Tuesday, September 29, 2009

#458: Batman (1989)

Director: Tim Burton
Cast: Michael Keaton, Jack Nicholson & Kim Basinger

(NOTE: From now on, I'm going to include a trailer for the film. I hope you like this idea!)

In the first of the Warner Bros. Batman series, Bruce Wayne is fighting crime in Gotham City, terrorizing the city's criminals as "The Bat". Batman's first nemesis is born when he drops Jack Napier into a vat of chemicals, discoloring his skin and hair. Henceforth known as The Joker, he poisons the city's hygiene products, all while trying to convince the public that it isn't he, but Batman that they shouldn't trust. Photojournalist Vicki Vale is trying to uncover the truth.While researching, she falls in love with Bruce... and in turn, The Joker falls in love with her.

The film is very outdated, but only 20 years after its release, it can be considered historically significant. It was a complete turn-around from its predecessors in the superhero film genre, which can more simply by summarized as the Superman film series. Aside from Superman, there were very few notable films in the genre (though one made it onto The List - Danger: Diabolik). Burton made Batman a much darker style than Superman, with its artistic achievements much more prominent than its script.

The art direction for this film certainly has that Burton-esque quality to it, with exaggerated lines in the architecture, but the subject matter is much less in the fantasy realm than many of his other films (Beetlejuice, Edward Scissorhands, Sleepy Hollow... even Pee-Wee's Big Adventure). This new blend of fantasy with a New York-like Gotham City allows us to be drawn in to an almost familiar world.

Props to:
  • Art director Les Tomkins for a style that has been the inspiration for the following five Batman films
  • Music composer Danny Elfman for an exciting and immediately recognizable theme
  • Jack Nicholson for being The Man
One-and-a-half thumbs up for a great time, despite a mediocre script.

Fun Trivia (Stolen from IMDB):

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