Posted January 15, 2012 by Tony Tuason in MORE

The Comic Book Group 2011 Awards – Animated Movie of the Year

CBG’s Animated Movie of the Year (2011) — BATMAN: YEAR ONE

(Check the other full list of the CBG Awards Winners here)

Batman Year One Animated Movie

“Blooming Bromance”
by Asia Noble

If you like fast paced action, chas”e scenes, explosions, and steamy sex scenes, then go away. This is not the review for you. The movie, exciting as it is with its many thrilling put-you-on-the-edge-of-your-seat scenes (see: threatening a room full of Politico-Mafioso assholes) and heart stopping action sequences (see: jumping off a bridge with a baby), I believe is about the struggle and triumph of two superficially different twin souls over a damned city plagued by dirty pigs and crazed lunatics.

We begin with Jim Gordon, old and jaded, tired of the world and expecting a child, on a train looking out over Gotham, clearly loathsome of the dingy train representative of the lives that many live on the streets of cold and greasy Gotham. We see Bruce Wayne looking out of a plane looking at how deceptively civilized Gotham is from the sky, knowing that he had to come closer to see the dirt underneath Gotham’s manicured penthouses and skyscrapers. Frank Miller can make you feel the sweat on your skin, turning you into another character of the plot, uncovering the layers of his complexly formed characters and endearing you to the experience of his storytelling.

Here we start with two separate individuals bent on making things right and upholding justice. Here we see a privileged orphan’s desire to bring justice to an otherwise unyielding city while a seasoned and beaten cop fights to do the right thing despite being submerged in the sewage of the city’s neck-high corruption.

Ultimately, B:YO wins Animated Movie of the Year simply because of the duality you see with Gordon and Batman being so excellently paralleled on screen, something a little different from what you would take from a chump’s superhero movie. Scene by scene, each one a glimpse of the struggles they’re both facing as they take their first steps into becoming the characters we know them as today. We have two honest individuals, no superpowers or fancy extraterrestrial crises – just a story of the internal struggling with the external, forcing you down and trying to fill your lungs with the toxic hopelessness that crime does not pay and justice is for schmucks but eventually you catch a break when both these men realize they are fighting for the same thing and see hope in each other albeit each being on different sides of the law but still very much the same coin. This wins because this film was able to capture the essence of the graphic novel while allowing the director his little bit of creative license to make this experience entirely different from the page-by-page turning triumph that is the Batman’s equivalent of the Judas Scrolls. Holy cat nipples it’s a real movie with real life emotions for God’s perpetual sake!

Batman Year One Bruce Wayne

There are many mixed reviews of how they depicted the story panel for panel saying “You don’t get the same action and thrill from the movie as you would the comic” Well to all of you I raise my middle finge. I loved the novel; when I was following the movie’s production and saw it I said, Hell, this is some serious shit right here. I would have to say the pace of the film is slower and a lot easier to take in than the graphic novel, but standing alone, the film was decently made. Being a bookworm, nothing compares to the flight of imagination that printed word on paper gives you, but being the film that it is, B:YO did its best with what it had. There is only so much you can do with cartoon animation without spreading excrement all over it and peppering it with cheap 3D tricks. This film takes the cake for the pace and the tone of how the scenes played out like a book literally coming to life. The film’s production reflected the period of which the story was written – the other side of the late eighties’ neon lights – hookers, dirty cops, and a masked vigilante in tights. Sam Liu and Montgomery did a better job on B:YO than they did on Justice League Crisis on Two Earths; the latter being easier to appeal to most audiences with its bright colors and über simplified storyline while the former draws you into the shadows and encourages participation in terms of opening itself up and allowing us to empathize with its characters.

A good example of this is the scene of Gordon and Essen, we all know what he’s doing is wrong, but we also know it’s something that had to happen eventually… his catharsis being at the end of Bruce Wayne’s driveway and probably a night on the couch for Jim.

Now of course we should not forget to mention the men who gave life to these heroes of Gotham. The voice acting of Jim Gordon was impressive. Bryan Cranston never ceases to amaze me. He had the voice and character of an expectant father wary of the evils of the world down to a tee.

Ben McKenzie as Batman was okay. I expected more but then I realized he had to be Ben McKenzie. He had to be someone who could portray a man trying to put his foothold on the world. If Christian Bale or someone who drinks crushed eggshells and cigarette ash for breakfast every morning did Batman’s voice in this movie, well it would be expected but it would not have been realistic. You needed someone who was only just about to find his voice.

B:YO wins as Animated Movie of the Year because the film does not coddle you! Give up your pacifiers, leave your bright tights behind, here’s a film that takes the very tone of voice and depth of character of an already complex graphic novel and turned it into a cartoon (if I can be so crass) that shows you what busts Batsy’s balls and what keeps Jim Gordon’s moustache so white.

Tony Tuason

Tony is just your average guy who loves comics, toys, games, movies, and all those geek goodness.