Monday, December 13, 2010

Movie Monday - Holy Christmas, Batman!

Batman Returns

Written by: Daniel Waters (screenplay), Sam Hamm and Daniel Waters (story), Based upon Batman by Bob Kane and Bill Finger

Directed by: Tim Burton

Released: June 19, 1992 by Warner Bros.

Rating: PG-13

Summary: Having defeated the Joker, Batman now faces the Penguin - a warped and deformed individual who is intent on being accepted into Gotham society. Crooked businessman Max Schreck is coerced into helping him become Mayor of Gotham and they both attempt to expose Batman in a different light. Earlier however, Selina Kyle, Max's secretary, is thrown from the top of a building and is transformed into Catwoman - a mysterious figure who has the same personality disorder as Batman. Batman must attempt to clear his name, all the time deciding just what must be done with the Catwoman.

You wouldn’t think it, but this is completely a Christmas movie. Don’t believe me? Go and watch even the first 10 minutes. Go ahead. Granted, Christmas isn’t the main focus of the movie – duh, it’s Batman – but it’s still there. It’s centered on Christmas, so that makes it a holiday movie in my books. Plus, it’s all about good will towards men and creating lines of communication between enemies.

Ok, maybe I’m grasping at straws here, but whatever. Sometimes a person needs a break from the holiday spirit; the music at work has been driving me crazy since mid November when it started in on the Christmas melodies. There’s only so many operatic versions of Winter Wonderland a person can take.

Anyways, this has always been a favourite movie of mine and I finally got around to purchasing it on DVD so that I could replace my VHS copy. That’s right, VHS. But I’ve always loved the Batman movies (recent years not included) and it must have been a while since I last watched this one because I was completely surprised when it started that it took place during the holiday season. So then, of course, I immediately knew that I had to review it for the whole Christmas movie theme that I currently have going on.

You can tell that this movie is the brainchild (set-wise anyways) of Tim Burton. Danny Elfman music aside, there’s this underlying scariness that can be attributed only to Burton since no one else would ever contemplate going in that direction. It’s also just the general style that is so completely out there and bizarre and original that there really can’t be another who you could name. His movies are always genius in that way.

It is great how, in this movie, they were able to rope in Michael Keaton again for the title role. Granted he’s not my favourite Batman – Mmmmm George Clooney... – but he’s also not my least. I would rate him at second place, for sure. Plus, as an added bonus, he doesn’t do that stupid voice like Christian Bale does.

The villain choice was also great and it started the run of two villains while was later copied in the next two films. But the way that they were both written and acted, Catwoman and the Penguin were characters who you could tell wouldn’t be in business together for very long. Star-crossed lovers aside with Batman and Catwoman, the Penguin is just the type of man that Catwoman would eat alive if the opportunity arose. However, their brief stint together against the Batman has this great love-hate chemistry that’s centered around their hate for the caped crusader.

In all, this is a fantastic movie for all those who are age appropriate and who love the entire superhero genre. Not only is it classic superhero before it started to become popular to have movies about it, it’s a great film period in part to Burton and his visionary genius. I give it a well-earned 9/10.

PS: It's less than TWO WEEKS to Christmas! And Happy Holidays!

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