(Welcome to Let’s Get Animated!, a column that spotlights the best of film animation. In this edition: the best DC animated films, from direct-to-video movies to theatrical releases.)
Marvel Studios may rule at the box office, but DC can proudly claim dominion over animated movies. Usually released direct-to-video, animated movies based on DC Comics have recently made the leap to theaters with Teen Titans Go! To the Movies — though a few recent direct-to-video films have seen limited theatrical release. But DC has long established itself as an animation titan, thanks to the movie spin-offs of its acclaimed series from the ’90s and early 2000s, and thanks to its ever-expanding DC Universe Animated Original Movies.
Now with 32 DC Universe movies in the bag, and even more to come, let’s do our favorite thing: rank them. We picked the top 10 DC animated movies, which range from more recent fare in the DC Animated Original Movies initiative to classic features related to Bruce Timm’s DC Animated Universe.
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Before Christopher Nolan gave Batman a gritty makeover and Zack Snyder doubled down on the grimdark take, there was Darren Aronofsky and his shelved Batman: Year One project.
The project, which drew inspiration from Frank Miller‘s similarly-titled comic book, envisioned a Travis Bickle-like Bruce Wayne who grew up an orphan in the crime-ridden streets of Gotham, donning a ski mask, cape, and brass knuckles to fight criminals. The project languished in development hell for years before Warner Bros. pulled the plug, but it seems like traces of the idea may still be floating around. Aronofsky, who is currently doing the press rounds for his newest bonkers film mother!, says that he sees more than a few similarities between the description of Todd Phillips‘ upcoming Joker origin movie and Aronofsky’s own Batman pitch.
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The Batman is in good hands right now. Putting aside whatever you think of Zack Snyder‘s portrayal of the character, it’s Ben Affleck who has the keys to Batman franchise. The director of Gone Baby Gone, The Town, and Argo is making the next Batman film, so there’s reason to look forward to the future of these movies. We still don’t fully know what to expect from Affleck’s vision for Batman, but we do know what the franchise would look like if The Dark Knight Returns writer Frank Miller had his druthers.
Below, learn Frank Miller’s Batman movie idea.
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UPDATE: Darren Aronofsky commented on Twitter about this work. Read his quote below.
Long before Christopher Nolan’s Batman Begins hit theaters, director Darren Aronofsky almost made his own take on Batman. After finishing Requiem For A Dream in 2000, the director was developing a screen adaptation of Frank Miller‘s milestone Batman story Batman: Year One. He co-wrote a screenplay with Miller and began conceiving he look of the film before Warner Bros. pulled the plug in favor of Nolan.
Luckily, things worked out not only for the director, but for Miller, Nolan, and Batman as a character. Still, the dream of an Aronofsky-directed superhero movie continues to elude us. (Don’t forget he was also going to direct The Wolverine before leaving that project.) Now a slew of concept images have come online giving us a tiny glimpse at what the man who’d later direct The Fountain, The Wrestler and Black Swan had in mind for the Caped Crusader. Read More »
Titan Books has provided /Film with an exclusive excerpt from David Hughes‘ upcoming book Tales From Development Hell: The Greatest Movies Never Made? I’ve had a preview copy of the new updated edition and have been enjoying it thoroughly. There is some truly great and frustrating stories within — including the big screen adaptation of Neil Gaiman‘s Sandman, Ridley Scott‘s Crisis in the Hot Zone which collapsed days before filming, James Cameron‘s Fantastic Voyage, the long road to bring The Lord of the Rings to the big screen (one incarnation featured the Beatles), the many scripts and long development of Indiana Jones 4, and many others.
Probably the best chapter in the book focuses on the history of Batman adaptations, including Darren Aronofsky and Frank Miller‘s adaptation of Batman: Year One starring Clint Eastwood. After the jump you will find an excerpt of this chapter.
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Want to read a slew of positive, negative and funny reactions to The Avengers trailer? What’s the latest costume worn by Henry Cavill in Man of Steel? Is the latest set video to be release from The Dark Knight Rises the best one yet? Could Catwoman kick any more ass in Batman: Year One? Which HBO star was just cast in The The Dark Knight Rises? How does The Amazing Spider-Man look in toy form? Does The Avengers fit into the Joss Whedonverse? And what DC superheros are ready for their Lego close up? Read all of this and much more in today’s massive 100th edition of Superhero Bits! Read More »
Want to watch a brand new clip from Batman: Year One? What does a man who has had 15 years of plastic surgery to look like Superman look like? Speaking of Superman, what’s up with the Man of Steel filming? Is something wrong with Bruce Wayne on the set of The Dark Knight Rises? And how would Mark Millar have rebooted the DC 52? Read about all of this and more in today’s Superhero Bits. Read More »
Would you read the details on the above note projectionists got telling them the restrictions on The Dark Knight Rises trailer? Curious about the Captain America: The First Avenger post-credits sequence and what about that film made Chris Evans go to therapy? Will Man of Steel start its own Carmageddon? Want to see what this year’s Warner Bros. Comic-Con bags look like? Read about all this and more in today’s Superhero Bits. Read More »
Cool Posts From Around the Web:
After Frank Miller wrote the end of Batman’s story in The Dark Knight Returns, he and the brilliant comic artist David Mazzucchelli took to the pages of Batman’s regular comic series to remap the character’s origin in Year One. Those issues (Batman #404-407 in 1987) became one of the landmark Batman stories. For almost twenty-five years Year One has had a lasting effect on major Batman storylines, even instigating the scuttled Darren Aronofsky Batman film a decade ago, and eventually providing a good deal of inspiration to Christopher Nolan’s subsequent film Batman Begins.
Warner Premiere is continuing its series of animated DC Comics films with a direct to DVD animated take on Batman: Year One, starring Ben McKenzie as Batman, Bryan Cranston as Lt. James Gordon, Eliza Dushku as Selina Kyle/Catwoman, and Katee Sackhoff as Detective Sarah Essen. We’ve already seen some art, and for a moment there was a ten-minute making of featurette that has since been taken offline. Now there is a trailer, which you can see after the break. Read More »
Want to see a photo of animated Catwoman from Batman: Year One? How about a trailer for Mark Millar‘s Wolverine story Old Man Logan? Curious what things looked like behind the scenes on Captain America: The First Avenger? Would you like to own Stan Lee‘s head or comic book jewelry? Read about all of this and more in today’s Superhero Bits. Read More »