Home Video Hovel: The Killing Joke, by Tyler Smith

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2 Responses

  1. David Gallagher says:

    If I can offer a few thoughts: It didn’t work for me really, for two reasons. That opening half hour. It might be a fine emotional Barbara story on its own merits (though its not where the character was emotionally in the book at the time so I’m not sure I can even go that far) but adding it to The Killing Joke seems quite cynical. It’s almost a bone tossed to viewers who may not know her from other media. They need a reason to care when…the later event occurs.

    The big problem for me though – perhaps ironically since this has been the focus of the marketing – is Hamill as The Joker. He’s been great as a certain type of Joker for decades. One who delivers asides and references while being quite terrifying and over the top at the same time. Moore’s Joker, though, is not Bruce Timm’s from the Animated Series. It’s not the Arkham video game’s. It’s a more literate, philosophical almost apocalyptic Joker who talks quite unlike any other iteration. And Hamill just can’t pull of that style. When he’s ranting to Gordon at the fairground the delivery was just jarring. I’m not even sure it’s Marks fault – those gorgeous words work on the page but maybe an animated feature isn’t the right forum for them. Perhaps any actor is on a hiding to nothing attempting to deliver such intricate, understated (by most Jokers standards) lines and still do the wild, laughing madman bit.

    Alan Moore isn’t right that none of his work can translate to screen but, like some of Watchmen, much of From Hell and certainly the Joker dialogue in The Killing Joke, it’s very, very hard to just lift certain things from one medium and just put them word-for-word into another. The animated versions of Frank Miller’s Dark Knight Returns worked wonderfully. What’s the difference? Miller writes cinematically. Moore writes literature. One isn’t better or worse but it makes one easier to turn into a film script. There’s a reason Miller has courted Hollywood while Moore stays home in England.

    It’s probably going to do gangbusters by DC Animation bluray standards but if anyone asked me if it was worth their time and cash – I’d tell them buy the book, and if you need a Batman/Joker animation then stick to Under The Red Hood or Mask Of The Phantasm.

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