23 October 2011

Batman: Year One (Blu Ray)

Batman: Year One is a fan favorite series of comics written by Frank Miller. The comics were originally printed by DC Comics issues of Batman #404-407 from February through May. I have read this four issue storyline a few times, like ten. The issues have since been complied and printed in a graphic novel binding.

Year One is a great story that centers of the first appearance of Batman in Gotham City and his interaction and relationship with Lieutenant James Gordon. The miniseries works well in comic form. Yet, DC Universe Animation screwed it up. How bad? Completely. The main reason for this problem stems from making it frame for frame from the comics. While this may seem like a good idea, it makes the story excruciatingly boring. There is very little action, and tons of dialogue. This is not fun to watch. It felt more like I was watching an audio book rendition.

It opens on Gordon (Bryan Cranston, Breaking Bad) arriving in Gotham ahead of his pregnant wife, Barbara. He knows that the Gotham City Police Department is corrupt. He is a clean cop that has no problem taking down dirty cops. This does not fly with fellow office Flass and the current Commissioner Loeb (Jon Polito, The Big Lebowski).

In the mean time, billionaire playboy Bruce Wayne (Ben McKenzie, Southland) makes his return to Gotham after a long absence. He decides that he is going to start cleaning up the streets of Gotham to help avenge the murder of his parents. After some trial and error, Bruce decides to go with a bat costume.

While out on patrol one night, Bruce runs into a pimp. After a brief altercation with him, a woman working for him jumps down to confront Bruce in disguise. This woman is Selena Kyle (Eliza Dushku, Buffy/Angel). She later leaves the pimp to take down some crime lord Falcone and runs across Batman trying to do the same thing.

As time passes, Batman becomes hunted by the corrupt police. Gordon becomes a local celebrity due to his crime fighting. Selena Kyle becomes Catwoman. And the movie keeps getting more and more boring. In the end, it works out and all is well.

Batman: Year One has influenced the Batman franchise in many ways. As you can tell, some of the stories have been used in Nolan’s Batman Begins and The Dark Knight. Some of it can even been seen in 1993’s Batman: Mask of the Phantasm. It is a very important story to the Batman mythology.

It has been destroyed in this short 64 minute film. This was the first Blu Ray that I have purchased new in a very long time. Needless to say, I was very disappointed. If you are a Batman fan like I am, you are going to watch this anyway. If you aren’t, and you want to know if you should spend your hour watching this, I cannot recommend doing so. I can, however, recommend renting the vastly superior Batman: Under the Red Hood.

No comments: