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Blu-ray Review:
BATMAN: THE MOTION PICTURE ANTHOLOGY 1989-1997

Author: Jett
March 9, 2009

TITLE: BATMAN: THE COMPLETE MOTION PICTURE ANTHOLOGY
RELEASE DATE: March 10, 2009
OFFICIAL SITE:
BATMANMOVIESONDVD.COM
OFFICIAL SYNOPSIS: This year the BAT goes BLU! BATMAN - Batman (Michael Keaton) vs. The Joker (Jack Nicholson) in the amazing first extravaganza! With Kim Basinger. BATMAN RETURNS - The Bat (Michael Keaton), The Cat (Michelle Pfeiffer), The Penguin (Danny DeVito). And Christopher Walken, too! BATMAN FOREVER - Riddle me this: The Dark Knight (Val Kilmer) bat-battles Two-Face (Tommy Lee Jones) and The Riddler (Jim Carrey). With Nicole Kidman, Chris O'Donnell. BATMAN & ROBIN - Will Mr. Freeze (Arnold Schwarzenegger) put the world on ice? George Clooney wears the hero's cape. Also with Chris O'Donnell, Uma Thurman, Alicia Silverstone. All four box office hits on Blu-Ray for the very first time!


I’m going to cut to the chase here. If you got BATMAN: THE MOTION PICTURE ANTHOLOGY 1989-1997 DVD box set a few years back, you already have what you’ll be getting on the new Blu-ray version. Really, there’s nothing new. I’ll give you my take on whether or not you should trade up in just a bit.

BATMAN: THE MOTION PICTURE ANTHOLOGY 1989-1997 give us the four “Burton/Schumacher Batman films that began with a bang with Tim Burton’s BATMAN in 1989 and ended with a whimper in 1997 with Joel Schumacher’s BATMAN AND ROBIN.

When it comes to the films, you know what you’re getting here. BATMAN is universally heralded as one of great comic book movies of all time. 1992’s BATMAN RETURNS -- Burton’s second and final Bat-Film -- was a dark, macabre, fairytale that’s either loved or hated by fans. Enter Joel Schumacher who presented us with BATMAN FOREVER in 1995. FOREVER lightened up the franchise and -- at the time -- “saved” it. Two years later came BATMAN AND ROBIN and, well, sheesh.

After two directors and three Batmen (Michael Keaton, Val Kilmer, and George Clooney), the “Burton/Schumacher” series of Bat-Films came to and end.

Like I said previously, nothing’s been added here and the special features remain the same. Here’s a quick rundown:

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”
* Beyond BATMAN Documentary Gallery
* Prince Music Videos
* The Heroes and the Villains Profile Galleries
* BATMAN: The Complete Robin Storyboard Sequence
* Theatrical Trailer

BATMAN RETURNS
* Commentary by director Tim Burton
* “The Bat, The Cat and The Penguin” Making-of Featurette
* “Shadows of the Bat: The Cinematic Saga of the Dark Knight”
* Beyond Batman Documentary Gallery
* Siouxsie and the Banshees "Face to Face" Music Video
* The Heroes and the Villains Profile Galleries
* Theatrical trailer

BATMAN FOREVER
* Commentary by Director Joel Schumacher
* Additional Scenes
* “Riddle Me This: Why is Batman Forever?”
* “Shadows of the Bat: The Cinematic Saga of the Dark Knight”
* Beyond Batman Documentary Gallery
* Seal "Kiss From a Rose" Music Video
* The Heroes and the Villains Profile Galleries
* Theatrical Trailer

BATMAN AND ROBIN
* Commentary by Director Joel Schumacher
* “Shadows of the Bat: The Cinematic Saga of the Dark Knight”
* Additional Scene: Alfred's Lost Love
* Beyond Batman Documentary Gallery
* Four Music Videos
* The Heroes and the Villains Profile Galleries
* Theatrical Trailer

The best part of the special features are the commentaries by both directors -- yes, Schumacher included -- as well as the “Shadows of the Bat: The Cinematic Saga of the Dark Knight” documentaries that detail the history of Batman on film (sans BATMAN BEGINS and THE DARK KNIGHT).

All four films are presented in 1080p VC-1 encodes -- framed a little higher at 1.78:1 to fill the screen from top to bottom -- and are matched with English Dolby TrueHD tracks. Each one also has a Dolby Digital 5.1 track with the following language options: French, German, Italian, Spanish, and Portuguese. Subtitles are available in optional English, French, German, Italian, Spanish, Dutch, Chinese, Korean, Portuguese, Danish, Finnish, Norwegian, and Swedish languages.

As far as video and audio quality, both are the weakest in BATMAN -- as expected since it’s the oldest -- and improves with each subsequent film.

Now on to the question at hand: “Should I buy this Blu-ray set even if I’ve already got it on DVD?”

If you’re asking me -- and I guess if you're reading this you are -- I say yes. The video quality is a hell of an improvement over the DVD version. I’d almost forgotten how good these films looked since it’s been 12, 14, 17, and 20 years since I’ve seen them in theaters. In addition, each film and all the extras come on one disk, so there’s only four (two per film) in the set.

So here’s the deal, if you are a Batman fan that has a Blu-ray player along with an HD televison set, then by all means, pick this up and add to your collection. The upgrade in video quality alone -- at least to me -- makes it worth it.

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