It can all happen in just one bad day. And I'm going to prove it! That's the moral of DC Entertainment's latest Animated Movie Batman: The Killing Joke. Based on author Alan Moore's darkly horrific comedy, a graphic novel beautifully stylized by artist Brian Bolland, when the original book was released in 1988 it changed the way that everyone -- especially aspiring writers -- looked at the comic book industry. An examination of the Caped Crusader's most dangerous adversary, this is the signature Joker story.
"All it takes is just one bad day." It's the basis for the villain's directive, a plot to prove once and for all to the Batman that in just one, swift instant, there's a fine line between sanity and complete madness. The animated feature very carefully adapts and stays close to the core of the original material, setting a visual pace to an already incredibly dynamic source. "The nature of the story is so untraditional to any Batman story," comments Executive Producer Bruce Timm. "It's essentially a horror story."
Translating the book to animation, exploits plenty of the psychological tones that mark it as one of the best stories ever written and a landmark in the genre. Similarly evocative of the book, The Killing Joke is a dangerously frightening and violent narrative -- so be prepared. It explores the origins of The Joker, the Clown Prince of Crime and the relationship between the criminal and Gotham City's Dark Knight detective. The film is also particularly poignant in its elaborating on a third player in the mythology and the Joker's primary victim: Barbara Gordan.
Having the luxury to include an additional prologue created for the movie that helps to develop the role of Batman's protege Batgirl more deeply, and as those familiar with The Killing Joke realize the ultimate trajectory that Barbara is on becomes all the more decimating. The Joker begins his crime spree by fatally inflicting the shot on Barbara that shatters her spine and leaves her (only until recently in the comics) confined to a wheelchair. It's only the first part of the Clown Prince's plan to bring down the Batman. This exploration of the Batman/Batgirl relationship is also much more exploratory than anything that's come before.
As the story unfolds The Joker kidnaps and tortures James Gordan hoping to drive the police commissioner insane, but it just doesn't happen -- no matter how bad a day he tries to inflict upon Gordan, even showing him images of his broken daughter, Gordan keeps it together. When Batman finally confronts The Joker in the climax of the movie, the two decide that it is inevitable -- their fates are intertwined and the one can not exist without the other.
Voiced by Kevin Conroy and Mark Hamill the two actors who lent their talents to the characters on Batman: The Animated Series many fans will be very excited to hear both these favorites portraying such an extreme vision of this instant classic. A word of caution...this film adaptation very closely realizes the adult nature of the original graphic novel and is not meant for children. There is violence, sexual situations and acts of terror.
That shouldn't be a deterrent to checking this film out, especially since it really is one of the greatest homages to a graphic novel produced by DC Entertainment for their line of DC Universe Animated Movies. It's also loaded with some additional bonus features that get into the mind of The Joker and the Clown Prince's evolution as a character in DC Comics, not to mention his popularity among fans. Get in on the joke and check out Batman; The Killing Joke for yourself now.