33 of 38 people found the following review helpful
A postmodern classic gets the 2 disc treatment it deserves!,
This review is from: Batman (Two-Disc Special Edition)  [DVD] (DVD)
One really can't overstate this film's lasting impact on contemporary Hollywood cinema. While Richard Donner's Superman laid the foundations Tim Burton's gothic masterpiece established what we know today as the comic book adaptation as huge summer event flick. The commendable successes of the recent X Men and Spider-Man franchise owe their success (and indeed production) to the 1989 Batman.
There's nothing I can say about the film itself that hasn't already been said. But just in case you spent the 80s and 90s on the moon;
It looked amazing in 1989 and it still looks amazing today!
Michael Keaton silenced any critics with his deft portrayal of a tormented, psychologically plausible Dark Knight and remains my favourite big screen Batman (with Christian Bale a close second).
Jack Nicholson's Joker provided us with one of the most iconic screen villains of all time.
But I'm assuming you know all about the film.
You want to hear about the DVD don't you?
You know when I bought my first DVD player back in '01 I was shocked and appalled that I couldn't find a Special Edition of one of my favourite films Batman. So I stuck with my VHS copy until I my girlfriend bought me the vanilla DVD one Christmas. Still I yearned and cursed Warner Brothers for not giving Bat-fans and cinema enthusiasts the 2 disc treatment that had been awarded to so many lesser films.
While it was a wait of nearly 5 years WB really pulled out the stops to create a Special Edition worthy of the Dark Knight's legacy.
The film itself has been completely remastered. Grain is seriously reduced (no mean feat in a film with this amount of matte work), colours (particularly blacks) are nice and rich which is essential in a film with this dark a palette, and the film is generally much crisper and sharper. The 5.1 and DTS tracks are superb and really do justice to Danny Elfman's score. Tim Burton's commentary track is pretty good. Anyone who's seen an interview with him knows he prefers to let the films speak for themselves but he raises some interesting points on why he knew Keaton was the man for the job, why Robin was cut from the film and what HE would have done with Two Face.
Disc 2 is where the real meat of the extras lies in easily negotiable (but sadly non-animated) menus.
Legends of the Dark Knight is an in depth look at the origins of the comics and the varying multi media representations of The Batman from the Pulp rooted violent detective of the 30s through to the swashbuckler of the 40s (and visiting the enjoyable movie serials of 1943 and 1949 along the way), the time travelling, space exploring self parody of the 50s and 60s and the darker return to source material of the 70s and 80s culminating neatly in the work of Frank Miller and its effect on the Batman film. While the 60s TV show is mentioned it is (unfortunately) devoid of footage, presumably due to the ongoing rights wars between WB and Fox for the show. Narrated by Mark Hammill and featuring interviews with everyone from Stan Lee to Frank Miller to Dennis O'Neil this is a quintessential Batman documentary.
The 3 Shadows Of The Bat documentaries comprehensibly track the film's long, LONG journey from conception to post production in an incredibly informative and enjoyable way from the perspective of Executive Producer and Bat-fan Michael Uslan. Interestingly these run all across the 4 Burton / Schumacher films and are an excellent means of illustrating the journey the franchise took in the space of 8 years.
The Beyond Batman documentaries are slightly smaller, more manageable featurettes that document every aspect of production from the production design to scoring.
As if all this weren't enough there are some nice little touches like the fun but short On The Set With Bob Kane segment and the Heroes and Villains mini segments in which Batman comic writers, the film makers and the actors themselves share their thoughts on what the character is all about. Another neat little segment is the Robin Animated Storyboard Sequence. Voiced by Batman Animated Series actors Kevin Conroy and Mark Hammill this illustrates how the introduction of Robin might have looked had it not been jettisoned.
In conclusion this 2 disc DVD is one of the few Special Editions truly worthy of the title. WB have finally given The Dark Knight his due!
Thank you reader for making it all the way to the end of this extremely long winded (but I hope, helpful) review!
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Showing 1-4 of 4 posts in this discussion
Initial post: 10 Jun 2008 19:14:52 BDT
Thanks, that was highly informative straight to the point and not in the least bit long winded, I know what I'm getting next.
Posted on 26 Sep 2009 10:23:22 BDT
Mr. Barry J. Edwards says:
One of the most useful reviews I've ever read on Amazon, thank you.
Posted on 29 Sep 2009 14:44:56 BDT
D. Laurikietis says:
Thank you both for contributing to my already morbidly swollen sense of self worth! :)
In reply to an earlier post on 17 Mar 2014 11:51:12 GMT
Superb review of a great extra laden dvd.
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