If you’re a Batman fan, you definitely went to see the animated film Batman: The Killing Joke when it was released in theaters (it was out only for one day on July 25th) maybe you even own the comic. If you’re lucky, you still own a first or second print that has the original ending. Warner Brothers Animation’s Batman: The Killing Joke got a physical DVD, Blu-ray, and Blu-ray deluxe bundle release on August 2nd. However, the Digital HD version was available for download July 26th but before we talk about the Best Buy limited edition gift set, let’s give you some information about Batman: The Killing Joke.
The history of Batman: The Killing Joke is an odd one since the first print written by Alan Moore and art by Brian Bolland back in 1988 had a green front which is the most sought after, and there are those collectors who collect all eleven variants. Both first and second prints had an original ending. When the comic went to be reprinted for re-release in 2008, it became the deluxe edition with an introduction by Tim Sale. The all new special edition celebrates the 20th anniversary of the iconic work that featured all-new coloring by Bolland and included the story “An Innocent Guy” that was previously in Batman: Black and White.
DC’s The Killing Joke‘s story journeys into the dark psyche of the Joker, from his humble beginnings as a struggling comedian to his fateful first encounter with Batman that changes both of their lives forever. Years later, the Joker yet again had escaped from Arkham Asylum to follow through on a plan based on the notion that one bad day can make anyone as insane as he is. This time his target is Commissioner James Gordon, and of course, it’s up to Batman to save Gordon and stop the Joker while trying to find some sort of peace between them before they kill each other. The only other sidekick featured in the film is Batgirl, however, unlike other Batman films, this one also focuses on Barbara Gordon’s prologue. Producer Bruce Timm has said that he wanted to use that time to improve Batgirl’s role in the story, to make her a true character and not a footnote. Here’s what he told Empire:
We thought if we were going to expand this to feature length, we didn’t want to just pad out the original story… So we took that opportunity to basically tell a Batgirl story, which we don’t often get a chance to do these days. And it was great, because we could spend more time with her as a character and get to understand what she’s all about and how she’s similar to Batman in some ways, and really different in others. …. The good side of that is we get to spend more time with her and learn that she’s an interesting character. The bad side of that is that we get to like her so much that when The Killing Joke part of the story happens, it’s, like, “Oh, no!”, because we really like her.
This film stays true to the original graphic novel, which many fans believe to be one of the Holy Grails in terms of adaptation. They’ve actually done a really incredible job of supplementing it with Barbara Gordon/Batgirl material.
This movie is produced by none other than Bruce Timm. If you don’t know who he is, then stop what you are doing and Google him, or better yet watch one of his other works like Batman: The Animated Series, Justice League, Batman: Mask of the Phantasm, and Batman Beyond. His list of works goes on. Everything about the movie is beautifully done. The artwork, animation, and graphics are no exception. It surely fits this rated R Batman film and definitely brings the novel to life.
The Best Buy limited edition gift set is definitely the one to own for a true collector. It includes a DVD and Blu-ray physical copy of the movie, a code for an HD digital copy- so you can stream or download it on your devices, an exclusive 144-page hardcover graphic novel of Batman: The Man Who Laughs, and a Joker Figurine. The special features exclusive on the Blu-ray are:
- Batman: The Killing Joke- The Many Shades of The Joker featurette.
- Madness Set to Music featurette.
- From the DC Comics Vault- 2 bonus cartoons.
- Plus: A sneak peek at DC Universe’s next animated movie.
Overall, Batman: The Killing Joke [Deluxe Edition] [Includes Figurine] [Blu-Ray] 2016 was well worth the $32 I spent on the pre-order and is an amazing pickup for any collector and lover of the graphic novel. The film can easily stand up against time and still be a holy grail Batman movie. No matter how many times I still watch it, The Killing Joke is still going to be one of my top favorites. I didn’t mention the sex scene in the movie that had fans go into an uproar since this review was mostly for the Best Buy deluxe Blu-ray bundle that includes the Joker Figurine and the Batman: The Man Who Laughs.
(Source for Empire interview: EmpireOnline)
Producers: Bruce Timm, Alan Burnett, Sam Register
Director: Sam Liu
Release Date: 25th July 2016