Stunning Accuracy from Comic to Film
Often times the moving of a tale from comic book to screen is a move destined to disappoint fans of the original stories... it's quite hard to find a film where all the die-hards are perfectly satisfied with the translation.
Even in the case of a movie like "Watchmen"- which tried so hard to follow the comic, the translation from a speech bubble in a comic cell to words uttered out of a live actors mouth more often than not were proven to fall flat... and where was my monster at the end?
More typically what happens are origins and characters are quickly muddled... a hodge-podge of writers all with different ideas of how to tell the story slap together what they think is an appropriate compromise amongst each other for the general public. After it's initial writing stages it goes through a few more editors, big corporate producers change a few major elements and sprinkle in some scenes that must be added to whatever film is next in line to be produced (listen to Kevin Smith's monologue on the giant spider in a scrapped Superman script for a perfect example of this), and by the time all is said and done what the fan has is a nice shiny piece of Hollywood crap, complete with all the bells and whistles no one ever asked for.
Thank god for Warner Bros. Premier's animated straight to DVD line.
I honestly can't imagine any fan of "The Dark Knight Returns" comic series being disappointing with their animated adaptation.
The animated feature is broken into two parts- divided at pretty much the exact same spot as the space between graphic novels.
The attention to detail and love for the comic is seen in every shot... granted I did not sit with the comic checking and tracing frame for frame, but the dialogue was so familiar I believe most is word for word... and every image gave me deja vu. These cartoons are every bit as daring and bold as the comic, maybe the profanity is toned down a bit... but the overall adult storyline is completely in tact and suffers no censorship or significant changes.
Vocal Talent Throughout the Film
Of course the voice of Mark Hamill will always be the Joker to me, but since his retirement from the character after "Arkham City" was announced, a different voice for Joker must be found.
The sinister speech belonging to Michael Emerson of "Lost" fame (Benjamin Linus) can be heard in Hamill's place, and a fine job he does at delivering the calm and collected, sick and twisted... slightly effeminate voice of the Joker of "The Dark Knight Returns". Quite a haunting performance indeed.
Also notable is Peter Weller (best known for his role as Robocop) as Batman, giving a low and aged voice to a tired and stubborn Bruce Wayne.
In the final two parts of this article some of the deeper themes and messages within the story will be examined, characters will be looked at with a closer eye, and the reason "The Dark Knight Returns" and the Batman story in general is so important will be addressed.