I will make no effort to hide the fact that I really dig the old DC Elsworlds titles. For the uninformed, these take the characters of parts of the DCU and put them in a different time and place. The first one was Batman: Gotham by Gaslight. The DC animated films group decided it was time to make an animated version of the classic, and with my enjoyment of the orignal(and its sequel), I thought I would give them a chance, even after the debacle that was Batman and Harley Quinn.
And having seen the film, I can now solidly say they have lost the entire idea of what the DCU characters are, what heroism is, and are perfectly happy to throw the original under the bus to tell the subversive story they want to tell. Do NOT see this film. This will have spoilers.
As a piece completely apart from any version of the DCU, with NO knowledge of the characters, it might be fine. But give me the original by Mike Mignola, Brian Augustyn, and P. Craig Russell over this. That had great art, knew how to place a story in history, and willingly placed extra characters in the mix.
The film didn't even really try to match the mood the art set, just some mimicry of the costuming. Here's a panel from the original:
And now the costume from the animated:
Yes, its similar, but the animated version is very bright in comparison. There's also the fact that the stories deviate greatly. In the comic, Bruce Wayne starts in London, and returns to Gotham by ship, where he encounters an old family friend and lawyer. None of this is present, nor is the lawyer, who ends up our villain. So instead, we jump to the Gotham World's Fair being part of our setting(which is in the sequel), and instead of a villain outside Batman's circle, they turn one of Batman's supporting cast into the villain.
One HUGE problem with this: Elseworlds aren't about completely changing characters, they're about moving them to other settings, and giving them different backgrounds. This is a massive change to the character. Because the villain is changed to Jim Gordon, who in the comics is a hero, and not given to fanaticism or murder. If the role had gone to Harvey Dent, who is also present, I could maybe have dealt with it. But of course, both of these deny part of the original premise: that Jack the Ripper not only got away, but went to Gotham after his crimes in London, which weren't even talked about in the film.
There's also a great deal of fixation on sex in the story, which I do not recall from the original. Of course, given the other deviations from the original story and plot, I shouldn't expect any uprightness to be left in the work when they're done. And there was plenty of story to fill time if they simply told both Elseworlds books as one film. in fact, I'd guess enough for an hour and half to two hours of animation. So why bother changing it? They hate the content, they hate the history, and they hate the geeks that actually know the stuff they deride.
Save yourself the time of watching the film and find the original book.
When you play Social Justice, the world loses.