Thursday, July 28, 2016

Batman: The Killing Joke (Spoiler Free)


So, if you are a fan of Batman, you're probably aware that DC released an animated film version of the classic Alan Moore and Brian Bolland 1988 graphic novel The Killing Joke.  I watched the film last night and wanted to provide some spoiler-free thoughts on it.  There are a lot of ways that this could have gone wrong.  The original story was short, so it was necessary to add filler to pad out the run time.  Thankfully, the filler was added entirely at the beginning, leaving Moore's original story intact, although the content from the graphic novel doesn't start until 31 minutes into the film.  The first 31 minutes is spent establishing character relationships and following its own semi-self-contained story, which is going to be pretty controversial in its own right.  After that though things go back to Alan Moore's original story for the rest of the ride.  Kevin Conroy, Mark Hamill, and Tara Strong reprise their popular roles as Batman, the Joker, and Batgirl.  Conroy and Hamill having been playing these parts since the days of Batman the Animated Series, and Hamill is spot on as the Joker.  Conroy sounded a bit different to me though.  I can't quite put my finger on it, but perhaps Conroy had a cold while they were recording.  He still sounded decent but a bit off.  The animators did a good job of staying faithful to Brian Bolland's original artwork although it's not nearly as detailed, and they chose to go with the darker color pallet that DC has used in newer printings of the graphic novel.  I'm a fan of Bolland's original more vivid colors, but that's a matter of taste, and the darker pallet matches better with the Animated Series and with DC's other recent films.  Overall I enjoyed the film.  I didn't need the first 31 minutes, but I didn't hate them either.  If you're a Batman fan, I recommend watching it, but do yourself a favor and read the graphic novel first.  It's a quick read and well worth the time.  Also, be aware that this film is rated R, so you may want to think twice before watching it with younger kids.  The film was released in digital format on July 26th and will be available on DVD and Blu-Ray on August 2nd.

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