After witnessing his parents brutal murder as a child, millionaire-philanthropist Bruce Wayne pledges his life to fighting crime disguised as Batman. His long-time nemesis, The Joker, has sinister plans for the citizens of... more » Gotham City. His greed is matched by his obsession with photojournalist Vicki Vale. But Batman is there to counter the Joker's every move. With the fate of Gotham and Vicki in the balance, will good or evil prevail?« less
Tim Burton's Gothic-pop take on the Dark Knight still holds up pretty well a quarter century after its release. Has it really been 25 years? Jack Nicholson, of course, totally steals the movie with his completely over-the-top portrayal of the Joker.
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Amanda P. from BISMARCK, ND Reviewed on 11/24/2013...
Great movie! Even after all these years I still find the movie fun to watch and exciting. It's not nearly as dark as The Dark Knight, but it was the 80's. Jack Nicholson did a great job, in this more comical take on the Joker and Michael Keaton was great as Batman...best part, he doesn't sound like he has laryngitis.
1 of 1 member(s) found this review helpful.
Jeni W. from BAY ST LOUIS, MS Reviewed on 1/18/2012...
1 of 2 member(s) found this review helpful.
Tim Burton's Vision of Batman...at Last with Special Feature
Benjamin J Burgraff | Las Vegas | 11/21/2005
(5 out of 5 stars)
"The worldwide success of Christopher Nolan's "Batman Begins" has prompted Warner Bros. to finally release Tim Burton's 1989 "Batman" with an extra disc of special features...and this is an event worth cheering about!
A groundbreaking cinematic achievement (and one of the most expensive films ever produced, to that time), "Batman" was a tremendous gamble, and the story behind the ten-year struggle to bring it to the screen is fascinating! It is a tale of visionaries, beginning with Michael Uslan, a young student/Batman fan, who not only convinced his university to include comics in their curriculum, but, fired up by Richard Donner's "Superman", knew a Batman film could be just as powerful, and took the idea, with Batman creator Bob Kane's blessing, to Hollywood; of Peter Gruber and Jon Peters, who listened to Uslan, after every studio had passed on it, saw the potential, and decided to gamble; of Sam Hamm, who had a "Batman" script in his head, praying to get the chance to write it; and, most importantly, of Tim Burton, whose dark, quirky sensibilities made him THE director to film it, despite only two feature films to his credit.
This remarkable story, with archival footage and new interviews, is the highlight of disc two, but there is much, much more! Did you know that Robin was scripted to make an appearance in the first film? That Sean Young, not Kim Basinger, had been cast as Vicki Vale? That the Batmobile, designed by Oscar-winner Anton Furst, could actually do 95 mph (and that Tim Burton drove it, once?) That the room where disfigured Jack Nicholson received his unsuccessful plastic surgery was actually a studio prop room? Each chapter is a revelation!
Not that there aren't a few disappointments in the presentation; there is no chapter with deleted scenes (although a few moments are shown that never made it into the finished film...a little girl, seeing Batman, asks, in all seriousness, "Is it Halloween?", which causes him to pause, and grin); the 'History' of Batman, despite a wealth of photos and clips from the comics, serials, and graphic novels, does not offer a single visual from the campy 60s TV series (whether this was a refusal by 20th Century Fox, who produced the series, to permit their use, or an attempt to distance the movie from the "ZAP! BAM! POW!" silliness is not explained). Also, the brief appearance of screen legend Jack Palance, as 'Boss Grissom', is largely ignored, other than in Tim Burton's audio commentary, which is surprising. Still, many of the cast share their memories (Billy Dee Williams still expresses disappointment that he didn't get to play 'Two-Face'; Robert Wuhl, regret that after they rewrote his death scene to allow his character to survive, he never appeared in another film in the franchise).
I guess what I'm saying, is...chuck your old copy of "Batman", and replace it with THIS one!
You'll be glad you did!
I'd forgotten how good this movie was!
W. H. Jamison, Jr. | Burien, Washington United States | 09/12/2004
(5 out of 5 stars)
"If you want to look at a superhero adaptation done right look no further than this movie or the latest Spiderman movies. After watching the last two Batman flicks, I had kind of written the series off, but watching this on TV the other night I realized that I had forgotten how good this was. Michael Keaton was perfect as Batman, if you think about it Bruce Wayne is not the most tightly wrapped guy out there, he dresses up as a giant flying rodent and runs around at night in Gotham City beating up on criminals, and Keaton captured this essence perfectly. Kim Basinger was great as Vicki Vale and Jack Nicholson was awesome as the Joker. indeed I'd have to say that this is the last good performance that Nicholson did, after this movie he phoned everything in and cashed in on his Jack Nicholson act. In addition to a well-written script (the only contrived part being the fact that the Joker had killed Bruce Wayne's parents years before) the sets for this movie were totally cool and like nothing else we had seen at the time. Tim Burton was still a young and fresh director and Danny Elfman scores hadn't become tiring. If this movie looks a bit stale now it's only because so many other movies have imitated it and because Burton and Elfman have become one-trick ponies. However when you look at it as the leader of a cinematic vanguard of action movies you realize how good it is."
A Modern Classic
Rm31d | Columbus, OH United States | 10/18/1999
(5 out of 5 stars)
"This film proved to the world that comic book films could be much more than action-packed carnage festivals. This film (and the first sequel "Batman Returns") have so much more to it than that. "Batman" is a gripping and very moving exploration of the psyche; it peers into the souls of not only the Dark Knight, but also those of the people whose lives he changes with his presence. The film is brilliantly acted by its perfectly-chosen cast, which includes Jack Nicholson (the Joker), Michael Keaton (the Batman), Kim Basinger (Vicki Vale), Micheal Gough (Alfred Pennyworth), and Robert Wuhl (Alexander Knox). Tim Burton makes perfect use of his wonderful directorial talents, Anton Furst designs a gothic, beautiful Gotham City, and Danny Elfman's classic musical score further help make this a unique, thought-provoking, and very powerful modern classic, a masterpiece of film noir and grand opera. "Batman Returns shares these wonderful qualities, but, sadly, Joel Schumacher's "Batman Forever" and "Batman and Robin" lose all of that depth and meaning, and become little more than standard mindless action. But, we'll always have Burton's dark vision of a haunted and brooding Batman."
DVD Production At Its Finest
Mark Schroeder | State College, PA | 10/19/2005
(5 out of 5 stars)
"The original 'Batman' film holds, for all Bat-fans, a sacred title as the one true (and certainly best) film in the original saga. The mere fact that it grossed hundreds of millions of dollars and shattered box office records is a testament to its validity as a cinematic tour de force. Facts and figures aside, the original "Batman" film revolutionized the way that films were made in regards to scale, merchandising, and certainly publicity. The fueling monster of Warner Brothers garnered record deals with Prince for soundtrack options and locked away square merchandising deals for an infinite amount of Batman paraphernalia. Its near-$40 million budget (unheard of for 1989) was immediately returned in its opening weekend gross, all fueled by the massive media and publicity frenzy woven around this landmark blockbuster film. To that end, it is no surprise that Warner Brothers finally released a worthy DVD complement to the effort that went into the original production of their film. And thus begins the review of the newly-released 2-disc Special Edition of Tim Burton's "Batman"...
THE PACKAGE: Coordinated beautifully with the DVD release of "Batman Begins", the original "Batman" and subsequent Batman DVDs look fantastic. Each DVD case features a brand new metallic type font of the title with the short list of the casts running just above it. The "Batman" cover features the glistening Batman logo in its full glory (not clipped at the wings like previous VHS and DVD formats.) A textured metallic frame also surrounds the front face. A comprehensive list of the special features on disc 2 of the collection appears on the back cover with several brief descriptions of each segment's content. The discs themselves are fantastically laid out, each featuring newly-formed collage art from the film. Disc 2 displays the classic image of Batman violently gripping the Joker's suit jacket in the film's climax in Gotham Cathedral. One drawback of this particular edition is that it does not feature an inlet, booklet, or leaflet of any kind in its inside cover. Where many viewers like the guide to the film's chapters, I feel that this mistake is easily forgivable once we are compensated by the discs' features.
THE LOOK AND SOUND: The widescreen 16:9 aspect ratio captures practically everything Burton shot in '89. Dolby 5.1 and DTS Surround ensure that every unique sound effect in the film is heard perfectly. Essentially, the transfer is just as affective as the previous bare-bones "Batman" DVD release with the only notable changes being a slightly thinner 16:9 ration instead of the previous 1.85:1 and the inclusion of the new DTS Surround Sound factor. The digital transfer crystallizes every single visual effect and brings Gotham City into its full glory during every sweeping master shot.
THE EXTRAS: This is where the true magic lies in this edition. Five extra gallery features translate to over 20 featurettes ranging from 5 to 35 minutes in length. The gem of them all is a marvelous half-hour documentary on the evolution of the Batman lore from its inception in 1939 to its reinvention for film in 1989 and beyond. "Legends of the Dark Knight - The History of Batman" features many prominent comic book icons such as Stan Lee, Kevin Smith, and Bob Kane himself, all creating fantastic insight into the psyche and appeal of the Caped Crusader. Also featured are several extremely relevant Batman writers and artists who are responsible for thrusting the Dark Knight into a more contemporary context for several generations. Among them are Dennis O'Neil, Neal Adams, and THE Frank Miller. A strongpoint of the documentary is its choice to focus predominantly on the evolution of the CHARACTER of Batman as opposed to getting bogged down into discussing the 40's serials, the 60's television series catastrophe, and even the later films themselves. Narrated by Mr. Mark Hamill, the documentary delves deep into the psychology of the Batman and his affect on America and vice versa. Shadows of the Bat - The Cinematic Saga of the Dark Knight", a three-part documentary showing the process to get Batman onto the big screen, is the second best feature of the second disc. The first 2 segments focus on pre-production for "Batman" with the last installment focusing on the principal photography and after effects of the film. The most remarkable thing about this documentary is that it features dozens of interviews with integral members of the cast and crew. Tim Burton is at the helm, giving the bulk of the information. Following closely behind are Michael Keaton, Kim Basinger, Billy Dee Williams, Pat Hingle, Michael Gough, Robert Wuhl, and even Mr. Jack Nicholson himself! Notorious for his privacy, Nicholson graciously supplies dozens of glorious minutes explaining his role in the process and even the psychosis of the Joker. The only one drawback to the documentary is the fact that Michael Keaton's interview is recycled footage from an old "Batman Return" behind-the-scenes program that ran on television in the early 90's. All other cast and crew interviews are brand new! Also on the special features menu is a "Beyond Batman" documentary gallery, housing 6 separate featurettes with subjects ranging from the production design of the film; to the creation of the batsuit, batmobile, and bat-gadgets; as well as the transformation of Jack Nicholson into the Joker among others. Each of these video bits, averaging around 13 minutes, expounds on the finer aspects of the production of the film. Truly an aspiring filmmakers dream, these featurettes hone in on what happens behind the camera in the art, sound, and script departments. The structural and architectural analysis of the design of Gotham City is especially fascinating to witness! Rounding out the second disc are three music videos by Prince, a lost Robin storyboard sequence, and a short clip of Bob Kane reflecting on his creation on the set of the original film. Short character bios contain more interviews that delve into specific characters in both the `heroes' and `villains' categories. When the ads stress "18 Hours of New Extras", the aren't joking around!
In summation, the 2-disc Special Edition of "Batman" is a landmark DVD release of a great film. Each featurette reveals great insight into the lore of the Batman as well as the production of the first film. Thankfully, very little of the interview clips are repeated throughout different documentaries, giving each special feature a refreshingly unique feel. This DVD is a must-have for any Batman fan. The information is so comprehensive that you're guaranteed to walk away having learned something new you didn't know before. This DVD is the benchmark to which all other Special Edition DVDs should be measured!"
Matt | NJ | 02/23/2006
(4 out of 5 stars)
"This new DVD edition should definitely replace your old Batman DVD or, God forbid, VHS tape. There are hours of bonus features included, mostly done in documentary format. All angles are covered on the 2nd disc. Beginning with the original Batman creator, Bob Kane, through the lengthy history of Batman, to the ultimate cinematic adaptation by Tim Burton, who also speaks at great length about the production of the film. This is very interesting material that a fan will truly appreciate.
This movie spoke for itself at the box office. The combination of Tim Burton's vision and direction, impeccable casting and wonderful special effects took the movie world by storm and reached far beyond the silver screen. For a while there, you couldn't look anywhere without seeing the Batman logo. They did some job marketing this movie...
I still feel this is the best Batman movie. Points can be made in favor of the most recent Batman Begins, but having no precursor, Burton's Batman set the stage wonderfully to begin the modern Batman film-making era. After all, it seems people have granted such praise to Batman Begins, in part, for how it represents a return to the "darkness" of the original."