Batman: The Dark
Knight Returns – Part 1 (2012/Warner Premiere/DC Comics Blu-ray)
Picture: B+ Sound: B+ Extras: C+ Film: B
This new to Blu-ray animated film follows The Dark Knight as he comes
out of retirement at the age of 55 to combat a growing problem gang in Gotham known as The Mutants. This animated film is based on the 1986 Frank
Miller Graphic Novel and does NOT connect with the 2012 Christopher Nolan (Batman: The Dark Knight Rises) film.
The film is quite good and does the source material justice. I have always been a Frank Miller (Sin City) fan and his work is
timeless. Peter Weller (Robocop) does an excellent job voicing
Batman, bringing depth to an already excellent story. Dark
Knight Returns was originally released as a four comic series before being
a single bound graphic novel (and subsequently getting a 2001 sequel); here on
Blu-ray we get nearly a frame by frame animated translation of that
series. Granted the film does not use
the internal monologue for Bruce/Batman like the comic utilized, which is
disappointing and changes the feel to a degree, but still nice. What the original ‘internal monologue’ did
was hash out Batman’s struggle with this ‘new world’ and himself (mainly his
age handicapping his abilities). Dark Knight Returns is a 1.5-hour
translation of a masterpiece.
Frank Miller’s work was undoubtedly hard to bring to the small screen,
but it does fine enough here. We get to
see an aged/bitter batman take on a new world that has learned to live without
him and for all intents and purposes doesn’t want him anymore. Batman feels the world needs his presence
again. The film introduces many new
faces, but also goes down memory lane to show the world has changed. Some are as they were, but others have moved
on; only shells of their former selves. The Dark Knight Returns is one of the
better animated films to go straight to Blu-ray for WB/DC and shows promise for
Part 2 to be even better.
The picture on this animated film is a 1080p 1.78 X 1 AVC Encoded
Widescreen that does it right. Animation
is crisp and clean with dark inky blacks, stunning shadows, and colors
splashing the screen here and there. The
sound is a 5.1 DTS-HD lossless Master Audio that is nicely done, but doesn’t
always utilize the whole soundscape; though dialogue comes through clean and
clear. Music is booming (adding
atmosphere) and directionality is adequate.
No blaring flaws here.
Her Name is Carrie…Her role is Robin
Batman and Me: The Bob Kane Story
Two Classic Batman cartoons from WB vault
Preview of The Dark Knight Returns: Part 2
The extras weren’t fantastic as the featurettes are a tad short and
can be dry. It was nice, however, to
look at some classic Batman animation (released on DVD previously).
- Michael P. Dougherty II