The following 4K was provided to me by Warner Brother for review. Thoughts and opinions are my own.
Following the massive success of 1989’s Batman Tim Burton returned to the directors chair along with Michael Keaton as Batman in 1992’s Batman Returns. Like the first film there was lots of fan fair for this one as well. Toys, cloths, Happy Meals from McDonalds you name it. To further cement the A-list acting Danny DeVito was cast as The Penguin, along side Michelle Pfeiffer as Catwoman, and Christopher Walken as Max Shreck. The casting as you can see was top notch. But the movie itself…….
Batman Returns opens with a couple who have a baby with deformed hands. He looks like a half human half penguin. There rich and don’t want it, so they merely throw it down the sewer where it is raised by penguins. We flash forward about 30 years as Max Shreck is giving a speech about his new proposed power plant when they crowd is attacked by the Red Triangle gang. Luckily Batman is there to help and we get a really good action sequence to kick start the film. Batman however is to late to save Shreck from being kidnapped. Shreck is taken to see the gangs leader, The Penguin who tells Shreck he knows of his chemical dumping and blackmails him with the hopes of returning to the surface of Gotham and living a high society life he feels he was robbed of. Shreck Agrees and even concocts a plan for the Penguin to be a hero and run for Mayor so he can win and push the Power Plant Shreck is proposing through.
As this is taking place we meet Shreck’s assistant, Selina Kyle (Michelle Pfeiffer) who figures out the power plant is actually going to drain the city’s power thus giving Shreck control over Gotham. Shreck learns she has discovered his secret and confronts her in her apartment, throwing her out a window and presumably killing her. Luckily she is nursed back to health by some cats, or the cats just find her or something. She then becomes the criminal known as Catwoman and vows to kill Max Shreck. She even teams up with the Penguin to take out Batman. Sound like action aplenty right? You would think, but you would be wrong.
This is truly the most boring convoluted superhero film I’ve ever seen. Nothing happens, the plot just slowly creeps along. Hardly any action and or character development. The film is just dull. It looks great. Tim Burton had the vision and the look down pat, but he just was not an action director. Keaton was great again but he could do nothing to save this film. In fact my main issue was that this one focused more on him as Bruce Wayne and very little as Batman. DeVito was a good choice for the Penguin but was a far cry from the comic book version. Pfeiffer was serviceable as Catwoman although her story had nothing to do with the comic books either. No keep in mind, this is my opinion, lots of people love this film. I’m just not one of them.
Movie aside I have to give it up to Warner Brothers for the 4K Transfer. As I stated Burton had the perfect look for Gotham, and the characters themselves. The film was once again very industrial looking and the transfer really brings that out. Words cannot do this transfer justice. The Catwoman and Batman costumes shine in this transfer. You can see every little nick and tear in the Catwoman outfit towards the end, as well as every speck of dirt on Batman’s. The snow covered scenes are bright white while the background is very dark. I can also say this film has no grain which is something as so many scenes are shot outdoors. It’s a fantastic looking film that this transfer just exemplifies. The audio is crisp and clear as you hear every little pin drop. And yes this one is packed with special features as well. Trailers, Commentary track, and even featurettes.
This film did not cut it for me, but I can appreciate the significance it has. The entire comic book come to life look does come from these Burton films, as they still influence the look and sounds of Gotham City today. If you’re a fan of the film you will want this 4K edition. If you’re a superhero fan it’s a piece of history you must own as well. Go ahead and pick this one up.
Overall Movie 2 out of 5 Stars!
Overall Transfer 5 out of 5 Stars!