Batman: The Killing Joke - The Novel Cut

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9.3
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(Updated: November 17, 2022)
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5.5
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9.0
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10.0
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9.0
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6.0
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3.0
Aside from the usual technical excellence of Alan Moore and Brian Bolland's work in their primes, I'm not much of a Killing Joke fan for its darkening ramifications on the wider DCU (though Barbara Gordon as Oracle is the ultimate sow's ear-to-silk purse story in all of comics, thanks to Ostrander/Yale). The original Killing Joke film adaptation written by Brian Azzarello (a good enough writer but undoubtedly a poor man's Garth Ennis who is himself a poor man's Alan Moore) was a bloated, character-betraying mess and the animation was utterly banal DC DTV house style. (For a better visual adaptation of TKJ, I implore all to check out the Zellers Batman commercials by veteran animator John Celestri.)

BlueYoda has done the best possible job of reining in the bloat of the original cut, allowing what is now a faithful adaptation of this undeniably important comic, and it is exciting and even revelatory to see some of Alan Moore's subtler scene shifts (a trademark of this era) take place. I have to admit, a few of them (the cut into Jim Gordon's apartment for example) had never occurred to me.

So a much-improved version of a mediocre adaptation of a seminal but depressive comic. Hard to say I'll revisit it but for the curious, this is definitely the version you want.
R
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(Updated: September 23, 2022)
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10.0
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10.0
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10.0
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10.0
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10.0
I really liked this. it was good to get rid of the crap opening and get to the actual good stuff

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Yes
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10.0
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10.0
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10.0
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10.0
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10.0
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10.0
Can find nothing at all to fault, to utilise the overused phrases the cuts were seamless and it never felt like anything was missing. From all what is said about the extra material on the original version I don't think I ever need watch it, why should when this edit exists!

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P
Top 50 Reviewer 58 reviews
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10.0
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10.0
I love the graphic novel the Killing Joke. It was short, concise, and brutal. Blueyoda's fanedit brings back the brutal concision that was horribly missing from the original. Of course, the important edit is the removal of the unnecessary relationship with Barabara Gordon. This fixed the rewatch for me and made this a watchable, short adaptation of one of my favorite graphic novels.

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10.0
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10.0
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10.0
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10.0
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10.0
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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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