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Batman The Motion Picture Anthology 1989 - 1997 Blu-ray Review - -

Feature 9.2
Video 8.9
Audio 9.0
Special Features 9.2
Total 9.2
Distributor: Warner
Running Time:


Batman The Motion Picture Anthology
1989 - 1997

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Although there is an influx of comic related movies at present, the origins can be traced back to Tim Burton’s Batman that starred Michael Keaton as Batman and Jack Nicholson as the Joker. The movie also helped turn the world of comics into a truly workable medium. And to celebrate the 20th anniversary of Batman, Warner have released the definitive Batman collection on Blu-ray that collects the following movies.

After a young boy witnesses his parents' murder on the streets of Gotham City, he grows up to become Batman, a mysterious figure in the eyes of Gotham's citizens, who takes crime-fighting into his own hands. He first emerges out of the shadows when the Joker appears -- a horribly disfigured individual who is out for revenge on his former employer -- but the identity of the bat is unknown. Perhaps millionaire Bruce Wayne and photographer Vicki Vale have a good chance of finding out?

Batman Returns
Gotham City faces two monstrous criminal menaces: the bizarre, sinister Penguin (Danny DeVito) and the slinky, mysterious Catwoman (Michelle Pfeiffer). Can Batman (Michael Keaton) battle two formidable foes at once? Especially when one wants to be mayor and the other is romantically attracted to Gotham's hero?

Batman Forever
Riddle me this, riddle me that, you'll find adventure on the wings of a bat! Brace for excitement as Val Kilmer (Batman), Tommy Lee Jones (Two-Face), Jim Carrey (the Riddler), Nicole Kidman (Dr. Chase Meridian) and Chris O'Donnell (Robin) star in the third spectacular film in Warner Bros. Batman series. Joel Schumacher (The Client) directs and Tim Burton co-produces this thrill-ride of a movie that thunders along on Batmobile, Batwing, Batboat, Batsub and bold heroics. Hang on!

Batman & Robin
Chills and thrills - will Gotham City be put on ice? George Clooney is Batman as the dark knight battles his greatest threat yet, coldhearted Mr Freeze (Arnold Schwarzenegger) and venomous Poison Ivy (Uma Thurman). Batman has more than Gotham City to protect the youthful eagerness of crime fighting comrades Robin (Chris ODonnell) and Batgirl (Alicia Silverstone) puts them frequently in harms way. New very special effects include a wild skysurfing sequence and Freezes outrageous iceblasting arsenal. Its state-of-the-art excitement from our Batfamily to yours!

Although these movies were neither as dark nor inspirational as the current installment of Batman movies, these films did assist in creating the world of comic book movies to the big screen.

The original two movies were directed by Tim Burton until Joel Schumacher was handed the reigns in Batman Forever that changed the franchise significantly. Although the two original movies in this franchise are clearly the best, the third and fourth sequels still had some of that over the top 90’s charm such as Arnold Schwarzenegger as Mr. Freeze or George Clooney as Batman.

Batman starred Michael Keaton as Bruce Wayne, a billionaire by day and crime fighter by night who as a child witnessed his parents death by the hands of lowly street criminal. From that moment on, his life was forever changed and through years of training and the ability to purchase and create amazing technology, he became the Batman. Unfortunately for Batman, with every hero comes a villain and that was the Joker who was brilliantly played by Jack Nicholson. Batman’s love interest Vicky Vale was played by the beautiful Kim Basinger who is unwittingly brought into the Joker’s plans. This Batman movie was almost on par with the original Richard Donner's Superman movie with Christopher Reeves as Superman due to the impact it made. Although there was some homage to the Adam West Batman, this incarnation was as far away as possible to that.

With the popularity of the original movie, Batman Returns hit the screen and once again returned Tim Burton as director and Michael Keaton as Batman. A new set of villains were introduced to the mythology that included Danny DeVito as the Penguin and Michelle Pfeiffer as Catwoman. Needless to say, this was the “darkest” Batman in this current series due to the characterization of all involved, even our beloved Batman. Gotham City never looked darker neither thanks to the wondrous Gothic-like sets that made this fictitious city almost real.

From there the series became somewhat lighter with Val Kilmer introduced as the new Batman in Batman Forever that was now directed by Joel Schumacher. Gone were the darker days for Batman as even his costume looked more heroic and light-hearted than his predecessor. Tommy Lee Jones was introduced as Two Face (perfect casting) and Jim Carrey as the Riddler, equally perfect casting. In Batman Forever, the stories became more ridiculous and over the top, almost returning the genre to the years of Adam West. Nicole Kidman played Bruce Wayne and Batman’s love interest, however she became lost in the number of stars and the convoluted storyline.

Finally in 1997 came Batman & Robin that once again introduced Batman to the silver screen with George Clooney playing Batman and Chris O’Donnell as Robin. Controversy was created in this movie because Batman and Robin’s suits now had nipples. Why? We really don’t know but this was high of the series in terms of ridiculousness and movie paraphernalia. With that said, there were way too many stars in this movie that included Arnold Schwarzenegger as Mr. Freeze, Uma Thurman as Poison Ivy and a brief cameo of supermodel Vendella as Mr. Freeze’s love interest. It was over the top, unbelievable but embarrassingly enjoyable. One redeeming feature was Alicia Silverstone as Batgirl... perfect casting.

The video quality of Batman, although in high definition is unfortunately a little dated, however as the movies progress, technology changes and so does the quality. Batman Forever is actually very impressive on Blu-ray thanks to the wondrous colours and detailed backdrops. Even so, for a movie that is over 20 years old, this is now the definitive version as they have all received that slight Blu-ray makeover.

When it comes to audio, the Batman movies have never sounded better, thanks to the 5.1 Dolby TrueHD which simply sounds phenomenal on our surround sound setup. Hearing the majestic soundtrack of Danny Elfman or Arnold Schwarzenegger shouting “kill the heroes!” is pure bliss.  Whether it’s the music, dialogue or background sounds, everything comes together perfectly and for the age of the movies, it’s rather quite impressive.

However, where the Batman Anthology does shine is through the additional content that is available for the viewer which is simply quite ridiculous, however thoroughly satisfying. Without going into too much depth as this review would become war and peace, simply by looking at the special features, you immediately know that you are in for a treat.

Special features for Batman:

Commentary by director Tim Burton
On the Set with Bob Kane
Legends of the Dark Knight: The History of Batman
Shadows of the Bat: The Cinematic Saga
Beyond Batman Documentary Gallery
Prince Music Videos
The Heroes and the Villains Profile Galleries
Batman: The Complete Robin Storyboard Sequence
Theatrical Trailer

Special features for Batman Returns:

Commentary by director Tim Burton
The Bat, The Cat and The Penguin Making-of Featurette
Shadows of the Bat: The Cinematic Saga of the Dark Knight
Beyond Batman Documentary Gallery
Siouxsie and the Banshees "Face to Face" Music Video
The Heroes and the Villains Profile Galleries
Theatrical trailer

Special features for Batman Forever:

Commentary by Director Joel Schumacher
Additional Scenes
Riddle Me This: Why is Batman Forever?
Shadows of the Bat: The Cinematic Saga of the Dark Knight
Beyond Batman Documentary Gallery
Seal "Kiss From a Rose" Music Video
The Heroes and the Villains Profile Galleries
Theatrical Trailer

Special features for Batman & Robin:

Commentary by Director Joel Schumacher
Shadows of the Bat: The Cinematic Saga of the Dark Knight
Additional Scene: Alfred's Lost Love
Beyond Batman Documentary Gallery
Four Music Videos
The Heroes and the Villains Profile Galleries
Theatrical Trailer

The highlights for Impulse Gamer was the featurettes with Bob Kane, one of Batman’s creators and the “Legends of the Dark Knight: the History of Batman” featurettes that gives us a unique in-depth insight into the many incarnations of the character.

Batman Returns boasts some great interviews with many comic book professionals that give their own perspective on the characters and movies. There is even a great scene with Sean Young who desperately wanted the role of Catwoman and tried valiantly to get this role. She’s a cutey but nutter!

Burton’s commentary is quite insightful, although at times a little lackluster but it’s great to see how the mind of a genius may or may not work. Batman Forever continues the “Shadow of the Bat” documentaries and has a featurette with Chris O’Donnell about the third movie. Lastly, we have Batman & Robin that contains some great Heroes and Villains profile galleries and some interesting commentary by Joel Schumacher who some say was responsible for the worst Batman film ever made. I tend to disagree.

In conclusion, this is the definitive version of the Batman films from the 80’s and 90’s that gives you a great insight into Hollywood at the time. Some of the stories are dated, however others are still as fresh as they were produced yesterday. If you are a fan of the character or someone interested in this genre than we could happily recommend this box set to you. Just be warned though that the quality is not on par with modern Blu-ray films. Even so, it’s a thrilling ride that lasted almost ten years.


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