. He's existed through numerous models, all similar yet unique in their own right, across all mediums, whether the colorful comic-book inspired look of the 1960s film, the more gothic and perhaps finest Tim Burton take, and the more recent Christopher Nolan trilogy-in-the-making that represents some of the finest superhero filmmaking around and, the second and third films in particular, two of the most anticipated movie events in decades. Needless to say, "Batman" mania has been and remains in full swing; there's always a story to tell and a buck to be made, so enter Batman: Gotham Knight, an animated collection of six different Batman tales that bridge the gap between Nolan's Batman Begins and The Dark Knight. Presented in an Anime style and crafted by six different storytellers and artists, the collection forms a cohesive whole even as its diversity remains clear. In essence, this is "Batman" in a 70-some minute microcosm.
There's a little something for everybody in Batman: Gotham Knight. The six episodes make use of several different characters on either side of the law. Anime fans will enjoy the stylings, while purists will find familiarity in the structure. Heavy mythology, flashbacks, and the allure of new adventures will entice fans who gobble up anything and everything Batman, while the massive popularity of the Nolan films and the character in general will bring in more casual audiences. It's all very well put together, and even as the story specifics and styles change, the structure remains largely intact. The narrative from one short to the next flows seamlessly, and the interconnections provide a more complete, mentally engaging, and thematically focused presentation. The film may not innovate and the animation may prove to be slightly flat, but the whole is easily greater than the sum of the parts. The voice acting impresses perhaps more than any artistic element; Kevin Conroy's steady voice work is a welcome plus; he's provided voice work for the character in any number of Batman projects, from the animated series from the mid-1990s on through to the more recent Arkham video games. But Gotham Knight works best by taking in the entire package as a single entity, as different as each may be on the surface. Below, where it counts, this is Batman through and through, and more of the bat is always a good thing.
The following short films comprise Batman: Gotham Knight:
Have I Got a Story for You
Four skaters gather at a skate park where they choose to tell their tale of a personal run-in with Batman from earlier in the day. Each believes his or her story to be the most accurate and exciting, though all embellish to some degree. Their separate stories form a whole picture, though told in reverse chronological order, of the Dark Knight's battle with Jacob Feely, also known as "The Man in Black."
Detective Crispus Allen and his partner Anna Ramirez are tasked by Lieutenant Gordon with transporting The Man in Black to The Narrows. The dangerous drop-off is successful, but they find themselves in the middle of a frenzied firefight between two rival gangs on the way back to Gotham. Only the intervention of a caped crusader can save them.
A Wayne satellite suffers severe damage while in space, but from studying the damage and the inner-workings of the satellite Lucius Fox determines that he can create a high tech bulletproof vest capable of deflecting handgun rounds even at close-range, but it may not be as effective against a more potent rifle round. Testing it in the field, however, gives Batman a new perspective on crime fighting and the price he's willing to pay in the pursuit of justice.
In Darkness Dwells:
A "lizard man" attacks Cardinal O'Fallon in the middle of a sermon, and a riot amongst the churchgoers ensues. Batman believes the Scarecrow's toxins to be behind the riots, and Killer Croc responsible the abduction. Batman tracks the Cardinal through the murky, watery passageways below the city, and encounters a frightening and crazed collection of minions holding the Cardinal hostage.
Working Through Pain:
Batman, having abandoned his bulletproof armor, is shot and wounded in the sewers below the city. As he fights off the unimaginable pain, he recalls both his time in a field trauma unit and his studies with a mysterious woman named Cassandra with whom he learned the art of deflecting his mind from bodily pain.
Bruce Wayne declares that he understands the allure of firearms, but also declares that he could never use one. Meanwhile, Deadshot carries out an assassination with uncanny accuracy with a precision rifle. He's hired by the Russians to pull off a job in Gotham. His target: Lieutenant Gordon. Batman foils the assassination attempt and finds himself in a deadly confrontation with his most dangerous and heavily-armed opponent yet.
Batman: Gotham Knight Blu-ray, Video Quality
Batman: Gotham Knight's 1080p transfer is generally dark and murky, following the source stylings. The image offers good, quality definition throughout, particularly any time there's a fair bit of light penetrating the relative darkness. The skate park seen in the first episode offers quality texturing and fine clarity evident on all of the graffiti and the general wear and tear of the area. Generally, however, the image appears somewhat flat and devoid of complex detail by design, save for In Darkness Dwells which plays with a very gritty feel, offering a messy, noisy texture. An outdoor golf sequence lightens things up and presents viewers with some good animated eye candy, but generally most textures fall rather flat, the image defined by basic lines and shapes rather than complex and rich animation. Colors follow suit. There's rarely any vibrancy to the image, with only the brightest reds and the greens seen in that same golf sequence only differing from what is generally a toned-down black and blue and gray color scheme. Black levels are never too far gone in either direction though there are certainly instances where they go too gray or too dark. A few jagged edges, light aliasing, and some evident banding are all present, but not to any transfer-destroying levels. This is an altogether good image that's largely reflective of the dreary source.
Batman: Gotham Knight Blu-ray, Audio Quality
Batman: Gotham Knight features but a Dolby Digital 5.1 soundtrack; no lossless option is included. Despite that oversight, this audio presentation is quite good. It might lack that full-bodied richness and texture of the better lossless tracks, but this one plays music and effects both with natural spacing and sufficient clarity. Various effects are presented with some degree of potency and accuracy; a "concussive blast" nicely pulses through the soundstage in one scene, while various moments of intense gunfire realistically rip through the listening area in another. There's some positive, strong heft to some heavier effects, such as the lowering of the bridge leading to the Narrows and some room-rattling effects in Field Test. The track makes fine use of its entire area to create a strong, haunting sense of space and reverberation in the sewers below the city. Music spreads evenly and plays with good, natural flair. Dialogue remains clear and focused up the center channel. Though a lossless soundtrack is always preferred, this is a quality lossy presentation that serves this collection of short films well.
Batman: Gotham Knight Blu-ray, Special Features and Extras
Batman: Gotham Knight contains the following extras:
Batman: Gotham Knight Blu-ray, Overall Score and Recommendation
Batman: Gotham Knight might be an oldie on Blu-ray, but it's a goodie. Six unique short films and one cohesive narrative make this collection different, but at the same time familiar to all Batman fans. Steady animation, strong voice acting, and captivating stories altogether mean that this grouping of short films is a must-see for any Batman enthusiast. If there's a problem, it's that the collection is too short, but better neat and tidy rather than overkill, right? Warner's Blu-ray release of Batman: Gotham Knight features steady 1080p video, a quality lossy soundtrack, and a nice assortment of extra content. Recommended.
Blu-ray bundles with Batman: Gotham Knight (1 bundle)
Batman: Gotham Knight Blu-ray, News and Updates
• Blu-ray Batman Collection is Coming - October 8, 2009
The folks over at The World's Finest have recently learned that Warner Home Video will release the 'Blu-ray Batman Collection' exclusively for Blu-ray on November 3rd. The box set will feature Blu-ray copies of 'Batman Begins', 'The Dark Knight', and 'Batman: Gotham ...
• Batman: Gotham Knight Revealed - February 25, 2008
Warner Home Video has announced that they will bring 'Batman: Gotham Knight' to Blu-ray on July 8th, day-and-date with the DVD release. The direct-to-video animated release will feature numerous animated segments which have been written a directed by different ...
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