63 Min. | Animation – Action – Crime | Ocyober 2011
IMDB Rating: 7.4
Directors: Sam Liu, Lauren Montgomery
Staring: Bryan Cranston, Ben McKenzie, Eliza Dushku
Batman: Year One Review: Before Batman: Named as one of IGN’s 25 greatest Batman stories of all time and one of the books that any Batman fan would swear by, Frank Miller’s 1987 classic Batman Year One finally comes to life as a full length animated movie. Besides inspiring elements in various Batman animated shows since the 1990s, Batman Year One is also the main inspiration for the blockbuster hit “Batman Begins”. So with its influence seen in all incarnations of Batman in the last 15 years, the producers are hard pressed to come up with anything original. So instead of just retelling Batman’s origins, drawing influence from Batman Year One, the creative team decided to stick as close as possible to the source material and literally transfer the book into animated form.
To date, Batman Year One is easily the movie that is most faithful to its source material. Barring a few lines tweaked to flow more naturally in dialogue, the script is almost exactly the same as in the book. Whole scenes are reproduced shot for shot, as if the comic panels themselves came to life. One could literally watch Batman Year One and read the comic side by side. Sadly, the plot itself is weaker than what one would expect, mostly due to the limitations of the audio/visual media. Batman Year One contains two parallel tales. One follows Bruce Wayne, a millionaire playboy with a tragic past who returns to Gotham City after many years. The other follows Lieutenant Jim Gordon, a cop transferred to Gotham Police Department.
On the flip side, what the animated medium takes full advantage of is bringing motion to static artwork. The animation by Korean studio “Moi Animation” is so smooth and seamless, a standard usually only seen in big budget theatrical feature films along the lines of “Rebuild of Evangelion” and “Sky Crawlers”. The fight scenes are definitely the highlight of the movie. Fully animated, without a single cost saving short cut, it is almost like live action combat sequences out of a blockbuster. The art is no pushover either. It is David Mazzucchelli’s original comic designs and characters, combined with an Asian anime flaire and aesthetics. This means small tweaks like giving characters more expressive eyes, sharper features and a less murky color palette. Being incredibly faithful to the source material means that one need not be familiar with the graphic novel to appreciate this show. If anything, Batman Year One allows those who would normally be averse to reading a comic book appreciate a timeless tale, integral to Batman lore. It is the same book, just a different way of reading it.