"Batman: The Dark Knight Returns, Part One" Feature Talkback (Spoilers)

Discussion in 'The DC Animation Forum' started by James Harvey, Sep 25, 2012.

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"Batman: The Dark Knight Returns, Part One" Feature

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  1. James Harvey

    James Harvey Administrator

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    Batman: The Dark Knight Returns, Part One
    Studio: Warner Bros. Animation
    Release Date: September 25th, 2012

    Synopsis: Another night falls over Gotham City and with the darkness out crawls the crime and villainy from the shadows. The days of The Batman and other noble super heroes are but faded memories; violence and despair are now the harbingers of our time. But one event will set a change into motion: when Harvey "Two-Face" Dent shuns a former rehabilitated life for a descent into corruption, an aged and weathered Bruce Wayne dons the mark and cape once more. With a stellar voice cast headed by Peter Weller, Ariel Winter and David Shelby, this gritty DC Comics legend comes to life with unforgettable battles, thrilling chases and the promise of a better tomorrow for humanity, because there is nowhere for criminals to hide when the Dark Knight returns.

    Comments on Batman: The Dark Knight Returns, Part One?

    Please post all discussions concerning about the Batman: The Dark Knight Returns, Part One animated feature in this thread! Discussion for the home video release of Batman: The Dark Knight Returns, Part One can be found in the proper talkback linked below.

    Related Threads:
    -Batman: The Dark Knight Returns, Part One Feature Review (Spoilers)
    -Batman: The Dark Knight Returns, Part One Blu-ray/DVD Talkback (Spoilers)
    -Batman: The Dark Knight Returns Classic Comic Talkback (Spoilers)
    -Batman: The Dark Knight Strikes Again Classic Comic Talkback (Spoilers)
    -Batman: Year One Feature Talkback (Spoilers)
    -Superman/Batman: Apocalypse Feature Talkback (Spoilers)
    -Batman: Under the Red Hood Feature Talkback (Spoilers)
    -Superman/Batman: Public Enemies Feature Talkback (Spoilers)
    -Batman: Gotham Knight Feature Talkback (Spoilers)
    -Batman: The Animated Series "Legends of the Dark Knight" Talkback (Spoilers)
    -Batman: The Animated Series "Two-Face, Parts 1 & 2" Talkback (Spoilers)

    Note: Remember, this talkback thread is for discussion of the feature film. If you wish to talk about the home video release, please click on the appropriate link above. We appreciate and encourage discussion, but please keep your posts civil, relevant and insightful. Please do not post any improper or inflammatory material, as we will issue warnings if we believe it necessary. And remember to keep the discussion ON-TOPIC!
     
  2. tenderheartbear

    tenderheartbear Member

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    I actually posted this in the Blu-ray/DVD thread too as it covers picture/sound quality.

    It's been a long, long time since I've read the graphic novel so I can't say with absolute certainty how accurate the movie is. That said, watching it did seem like watching the novel come to (animated) life.

    I was originally unsure about the animation, the first couple of minutes I thought were a bit weak. Once the motor race scenes ended it picked up and was probably on-par with Justice League: Crisis on Two Earths and Batman: Year One. Certainly a step up on Justice League: Doom and Superman Vs. The Elite. Overall it was easy on the eye and conveyed the feel on the book as well as it could. Sure it wasn't quite a gritty as it could have been, and didn't have the almost watercolour look but then it was never going to. The character designs themselves though were excellent, slightly better than the Legends of the Dark Knight segment from The New Batman Adventures, which was already very good.


    As for the voices, Peter Weller did take a bit of getting used to, but I thought he did okay. Michael Ironside would have been better perhaps, but as much as I love Kevin Conroy I'm glad he didn't do this one. Watch Batman Beyond for his version of an old Bruce Wayne. Ariel Winter was first rate and exactly how I imagined Robin would sound. The rest were passable, I wouldn't say any excelled but all sounded as I imagined the characters would more or less.

    A few stand-out scenes for me included Two-Face's attack on the two towers (slightly uncomfortable to watch at this time of year), both of the fights between Batman and the mutant leader and the final scene leading into part 2. Also, for the keen eyed there's a few magazine covers on display during the Gordon/young mutant scene. A bit of an Alan Moore thing going on perhaps?

    The music was great (I actually enjoyed just listening to the main menu) and didn't seem to recycle themes which both Justice League: Doom and Superman Vs. The Elite had done. I might pick up the soundtrack next year when I believe it's due for release.

    The picture and sound quality was fine (I watched the DVD version - encoded for R1, R3 and R4 for those interested) and looked pretty sharp on my screen.

    Overall, a cracking job and I look forward to The Dark Knight Returns Part Two with anticipation. As much as I'm not keen on movies being split (Harry Potter, Twilight) in this case it really was the only option and actually worked in its favour. For anyone in 2 minds I'd recommend buying it, even if you're not the greatest fan of the source material. It will sit proudly on your shelf and I suspect be revisited more often than the likes of Superman: Doomsday and Green Lantern: First Flight (both of which I did enjoy).
     
  3. DerekPowers

    DerekPowers Ruler of Gotham City, 2049

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    Well, sadly, I gotta say this movie was nothing to talk about. Yet another forgettable, and kinda pointless film by the DC Universe team. I'm sorry, but I don't see the point in just translating the comic beat for beat, especially if you're not even gonna attempt to match the art style. This film felt lazy, as it was very contingent on you knowing the source material. They didn't bother to really develop anyone, to give any indication of much backstory, it just felt like point A to point B until the alloted time ran out. There didn't seem to be any soul or emotion behind any of it. Rather disappointing, especially considering how great the comic was. They may have lazily not strayed much from the comic, but they were unsuccessful in capturing ANY of the comic's tension, emotion, drama, texture, or feel.

    I think the segment in TNBA episode "Legends of the Dark Knight" more captured the spirit and tone of the comics than this feature length movie did. That felt inspired, this felt like they were on autopilot. Like I said, they could have at least attempted to capture the art style, which could have been interesting and allowed for some inspired art direction, but instead we get this pseudo-anime, generic looking, forgettable film that really doesn't do the comic justice at all. And they could have put a little more care into creating unique and interesting backgrounds...geez, this is TDKR, and that's what we get? I think a lot of these movies really have forgotten the importance of good background art, and this one is no exception (they weren't terrible, just generic, run of the mill, and uninspired).

    Overall I think we've seen worse from these DTVs, and it wasn't horrible. The voice acting was pretty good, and I liked Batman's voice a lot. But overall, the film was just so forgettable and bland. I am looking forward to part 2, mainly because between the Joker fight AND the Superman fight, how bad could it be, but I'm not expecting much, especially based on part 1.
     
  4. Bobbywoodhogan

    Bobbywoodhogan I Will Find Him!

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    Probably the best animated film yet, I've saw this over a week ago and was blown away. Also in my opinion its better than the Graphic Novel (well the half it covered), I hate some of Bruce's inner monologues in that book so was very happy to see them ommitted. The soundtrack was unbelievable too a very 80s/Terminator vibe. Weller owned as Batman, 5 out of 5.
     
  5. Otaku-sempai

    Otaku-sempai Member

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    A Puzzling Review...

    How did the filmmaker's just translate the comic, beat for beat? If that was the case where was Batman's internal monologue? There are places where I thought it should have been maintained, but leaving it out of the script was a bold choice. And there were other changes. Joker's henchman Alvin is left out until (presumably) Part 2. Ommiting the porn theater shooting was probably a wise move in light of the Arizona theater incident after the opening of The Dark Knight Rises.

    How far from the source material do you really expect the film to stray? Should Harvey been dropped in favor of a new story with Edward Nigma? Did you want Harley Quinn to replace Alvin? I imagine not, or at least I hope not.

    I know that Kevin Conroy would have been terrific here, as I do remember his older Bruce from Batman Beyond. Michael Ironside did do a fantastic job in the "Legends of the Dark Knight" episode of The New Batman Adventures. However, Peter Weller also managed to provide a nuanced performance once one gets used to hearing him as Batman. Ariel Winters is an enthusiastic Carrie Kelly. I was a little disappointed with David Selby's James Gordon--but only a little.

    Once we got past the opening racing sequence, the film did a great job at reproducing Frank Miller's style from the graphic novel. Not perfect, of course. There are limits for what can be accomplished with a relatively small budget; plus, animation just tends to look cleaner that hand-drawn comic art. For my money, this is arguably the best DCU animated feature to date. Certainly one of the best (leaving out the deficiencies in the bonus features).
     
  6. Dusty

    Dusty Superman.

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    Wowsers!!! This was so cool, the animation and designs are just so brilliant. This was a great animated feature, the music was one of the major things that stuck our for me though, it was so well done, a very 80's/Robo-Cop/Tron feel to it, lol, (which is great, considering the influence this book had on the making of Robo-Cop.) The animation again was spectacular, and seeing it in full HD made it all the better. The story was great, not rushed at all IMO, I also really enjoyed the voice acting, I really like the cast choices (ironically having Robo-Cop himself as Batman is just plain awesome,) and I really enjoyed David Selby's Gordon, and Ariel Winter as Robin. Andrea Romano my hat off to you again for being so... Awesome, lol. Sorry this post is just so lame and fanboy-ish.
    Anyways, I am so pumped for part two, 2013 can't get here soon enough.
    I give this movie 5 out of 5 stars. (and well deserved 5 stars at that.)




    D.
     
  7. Ed Liu

    Ed Liu Grumpy Gorilla

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    My review for the news is finally up. Some more specific comments:

    - I love how the ending sets up the Joker plot for the next movie. In the original graphic novel, the Joker wakes up from his catatonia right after Batman's first night out and then starts acting as the player behind the scenes until his breakout in chapter 3. Here, it really seems more like the Joker's awakening is the result of the media over-saturation about Batman -- it takes quite a while before he fully wakes up (and it also leads to that really supremely awesome final scene). The original book was lauded for its biting (if unsubtle) social commentary, and I think the way they played out the Joker in this movie serves in the same capacity, discussing the media oversaturation that happens when you have dozens of 24-hour news channels and maybe 3-4 hours of actual news worth talking about.

    - If anything, I thought the TV newscasts were too simple. There needed to be floating tickers and bugs and news headlines running under the screen and the occasional network bug in the corner. I'm not a fan of TV news, if you couldn't tell ;).

    - I can totally understand why they condensed and simplified the Harvey Dent plot, and I think the idea that he could be hurting himself and that he's living out his death wish is interesting. However, all the changes in total make that plot a little less workable. In the book, Dent robbed the bank to pay the Joker to make bombs, which were booby-trapped because the Joker is a sick twist who wanted to start killing people unexpectedly (especially when he could get some other sap to take the rap for it). The purpose of the bank robbery becomes a little less clear here because I'm not entirely sure what Dent would need enough money for that he'd want to rob a bank for it. I suppose you could say he was still buying the bombs from unseen, unnamed operators, or maybe they'll make revelations in part 2. We'll see.

    - I was disappointed that they dropped the line Batman has about hoping it wasn't Harvey, despite all evidence to the contrary. It said a lot about Batman and his sense of hope, and set up a subtle but important contrast between Batman's relationship to Two-Face and Batman's relationship to the Joker.

    - I am still tickled by the fact that Rob Paulsen was cast as the Mutant thug in the "My name is Rob" t-shirt. I guess Dee Bradley Baker was the closest they could get to a voice actor named Don to play the "My name is Don" thug. The Mutant leader also pretty much had the voice I'd always heard in my head for him.

    - As I said in the review, I have to admit I was less than impressed on the first viewing. Watching it a second time at the premiere meant I could separate it from the comic book a bit more and look at it as a film, meaning I could take it on its own merits.

    - In the opening car race scene, I wonder if the blimp you see in the sky is a call-out to BTAS, and I also snickered at the shots that showed Bruce's helmet still had the bat ears on it. In the comic, they hint that the woman talking to Bruce was Carol Ferris (it's the Ferris 6000 Bruce is racing), so it would have been funny if they had cast Olivia d'Abo or Jennifer Hale in the role.

    - Also very disappointed that there wasn't a commentary track. Seems like this one could have used it.

    In regards to a question in the News thread, nobody asked about a special edition when part 2 was released, but I'll make sure to put that down for NY Comic Con when they're back, assuming it hasn't been answered before then.
     
  8. Lord Sidious

    Lord Sidious New Member

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    pretty good movie!!

    I wasn't blown away though.
     
  9. MilkManX

    MilkManX From the X pit

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    I have the same feelings.

    Optional Commentary by Kevin Smith here http://smodcast.com/episodes/dark-knight-returns-pt-1-commentary-track-with-marc-bernardin/#comments
     
  10. Dusty

    Dusty Superman.

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    Kind of Off-topic but my PC was glitching and I accidentally only voted for 1/2 star on the poll. Is there anyway to fix that or am I out of luck? I know it isn't a big deal but I wanted to give the movie 5 stars not 1/2 of one, thanks, :)


    D.

    Mod Note: Try to see if you can vote again, let me (Yojimbo) know what happens by PM
     
  11. Yojimbo

    Yojimbo Yes, have some.

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    The changes in the movie versus the original material was fun to look out for in the second viewing. It was interesting that they made Part 1 primarily a Gotham story - all aspects of the outside world aside from them mentioning Lana was in Metropolis were stripped away
    1. The woman yelling at Bruce in the car was Carol Ferris in the comics
    2. Any mention of the President and his staff (like Chuck Brick) were absent in the movie.
    3. The messages from Clark and Selina were omitted
    4. No mention of the Corto Maltese crisis
    Certain changes and omissions like renaming the Twin Towers to Gotham Life Building, the Batman inspired porn theater shooting, the subway bombing/murder of Margaret Corcoran, Hot Gates, and Iron Man Vasquez made sense. And sure sign of the times, Two-Face demands $22 million instead of $5 million but with the duality theme, it makes more sense anyhow. But it was funny how Gotham Security Trust was renamed Gotham City Trust (place where Two-Face and henchmen committed robbery). But leaving out Carrie's Girl Scouts answer when mending Batman, omitting Carrie and Michelle's two lines about school before the Mutants surrounded them... Sarah Essen's name not mentioned, just 'wife'? Taking away the reference to Kennedy? What's wrong with those ones?

    But eliminating or reworking some of Batman and Gordon's monologues tightened up the story - the framing was kind of off - that's what I liked about the Year One adaptation - listening to Bruce and Jim think.

    Aside from those nitpicks, with every movie, I go in knowing the vehicles will look awful. And aside from the Batmobile, I was right again.

    But Christopher Drake hit it out of the park with the music again. The Gotham Life Building scenes, Mutant Leader battles, Robin and Batman in the Batmobile - all great stuff. Very much like a 80s soundtrack that's been revitalized. Likewise, the voice acting was perfect in this one. Did my heart good to hear Maria Canals again in particular.

    Favorite Moments - Robin - "Didn't suck," Robin and Batman bonding in the Batmobile, Batman - surgeon, "Darling" and the comic book shout outs to Swamp Thing, Sandman, V for Vendetta, Watchmen, and Crisis on Infinite Earths.

    Me, too. It was a good call to build up the Joker's awakening rather than have him working behind the scenes. "Darling." So perfect a way to end Part 1 but funny Michael Emerson had essentially two words to say then the majority of his work is in Part 2. It was ironic that Book 2 ended with Bruce smiling while Part One, here, ends with Joker smiling.

    Wasn't it simple like that in the comic?

    Well, I didn't really like that they condensed the initial news blurb about Two-Face's origins, not everyone knows who he is. Sorta cheapens him to a mere terrorist in this movie unless you're really paying attention to all the duality. The heist really does feel like an odd ball with the Joker not involved. But I guess it was part of Harvey's compulsion to tip Batman off that a big crime was coming up.

    Exactly. But the "You and me both" line sort a made up for it.

    Cool, thanks Ed.
     
  12. The Dark Lord

    The Dark Lord New Member

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    Really enjoyed this movie. It's been a while since I've read the comic, so I can't really say how accurate of an adaptation it is, but I like what I see. It's dark and edgy; just how I like my Batman. ;)

    Voice acting was pretty solid. Peter Weller was great as MillerBats; I think I prefer him over Michael Ironside. Ariel Winter, David Selby, Wade Williams, Gary Anthony Williams, Maria Canals Barberra etc. were very good too. I noticed voice "appearances" from the likes of James Arnold Taylor, Dee Bradley Baker, Rob Paulsen, Yuri Lowenthal, Jim Ward and others; it's nice that they used a lot of voice actors in conjunction with on-screen ones. :)

    Can't wait for Part Two! :D
     
  13. MilkManX

    MilkManX From the X pit

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    I have to say it gets better the more you watch it. As a huge fan of the original story it was hard to disconnect at times on the first viewing. The second time I was aware of the changes and just enjoyed the adaptation. Focusing on the nice animation and brilliant music. Seriously awesome. If this is the DC Direct swan songs then they picked the right stories.
     
  14. defunctzombie

    defunctzombie Cutie Pie

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    Going to wait until the rental box gets it. Sounds like it's worth the purchase but I'd like to buy both parts at once.

    ...Because Girl Scouts don't do that kind of stuff anymore, it's all arts and cookies now. You know how disappointed I was as a kid that I couldn't do the things the boys were doing?
     
  15. Yojimbo

    Yojimbo Yes, have some.

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    They don't? Wow. That's...not good.
     
  16. Ed Liu

    Ed Liu Grumpy Gorilla

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    I wouldn't attribute those to anything more than running time demands. As it is, grafting parts 1 and 2 makes the pacing of the movie a bit off, and I felt like the decisions that they made to cut and edit and simplify were to keep things moving as fast as possible. I don't mind this in principle, since it succeeded, but that's also the kind of texture that I missed from the book. Then again, this happens a lot in book-to-screen adaptations. Books can take that time to build texture and depth and things like the random acts of violence that are vaguely connected to Batman in the book. Besides, throwaway lines still require pencil mileage if only to keep things happening on screen and then do lip sync if necessary.

    I also think on some level, mentioning Sarah's name would have been more confusing, not less. In the book, the internal monologues about her make it clear who Sarah is and what he means to Jim Gordon. Cut those out and you're left with Gordon referring to someone named "Sarah" who we never see, and unless you already know who she is, you're going to be wondering, "Who's Sarah?" You can solve that by adding a scene that can make it more explicit who she is, but that's time taken away from the main stories, and see above for the running time/pacing thing. We'll see if she gets named in part 2.

    Yes, but this is a case where I think real world dystopia outstripped what Frank Miller had in mind at the time. In some ways, the movie is a 1980's period piece just as JL: New Frontier was a 1950's period piece (and I think superhero movies should be more willing to do that), but in this case I think an update to the uglier, ADD newscasts would have made the point about media oversaturation a bit more up-to-date and relevant. I think Miller was half-criticizing/half-validating the 24-hour news cycle that was still relatively new in the mid-1980's when he first wrote the book, but the world has far outstripped what he had in mind.

    Side note: All this time, in the book I thought that Gordon's (and eventually Yindel's) right-hand man "Merkel" was supposed to be the same "Merkel" who appears in Batman: Year One. Watching this movie and finally seeing him clearly, it suddenly makes a lot mores sense that this Merkel is the original's son, who become a cop like his dad and eventually Gordon's right hand again. Also says something about Gordon's longevity (or stubbornness) to stay in the job.
     
  17. Bat-Fan Beyond

    Bat-Fan Beyond New Member

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    Okay, now this was great!


    What I liked about this DTV:

    First, the animation was superb. It really makes up for the last couple of DC DTV's.

    Having not read the original graphic novel in quite some time, there were some things I had forgotten. I really loved that they kept this in the 80's. I kept telling my wife and son that this was going to be a future story of Batman, but different than Batman Beyond. He'll be old, but not as old, and there won't be too much high tech stuff, besides the Bat-tank, nor a Blade Runner-like Gotham City. I knew the producers were going to be faithful to the source, but I guess I didn't think about it taking place after Jason Todd's death. Which means it's an alternate future for Batman, but set in our alternate past. There was no return for Jason as the Red Hood. There never was a Tim Drake. This essentially remained exactly what the comic is -- an 80's Elseworld-like period piece, just like the Watchmen movie. And I loved that!

    I also loved the soundtrack, which reflected the John Carpenter-like scores of the 80's with it's use of synthesizers. Very fitting.

    I think the producers did a great job of streamlining the story for an animated adaptation. It felt like a complete enough story, despite being only a Part 1, and it worked well with establishing everything needed, including the mutant gangs as the villains, and gave you a nice cut-off point/set-up with The Joker's return for Part 2.

    I've always loved The Dark Knight Returns, despite how much it's been copied, and even perverted by Miller's own additional stories, like The Dark Knight Strikes Again and All Star Batman and Robin, which were just ridiculously terrible. It was cool seeing Batman extreme enough here that he totally resembled Frank Miller's original rendition of the character, where he's physically big and burly and basically bent psychologically, yet not quite as horrifically insane as Miller would have him be in those later stories, which were like bad parodies of The Dark Knight Returns.

    I really thought it was interesting that in the preview for Part 2, Bruce Timm comments on how Superman fans despise what happens to the Man of Steel. It's true, but hey, that's the way it was in the story, and I'm glad that's what we'll be seeing in the next DTV.


    One question: It says Part 2 will be released in Winter 2013. By that, they mean January or February 2013, right? Please don't tell me we have to wait until December 2013.
     
  18. Ed Liu

    Ed Liu Grumpy Gorilla

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    Yes, part 2 is coming early next year, not the following winter. I suppose it would probably have been less confusing to say "1st quarter 2013," since winter is the one season that stretches across the year boundary.
     
  19. Bat-Fan Beyond

    Bat-Fan Beyond New Member

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    Cool, thanks! Can't wait!
     
  20. Yojimbo

    Yojimbo Yes, have some.

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    Good points, Ed.

    Yeah, they were going by industry way of saying Quarter 1 2013 as Ed said. Last three years, it's been the last week of February so February 26, 2013 seems like the most logical guess for Part 2's release date.
     

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