Comic book legend Frank Miller will see his grim version of the Caped Crusader's origin story brought to (animated) life in Batman: Year One - an adaptation of the writer's highly-influential 1987 story arc.
Early images released from the film - along with the Batman: Year One trailer - suggested it will be an appropriately atmospheric and gritty cinematic realization of Miller's source material. The first clip unveiled from the movie likewise supports that assertion.
Similar to previous animated DC Universe releases, Batman: Year One appears to be visually structured as (essentially) a mobile version of a comic book - where every one of the film's frames resemble actual comic panels. Similarly, the characters have a distinct hand-drawn look and spout lines of dialogue that sometimes sound better (or worse) in written form. That approach to creating an animated comic book adaptation may not be everyone's cup of tea, but here, it appears to be done quite well.
Here is an official synopsis for Miller's original Batman: Year One comic:
A young Bruce Wayne spent his adolescence and early adulthood traveling the world so he could hone his body and mind into the perfect fighting and investigative machine. But now as he returns to Gotham City, he must find a way to focus his passion and bring justice to his city. Retracing Batman’s first attempts to fight injustice as a costumed vigilante, we watch as he chooses the guise of a giant bat, creates an early bond with a young Lieutenant James Gordon, inadvertently plays a role in the birth of Catwoman, and helps to bring down a corrupt political system that infests Gotham.
Ben McKenzie (The O.C., Southland) provides the vocals for Bruce Wayne/Batman in Year One, following in the footsteps of many another voice actor - including fan-favorite Kevin Conroy. Does it sound like McKenzie has put his own unique (in a good way, that is) spin on the Caped Crusader's gruff tones?
Find out by watching the Batman: Year One clip below:
McKenzie as Batman seems to be going for something between the growling intensity of Christian Bale in Christopher Nolan's The Dark Knight - and the more naturalistic, yet still uncannily masculine and threatening pitch that Conroy managed so well. While some might be bothered by how McKenzie's version of the Caped Crusader certainly sounds younger than previous cartoon incarnations, that's arguably fitting, given that Batman: Year One is meant to revolve around a more youthful version of Wayne - one who's just begun his career as a vigilante.
The Batman: Year One voice cast includes several decorated TV actors and actresses, including: Bryan Cranston (Breaking Bad) as Lt. Gordon, Katee Sackhoff (Battlestar Galactica) as Detective Sarah Essen, Eliza Dushku (Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Dollhouse) as Selina Kyle/Catwoman, Grey DeLisle (Batman: The Brave and the Bold) as Barbara Gordon, Jon Polito (Miller's Crossing) as Commissioner Loeb, and Alex Rocco (The Godfather) as Carmine Falcone. Each actor is an excellent match for their respective character - which should help make this new return to the animated Gotham City a worthwhile one.
Batman: Year One will be available on DVD, Blu-ray, and VOD on October 18th, 2011 and you can pre-order by clicking here or on the image below:
Source: Warner Home Video