on September 29, 2012
Warner Premiere and DC Comics have topped themselves with the Blu-ray / DVD release of "Batman: The Dark Knight Returns, Part 1." After the release of "Batman: Year One," the only logical choice for the Caped Crusader's next solo animated feature was evident. It was time for Frank Miller's other beloved and critically acclaimed graphic novel to be adapted for the screen.
Frank Miller's "Batman: The Dark Knight Returns" not only had an effect on the entire comic book industry, it influenced director Tim Burton to make a serious film adaptation based on the super hero that turned into a multi-billion dollar franchise. Many fans and historians would say it is responsible for the popularity of comic book movies today.
It's been ten years since Batman's last appearance in Gotham City. Bruce Wayne has retired the cape and cowl for a life of tedium and drinking. He meets occasionally with Commissioner Gordon for drinks and to talk about the state of the world. Gordon knows Wayne's secret and is one of his only confidants.
Bruce begins having horrible nightmares about his parents' deaths and witnesses Gotham City digress even further into the depths of depravity at the hands of a new criminal syndicate calling themselves the Mutants. He's driven to suit up once again to take on the homicidal maniacs and show the citizens of Gotham City that they need not live in fear any longer.
"Batman: The Dark Knight Returns, Part 1" is the best animated feature film DC and Warner Premiere have released. There's no other way of putting it. It feels epic and holds a cinematic flare that the other entries in the DC animated super hero movie franchise haven't accomplished. That's not to say they aren't good or worthy of praise. However, this takes the medium to a whole new level.
The animation is top notch and, although it doesn't mimic Frank Millers artwork for the book, there's a certain respect towards the unique style of the illustrations reflected in the film. Batman is larger than life and as bulky as the Hulk, but isn't quite as "abstract" as Miller's interpretation of him in the graphic novel. This is as close to a perfect representation of the book as I can imagine.
My only complaint is that there are a few spots where the plot jumps around a bit and gets a little hard to follow. They jump from one thing to the next so quickly with brief or no explanation. The viewer is left to just keep up and embrace the fast pacing once the movie gets rolling.
Peter Weller does a wonderful job bringing an older and weary Bruce Wayne to life. When he hits the streets for the first time in ten years, you can hear the satisfaction in his voice at re-embracing his long-forgotten mission of ridding the streets of Gotham City of the filth and crime that overtakes it.
The Blu-ray version of "Batman: The Dark Knight Returns, Part 1" consists of quite a few treats for fans. There's a sneak peek of Part 2 and "Batman / Superman: Public Enemies." Two featurettes are included entitled "Batman and Me: The Bob Kane Story" and "Her Name is Carrie... Her Role is Robin." There are also two bonus cartoons from "Batman: The Animated Series" featured. A section of the "Batman: The Dark Knight Returns" digital comic is found as well.
"Batman: The Dark Knight Returns, Part 1" will be the animated feature all future entries into the DC franchise will be measured by. They've set the bar high with this one. With a spectacular looking and sounding high-definition movie experience and some satisfying special features, this is a recommended purchase for all super hero fans.
on October 8, 2012
First off, wasn't going to write a review but was INFURIATED by Amazon customers that rented/bought this and gave it 1 Star. Most if not the majority of them were customers that thought this was the Nolan movie version. This Batman Dark Knight Animated film is suffering from low to bad reviews due to IDIOTS that lost the ability to read the "Product Description" portion which clearly states "Format: ANIMATED". Amazon needs to adopt some way to Vote off reviews that are NOT related to the product itself due to the INCOMPETENCE of some "reviewers" ability to read and inform themselves of what exactly they're purchasing.
Now on to the Animated movie. AMAZING!!! Having read the Novel I was excited to see this come out as the original Batman Animated series from the 90's did tease us with small clips here and there and gave us a taste of what it would be like to see the Novel animated. Now backed with outstanding performances from Peter Weller (RoboCop movies) who plays an aged Bruce Wayne/Batman and an almost exact frame to frame shot sequences from the comic books, it gave me chills. Whether you are a Batman, comic book fan or not, if you consider yourself a fan of good quality story telling and well done animation this is a great buy. Keeping this short and simple, lots of memorable moments that really stick out. Hearing Peter Weller's voice rumbling through my surround sound set up with one of my all time favorite quotes from the movie gave me goosebumps: "You don't get it son, this isn't a Mud-Hole, it's an operating table...and I'm the surgeon."
Already waiting to pre-order Part 2.
on September 14, 2012
I own this blu-ray. Not sure how I got it delivered early from another company but I did and I can tell you that this is the finest Batman film ever made. It is up there with Batman Mast Of The Phantasm.
As a life long fan of Frank Millers Graphic Novel I was excited to see this following Batman Year One which also served the source proud.
There are a few differences from the source. Most notably, Millers trademark voice over narrative of Batman is gone. In the comic we really got into Bruce's head and Batman's. The good news is that I did not really notice this until I got my novel out after viewing. This does not detract from the great story. Another difference is the scene with the general who supplies the Mutants with weapons. There is an additional scene where Batman confronts the general rather than finding him dead.
The film finishes in a perfect place with the fight with the mutant with the incredible line "...this is an operating table and I'm the surgeon."
The voice talent is top notch. I'm a Kevin Conroy fan but Peter 'Robocop' Weller does a great job and its good to hear and see Batman and he truly belongs in the animated universe. The problem with Nolan's live action films is that they are great crime dramas but everytime Batman is on the screen it is embarrassing. It is a man in a suit with a stupid voice. It never worked for me.
This animation however, is a great experience and I cannot wait for part 2.
Extras on the blu-ray include a sneak peek at part 2, a couple of episodes from the animated series (Two Face) and a series of trailers.
Buy it now.
on October 21, 2012
Really thought this was outstanding. The Dark Night Returns is the basis for the Batman that we know today. Frank Miller changed the perception of Batman forever with this graphic novel (which I have in plastic bags tucked safely away in the basement) from the smiley happy Super Friends version to the dark tortured soul that we see today. This animated feature does deviate a bit from Miller's vision, but excellent story, excellent voice acting, animation, even the music. This is definitely worth your time and money. In fact, after I rented it, I went out and bought the DVD. Only bummer is that we have to wait a year for Part 2, but this really needed to be longer than the typical 70-80 minute standard format allows for. Hope they keep up the quality in Part 2. Can't wait to see Superman in this story.
on September 9, 2012
This is a heads up for Daniel the retired cop who will not buy this because it is a scam...Daniel, this is not in any way associated with THE DARK KNIGHT RISES..this is an animated version of the Frank Miller comic book/graphic novel from 1986 that tells the story of Batman who comes out of retirement when he is 55 because Gotham is under seige by a gang called the Mutants...it is not in any way related to the summer film of this year...because as I have said before; is an animated version of the Nineteen Eighty Six comicbook of the same title....ok? You got it? Good...
This is a very well done dark-centered animated version of the Frank Miller comic. It is a great compaion piece to the latest movie and does a very good job of presenting the "comeback" of the Dark Knight. The voice casting is superb becasue all of the voice actors are well chosen with Peter Weller (of Robocop fame) leading the list doing a great job of making Batman come to life. I can't wait for Part 2. Highly recommended.
on September 26, 2012
I've been a fan of this graphic novel for close to 20 years now. In fact, it's my favorite graphic novel of all time. So, I was stoked when I found out they were making it into an animated film. Naturally, I pre-ordered my copy, so I got it via UPS today. It was really cool of Amazon to ship it "early" so that it was on my doorstep on the day of its release.
For starters, this is not the same as the graphic novel, but it's close. Obviously, much of the "text" is missing, mostly the stuff dealing with Bruce's and other characters' interior dialogues. They could have had the movie constantly narrated to include this text, but I hate constant narration, so I'm glad they didn't. And, since it wasn't narrated, some of the interior dialog text has been changed into things the characters say, others are just expressed through actions. Either way, it gets the point across without a constant narration. Aside from that change, there are a few other minor changes. Some parts are missing, mostly smaller parts, stuff that's not necessary to move the story along. Some parts have even been moved to different parts of the story, I guess to change the flow slightly. And there's a bit of added dialog that wasn't in the original comic. Aside from those few minor changes, the story is mostly the same as the graphic novel. People who are gung-ho about the movie makers sticking to the source material exactly will be disappointed by this, but I have no issues with it. I thought the story came across well.
Animation wise, this film is along the lines of the other animated DC shows and films, which is to say it's good. The comic has more detail to it but, when you consider how many times something has to be drawn in a comic VS how many times it has to be drawn in an animated movie, it's easy to say why they did this.
The voice acting was good. I'm a big fan of Kevin Conroy as Batman, but Peter Weller did a great job. So did everyone else. I watched the sneak of part two on the DVD and I'm looking forward to Michael Emerson portraying the Joker in part two, even though I'm a huge fan of Mark Hamill as the Joker.
Anyway, I enjoyed it a lot and I'm looking forward to part two.
on October 9, 2012
I have really been liking the new DC animated movies that have been coming out over the past couple years, I think they do an exceptionally good job on the Batman movies. When this one came out I had to pick it up.
For those not aware, or that savvy, when it comes to the Batman Comics(myself included) this movie is based upon the pivotal and epic graphic novel/run of Batman comics, with the same title, written by the renowned Frank Miller (Sin City, 300, ...etc) . I personally have not read the entire collection, but it is pretty well known that this story, released in the mid to late 1980's, was one of the pivotal works, that brought Batman back into the public eye, and really helped to re-define the character. After this story was released, the "Adam West Batman" of the 1960s was finally set to rest, and the gritty/dark Batman mythos took the forefront in public's mind. This story set the stage for the Tim Burton films, and their dark setting. In addition, this story was released at the time where comic books were making their shift from child to more mature audiences: this story solidified that.
This story is about the return of Batman, after retirement, to once again clean the streets of Gotham City. Unlike most Batman stories this movie does not really include many members of the "Rogues Gallery" but focuses on his clash with some new villains. I do not want to give away too much of the story for those who have not read or watched the story, but it is pretty cool to see a Batman story set in setting not so familiar to most Batman fans. Due to the size of the story, DC has decided to release this story in two separate movies. While this might piss some people off, I think it was a pretty good move, and kept them from skimping over the details and content, in order to meet the format. The story is very engaging, and lets the viewer see characters in a very different yet familiar way
Like most current DC animated movies, the animation has a anime' influenced style. I would not say that I really enjoyed the animation, but you can see that the some of the original "Frank Miller" look was kept. I personally would have preferred the movie be almost a complete Frank Miller graphic novel brought to life, but I am not sure if that would have marketed well. In short, I think DC settled for a nice middle ground, when bringing this story to life.
The only complaint I really have with this DVD is the special features. We do get a sneak peak into part 2 of this series, which is cool, but besides some trailers, not much is offered, maybe because this is a one disc version of the movie, and maybe they will release a two disc version with more stuff. I would have really like to see a documentary on the original graphic novel, highlighting it's influence on the world of comics, included with this DVD.
on October 19, 2012
No cheap puns. No lousy love story. Just bone-crunching fun.
I'm not a huge fan of comics but I have read the Dark Knight Returns. For the most part the film stays true to the story arc. It isn't a scene-for-scene/line-for-line representation, but it does capture Mazzuchelli's art, mood and style quite well. The fight scenes are fantastic.
The soundtrack is brooding and takes some noticeable cues from Hans Zimmer's musical scores. I enjoyed it and would even buy a few tracks if they were available in mp3.
Peter Weller's low, brawny, full-bodied voice was a perfect choice for Batman. Gordon's performance was a little disappointing and a little wooden in places. The slang from the mutants sounded pretentious and unnatural at times, but the filmmakers did the best they could with Miller's writing. Frank Miller just doesn't have very good ear for dialogue.
Overall, this is excellent for a cartoon though and an improvement on previous batman animations I've seen. And this IS a cartoon intended for teens and adults. I wasn't expecting some of the violence from the comic to be carried into the cartoon. But some gruesome elements may catch you off-guard if you haven't read the book, such as a scene where one of the characters is heard committing suicide off-screen.
Most of the negative reviews come from morons who thought this was live action. Too bad. There's no scam here. And if you can't read or pay attention to what you're buying you deserve to be ripped off by people who are more intelligent. Congratulations, you get the Darwin award.
Otherwise, unless you have some neurotic, emotional attachment to Frank Miller's story exactly as it is presented in the comic, you won't be disappointed.
on September 13, 2012
I usually go into DC movie translations with the little to no expectations of matching their source material. That being said, if you never read Dark Knight Returns, you may be fortunate enough to enjoy this movie as much as I did. It was much better than most of their offerings, and I feel as though the average joe and new fans alike will enjoy another telling of The Batman, even if it's only to hold them over until they can buy the live action movie from the Nolanverse.
In short: I think they set a nice tone throughout, the voice acting is solid, and the soundtrack has a nice edge that helps to add tension to the movie.
Anyway, Bats is old. It's several years into the future and a gang of mutants have taken over the city. After much thought and several nightmares, Bruce Wayne decides to put the cowl back on, and go after these criminals. He takes a side step to handle a plastic surgery "fixed" Harvey Dent then takes on the mutants leader one on one. He also awakens an old nemesis in the process and sets the movie up for its sequel. I know die hard's will probably shrug their shoulders and turn up their noses to this, but I for one am more than happy getting as much Batman as I can. But like I said, I think the average and newer fans will enjoy this just as much as a junkie like me.