The following 4K was provided to me by Warner Brothers for review. Thoughts and opinions are my own.
“Have you ever danced with the devil by the pale moonlight?” If for some odd reason you have never heard that line before it’s from the 1989 Batman film directed by Tim Burton. Starring Michael Keaton as Batman and Jack Nicholson as the Joker the film was quiet the event when it came out. Music videos by Prince, who actually did all the songs on the soundtrack. There were toys, cereal, fast food cross overs, books, shirts, you name it. The movie was a hit before it ever opened. They hype surrounding it was huge. As a life long comic book reader, with Batman being my favorite hero I could not wait to see it. Then I did.
Batman tells the story of Batman’s early years as a crime fighter. When Mobster Carl Grissom finds out his girlfriend is sleeping with one of his captains, a man named Jack Napier (Jack Nicholson) he decides to set him up during a job at the Axis Chemical plan. He plans on having a cop who is on the take murder him during a botched robbery attempt. Problems arise however when Batman shows up and knocks Napier into a vat of chemicals. Of course he survives but comes out with pale skin, green hair, and a permanent smile on his face. This makes him go completely insane and he takes on the persona of The Joker.
As he is completely nuts he hatches a plan to spray Smilex gas over all of Gotham during the big Bicentennial Parade. The gas will cause people to laugh until they die. Of course Batman has to put a stop to this. During the course of this film, which I am really giving a short summary as most people have seen it, Batman find out that his parents were murdered by the Joker years ago when he hears him as “Have you ever danced with the devil by the pale moonlight”. Apparently he said that right after he shot them dead in Crime Alley years ago.
A great industrial look for Gotham, probably the best Batmobile in film to this day, the Bat-Plane, a fantastic performance from Keaton as Batman, and a great supporting cast like Kim Basinger as Vickie Vale, and Robert Wuhl as Alexander Knox, Billy Dee Williams as Harvey Dent and more the film had it all. Except two things. Batman, and action. Yes I’m sorry but the film really only has Batman, as Batman in it for about 25min. And for the most part only about 15-20min of action. The majority of it is Jack Nicholson hamming it up as the Joker. He does a great job, but I wanted to see Batman
But enough about the film itself, you want to know how the transfer is. I have to say it’s a thing of beauty. This is 4K at its best. The film is dark and this transfer really deepens the look. Never to dark, and not the dreaded blue tint dark, but just a smooth dark image with he standing colors popping out at every spec. The film looks amazing the Bat suite shines and when the light hits it. All the lights flash in the perfect tone. Even the smiley glass pops out in a green mist. The audio if amazing as well. The soundtrack, which I could not stand bellows through the speakers. Every bullet crackles when fired and you can hear every movement of the body during a fight scene. This is one of the best sounding films I’ve ever heard. Its even loaded with special features. Commentary with Tim Burton, trailers, and multiple featurettes.
Now even though I was disappointed in the lack of action for the film it should be seen for not only the performance of Michael Keaton, but for the sheer look of the film. As a comic guy I hate that they did it where the Joker was the killer of Bruce Wayne’s parents, but I loved how they incorporated the look and backstories of multiple comic books. Dark Knight Returns, and The Killing Joke being two of them. This is one of the best looking 4K transfers I have ever seen. And it’s also an important piece of Batman History. Pick this one up for your collection today
Overall 2.5 out of 5 stars for the movie!
Overall 5 out of 5 Stars for the transfer!