Batman: The Killing Joke - The Book CutFeatured
- As in the comic, I'm using the last shot of the puddle and inserting it at the beginning as well to bookend the movie.
- Added a rain effect to the above mentioned scene as well as Batman arriving at Arkham
- No phone call from Jim to Barbara
- No shot of Joker victims because it didn't exactly make sense that if he is supposed to be incarcerated (in everyone's mind) he would be able to pull it off (even though we know he has escaped). PLUS, wasn't in the book!
- I'm working on cutting Batman and Jim's dialogue as they walk through Arkham since it references the cut scene from above. Batman's first lines will be his basic monologue to the Joker in the cell
- Cut some of the Joker's lines when buying the carnival since they weren't in the book.
- Cut some additional lines during flashbacks
- Cut part of the doctor's examination of Barbara
- Cut Jim on trial in front of carnies
- Reordered some scenes to match comic
- Cut out some of the additional action during Batman's search for the Joker
- Batman's search and shots of the roller coaster doors will be turned into a montage as it was done in the book. No dialogue, just music.
- Batman's fight with the carnies is now gone. As Batman encounters the Joker, I am trying to include some of the voice over of his lines to the fake Joker in the beginning.
- When Batman and Joker jump out of the window, the whole ending sequence has a rain effect added to match the comic
- Batman's laugh will end sooner and we will see the same frame as we did in the beginning, this time with just rain sound effects as well as sirens approaching in the background. Ambiguous as it was in the comic.
I'm an unwashed heathen - I haven't read The Killing Joke. But going in to the animated adaptation mostly blind, the additions were painfully obvious. Excising the additional material makes for a much better overall experience. No Batgirl filler, no literal kangaroo court, no overly prolonged discussion of urine, no gratuitous Batman Returns-esque brawling with circus folk (with one exception - more on that shortly). The pacing is much improved, the transitions between the flashbacks and the main story feel much tighter. It's a complete improvement over the original release, and I really can't see myself going back to it ever again. However, I do think there remain a few areas for improvement.
Picture quality is mostly good, but there are some obvious compression artifacts, as well as aliasing on some diagonal lines. This is most obvious during the opening logos. Clocking in at 3.14GB, the editor could have gone with less intensive compression and still wound up with a FAT32 file below the 4GB cutoff. The audio quality is a nice and clear stereo mix. I imagine the original 5.1 mix could have been salvaged with the changes in place, but there's nothing wrong with this 2.0 version. It's a dialogue heavy piece as it is, not an action adventure.
Visual editing is almost perfect - cuts were pretty much seamless. The repetition of the doors during the montage looked a little too obvious. Perhaps some cropping or tinting could have spiced things up a bit. The added rain effect is a nice touch, but there's an obvious gap on the left side of the screen that feels very unnatural to me. Zooming in on the effect that's composited over the footage to fill the frame with rain would probably work a lot better.
Audio editing is, again, very well done. Deleted lines don't feel missing, rearranged voiceover fits naturally. Both music and sound effects during the new montage feel quite choppy and take me out of what was otherwise an engrossing, seamless experience. The squeaking of the train brakes just draw attention to themselves. Replacing that with a new sound effect, or perhaps muting it entirely would have gone a long way to alleviate the situation.
Again, I haven't read the source material, but one moment that I was positive couldn't have been in the book is still present in this cut. While climbing out of the spike pit trap, Batman tosses one of the Joker's hired hands down in his place, complete with an impalement sound effect. Was that really in the book? Batman's going out of his way to spare the Joker's life (or is he? Ambiguous ending and all.) - but has no qualms about sending his henchmen to their deaths? If that is indeed true to Alan Moore's vision, I can't fault the editor for retaining that scene. It just strikes me as contrary to the whole point of the story.
Either way, it's a complete improvement over the original release. Recommended.
When The Killing Joke was announced by Bruce Timm himself I was skeptical. It's a comic that would be very hard to translate into a film because of various things. One was how short it was, there's no real set up in the book, you're already supposed to know about the characters and their relationships. The other was Bollard's art which is wonderful and very expressive and stunning. So when I saw the film in a theatre screening it was clear Bruce Timm, Alan Burnett(the two made BTAS and many other animated gems), and Brian Azzarello screwed it up in so many ways. Most of what was added hurt Barbara's character and just straight up ruined the movie with the epilogue. The epilogue is half the movie and is very loosely related to TKJ story. The movie even "starts" again with TKJ story! The Book Cut mercy kills that awful epilogue and trims all the unnecessary added things to TKJ that ultimately hurt the movie. It's all made to be closer to the comic, and for the most part it succeeds in making a better movie.
Batman's visit is edited better, and it makes for a better starting point than the weak corpses scene. The stupid unnecessary scene where Barbara is jogging and calls Gordon is also gone! This scene was straight up filler and it had the camera ogle Barbaras butt! These changes, and other trimmed scenes, make for a tighter and better movie.
Batman looking for Barbara is cut into a montage with music over it, which is very similar to how I imagined it'd be if the source material was adapted. I do have mixed feelings on it though. I felt the montage starts abruptly, and that the music somehow doesn't really start off right. Inserting the opening doors is a good call, but there are too many inserts so it becomes repetitive, specially in the rooftop part.The screeching sound of the doors might also be cut off too fast, so this could use a bit more work in order to have. Batman seems to say a whole sentences to the mob boss, but since there's only music and no dialogue, it drags out the whole montage Cutting out the really dumb prostitue scene dialogue was great because the original movie kinda doubles down to suggest joker definitely raped Barbara. Overall a tighter montage with little lip movement and few door inserts would make it flow better.
I would've preferred it if batman's laugh went on longer because now I felt the movie ends a bit too fast. There's a certain vibe that's lost with the abrupt laugh.
The opening and final scene have a new rain effect that makes for better atmosphere, unfortunately it also creates the biggest problems. There are certain angles that don't quite line up with the rain drop direction, like the first and last puddle shots, which make it apparent it's an added effect. Unfortunately the effect and a blotchy image due to compression also makes it very hard to see the rain actually hitting the ground like in the book. I think this is the biggest fault of The Book Cut.
Having the rain keep going in the end when it cuts to black screams of added rain effect but I'm not too bothered by it (The characters don't seem to be hit by the rain drops, but this is the original animators fault, it's just more apparent with the effect). The batman monologue by the end sounds a bit weird to me with the echo, but it's good that the monologue was added in. There are also a few small white line glitches at the bottom of the screen that pop out like three times throughout the movie. These are few small nitpicks that don't work against the overall experience, just thought it was worth pointing out
Overall this cut is superior than the original and should definitely be watched by everyone who thought the movie was weak and wants something closer to the comic book masterpiece.