The first true Elseworlds tale from DC comes to animated life as a steampunk Batman hunts Jack the Ripper through the shadows of turn-of-the-century Gotham City in Batman: Gotham By Gaslight. Produced by Warner Bros. Animation and DC Entertainment.
Batman: Gotham by Gaslight is an elseworlds story which follows a Steampunk Batman through the Victorian streets of London as Jack the Ripper drops bodies all throughout the city. Based on the comics of the same name. I’ll be honest here, I’ve never read Gotham by Gaslight. This would make my homie, and friend of the site, Mitch, disappointed in me. I say this, because if you’re looking for comparison to the original source, you’re not going to get much of that here.
Gotham by Gaslight not only hurls the animated Batman stories into the horror genre, but it does sporting an R-rating. If I’m being honest, it didn’t call for the R. There is some blood and violence, but I’ve seen much worse in a PG-13 movie. My guess is that it’s mature in nature, and we wouldn’t want to scar those kiddies for life. GbG also returns to the Detective Batman, rather than balls-out Batman always attempting to save the world from some sort of extraterrestrial threat. Don’t get me wrong, I love high-stakes stories, but it’s nice to see Batman do what he does best.
The animation is what you’d expect from an animated DC movie. There is a certain crowd who will write it off immediately. I’ve never minded the animation myself, but I could see if you’re not accustomed to watching these animated movies, it could be jarring. One thing I noticed about the animation is that everybody has a comically square head, and even more so, chins. It may sound silly, but those damn square chins just drove me crazy. Also, in a few parts, it seems like there was a drop in frame rate. I could be wrong, but if that was intentional, it didn’t look very well. I enjoyed Gotham by Gaslight very much, and I hope that WB/DC continue to animate Elseworlds stories. This claimed to be the first Elseworlds animated movie, but I’m not so sure about that. Even if you don’t count Flashpoint, there’s still Gods & Monsters. Maybe they mean the first BATMAN elseworlds story. Either way, I loved Gotham by Gaslight, and will finally get around to reading the book.
For the purpose of this review, I was provided with a 4KUHD/Blu-ray/Digital copy of the film. I do not have a UHD player, so I can’t comment on the quality of that. I can say, however, that it looks great in 1080p, so I can only imagine a noticeable upgrade in PQ if you do happen to have a player. The Blu-ray features an AVC-encoded 1080p transfer presented in 1.78:1. The PQ is very clear and clean, as can be expected. The English audio is a DTS-HD MA 5.1 track, and there are several Dolby Digital 5.1 tracks available in other languages on the disc, including French, Spanish, and Portuguese. There are some extras on the disc, where you can see a full listing below. Commentaries, featurettes, and bonus full episodes of both Batman: TAS, and Batman the Brave and the Bold. WB/DC’s Gotham by Gaslight is hitting store shelves today. You can purchase a copy of your own on Amazon for twenty-five bucks on UHD, or seventeen bucks on Blu-ray. It is likely that the prices will drop, but I have no idea when. It’s definitely worth the seventeen dollars, especially if you collect these DC animated films.
- Caped Fear: The First Elseworld” (Featurette)
- Batman: Gotham by Gaslight Audio Commentary
- A Sneak Peek at the next DC Universe Movie, Suicide Squad: Hell To Pay
- From the DC Vault – “Showdown” episode from Batman: The Animated Series; “Trials of the Demon!” episode from Batman: The Brave and the Bold.