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The Dark Knight Plays Well Again

...and yet the cowl has a nose...
Let this be the first in an occasional series of us letting you find some weird and wonderful corners of the web where skill, storytelling sense and die-hard fandom all collide.

Today, we point your attention toward a short film entitled Batman: New Times, the final project for the December 2004 graduates of DAVE school. That's an institute of higher learning located in Orlando, Florida dedicated to training computer animators and visual effects artists. Its graduates have gone on to work for many major effects studios all over the world, and apparently many are gathered in England working on the CG Captain Scarlet series, which personally I'm dying to see.

Back to New Times. The class combined the work of Art Asylum's Mini-Mates toyline with the obviously compatible Lego toy system, and created a small epic of Batman facing down the Joker, Catwoman and Harley Quinn on New Year's Eve. Everything in the film has been modeled as if built out of Legos.

But that's not what makes it cool. To voice Batman, they got Adam West. For the Joker, they got Mark Hamill. Because computer animation has become a passion of his, Dick Van Dyke stepped in to voice Commissioner Gordon (a brilliant casting, by the way), and Courtney Thorne-Smith grew tired of Jim Belushi long enough to be Catwoman.

The plot hits all the standard fan moments, borrowing from several incarnations of Batman to create a few minutes of fun. You'll see nice swipes from the animated series, the 60's series and Tim Burton's vision.

Though DC has occasionally grumbled, it's nice to see that the company understands that letting fans do cool things with their characters in no way endangers their own franchises. Certainly, taking a look at New Times isn't going to dim your enthusiasm for the upcoming Batman Begins. But it may make you want to go out and buy some Legos.

Click here to enjoy!

Harley Quinn does her best to slow down the Batmobile...


Derek McCaw

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