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4.1 out of 5 stars
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4.1 out of 5 stars
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on 30 December 2003
This is the soundtrack that defined a genre and a composer (it's so good that Elfman copied bits of it when writing his Spider-Man score).
Since there are so many Batman themes, I'll just say that "the one on the original cartoon? The one from the original movies with Burton and Keaton? and Jack Nicholson? This is the one".
Never has music so suited a character, the sweeping, Wagner-esque Batman theme is so fitting for the Dark Knight's brooding persona that is has become the natural association whenever people think of Batman (aside from a fat Adam West).
But not content with one main theme for a character, Elfman also has a few tracks devoted to the Joker's zany and insane character including an eeriely cheerful waltz towards the finale.
This is powerful music (3 minutes into track 16, tell me you can't feel the power of revenge) and it builds to a climax from haunting around the first half to full blown action in the second yet never losing it's pacing or going too over the top.
This is a worthy addition to your CD collection and if you want to make it even better, listen to it after the turgid "Batman and Robin" soundtrack
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on 7 October 2013
Defining the Caped Crusader through music is no mean feat. James Newton Howard, Hans Zimmer, Elliot Goldenthal and Shirley Walker have all admirably tried their hand at composing the music which audiences would come to identify with Batman. Although, I in no way wish to undermine any of the aforementioned masters of score composition, I must lay the cape and cowl laurels squarely at the feet of Danny Elfman.

Danny Elfman is one of the titans on film score composition. His dark and memorable themes are embedded in cinematic history, but it is this soundtrack which marks the most admirable chapter of his spectacular work. The theme which Elfman conjures for Batman is one which generations have come to identify as the definitive theme for the Caped Crusader of Gotham.

This CD is essential to any movie-score collection. It is the music which came to define the dark and Gothic hero whom battles Gotham's underbelly. The soundtrack is quite diverse, and explores many characters through a variance of instruments and tempos, however it magnificently draws all songs back to the original theme, linking the tracks with a fluidity that marks Elfman as a master of his field.

Although I am a huge fan of Danny Elfman, and enjoy everything from his score to Planet of the Apes, to that of Promised Land, it is this CD which I think is the pinnacle of his achievements and it succeeds in a creating and maintaining a very distinct mood throughout. It is this same mood which has cemented Batman as the definitive dark hero. A fantastic score from a fantastic composer, that for me and whole generations has come to define the Caped Crusader.
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on 12 July 2001
Santa and Christmas. The Sandman and tired eyes. Danny Elfman and superb scores. Some things are inextricably linked and this is a fine example of the last (examples of the first two are, unfortunately, hard to come by). Nightmare Before Christmas, Scrooged, Batman, the list is endless; each one fairly similar to the last and yet retaining the unmistakeably Elfman-like ingredients which many copy but seldom pull off- a nugget of originality, padded out with flawless thematic flesh and sprinkled with sugar plum darkness. This score is no different- dark and brooding when it needs to be, playful and extravagant in other places but a balanced and intelligently executed unit nevertheless and an essential score for any serious collector. Michael Keaton was the only TRUE Batman; just as Elfman is the only guy who can accompany him as he stalks the cloying, grimey shadows of a crime-ridden Gotham introduced in the original film and improved in Returns, but ruined thereafter.....
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on 2 November 2005
This trend-setting score has stood the test of time and sounds just as impressive now as it did fifteen years ago. Elfman's gothic style of scoring became almost a template for subsequent superhero movies and a revisit to this CD will demonstrate why. The Batman theme is fantastic: no matter how often Elfman uses this dark march (Main Theme, Batman to the Rescue, Attack of the Batwing), it never tires and never fails to excite. Things turn silly when it comes to the Joker and tracks like 'Face Off' and 'Waltz to the Death' are Tchaikovsky-like waltzes that compliment the action and the use of 'Beautiful Dreamer' borders on farce for Joker's infatuation with Vicki. As for Vicki Vale, there is a brief (and slightly tedious) theme for her relationship with Bruce that is based on Prince's 'Scandalous' but the connection is too disguised to spot easily.
What sets this score high above others is the soundscape that is established. Tracks like the mysterious 'Childhood Remembered' and gothic 'Up the Cathedral' really ground you into this fantasy world and the pulsing 'Descent into Mystery' is a career highlight that is always on replay on my stereo. The quality of the disc is good, showing off the size of the orchestra (it's big) and most of the score is on the CD without skipping too much out. This should, without a doubt, be in your soundtrack collection.
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on 4 June 2014
Danny Elfman has a particular, distinctly zany style that can run away with it, and I get why some people don't like his soundtracks. However, Batman is a truly amazing soundtrack on so many levels. There is the sense of fun inherent in the fact that this is a comic book character brought to life by OTT director Tim Burton, but just as the film is also incredibly dark, there is a sense of Wagnerian melodrama and bombast that I absolutely love. Nowhere is the Wagnerian influence more profound than in track 16, with its nods to both Die Walkure and to Das Rheingold - the Descent into Niebelheim is also a large part of track 10, Elfman's "Descent into Mystery" (the clanging of the cathedral bells echoing the anvil strikes of the Niebelungs) - but aside from Herr Wagner, there is also a passing reference to Richard Strauss in the soaring strings.

But this is not a pale imitation of Wagner's masterpiece - like John Williams before him, Elfman makes use of Wagner's invention of the leitmotif (the recurring character theme) to bring Batman and the Joker to life. The sense of building tension, the feeling that something is seriously not right in Gotham, is palpable. It is rich, deep and powerful, and bears repeated hearings, preferably at significant volume. It is truly an astonishing soundtrack.

Oh, you may want to check out Karajan's conducting of the Descent into Niebelheim at some point too, if you like this!
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TOP 500 REVIEWERon 23 April 2016
Wow! This is a fantastic motion picture score - from the film 'Batman' (1989). It is an astounding collection of Wagneresque pieces, which form a body of work that the composer (Danny Elfman) has never surpassed.

There are 21 tracks, and the album lasts for about 1 hour. This is a piece of contemporary classical music with a magnificent sense of drama and adventure, perfectly capturing the dark essence and mood of the film - from the tragedy of Batman's origins to the mayhem caused by the Joker. It can be listened to while sat relaxing, or whilst driving ... I find that it calms the spirit, uplifts the psyche, and focuses the mind. But, perhaps that because I'm a big fan of Batman!

This music has had a lasting influence. It has defined the sound of Batman's world ... it inspired the score for the 'Batman: The Animated Series', and continues to be heard in the Lego Batman games.

I bought a copy in the 1990's, and wore it out. I bought a second copy more recently. This particular edition allows you to 'autorip' the music (so it can be played on your computer or laptop).

Fantastic!
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on 27 August 2002
A must-buy CD. It inspires memories from the film, covering all scenes with the often beautiful music by Danny Elfman. One disappointment for me - track 10 "descent into mystery" doesn't quite sound the same, or as good as, in the film. Apart from that i'd recommend this to any Batman lover.
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on 27 October 2005
This trend-setting score has stood the test of time and sounds just as impressive now as it did fifteen years ago. Elfman's gothic style of scoring became almost a template for subsequent superhero movies and a revisit to this CD will demonstrate why. The Batman theme is fantastic: no matter how often Elfman uses this dark march (Main Theme, Batman to the Rescue, Attack of the Batwing), it never tires and never fails to excite. Things turn silly when it comes to the Joker and tracks like 'Face Off' and 'Waltz to the Death' are Tchaikovsky-like waltzes that compliment the action and the use of 'Beautiful Dreamer' borders on farce for Joker's infatuation with Vicki. As for Vicki Vale, there is a brief (and slightly tedious) theme for her relationship with Bruce that is allegedly based on Prince's 'Scandalous' but the connection is too disguised to spot easily.
What sets this score high above others is the soundscape that is established. Tracks like the mysterious 'Childhood Remembered' and gothic 'Up the Cathedral' really ground you into this fantasy world and the pulsing 'Descent into Mystery' is a career highlight that is always on replay on my stereo. The quality of the disc is good, showing off the size of the orchestra (it's big) and most of the score is on the CD without skipping too much out. This should, without a doubt, be in your soundtrack collection.
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on 31 December 2015
Replaced my old cassette tape with this CD version and well worth it. Danny Elfman's score is terrific and perfectly evokes the action from the movie. Highly recommended for movie soundtrack collectors.
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on 12 February 2013
This has to be my favourite Danny Elfman score. For me this just sums up everything about Batman. Every single track is simply outstanding and I listen to it over and over again. With the right speaker set up it feels like you have a full orchestra in your house and I am saddened when it ends.
Highly recommended to any Elfman, Burton or Batman fan.
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