Saturday, 21 July 2012

Review - Batman: Gotham Knight (2008 - Dir. Yasuhiro Aoki, Yuichiro Hayashi, Futoshi Higashide, Toshiyuki Kubooka, Hiroshi Morioka, Jong-Sik Nam, Shoujirou Nishimi)

This post should have some type of award for the longest post title ever. There are loads of directors because Gotham Knight consists of tiny bite-size little stories in the style of Animatrix, each segment a perfect length for watching with your tea. The producers would tell you that all of the tales interlink and are better watched as a whole. There are some links between the stories but they don't really add much. There are also links to Batman Begins but the same goes for them. Saying that, I'd have paid full price for the first section on its own.

Have I Got a Story for You is the best segment by miles. It's directed by the animation direction of Tekkonkinkreet, Shoujirou Nishimi, and it shows. It has a very similar style that is equally as fresh, especially when it portrays four different versions of Batman that lets the animators play with his design and movement. The shadow Batman is visually stunning. The animators were given a chance to stretch their creative muscles in this way because the story deals with three children recounting their encounters with Batman. the children are all unreliable narrators. Hence the different portrayals of Batman. Not content with multiple Batmans (should that be Batmen?) the story is fragmented and told in reverse order. In addition, the backgrounds are gorgeous, reminiscent of Dave Gibbons' work on Beneath a Steel Sky. Sheer viewing pleasure. If this was a short film it would get 10/10. 

But it's not. There are five other segments of varying quality, as always happens with this type of production. In Darkness Dwells feels a smidgen like my least favourite part of Arkham Asylum: the Killer Croc section. There's even a bit of detective mode vision in there. Walking Through Pain is like the really dull mystical episodes of TV Sci-fi. It ends on a high note with Deadshot with some preposterously entertaining sniping action.

The flour and water paste that sticks all of the disparate anime styles together is Kevin Conroy. Previous mentioned in these hallowed pages, (Batman: Mystery of the Batwoman) the man is Batman. Well, his voice anyway. If I was Christopher Nolan I'd get him to dub over Christian Bale. In post-production obviously, so Bale can't get all giddy.

If you think of Gotham Knight as a brilliant short film, with five extra shorts you won't be disappointed. Plus you get four episodes of the animated series too. And it's really cheap, especially on Blu-ray. 

If you like this you could also try:
Batman: Mystery of the Batwoman, Tekkonkinkreet, Animatrix.


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