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Batman begins again. Part one.,
This review is from: Batman: The Dark Knight Returns, Part 1 (Region 2) (DVD)
You doubtless know all this if you're reading this, but just in case...
Back in the 1980's, a time of hardship and worldwide strife, comics were seemingly strictly for kids. Superhero movies were nigh on unheard of. And the term graphic novel was unknown.
Then comics grew up. Writers and artists were given the chance to get creative, and use the medium to it's fullest. And not be restricted to come up with things that only kids could read.
Frank Miller's Batman Dark Knight Returns TP was one such creation, from this new era. It showed us a Batman very different to all the versions that had come before. In a story set in the near future, ten years after Bruce Wayne hung up the cape and cowl, the city has gotten worse in his absence. Crime figures are way up. Disaffected youths have formed a nasty street gang called the mutants. And seventy year old Commissioner Jim Gordon is shortly to retire.
Bruce just can't keep away from the temptation to get back out there and deal with the criminals once again.
But with city authorities and a police department now almost entirely hostile to him to contend with, plus the rigours of age, can this new and even Darker Knight survive and clean up Gotham?
And what has happened to his old foes in his absence?
This animated movie adapts the graphic novel. But only the first half of it. The second half is on it's way Batman: The Dark Knight Returns - Part 2 [DVD]. But is available now on region one dvd if you don't want to wait.
Unlike some dc comics animations which have been pretty much straight translations of the source material from the printed page to screen, this doesn't quite do that. There are minor changes to some dialogue and scenes. It also doesn't have any of the internal monologue from Bruce that you'd find in the book. The style of the animation is quite clear and eye catching and colourful. It's rather different to Frank Miller's artwork.
Peter Weller voices Bruce with suitable simmering intensity. And the strengths of the source material do shine through. This is Batman at his strongest and most uncompromising, and there are moments when you will want to punch the air as a result. The movie, like the source material, does consider all the rights and wrongs of someone taking the law into their own hands in this way, and offers the viewer interesting food for thought as a result.
The second half isn't quite as pacy as the first. But this is a still a very fine adaptation - and since the long talked about live action movie version seems to have vanished into development hell - the only one we'll probably ever get. How fans of the graphic novel react to it will be a matter of opinion. But my star rating shows that it more than worked for me.
The certificate is a fifteen, thus like the graphic novel, it's not really suitable for younger individuals.
The disc has the following language and subtitle options:
Languages: English, French, German, Castilian Spanish.
Subtitles: English, French, German, Castilian Spanish.
The only extra is a six minute long preview of the aforemntioned part two. This doesn't show any clips from it, as it just uses storyboards and unfinished animation plus pictures from the graphic novel and interviews with cast and crew. But it does let you hear some of the dialogue.