If your anticipation for the new Batman movie The Dark Knight wasn’t enough, the Gotham Knight disc is designed to give temporary relief while maintaining your bat-habit.
It’s overall direction is by Bruce Timm (Batman: The Animated Series), and was produced by three well known anime studios (Production I.G., Studio 4C, and Madhouse), under his control. The result is six connected Batman stories, one each by noted anime directors Shojiro Nishimi, Futoshi Higashide, Hiroshi Morioka, Yasuhiro Aoki, and Toshiyuki Kubooka, and the last one by Jong-Sik Nam. The source material for the stories came from six equally well known writers, Josh Olson (A History of Violence), David S. Goyer (Batman Begins), Alan Burnett (Batman: The Animated Series), Greg Rucka (Whiteout), Jordan Goldberg (The Dark Knight), and Brian Azzarello (100 Bullets).
With that sort of creative firepower Gotham Knight should be patentable magic, but it never quite works like that in the real world.
This might not go down well with some Batman fans, but for me this just doesn’t have the Bat-arang razors edge I was hoping for.
I’m tempted to draw comparison with The Animatrix, which was used in a similar fashion to create anticipation for Matrix Reloaded. But I think the stories in that compilation where superior to those in Gotham Knight, and the visual styles over its nine stories where more distinctive.
While I liked some of the ideas explored about how differently Gotham residents see Batman, and how he views himself, each episode is just not long enough to be really satisfying. They’re also somewhat variable in their quality and finish that the animation has, though as we progress through they get better. The last story has the best look and feel, but the visuals aren’t the big issue here.
In The Animatrix where plot points that had relevance to the story as continued in the second Matrix movie, but unless I’m mistaken nothing in Gotham Knight has any bearing or impact on the upcoming movie. The foes he dispatches are either nameless, or the two that are canon persona are second rate adversaries at best.
But I’m also slightly concerned about how they’ve let the directors have complete scope to envisage Batman however they wished, some of which might not go down well with aficionados. In at least two of the stories we see the Batmobile, in one it’s like an extreme development of the Tumbler design, and in the other it’s taken on a Burton movie era look. I know their different visions are the point of Gotham Knight, but the lack of this consistency makes me wonder how it’s meant to bridge the gap between Begins and Dark Knight?
In the end it’s more filler than connecting structure to my mind, and as such only of interest to a particular type of Batman fan.
But hey, it’s on Blu-ray that must be worth something, no? Not really, I’ve seen the DVD version and it’s not noticeably worse. And if you get the 2 Disc special edition DVD you get exactly the same extras that are on this disc, in the same DVD resolution! So for the fiver this costs you get to tell everyone you’ve got it on Blu-ray, and on one disc not two.
This could have been great, but it’s ended up a catalogue of disappointment for me, and only The Dark Knight can console me…sob.