Archive for Batman: Gotham Knight

Batman: Gotham Knight

Posted in Reviews with tags , , , , , on July 14, 2008 by B33

With the release of The Dark Knight looming just over the horizon, DC Animation has decided to release a DVD tie-in entitled “Batman: Gotham Knight” which runs in the same vein as The Animatrix concept. The DVD consists of six short animated segments that all occur within The Gotham City introduced in Batman Begins. Each segment contains a different director and thus has a different overall tone and style to the story and animation featured. Though the level of quality does remain consistent throughout. The overall idea is to witness events that take place between Batman Begins and The Dark Knight. The DVD’s introduction is a impressive sweep across a segment of Gotham City that ultimately leads to the Dark Knight himself as an impressive score plays and the title then makes itself present on the screen. A intriguing method to grab the audience and seamlessly move on to the first segment…

“Have I Got a Story For You” (created by 4 Celsius) is the very first segment featured that ultimately plays upon the “unique perspective” often found when you gather multiple individuals together to state their given story about the same subject (read: the Rashomon effect). It plays upon the idea that Batman is not only a person, but a symbol… The story revolves around 3 teenagers recollecting earlier events of the day that all involved Batman to a friend who had missed out entirely. Each story essentially sums up Batman’s day fighting the same criminal throughout the city and by the end of it, the entire miniature arc within it is cleared up. It’s a intriguing segment but ultimately proves to be unnecessary in many aspects. The segment never follows the perspective of Batman nor provides any vital material to deem it a must watch. The DVD’s purpose is to bridge the gap between Batman Begins and The Dark Knight and the first segment did not bode well if the rest featured fell into the same rut and proved to be unnecessary…

The next segment is titled “Crossfire” (created by Production I.G.) and holds the honor of being the least liked segment. “Crossfire” covers the trust between the police force and Batman which feels like it’s retreading old ground and is unnecessary. The voice acting isn’t terrible and the animation is acceptable. But I found the writing to be rather lackluster and the overall logic displayed to be rather perplexing at times, the ending especially. Once all is cleared up and Batman saves the day (spoiler alert: the good guys win) he simply leaves the two detectives he just saved in the middle of the worst part of Gotham. Numerous issues creative wise prevents the segment from being able to stand on it’s own amongst the five others featured. “Field Test” (created by Bee Train) was the next segment featured and it essentially covers the morals Batman faces with the devices and gadgets he wields and the line between risking his own life and the fate of the criminals he faces. Despite a couple odd points of dialogue and logic, it was one of the more enjoyable segments featured.

“In Darkness Dwells” (created by Madhouse) is the segment I genuinely enjoyed the most. The story consists of Batman facing Killer Croc and The Scarecrow as the late Cardinal O’Fallon was kidnapped and sentenced to death while in the middle of a sermon at his Cathedral. The overall flow to the plot is refreshing and the dialogue is surprisingly well crafted as well. In a act of curiosity in regards to the sudden jump in quality in writing, I looked up the writer of “In Darkness Dwells” and at the first sight of the name I instantly knew why. The story was written by none other than David S. Goyer, the same individual who penned the script to Batman Begins. In a intriguing manner, the next segment entitled “Working Through Pain” (created by Studio4°C) continues nearly right where the previous segment leaves off at. The overall idea is to delve into Bruce’s past and his quest to manage his pain. And the last segment featured is “Deadshot” (created by Madhouse) which picks up roughly a few days after the end of “Working through Pain.” It’s a fairly decent way to wrap up the overall package the DVD delivers and serves it’s place in line with the other segments.

Overall, Batman: Gotham Knight is a enjoyable watch for those who are a fan of the character to begin with and are tolerant of the Japanese style of animation. Essentially, there’s nothing featured that is necessary or a must see for those who plan on watching The Dark Knight. The compilation does not particularly deliver upon it’s promise to “bridge the gap” between Batman Begins and The Dark Knight. The first three segments feel more or less like a random assortment of ideas and overall storyline while the last three tie themselves together in a intriguing and engaging manner. The compilation feels inconsistent in terms of quality yet the animation and setting, in respect to it’s own style, holds up surprisingly well. It’s made rather evident the Gotham City featured reflects that of the Batman Begins Universe which further aids in selling the overall tone throughout. In the end, if your a fan of Batman and the DC Animation division, you’ll enjoy Batman: Gotham Knight. Though I can not honestly recommend it as a must see or a purchase due to it’s flaws and overall lack of purpose. It’s a rental at best and will ultimately hold you over until The Dark Knight. Though it unfortunately does not provide enough replayability value or content to warrant a purchase.

Pro’s: Top notch voice acting, decent score, animation holds up fairly well, and well crafted writing in certain segments.

Con’s: Inconsistent quality, writing is choppy at times, the overall flow does not catch on until the the last three segments, and generally feels more like filler than necessary material.

Conclusion: While the compilation proves to be a enjoyable and intriguing watch for fans, it’s flaws and lack of replay value ultimately prevents the warrant of a purchase (it’s a rental at best).