CC2K’s Big Ross checks in from SDCC 2011 with a review of the premiere of DC Animated’s Batman: Year One and a recap of the accompanying panel discussion featuring Executive Producer Bruce Timm, Voice Director Andrea Romano, and stars Ben McKenzie, Bryan Cranston, and Katie Sackhoff.
Batman: Year One premiered in Ballroom 20 Friday night. The movie is an incredibly faithful, almost slavish adaptation of the original graphic novel by Frank Miller and David Mazzucchelli. Sitting there watching it, it was as if the comic book was literally coming to life on the screen, Miller’s dialogue and Mazzucchelli’s artwork exploding into motion and sound. There are a few places where scenes are changed slightly, but none of these are for the worse and serve the nature of film much better than the still panels from the comic. The voice cast is all excellent, with Cranston and McKenzie both shining in their portrayals of Gordan and Wayne/Batman, respectively.
During the panel session that followed the screening, there was an extensive Q&A session that revealed some interesting developments in the world of DC Animation.
As for what animated features are in development for the future, Timm officially announced that they are currently planning three releases: Justice League: Doom, which is going to be an adaptation of the Tower of Babel storyline; Superman vs. The Elites, which is a little known Superman one-shot that won the praises of Timm himself; and a first-ever two-part feature adaptation of Frank Miller’s The Dark Knight Returns (Hooray!). On that note, Romano said she would always consider the possibility of Kevin Conroy and Mark Hamill in their iconic roles as Batman and The Joker, though I’ve read that Hamill has retired from the role after finishing voice-work for the game Batman: Arkham City. So who knows if that will actually happen.
I also thought it interesting that Romano said at one point that she’d love to see a Nightwing movie, and she’d love to have Neil Patrick Harris playing the role of Nightwing.
As for other adaptations requested by several fans during the Q&A, Timm shot down any chance of a Kingdom Come movie saying that it “wasn’t made for 2D animation; it just won’t work”. This one is the impossible dream, folks. Though Timm did say that Batman: The Killing Joke has come up several times, and he won’t rule it out for the future.
Batman:Year One comes out on Blu-Ray, DVD, and digital download October 18th of this year, the same day as Batman: Arkham City. In addition to the main feature you can expect a Catwoman short film with Eliza Dushku again voicing Selina Kyle, which we didn’t get to see.
If you’re a fan of the graphic novel, or Batman in general you’ll want to check this one out.