I’m surprised there’s no thread about this one yet. It’s pretty much the Anibatrix. A collection of anime Batman stories.
The best thing I can say about it is that they got Kevin Conroy to be Batman.
During the first one (which pretty shamelessly borrows from one of the better Batman:TAS stories, Legends of the Dark Knight) I was hoping the abysmal animation was just in that one, but it never got any better, even as the styles changes.
What’s really surprising is that despite having a lot of real voice actors (as opposed to overpaid celebrities) a lot of the voicework was awful. When I see Will Friedle, Jason Marsden, Corey Burton, Rob Paulsen and Kevin Michael Richardson on a cast list, I expect something pretty impressive. It’s pretty much missing Jim Cummings, Billy West and John DiMaggio for being a genuine who’s who. And it’s still pretty shitty.
So in general, it’s not a good buy?
I was thinking of picking this up today or tomorrow. Are the stories any good at all? Can you give a quick run-down to what they are?
There were some very nice sequences, and some wonderful bits of background art (especially in the otherwise ugly first episode), but the quality of the animation was uneven. I do think it got better by the midpoint, and toward the end, especially in the showpiece fight against a rather swish Deadshot. Some of the visual interpretations of Batman were intriguing, though I didn’t much care for the overly-feminized Bruce Wayne in Field Test. Accuse me of homophobia, if you like, but I started wondering why Batman was so eager to rescue the wounded blonde henchman!
Kevin Conroy as Batman wasn’t something that was obvious in the trailers and sneak previews, so that was a very nice surprise. It was great to hear him again, after missing him in New Frontier. Shame that Bob Hastings and Efrem Zimbalist couldn’t reprise their roles as Gordon and Alfred, but they’re both in their 80s and I have no idea what shape they’re presently in. You’re right about the generally poor v/o work, though: Maybe these guys associate anime with lower quality voices, and underperform as they believe is appropriate. The Russian and Italian mob bosses sounded like they’d walked out of an episode of GI Joe.
GK isn’t a must-have for Batman fans like Mask of the Phantasm was, but it’s worth seeing for the handful of good action bits and some stunning imagery in parts. I recommend it.
EDIT: As a side note, I was a bit disappointed by the commentary track on this one. These discs usually have chatterboxes like Bruce Timm and the writers commenting on every aspect of the animation and story, which is great for guys who care about that sort of thing (me). This commentary is more of an outsider’s perspective: The only commenter directly involved with GK is Kevin Conroy (who has a nice 9/11 story), and he’s accompanied by Denny O’Neil and a producer for DC. There are stretches when all three are at a loss for words, and it’s painful to hear them trying to fill up the time.
Have I Got A Story For You is a complete rip on Legends of the Dark Knight, 'cept instead of a bunch of likable kids it’s a bunch of skater punks who are written like the kids from Boondocks but without any wit.
Crossfire downright had me interested since it’s about Crispus Allen, but the animation in this one could be the worst. It’s about two Gotham cops getting over their head in a shootout between two ganglords.
Field Test is about Batman giving a new WayneTech bulletproof gizmo. It goes awry and Bruce learns an important lesson.
In Darkness Dwells is one of the only two with real Batman villains. Scarecrow and Killer Croc. Even so, it’s dull as fuck.
Working Through Pain tells the story of Batman learning to, hey hey, work through pain.
Deadshot is probably the best of them. Though that could be because I love Deadshot. Admittedly, a Deadshot who bawls ‘I WAS JUS DOIN MAH JAWB!’ while begging Batman not to kill him is not the best representation of the guy.
The two disc DVD version apparently comes with four episodes of the animated Batman. This is a questionable move by my reckoning, cos it’s four of the best episodes. Heart of Ice, Legends of the Dark Knight and Over the Edge especially will make anyone who had just seen the six Gotham Knight shorts question why they bothered.
Maybe so, but the moment when Batman removes Deadshot’s helmet is my favorite part of the entire movie.
I wasn’t even aware of this until a few days ago when I fired up Comcast on Demand and noticed a massive preview coverage section including HD trailers, interviews, and even a whole episode available to watch for free in HD(‘Field Test’). I didn’t watch the episode as I was intrigued enough by the supplementary trailers and whatnot to enjoy the whole thing when I buy it this week.
Now this whole thread is filled with hate and my impulse Blu-Ray purchase(my first in ages!) will likely not happen. I am intrigued by having 4 of the best Animated Series episodes in High Def on disc though!
I can happily say that I’ve added the DVD Collector’s Edition to my wishlist. I just wish I had figured it out a few weeks ago since tomorrow is my birthday and I’m sure I’ll have to wait until Christmas to get it as a gift. Hehe
I rented the HD version via the Xbox and really enjoyed it. I generally don’t like Anime but I was pleased with the style on most of the segments. It was great to see Batman animated in something other than a cartoon aimed at 9 year old. Not to put down the Animated series or any other version but after 35 years of seeing Batman one way its refreshing to see him in something more adult. The over all story was week.
I would love the way Batman looked in Field Test.
I think I liked the first short best, even if it was basically the same idea as Legends of the Dark Knight.
I’ll agree with that.
Conroy’s voice coming out of some of those yaoi Bruce Wayne characters was pretty shocking.
The faux-urban slang coming out of those kids made me want to commit murder.
“DAYUM BOYEE! I JUS SAW DA BATMAN DOGGZ AN I AINT FRONTIN YO!”
It’s relative. Definitely better than the continuous stream of fortune-cookie wisdom we got from the “how to take a hit” lady.
None of the shorts were perfect, but the first one had the Batman I liked most, both in art style and character portrayal, so the kids didn’t bother me. Crossfire had a well animated but barely present Batman, Field Test was a good story with a Batman that didn’t look the part (in or out of costume), In Darkness Dwells was straightforward and unremarkable, Working Through Pain was slow and uninteresting, and Deadshot was pretty fun but I didn’t care much for the animation in that one.
I was really looking forward to this, and having finally watched it I can say I’m overall disappointed, but it wasn’t that bad and I’m still glad I did. It did seem to take the approach that the Animatrix took in treating the source material. They all had their good aspects and not so good, but I think generally I agree with the rest of you that the voice acting was pretty bad, and so was the writing in a few of them.
Well just got around to seeing this…
Have I a Story for You is the best of the bunch. It’s a great conceit (even if it’s been used before), imaginative animation, and well told. The kids aren’t meant to be funny, they are just meant to be kids.
Cross Fire is not very good. Not much happens, the animation isn’t particularly interesting and neither is the story.
Field Test is a good short, but not particularly well executed.
In the Darkness Dwells wasn’t very good all around.
Working Through Pain wasn’t bad and plays off how Batman uses pain rather than moving beyond it.
Deadshot wasn’t particularly interesting either.
Overall, C, but worth renting for Have I a Story For You.