BATMAN BEYOND: YEAR ONE (DVD)

3 Stars
Year Released: 2003
MPAA Rating: Unrated
Running Time: 40 minutes
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When the “Batman Beyond” storyline was introduced, it presented an exciting next generation of good vs. evil within the city limits of Gotham, giving fans of the Dark Knight a little break from that old fart Bruce Wayne, confining him to the depths of the Bat Cave and giving somebody else a chance to prance around the city in skin tight battle armor. The “Batman Beyond” comic book and cartoon series have been wildly successful in creating this slick, new Batman. But the major attraction of “Batman Beyond” is the storyline, a comic book geek’s dream come true – Terry McGinnis, an aimless team running the streets as a petty thief is hand picked by Bruce Wayne to be the next Batman. When “Batman Beyond” first emerged back in ’99, it left many a comic geek screaming up to the sky, “WHY NOT ME?!” Don’t worry little troopers, maybe one of you will be next. Perhaps Luke Skywalker will come banging at your window late at night, offering you the chance to become a Jedi Master. It could happen. But until then, you might as well do something creative with yourselves. Take young filmmaker Aaron Schoenke for instance, he didn’t wait to see what Hollywood had to offer in the way of a “Batman Beyond” live action film; he went ahead and donned the slick, new Batman suit himself, gathered a bunch of friends and die hard Batman junkies and made this fan film, a loving tribute to all things Gotham.
“Batman Beyond: Year One” tells the story of how young Terry McGinnis rose from his life of crime on the streets to being the next generation Batman. With Schoenke portraying the new Batman, we get to see character struggling with his new responsibility while battling the Jokerz gang. There are street fights, cranky jabberings from Bruce Wayne and a cool nightmare sequence featuring the Joker.
For a fan film, “Year One” actually pulls off some really cool effects and editing techniques. The fight scenes are creatively constructed as to rival those found in the animated series and there’s even a point where Batman turns invisible – he’s outlined, of course, so you can still see where he is; if he turned entirely invisible that would just be no fun because, as we all know, a completely invisible character is the cheapest effect to pull off. This isn’t a glossy Hollywood production, but for the limited resources Schoenke and crew had at their power, they created something that is sure to please fans of the “Batman Beyond” series everywhere. “Batman Beyond: Year One” was created by a love for these characters and the determination to see them brought to life, not by runaway egos and the determination to see these characters plastered all over Happy Meals.

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Posted on July 22, 2004 in Reviews by
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