It’s the graphic novel that made The New York Times‘ best-seller list when released in 1988, but how does Batman: The Killing Joke fare on 4K Ultra HD in movie form some 30 years later? Will you be grinning like The Joker, or scowling like Batman?
The story: An origin story for The Joker – who’s voiced here spectacularly by Mark Hamill – we commence proceedings with an added piece featuring the relationship between Batman and Batgirl, before kicking into the graphic novel’s story. This sees a guy quit his job at a chemical factory to go into stand-up comedy, but failing rather spectacularly. Desperate times lead him to taking desperate measures, and he turns to criminality, later becoming a certain green-haired villain. Back in the present day, Batman heads to Arkham aiming to make amends with The Joker, until he discovers that the villain has escaped and has plans to send Commissioner Gordon crazy.
“All it takes is one bad day…”
The 4K disc: We’ve heard some people riddling why it’s worth getting DC animated features such as this on 4K when they’re all – at least so far, and including this one – upscaled 2K transfers with DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1. Beyond the fact that it still marks a slight improvement resolution-wise over Blu-ray, the answer is simple: HDR. The increase in dynamic range afforded the 4K Ultra HD presentation gives the image a chance to shine – often literally – with the brights of city lights and police flashers popping in a way that you just don’t get with Blu-ray or DVD. Then there’s the matter of less noticeable compression – try an A-B comparison between the 4K disc and the standard Blu-ray and you should see what we mean. As for the sound, the lossless DTS format utilised delivers all manner of pleasing thumps and surround play. It just doesn’t fire upwards like a sweet Batman punch to the chin.
Release date: September 26, 2018
Format: 4K Ultra HD
Starring: The voices of Kevin Conroy, Mark Hamill, Tara Strong
Want to know what to get next? Check out STACK‘s 4K Ultra HD specifications guide.