Sunday, November 20, 2011

Batman: Year One

***DISCLAIMER*** The following review is entirely my opinion. If you comment (which I encourage you to do) be respectful. If you don't agree with my opinion, that's fine. To each their own. I am just sharing my opinions and perspective. Finally, the reviews are given on a scale of 1-5. 1, of course, being terrible. 2, being not great. 3, being okay. 4, being good and 5, being epic!

Batman:  Year One - 5 out of 5

I think I'm being overloaded with Batman for the month of November in this, the year of 2011.  I've been playing Batman:  Arkham City to the point I've forgotten what sleep is as I try to find every little secret the game has for me to discover and pillage and, just recently, I watched DC's latest animated film; Batman:  Year One.

Who doesn't like Batman?  Seriously, I'm asking.
If you've never read the Frank Miller comic that this animated film is based on and you love Batman, stop reading my stupid blog and pick up the 4 four issues that compose this story because it is just plain awesome.  But, if you don't like to or don't know how to read, watch this animated film (and if you can't read, you should be able to make out the image of Batman so you'll be able to pick out a DVD copy out of a line-up--and even if you don't get this one, you'll get a Batman film nonetheless and, unless you pick up Batman & Robin, you should be in for a good time.  If you did accidentally pick up Batman & Robin, I'm sorry and you should probably consider it time to learn how to read so this mistake never happens again.)

Life in Gotham is tough...especially when you're Jim Gordan.
Batman:  Year One is about as spot-on as a adaptation can go.  In fact, I'm hard-pressed to think of any film adaptation that was so true to the source material.  Year One focuses on the first year of service of our masked man as well as the beginning of a fruitful career for Mr. Gordan...and Catwoman is thrown in as well.  Year One is brutal, honest and immaculate story telling of the man in the cape and cowl.  Forget any cartoonish action or humor, this is bleak, dark adult story telling at its finest--honoring Frank Miller's original beautifully.  The parallels between Gordan and Batman as they both seek out to do what they feel is right is painted perfectly like Bob Ross creating on an empty canvas.  The DVD not only provides the impressive adaptation of one of Batman's best stories but also, like other DC DVD releases, offers up an animated short of another beloved DC character.  This time it's Catwoman and, like Year One, it's pretty damn adult.  Get the kids out of the room when you watch this one.

Yeah, those belong to Catwoman.
Catwoman just saw her striptease in her animated short and even she's shocked. 

Not only does the film provide an excellent adaptation to an amazing story, the film also contains the usual top-shelf character designs and animation that you've come to expect from a DC animated film but the voice acting is just plain amazing, as well.  While I was disappoint to see that Kevin Conroy, the man who created the Gold Standard for the voice of Batman in Batman:  The Animated Series, didn't provide the voice for the Caped Crusader, I tried to remind myself that Bruce Wayne is barely an adult in this story and to have Conroy's epic talents here would take away the naivety and innocence that Batman has at this time.  Instead of Conroy, Ben McKenzie step into the World's Greatest Detective's boots and did a fantastic job.  But even better was getting to hear Bryan Cranston take a break from making meth in Breaking Bad to provide life to Jim Gordon.  Cranston's performance alone is enough to warrant putting this one in the DVD player...and having Batman is just the icing on an already rich and delicious cake.

The storytelling is so amazing in this film, you'll quickly forget you're watching an animated film.
Batman:  Year One is, arguably, one of the best animated films that DC has released onto the world.  Every aspect of the film, from the character designs, the story and voice acting is done to perfection that is so rare in the world of animated films--especially when direct-to-DVD.  Batman:  Year One is just plain terrific.

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