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Batman (1989)
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Review Date: September 23, 2001
Director: Tim Burton
Writer: Sam Hamm, Warren Skaaren
Producers: Peter Guber, Jon Peters, Chris Kenny
Actors:
Michael Keaton
Jack Nicholson
Kim Basinger
Review:
Wow. I can't believe how little I enjoyed about this movie after all of these years of NOT having seen it. I expected the original thrill of seeing it to return. I expected to be blown away by the sets, the score, the action and the adventure. I expected to be taken inside this dark world of Gotham City and to forget about all the outside world for a couple of hours, but sadly, most of this simply didn't happen. This video rental was a big disappointment for me, through and through.

I enjoyed Jack Nicholson's performance in this movie, as the over-the-top, and much more interesting than Batman, Joker character. I loved Danny Elfman's score and most of the sets and atmosphere in the film (although some of the "special effects" are just pathetic-- I'm hoping that the final shot of the Joker spiralling to his doom was supposed to look phony, because it was awful), but most everything else just didn't work for me anymore.

But before I go on, I have to tell you that this movie was one of the films that I have MOST looked forward to in my life-time (back in 1989, of course). I remember counting the days until the opening, attempting to steal the ultra-cool teaser poster from bus stops and even buying the tie-in novel before the film came out and reading it from top to bottom. I was also a major comic-book collector at the time and wanted to love this movie so much, and remember it with a load of fondness.

Well, it's sad but the reality is that after all of these years, and a video machine, this flick did very little to entertain me during its two hours, and actually managed to piss me off more than anything.

The super-gruffy phony voice of Lieutenant Eckhardt starts things off badly. Things downshift into Bruce Wayne's life and geez, is he ever BORING or what?!? The story barely gives us any insight into his head, and when he finally decides to let his "girlfriend" Vicky Vale (with whom he has no chemistry) into his deep dark secret, she barely reacts. Uuuuuhhm, hullo...your boyfriend just told you that he wears tights and fights bad guys...GET EXCITED...DO SOMETHING....!!!

I also found the Prince songs to be extremely annoying, especially after all these years, since it's quite obvious that they were there mostly as a marketing thing. They actually set up two scenes specifically to play his songs (I thought movies were supposed to be more about uuuhhm...the story!), and the museum scene in particular is just plain embarassing (and the whole thing looks very much like a set!).

Sure, Vicky Vale was nice to look at, Alfred was solid and Jack Palance, well, kicked some major ass, but what about the lame reporter character of Robert Wuhl, what about the fact that I barely gave a shit about Bruce Wayne by the end of the movie and the fact that I wanted the Joker to kick his sorry ass by the final sequence??

And speaking of the final sequence, how in God's name did the Joker's henchmen get to the top of that edifice?? Why were they able to kick Batman's ass for quite some time (I though Batman was a little tougher than that?) and how on God's earth can the Joker shoot down the Bat-Wing with one shot from his gun!?!?!? And did anyone else notice that they had a henchman approach Batman with blades/numchucks wildly swinging in 2 different scenes in this movie, and that he responded both times by pulling an "Indiana Jones" and just kicking them down in one-shot??! Ha-ha...I guess Batman is one tough mutha, huh?? Not really!

Ugh.

I love Tim Burton and I thought I loved this movie but I'm afraid that after seeing it again here in 2001, I can't really recommend it to anyone on an action/adventure or even a "good story" level, but might suggest you check out for the fantastic score, the pretty awesome set designs and Bat-toys, and the cool performance as the Joker by Jack Nicholson.

Man-o-man, I sure hope my memory of BATMAN RETURNS isn't as skewed as was my memory of this flick. They were the only two flicks that I enjoyed out of the series....
(c) 2015 Berge Garabedian
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11:59PM on 10/26/2006

Obsessed with

I'm still in love with this movie at the age of 15 I've grown up watch and adoring this movie!
I'm still in love with this movie at the age of 15 I've grown up watch and adoring this movie!
Your Reply:



1:33AM on 09/11/2006

?!

I'm pretty shocked that you didn't dig this movie. I thought it was awesome. It's by far the best Batman movie of the series(tied with Batman Begins) in my opinion. Nicholson and Keaton are dynamite.
I'm pretty shocked that you didn't dig this movie. I thought it was awesome. It's by far the best Batman movie of the series(tied with Batman Begins) in my opinion. Nicholson and Keaton are dynamite.
Your Reply:



5:51PM on 07/30/2006

Against All Odds

I may be the only one on the Joblo staff that actually LOVES this film to death. This film is nearly perfect in every way in my mind. I love everything about it from the film's flow to the kickass set design, characters, costumes, soundtrack, etc. I liked Keaton as Wayne and certainly Jack attack as the Joker. This film has an endless line of great quotes and some great action. For the record, I like BATMAN BEGINS a whole lot more but the '89 BATMAN still is cool in my book.
I may be the only one on the Joblo staff that actually LOVES this film to death. This film is nearly perfect in every way in my mind. I love everything about it from the film's flow to the kickass set design, characters, costumes, soundtrack, etc. I liked Keaton as Wayne and certainly Jack attack as the Joker. This film has an endless line of great quotes and some great action. For the record, I like BATMAN BEGINS a whole lot more but the '89 BATMAN still is cool in my book.
Your Reply:



8:23AM on 05/26/2006
Wow. I can't believe Joblo didn't like this movie. I love it. I love the sets, the gothic look (guess that's why they call it Gotham), the mysteriousness behind Batman and Bruce Wayne, and of course - the Joker. Every good comic book flick needs a great villain, and Jack Nicholson pulls no punches with his evil laugh, great one-liners ("Where does he get those wonderful toys?"), and just all around psychotic zaniness. He's a blast to watch.

And he is the best part of the movie. But of
Wow. I can't believe Joblo didn't like this movie. I love it. I love the sets, the gothic look (guess that's why they call it Gotham), the mysteriousness behind Batman and Bruce Wayne, and of course - the Joker. Every good comic book flick needs a great villain, and Jack Nicholson pulls no punches with his evil laugh, great one-liners ("Where does he get those wonderful toys?"), and just all around psychotic zaniness. He's a blast to watch.

And he is the best part of the movie. But of course, Batman is cool as shit - kicking ass and taking names the whole way; you get to see the Batmobile in action, and a whole lot of cool Bat gadgets - which is where the "wonderful toys" come in.

I think this is just a good ole-fashioned comic book movie. You get the dark undertones from the setting and cinematography; the characters aren't really developed, except for the Joker and a bit from Bruce/Batman. Vicki Vale and the reporter guy are annoying, but the villains are all cool and are fun to watch.
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