Batman: Gotham Knight (Blu-ray)

January 28, 2012 6 Min Read

Review by: Fusion3600

Plot: What’s it about?

In Have I Got a Story For You, a group of young skateboarders share their encounters with the mysterious Batman, each with their own unique perspective. Each one has a specific take on who Batman is and why he does what he does, but all agree, their experiences were unforgettable. In Crossfire, two police officers find themselves in the midst of a power battle between two crime kingpins. As they try to handle the situation, they debate the merits of Batman’s action, but when a special guest soon arrives, neither man will have doubts. In Field Test, Batman struggles to cope with the consequences of his actions when a new device is tested and wounds one of the targets. In Darkness Dwells finds Batman in battle against not one, but two of his mightiest foes. Can even Batman fend off Killer Croc and Scarecrow..at the same time? In Working Through Pain, we watch as Batman endures painful training in order to learn to control his own damage in battle. In Deadshot, Batman has to survive an encounter with an assassin who never misses his mark…

Batman: Gotham Knight is not an animated feature in the usual sense, instead it is like The Animatrix, except all the stories revolve around Batman. Six segments, each with a unique writer and director, each with a unique vision, all interlocked to provide a multi-perspective take on The Dark Knight. The downside is that with six stories involved, there is a sense of chaos, but for fans of Batman, this is a fun release. I wasn’t floored by all six installments, but some were great and none were bad. Each one has such a unique take on Batman, from the visuals to the methods of approach. Some play like comic book adventures, while others give insight into different people feel about Batman, then we even see the aftermath of one of Batman’s epic battles. So Batman: Gotham Knight takes us on a wild, varied ride through Gotham City and while not perfect, this release is one that fans of Batman will want to check out, to be sure.

Video: How does it look?

Batman: Gotham Knight is presented in 1.85:1 anamorphic widescreen. This transfer is better than the DVD, but I expected more than this release delivers. I knew the visuals would be inconsistent, given different talent involved in each one, but the quality is wildly varied between segments. A couple look good, but most suffer from some kind of problems, from softness to noise to just plain poor visuals. This is high definition, so I wanted pop and depth, but sadly, those elements are in short supply here. I’ve seen other 2-D animation simply shine in high definition, so I don’t know why Batman: Gotham Knight looks so mediocre, but I do know fans will be disappointed.

Audio: How does it sound?

This Dolby Digital 5.1 option sounds good, but isn’t going to dazzle anyone. The track is active when the action heats up, but then scales back soon after. So even scenes that could benefit from added depth are left in the cold, but when the surrounds do come on, the audio is more than solid. The music sounds lively and memorable, the bass kicks deep, and dialogue is clear and never hard to hear. I couldn’t tell much difference between the DVD and Blu-ray in this department, so don’t expect much beyond the basics being covered. This disc also includes German, Spanish, and Japanese language tracks, as well as subtitles in English, Spanish, German, and Japanese.

Supplements: What are the extras?

All of the extras from the two disc Special Edition are on board here, including two great featurettes, one on creator Bob Kane and the other on Batman’s assorted foes. The Bob Kane piece lets us glimpse the man behind the legend, not just who he was, but why he made the choices he did. So you’ll hear from an impressive lineup of comic book personnel, who discuss the man and his legacy in the artform. The villains featurette explores Batman’s rivals, how they’ve evolved, and their impact on the legend of The Dark Knight. A fun piece, especially if you’re a fan of the comic books. An audio commentary is also here, as a trio of cast & crew talk about how the project began, the cast of characters, and Batman in general. Not a dynamite session, but if you enjoyed the feature, you might want to give it a spin. This disc also includes four bonus episodes from Batman: The Animated Series, which will have you picking up the season sets in a rush, to be sure.

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