ComicCritic87's DVD review- BATMAN: YEAR ONE

ComicCritic87's DVD review- BATMAN: YEAR ONE

I know its late but my review of the boldest DC animated movie to date...

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By StuckInPanels - 1/14/2012
Hey there friends, it’s been awhile since I have done a video review so I’m back here to review the latest addition to the animated DC movies, BATMAN: Year One. I haven’t picked it up until recently and well this may be the most important of all the DC animated movies released. This movie is based off of the Frank Miller tale from the 80s which redefined the origin story of the legendary cape crusader told in a more modern era than the 30s original. The comic told of not just Bruce’s struggles to become the hero he was born to be as well as Jim Gordon’s rising in the ranks of in the police station and taking down the corrupt cops that plague it. We also get a redesign of Catwoman but her new form was changed quickly due to the questionable color of her skin, it was the artwork by David Mazzuchelli whose noir style left the prostitute turned cat thief left her skin tone slightly ambiguous, but that’s not the topic of this article. This is a review of the animated adaptation of the infamous arc, so with that, let’s begin.

BATMAN: YEAR ONE

Voice Actors
Ben McKenzie as Bruce Wayne/Batman
Bryan Cranston as Jim Gordon
Eliza Dushku as Selina Kyle/Catwoman
Katee Sackoff as Detective Sarah Essen
Alex Rocco as Carmine “The Roman” Falcone
Jon Pilto as Commissioner Loeb

Story: Simply put the story is a near beat for beat retelling of the comic. The story takes place over the course of a year where Bruce Wayne returns to Gotham city and becomes a vigilante but that it doesn’t turn out well at first as he gets battered and bruised on his first outing. Eventually he sees the image of a bat and dons his iconic cape and cowl. The second story told is of Jim Gordon in the corrupt world of Gotham police, trying to get the goods on both Batman’s true identity and bringing down the current commissioner. The third smaller story features Catwoman coming into her own, getting her first costume and pulling off a few jobs but still not getting all the credit. There some slight alterations to the story, Vicki Vale is added in, more scenes with Bruce Wayne were added and the final chase had a minor change. Overall it features the major plot points from the comic that these minor changes are not that bad for the story to be told.

Review: This animated movie is to me DC’s most powerful film as well as having the most “balls”. Allow me to explain. The movie is one of the most adult oriented of the animated features that it pales in comparison to what they have done so far. The movie doesn’t hold back with the dark story, the grim aspects of the characters. Jim Gordon’s story has the saddest elements in the movie. He gets assaulted for being an honest and good cop, he gets caught up into an affair with a female officer he is working with, he’s trying to end the corruption of Gotham police, and all those are in full force and never once slow the story down. Gordon’s story is one of falling from grace and redemption, that aspect of the story is one of the most powerful and most well-handled. The story of Bruce to me doesn’t measure up to Gordon’s. Bruce’s story is very dark and brutal, his perfect ideal life was destroyed and he created his own path up to this point. The majority of the movie we see Bruce getting battered and bruised throughout most of it, even as Batman, he gets take down a peg, now this element was in the comic and that it’s supposed to show how difficult his first attempt at being a caped hero. This adaptation could have improved on this element, I would have liked to have seen more of Bruce becoming Batman, gathering his gadgets and harnessing his abilities further. The third character we get to see some of is Selina Kyle’s life as a prostitute, this was not the darkest story of the three but man it has the most cringe worthy moment. They kept in Holly Robinson, they very young prostitute, she is still in this movie and even offers herself to a disguised Bruce Wayne. This was one aspect I thought they would omit but keep her character around with Selina but to keep her and have her asking disguised Bruce if he wants her…..just…….wow. The pacing of the story was pretty quick and sadly is only sixty four minutes long, I think they could have extended Bruce’s story with more elements of him fighting crime, honing his detective skills, and discovering his bat cave for future use. They could have expanded on Selina’s story as well, giving us more of her time as thief since the animated short (which I will bring up soon) takes place in the same universe. I understand that the team behind adapting this story to animation was a bold project; its only problem is that it was too faithful, if you read the comic then seeing this would not show you anything new. My small suggestions would expand the story by a bit more but not making it totally different (see Superman: Doomsday). Overall the movie was one great piece of work, extremely well written and acted, one of the best retellings of Batman’s origins.

Voice Acting: The voice cast was one of the best groups they have gathered for this movie. Sadly Kevin Conroy was not available to provide the voice to Batman once again however the voice they used with McKenzie was extremely well done and fitted with the tone and feel of the movie. Bryan Cranston as Gordon was well done; he gave him such weight and drama like he has done in Breaking Bad and Drive (See that movie!!!). Dushku as Selina was nicely done; she plays the character down to a t with the aspect of her origin. The other voice actors do a splendid job with the roles they are given. Major props to Polito who is an amazingly talented actor, who doesn’t get in a lot of movies but when he does they are great performances (Rocketeer and Miller’s Crossing are two best examples).

Animation Style: The animation style they used was heavily inspired by the comic artwork, which plays off extremely well. The various vehicles in the movie are a mixture of tradition 2D animation with CGI elements that are a bit distracting. My only tiny gripe is the eyes. The eyes in this series are very true to the comic style, they don’t have the whites in their eye, they all have Bruce Timm Superman eye syndrome. The only time they show any white in the eye is an extreme close up to one character being threatened by Batman.

Summary: The best adapted DC feature to date, the animation is great, the story is great, and the voice acting is top notch.

Grade: A+

DC Animated Short: CATWOMAN

Story: Catwoman goes on the search for a mysterious shipment being moved out of Gotham

Review: Really great and I would like to see something like this being a main movie.

Animation: The characters look amazing and the suit design was GORGEOUS, the way she moves and fights was just *drools*….they really amped up the sex appeal on this one.

Voice Acting: Dushku provides the voice again and has a lot more fun with the role

Summary: Best of the animated shorts, right behind Spectre and Jonah Hex

Grade: A

Well that’s all for my slight return to animated comic movies. Catch you all later, next week will be my return to form with my comic reviews. Later
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3 Comments
Weedbeater - 1/15/2012, 12:21 AM
excellent review my friend. Have you read the comic? This pretty much takes exact dialogue and scenes from it its a well done adaptation
StuckInPanels - 1/15/2012, 11:08 AM
@Weed....I have read the comic, it was really amazing and one of the best Miller works of the 80s. The artwork is amazing also
hoodedjester - 1/17/2012, 7:46 AM
I just got it in December and I thought it was good but I didn't like the voice casting for Bruce/Batman - just didn't seem to fit all that well in my opinion

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