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Batman 4K UHD Review


“Batman” still holds up.

In 1989’s “Batman,” the titular vigilante hero comes up against his greatest foe in Jack Napier who is reborn (as it were) as The Joker. The Joker and his minions are creating chaos in the already crime ridden Gotham City by doing everything from poisoning cosmetics to eventually releasing gas across the city. Can The Joker’s reign of terror be stopped?

In a day and age where comic book movies rule the box office, it’s easy to forget just how impactful this movie was. Not only was it charting relatively new territory, but it gave audiences a dark and gritty take on the character. Yes, there was humor, but it was a far cry from the 60’s series. Perhaps the most striking thing about the first “Batman” film though is Tim Burton’s direction. Even in some of the best comic book movies, it can feel like a “for hire” job. Burton really brought his unique style and vision to this project (as well as “Batman Returns”) and the film was better for it.

The script by Sam Hamm and Warren Skaaren may not have the biggest or deepest comic book movie plot out there, but again, this was relatively new territory back then. There’s no doubt that the inclusions of Batman killing people and Jack Napier being responsible for the death of Batman’s parents were groan worthy deviations from the source material, but, outside of that, I admire the fact that the script takes its time to let the characters breathe. The script is much more character oriented than it is story or action oriented. It was nice to see some weighty subjects being broached though such as the bits about consumerism, corruption and class.

It should go without saying that the cast is top notch. In my humble opinion, Michael Keaton is still the best Batman. He brought forth a menacing Batman and an eccentric and unique take on Bruce Wayne. My only complaint is we didn’t get him in more movies. Kim Basinger shines as Vicki Vale despite the whole damsel in distress angle. Robert Wuhl is underrated as the wisecracking reporter Knox. The supporting players like Jack Palance, Billy Dee Williams, Tracey Walter, Michael Gough, and Pat Hingle have limited screentime, but they all make a lasting impression. Finally, there is Jack Nicholson as The Joker/Jack. He truly makes the character his own and chews the scenery in the best way possible.

One thing that tends to be overlooked from this film is the production values. From the on screen interpretation of Gotham City to the practical FX work (the Batwing!), this movie nailed the visuals.

Last, and certainly not least, there’s the music. To this day Danny Elfman’s score is both a top tier score and an iconic superhero movie score. Even the Prince songs (as strange as they might be) manage to work within the context of the movie.


Presentation: 1.85:1 2160p. How does it look? Over the years I’ve seen some bad prints of this movie. The original DVD release in particular is truly terrible. When it comes to the 4K release, however, I was deeply impressed by the picture quality. This is the best the movie has looked on home video by a long shot. From the dark scenes to the colorful paint, everything here looks stunning.

Audio Track: Dolby Atmos. How does it sound? A clean and dynamic audio track that is sure to please fans.

* Blu-ray copy
* Digital copy
* A thoughtful solo commentary by Tim Burton in which he discusses his creative choices.
* Theatrical trailer
* Music videos for Prince’s “Batndance,” “Partyman,” and “Scandalous.”
* “Batman: The Complete Robin Storyboard Sequence.” A look at what almost was.
* “On The Set With Bob Kane”- Footage of Batman co-creator Bob Kane on set along with an interview with him.
* “Legends Of The Dark Knight: The History Of Batman”- A 40 minute documentary that does a commendable job in summarizing some of the history of the iconic character. Interviews with everyone from Frank Miller to Kevin Smith are included.
* “Batman: The Heroes”- Individual spotlights on the characters of Batman, Vicki Vale, Alexander Knox, Commissioner Gordon, and Harvey Dent.
* “Batman: The Villains”- Spotlights on The Joker and Bob the Goon!
* “Shadows of the Bat: The Cinematic Saga of the Dark Knight”- The first 3 parts of this ongoing extra digs into how the 1989 film came about, the characters and story, the production, the music, the film’s release, and more. Expect lots of behind-the-footage too.
* “Beyond Batman”- A 6 part extra that covers the production design, batmobile, the props and gadgets, the batsuit, Jack Nicholson’s Joker, and the music.

June 3, 2019 - Posted by | 4K UHD Review | , , , , , , , , ,

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