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DVD Review: ‘Batman’: The Motion Picture Anthology (Blu-ray)
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The Movie God   |  @   |  
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Batman: The Motion Picture Anthology
Blu-ray
Directors: Tim Burton, Joel Schumacher
Starring Michael Keaton, Kim Basigner, Jack Nicholson, Danny DeVito, Christopher Walken, Michelle Pfeiffer, Jim Carrey, Tommy Lee Jones, Val Kilmer, Geroge Clooney, Uma Thurman, Arnold Schwarzenegger
Warner Home Video
Release Date: March 10, 2009

Yes indeed, ladies and gentlemen, fans of the original Batman films can now run out and purchase the entire four-movie set on good ol’ Blu-ray.

Since Christopher Nolan took over and re-invented the way we see Batman cinematically, most have forgotten about these original films — some, understandably so. While these movies aren’t as highly-praised as the new ones, they do, and will always have a place in comic and superhero movie fans’ hearts.

First and most importantly, keep in mind that this new release is Blu-ray, so no matter how many times you’ve seen the movies, you haven’t seen them at this quality level. Love them or hate them, they do look really great in Blu.

I highly doubt there are people out there who aren’t familiar with these movies and what goes on in them, so instead, I’ll simply talk briefly on each one and why ultimately, it’s worth picking up this set.

The first and the best known of the bunch is the original — Batman. Batman was one of the first big comic book superheroes to successfully grace the silver screen. Since then, as you all know, comic book properties have exploded into money-making machines. Very few properties remain as just publications.

This first Batman is now used as a basis for comparison for the most part with the question “Who’s your favorite Joker: Jack Nicholson, or Heath Ledger?” A question that I’m not sure I’ve ever heard someone pick Jack Nicholson on, but a question that can’t help but be asked. The answer is very obviously Ledger, especially now that he won the Oscar for the role, but we can’t just disregard Nicholson’s turn. When Batman came out in 1989, this was THE Joker, and it set the bar high enough to push Ledger that extra thousand miles higher. I can personally still watch this original and enjoy it very much when I do. Sure it’s got the ’80s written all over it and it has some heavy cheesiness, but Tim Burton is never one to let us down when it comes to a dark tone in his movies. While many dislike the look of the Joker’s smile, and how he obtained his disfigurement, the sadistic and almost child-like nature by which Nicholson portrays the iconic figure is not only memorable, but even haunting in its own right.

Moving on to the second movie in the collection — Batman Returns. This happens to be my favorite movie of the anthology. It still has Tim Burton written all over it, but it also hit a whole new level of f’d up. This time around, they went double villain with Catwoman and the Penguin. Michelle Pfeiffer did great with Catwoman, but no villain of all four movies is better than Danny DeVito‘s Penguin. I don’t even honestly think it could be topped today. I’m not even 100% why I like that creepy bastard so much, but the half-man, half-beast creation just sticks with you. One minute you feel for him, the next minute you fear him, and the next minute you loathe him. This was the high point of the franchise before that near two-decade wait for Nolan’s re-invention.

Batman Forever is where the decline began. I would be lying if I told you that I didn’t like this one when I first saw it. I was very young and Jim Carrey was all the rage, so I found myself enjoying it quite a bit. Since then, many years have passed and I have grown from this movie. The one thing that can be said for Batman Forever is that it can be considered a guilty pleasure of sorts. Most of all, it’s amusing to see the insanely over-the-top portrayals of the Riddler and Tommy Lee Jone‘s Two-Face.

Last in the set is Batman & Robin. This is the one that most people refuse to even speak about. There’s not much that can be said about it, or needs to be said about it. Many fans don’t even like to talk about the movie, let alone actually watch it. Sadly, I do agree that it’s not an easy movie to watch if you’re a Batman fan, but honestly, it’s actually a pretty hilarious movie to watch, it’s just not meant to be.

The complete Batman anthology is definitely worth picking up if you love the old movies. Yeah, there may things you dislike here and there, but this set the table for Batman movies and one day it will be cool to have and watch these movies right before jumping into the next anthology of however many movies Christopher Nolan makes! That will indeed be a good time for fans of the Bat Man.

Special Features

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 of the Dark Knight Parts 1-3

– Beyond Batman (Documentary Gallery)

– Music Videos

Batman: The Heroes (Profile Galleries)

Batman: The Villains (Profile Galleries)

Batman: The Complete Robin Storyboard Sequence

– Trailer

Batman Returns

– Commentary by Tim Burton

– The Bat, The Cat, and The Penguin

– Shadows of the Bat Pt. 4: Dark Side of the Knight

Batman: The Heroes

Batman: The Villains

– Beyond Batman

– Music Videos

– Trailers

Batman Forever

– Commentary by director Joel Schumacher

– Riddle Me This: Why is Batman Forever?

– Shadows of the Bat: The Cinematic Saga of the Dark Knight Part 5 — Reinventing a Hero

– Beyond Batman (Documentary Gallery)

– Out of the Shadows

– The Many faces of Gotham City

– Knight Moves

– Imaging Forever: The Visual Effects of Batman Forever

– Scoring Forever: The Music of Batman Forever

– Additional Footage

– Music Video

Batman: The Heroes

Batman: The Villains

– Trailers

Batman & Robin

– Commentary by director Joel Schumacher

– Shadows of the Bat: The Cinematic Saga of the Dark Knight Part 6 — Batman Unbound

– Beyond Batman Documentary Gallery

– Bigger, Bolder, Brighter

– Maximum Overdrive: The Vehicles of Batman and Robin

– Dressed to Thrill: The Costumes of Batman and Robin

– Frozen Freaks and Femme Fatales: The Makeup of Batman and Robin

– Freeze Frame: The Visual Effects of Batman and Robin

– Additional footage

– Music Videos

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