Batman: The Killing Joke appears in an aspect ratio of 1.78:1 on this Blu-ray Disc. I felt consistently pleased with this strong presentation.
No issues with sharpness emerged. The movie always came across as tight and well-defined, so don’t expect any signs of softness.
Jaggies and moiré effects also remained absent, and the image lacked edge haloes or artifacts. In addition, print flaws were a non-factor and didn’t appear at any point.
In terms of colors, Joke went with a dark palette that favored blues and greens. The tones looked solid, as they showed positive richness and vivacity.
Blacks were deep and tight, while shadows showed nice clarity. Across the board, the image worked well.
I thought the DTS-HD MA 5.1 soundtrack of Joke opened up the comic book material well. This wasn’t a particularly ambitious piece, but it added pizzazz to the program.
The forward channels brought out the majority of the material. Music presented strong stereo imaging, while effects cropped up in logical spots and blended well.
The surrounds also contributed good information. For the most part, these reinforced the forward channels, but they also contributed a fair amount of unique material, instances that mainly occurred during bigger action scenes. The back speakers brought out a nice sense of space and environment.
Audio quality always satisfied. Speech was warm and natural, without edginess or other issues.
Music sounded lively and full, while effects displayed good definition. Those elements seemed accurate and dynamic. All of this led to a positive presentation that deserved a “B”.
Like most DC animated Blu-rays, this one comes with multiple Sneak Peeks. The first previews Justice League Dark. It goes for eight minutes, 13 seconds and features director Jay Oliva, DC Entertainment Animation Creative Director Mike Carlin, producer James Tucker, and actors Jason O’Mara, Camilla Luddington, and Matt Ryan.
They tell us about the aspects of the film’s story and character areas. It’s a promo piece but it’s an effective one.
Two separate “peeks” discuss parts one and two of Batman: The Dark Knight Returns. These fill a total of 19 minutes, 28 seconds and include comments from Carlin, Oliva, casting director Andrea Romano, screenwriter Bob Goodman, co-producer Alan Burnett, executive producer Bruce Timm, and actors Peter Weller, David Selby, Ariel Winter, Michael McKean, Michael Emerson and Mark Valley.
We get notes about story and characters as well as cast and performances. These become basic advertisement and not much more.
Finally, the “sneak peek” for Batman: Assault on Arkham runs seven minutes, 29 seconds and offers info from Oliva, Romano, Tucker, screenwriter Heath Corson, and actors Troy Baker and Matthew Gray Gubler.
We learn about the film’s story/characters as well as cast and various production elements. It’s another promotional piece, of course, but it’s more interesting than most.
Two featurettes follow, and Madness Set to Music lasts 11 minutes, 54 seconds and includes info from Timm, Carlin, Tucker, social psychology professor Benjamin Karney, composers Michael McCuistion, Lolita Ritmanis and Kristopher Carter, and actor Mark Hamill.
Though it touches on a few areas, “Madness” mainly looks at the movie’s music. It covers the subject in a reasonably effective manner.
The Many Shades of the Joker spans 17 minutes, 43 seconds and features Timm, Carlin, Karney, Oliva, DC co-publisher Dan DiDio and Gotham executive producer John Stephens.
“Shades” offers an examination of the Joker from a number of angles as well as some other extensions of Joke. As a basic history and introspective view, “Shades” works pretty well.
Under From the DC Vault, we get two animated episodes. Here we find “Christmas with the Joker” (22:26) Batman: The Animated Series and “Old Wounds” (21:11) from The New Batman Adventures.
“Christmas” works well, as it uses Joker nicely and offers a good combination of action and plot. “Wounds” doesn’t seem quite as strong, but it manages enough excitement to succeed.
The disc opens with ads for Batman v. Superman: Dawn of Justice and “DC Season Pass”. We also find trailers for Batman: Bad Blood and Suicide Squad.
An adaptation of a famous comic book, Batman: The Killing Joke doesn’t live up to the source. The film version feels tepid and fails to deliver the drama and horror at the tale’s core. The Blu-ray comes with excellent visuals, solid audio and a decent selection of supplements. Joke disappoints.