Batman: The Killing Joke - The Novel Cut

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Faneditor Name:
Tagline:
All it takes is one bad day.
Original Movie Title:
Franchise:
Fanedit Type:
Original Release Date:
2016
Original Running Time:
76
Fanedit Release Date:
Fanedit Running Time:
39
Time Cut:
39
Subtitles Available?
Available in HD?
Brief Synopsis:
The original adaptation of the concise graphic novel had added material to "pad it up" to a feature length running time to justify the price tag of a DVD or blu-ray. Unfortunately most of the added material is garbage. This removes almost all the added material and restores this to a proper adaptation of the graphic novel.
Intention:
The Killing Joke, like The Dark Knight Returns that came before it, is one of the blueprints for the modern Batman mythos. In particular for the Joker who was finally given an origin of sorts. Many elements from it were used in the various Batman films including Batman 1989, Batman Begins, The Dark Knight, Suicide Squad and Todd Phillips' Joker. To put it simply, The Killing Joke is a classic and one of the best Batman stories ever written.
Unfortunately the suits at Warner Brothers decided that the short story couldn't be sold on its own merits and added a 30 minutes prologue and extended many scenes that not only didn't need to be there but watered down the powerful story that Alan Moore wrote.
My intention with this fanedit was to restore Alan Moore's focused vision of two protagonists and their walk over the razor-thin line between sanity and madness.
Additional Notes:
*Spoilers* About the ending, Alan Moore said: "For the record, my intention at the end of that book was to have the two characters simply experiencing a brief moment of lucidity in their ongoing very weird and probably fatal relationship with each other, reaching a moment where they both perceive the hell that they are in, and can only laugh at their preposterous situation." Grant Morisson said: "That's what I love about it, is that nobody's noticed--how many, thirty years ago it was? Batman kills the Joker. That's why it's called The Killing Joke. The Joker tells "the killing joke" at the end, Batman reaches out and breaks his neck and that's why the laughter stops and the light goes out at the end, is because that was their last chance at crossing that bridge. And Alan wrote the ultimate Batman/Joker story--he finished it!"
Special Thanks:
Special thanks to Dwight Fry.
Release Information:
Digital
Editing Details:
I mostly removed everything that was added in but also was forced to make some creative choices because the graphic novel is pure comic book language and this can be difficult to translate into sequential moving images that is cinema's language. For example, Batman's pummeling of thugs to get information on the Joker's whereabouts: In the comic it's all on a single page and intercut with Gordon going through the merry-go-round doors. The way this is experienced in a graphic novel when we turn to that page is our eyes will get all the information in one glance, then look at each panel individually for whatever amount of time is required for us to process what is going on. This can’t be replicated with moving images because it's too jarring and confusing and the subtle things that bind the page together are completely lost. For example one of the merry-go-round doors has a panther whose pattern is also on the prostitutes' dresses.

If you’re curious about the language of comics, do yourself a favor and check out Scott McCloud’s “Understanding comics”. I learned a lot about visual arts and storytelling through it and it’s all told in comic book form so it’s an easy read: https://www.amazon.ca/Understanding-Comics-Scott-McCloud/dp/006097625X
Cuts and Additions:
- Replaced the godawful Warner Bros Animation logo with the much nicer one from Dark Knight Returns.
- Cut the first half hour as it's pure invention and extrapolation from the graphic novel and even offending (Batgirl has an affair with Batman??).
- Kept a single shot of the rain on the ground as this is how the graphic novel actually begins and ends but it's inexplicably missing at the "real beginning" of this adaptation which is at the 30 minutes 56 seconds mark. that entire 30 minutes is removed from the edit as it isn't in the graphic novel.
- Added a very light rain effect when Batman arrives at Arkham Asylum, the way it looks like in the graphic novel.
- Spruced up the bat mobile engine with a race car engine. It's the bat mobile, not a Toyota Camry.
- Turned down the saturation on the flashback scenes to match the graphic novel.
- Cut the jazz music during the Joker flashback scene when he explains he's a failure to his pregnant wife. Why is relaxing smooth jazz playing? Because that's what you do in a cartoon, you MUST have music everywhere. I replaced the jazz with noise from the street making it even more clear that he lives in a shit apartment in a shit part of town.
- Why did they remove the beautiful Alan Moore transitions from the graphic novel? How difficult would it have been to follow the book? Sadly, this can't be fixed but I did find a nice transition from flashback Joker to carnival Joker to Barbara in the hospital.
- Removed the doctor pricking Barbara with a needle to check her sensitivity while she's sleeping. That is not how medicine works.
- Removed the jazzy music in the shitty bar / restaurant.
- Made a fade transition from the Joker's wife's death to tortured Gordon. like all the other transitions. This transition also fixes the sequence of events that they changed for the adaptation for some reason.
- Removed the entire judge wig sequence as it's not in the graphic novel. It also gives voices and opinions to Joker's lackeys which isn't in the graphic novel either.
- Removed most of the music during the singing Joker sequence and left it as an echo. The sequence works in the graphic novel because we don't hear the music, we pay attention to the lyrics and the point that the Joker is trying to make. However in the context of moving images and sounds, it feels like a Disney musical number. By removing the music and leaving just an echo of it, it lessens the misplaced humor and reinstates the scene as truly horrifying and reinforces the Joker as a megalomaniac.
- Removed Batman saying "I'm gonna count to ten - one, nine. Is he scolding a child? My mom used to do that. Also, it’s not in the graphic novel.
- Removed Batman asking thug to swear to him instead of god. Why would Batman ask this?? Removed most of the dialog but left just enough to let the audience know that Batman is looking for information on the Joker’s whereabouts. The scene is silent in the graphic novel but in the adaptation it just appears as if Batman is randomly beating up thugs. The dialog I left in makes Batman's investigation clear.
- Reconstructed the music and sound effects for the entire Batman pummeling for clues sequence.
- Removed night club mob boss talking to Batman. You don't say "You done?" to Batman beating up your thugs. Also, not in the graphic novel. Also removed the rest of the dialog, just like in the graphic novel.
- Removed the dialog between Batman and the prostitutes. Here it’s a full scene, in the graphic novel it’s a single panel without dialog.
- After Batman receives the circus tickets, changed the transition from a fade in from black to a hard cut to Gordon point of view in the roller coaster car.
- Removed establishing shot of the factory and made a hard cut after Joker says "Time to reflect upon life and all its random uncontrollability" to flashback Joker reflecting on the factory fence.
- Added a glass distortion effect to the Red Hood's point of view to further limit flashback Joker's ability to see in a similar way to the graphic novel.
- Created a new "Alan Moore transition" from Joker laughing maniacally after falling into the vat to Batman's head.
- Deleted Batman's confrontation with Joker's thugs. He meets the Joker right away, just like in the Graphic novel.
- Deleted Batman's fight with the bat midgets. He seemingly kills two of them in the spiked pit, but Batman doesn't kill. Also, not in the novel.
- Deleted Joker's line: "By clinging to reality, you're denying the reality of the situation.". It's clumsy and not in the novel.
- Added police sirens as Batman stated they were on their way, and they do come in the graphic novel as the camera pans down.
- Added back Alan Moore’s name in the credits. He asked for them to be removed but he might appreciate this fanedit. Although he has stated that the story is too violent and that the best Batman adaptation was the 1960s Adam West version. Go figure. Alan Moore is a mad man.

User reviews

4 reviews
Overall rating
 
9.7
Audio/Video Quality
 
10.0(4)
Visual Editing
 
10.0(4)
Audio Editing
 
10.0(4)
Narrative
 
9.8(4)
Enjoyment
 
9.5(4)
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Overall rating
 
10.0
Audio/Video Quality
 
10.0
Visual Editing
 
10.0
Audio Editing
 
10.0
Narrative
 
10.0
Enjoyment
 
10.0
The first five paragraphs or so of this review would be a rant about how much of an abomination I consider the Killing Joke movie as released to be, so I'll spare you that. I'll just say that what was added was complete garbage, and what was adapted from the graphic novel was just a shallow representation that felt like just a paycheck day for everyone involved, despite having the potential to be the Batman animated movie to end all Batman animated movies (in more than one sense if you go with the Grant Morrison interpretation of the ending). It belongs to the same category as the Dark Knight Returns animated movie, incidentally also brilliantly fanedited by Blueyoda. They both take very unusual comic books and treat them like random run of the mill Batman stories. So, again just like TDKR, this is one of those "only so much can be done" edits.

This said, it is a magnificent edit. About everything that could be done to render this as close to the source novel as possible while still acknowledging that the page and the screen are two different mediums with separate sets of rules, is done here. There are certain spots that diverge from the comic even though the material was there to reproduce it faithfully, but the result there is for the better and actually fit the core themes perfectly. Won't spoil exactly the moment, but there's a bit in which Blueyoda chose to cut from one character's closeup to another's instead of showing the latter arriving, and it fits so well!

A visual style has also been applied that in parts renders the colors closer to the comic, to be more specific Bolland's tweaked, muted and recolored version of it. I must say that, unlike Blueyoda, I *VASTLY* prefer John Higgins' original trippy coloring job from the 80s, but both the editor's personal preference and the fact that Higgins' colors would be hard to reproduce here must be acknowledged, and hey, at least this looks like ONE version of the novel. And it does work great for the screen, no matter how I feel about Bolland going George Lucas on it. And this is not saying it's not trippy, as some bits do have a quasi-hallucinatory effect applied to them that is a wonderful idea. The ending also has a bit of a twist. I also have to mention that Blueyoda's interpretation of the ending greatly differs from mine, but is equally valid, and that's the greatness of the novel's ending, that it admits many possible readings (unlike the movie version, which is a flat and face-value-only reading, so choosing a definite one is far from a bad idea).

It goes without saying that all the garbage additions by Azzarello have been killed with fire, and that the technical aspects of the edit are completely flawless, as always with Blueyoda. This is not the first Killing Joke edit that has been done, and it might not be the last, but it's as satisfying a novel cut as it can be done. I have not seen MusicEd921's attempt. He is an excellent editor as well so his edit may be just as good, but Blueyoda's is hard to surpass. As much justice to Alan Moore as could be done without scrapping the whole thing and making a new one, has been done.

Oh, and incidentally, this is not even the first Killing Joke edit by the Blue One. Years ago he did a live action one that can be found buried in the extra features of my own Batman Descent Into Mystery edit. After you watch the animated one, go get my edit and watch that Killing Joke as well. I don't mind it if you don't even look at my edit. That short is just THAT great.
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Overall rating
 
8.8
Audio/Video Quality
 
10.0
Visual Editing
 
10.0
Audio Editing
 
10.0
Narrative
 
9.0
Enjoyment
 
8.0
Another great Batman Edit form BlueYoda!
My favorite fanedits are the ones that save an otherwise unhappy viewing experience. And the original release with all the extra love crap was definitely an unhappy experience to watch for me. Thank god for this edit!

Pros- A good intro dictates a whole viewing experience for me - start bad, and you spend the rest of the time redeeming yourself. Now, without the excess baggage of studio filler material, this movie is so much closer to the source comic, and so much better because of it. Clearly leaps and bounds above what we were given originally, and still keeps the best parts that resonate with me from the original comic.

Cons - I can now see kinda why the studio wanted to add more... the pace feels very fast for the emotional story being told, at least not as dark as it came through in the comics at least. Not sure if longer lingering shots would have helped, but while it was very close to the comics in visuals, the pacing felt quick and the score felt too lighthearted. And Gordon's journey didn't feel dark enough. And that is no fault of the BlueYoda at all, I think they did the best they could with what they had.

This will ABSOLUTELY be my preferred way to watch. It should ABSOLUTEY be yours too.
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Overall rating
 
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10.0
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10.0
Narrative
 
10.0
Enjoyment
 
10.0
This version is cut perfectly to mirror the legendary graphic novel. Any fan of The Killing Joke must see this edit to witness the novel come to life through animation in this sublime edit.

User Review

Do you recommend this edit?
Yes
Format Watched?
Digital
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Overall rating
 
10.0
Audio/Video Quality
 
10.0
Visual Editing
 
10.0
Audio Editing
 
10.0
Narrative
 
10.0
Enjoyment
 
10.0
As someone who enjoys the original cut of the Killing Joke (Minus the first 30 min. That can be removed or skipped to enjoy the rest of the film), this was such a great alternative, more accurate cut to the comic. I especially love the subtilty on how you edit the ending but I wont spoil it here. You gotta watch it to see what he did.

Every cut was to near absolute perfection and all the subtly added sfx really helped add more to the film and helped the film give more into the dark tone. Not to mention the cuts of the film are a welcome change even if the film is now only 40 min. I highly recommend anyone who is a fan of the comic to give this a watch. Only change I would like to see is just some rain sfx on the flashback scene in the apartment since its shown to be raining outside but that's about it. This cut is just perfection.

User Review

Do you recommend this edit?
Yes
Format Watched?
Digital
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Top 500 Reviewer 6 reviews
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