Gotham By Gaslight has long been a favourite graphic novel with Batman fans since it was first published in 1989. Created by Brian Augustyn and Mike Mignola, the book pitted The Dark Knight against Jack The Ripper in an 1880s Gotham City. The tale now gets the animated treatment from DC Universe Original Movies and while it takes liberties with the plot, the film does keep the style and tone of the original book.
It’s 1889 and the World’s Fair is about to come to Gotham City. A series of brutal killings has the police confused and the public terrified. Added to the fear is the appearance of the mysterious Batman, a vigilante stalking the streets and battling the criminals of Gotham.
Directed by Sam Liu, the man behind recent Batman animated films The Killing Joke and Batman And Harley Quinn, Gotham by Gaslight is a refreshing animated take on the Dark Knight. The expansion of the story helps to make this feel fresh and there are enough nods to a variety of other Batman adventures to keep fans happy (Johnny Gobs!). Bruce Greenwood does some good voice work as Batman/Bruce Wayne and Jennifer Carpenter voices a brash and sassy Selina Kyle. The animation is stylish and well composed for this type of straight-to-disc film and Frederik Wiedmann’s score has hints of Danny Elfman’s iconic compositions.
Not everything works though. The inclusion of ‘The Three Robins’ as street urchins is a touch too cutesy and Anthony Head’s Alfred is under-used. A prison sequence fails to register due to its brief inclusion and the film wouldnt’ be any different without it. These are small niggles considering how well other elements hit the mark.
Batman: Gotham By Gaslight is a well produced Batman adventure and it has plenty of surprises and some strong visuals. It’s worth checking out for fans of the Dark Knight – but be warned the 15 rating is justified – so this one is not for kids.
Documentaries, sneak peeks, a commentary and the inclusion of other animated Batman tales (including Batman: The Animated Series) makes this blu-ray a very worthwhile package.