Although the live-action Batman franchise faltered artistically after Tim Burton gave up control, the slack was taken up by the Saturday morning cartoon show, whose creators are responsible for this feature film. Though a... more » cartoon, Batman: Mask of the Phantasm is less cartoonish than the popular '60s TV show (which spawned its own movie, Batman: The Movie). Mask of the Phantasm combines the noir of the original comic book, the violence and dark humor of the Dark Knight comic book revision, and Burton's two movies. In Batman: Mask of the Phantasm, everyone's favorite schizophrenic billionaire crime fighter is investigating the murders of several prominent gangsters. Meanwhile, his ex-fiancée and her father are back in town. Through flashbacks, these two death-obsessed kids are shown falling in love (she lost her mother; he lost both parents--of course, they meet in a graveyard), until she leaves quickly and mysteriously. Along the way, there's a short course in the origins of the Batman costume and the origins of the Joker (voice of Star Wars' Mark Hamill!), a big fight with the smoke-enshrouded Phantasm character, who is suspected of killing the gangsters, and an even bigger fight with the Joker at the abandoned Gotham World's Fair grounds. Altogether, a good ride. --Andy Spletzer« less
"It's unfortunate that an animated series rarely gets serious attention, even when made into a movie, like Mask of the Phantasm. The writing is superior to the live action Batman movies, and the movie has more self-respect. We delve into Batman's past: not his why-I-became-Batman past which everyone knows; rather, we learn why he remains Batman despite the intense personal cost. This is a great movie, with a great voice cast (including Mark Hamill who is just perfect as the Joker). The score is wonderful, playing a little with the score from the first Michael Keaton Batman movie, then proceeding along its own course.The movie is, of course, not for everyone. If all you want to see are fists hitting the bad guys in the gut, you'll be disappointed (or perhaps, your kids will be). There is romance, sorrow, and introspection, in addition to the violence of Batman's confrontation with villains. This is simply a far more thoughtful movie than one might expect, and though it is well-done in this regard, it may not be what you are expecting."
Good cartoon-noir. Adequate transfer.
A. Frerichs | Lincoln, NE USA | 12/29/1999
(3 out of 5 stars)
"This is really more of an animated movie than a cartoon. I find it captures the spirit of the Batman comics much closer than the live-action movies have done. As this was a theatrical release, there was more freedom for the producers to explore the man-behind-the-Bat. It gives more insight into Batman/Bruce Wayne's history and what motivates him. It's also more violent than the Animated Series on television, showing cuts, scrapes, and even a tooth that gets knocked out! The Joker is the insane, homicidal villain he is in the comics and actually kills people in this show, as does the Phantasm. We even get a brief look at what the Joker was before he was the Joker.As for the disc itself, the transfer is only adequate. There is is some light grain and scratches apparent, but not enough to distract from enjoying the show. I guess I can live with it, but it could've been better. The colors are nice and rich and the sound quality is quite good, considering it's only 2.0.It's obvious that Warner Bros. did not put much money or effort into this disc. There are no extras, other than a lame theatrical trailer and the packaging is a flimsy, cardboard Snap case, not a plastic Keep case, (Amazon needs to correct their product information about this). On the plus side, if you prefer a full-screen presentation, you have the option for it with this disc. Overall, this disc could've used some remastering, but it's flaws are not really enough to spoil your enjoyment of an entertaining show."
My Favorite Movie of All Time
Marie Freed | Oregon | 11/05/1999
(5 out of 5 stars)
"When I was younger, I used to brush off Batman: The Animated Series as stupid, and for little kids. Now at the age of seventeen, I see that I was gravely mistaken. Batman: Mask of the Phantasm would have to be my favorite movie of all time. How can I even begin to count all the things I love about it? It's gripping, exciting, witty, funny, sad... Needless to say, it's head over heals over any other Batman movie I've ever seen before. Unlike the live-action movies, it's not about appealing to the audience with predictable James Bond action sequences and famous actors. This movie truely does justice to the comic and to Bob Kane. Each character is portrayed perfectly, with wonderful animation and amazing voice acting. I absolutely love the dark deco art style as well. And the plot is one of the best I've seen. It really keeps you interested. I'd recommend this movie to anyone, Batman fan or not! Definately try this one out!"
An excellent Batman score. Perfect fit for a hero.
J. K. Moser | Flemington, New Jersey USA | 02/21/2005
(5 out of 5 stars)
"No animated cartoon has captured a super-hero better than Batman: The Animated Series, and no music has captured a hero better than the theme for that show written by Danny Elfman and adapted by Shirlry Walker. When Batman: Mask Of The Phantasm was made the score could have been just a generic retread from the tv show. Instead, Walker gave the movie a score that is full of action, suspense and heroism. The chorale pieces tend to truly make it an intense score. There are moments that a true movie magic especially when Batman is born in the film. Overall I recommend this score as the second best Batman score ever, following up Elfman's score for the Batman movie."
The true Batman has finally arrived.
AJ | 12/31/1999
(4 out of 5 stars)
"It always amuses me when animation outpaces many big Hollywood blockbusters. B:MOTP does this very thing. More gripping & intelligent than any of the live-action movies, MOTP brings Batman back to his roots by placing him in a mystery that, when finally solved, forces the Dark Knight to do some HEAVY soul-searching. I'm a fan of the series too & am constantly surprised at how it & this movie tackle heavy issues without being preachy about it. Not really for the kids, but then again neither is the series. Kid viewers will be satisfied with watching Batman run around & fight, but they'll totally miss the emotional crisis that Batman/Bruce Wayne finds himself in. The Joker is particularly nasty in this film & comes in right when you're thinking that all this is too heavy for a cartoon. That's just it though; this is not a cartoon per se. Rather it is an animation & should be viewed as such. Hollywood take note. This is the level that all other Batman films, live & animated should aspire to."