FROM MY OWN PRIVATE COLLECTION "Batman" (1989)
Back before Christopher Nolan, Christian Bale, Heath Ledger and the rest of their crew really raised the bar in terms of what action hero films could become, the best movies based on Bob Kane's character came under the direction of Tim Burton.
And twenty years later, this one is still as entertaining as it was in its heyday.
Kevin Costner and Michael Keaton were my two favorite actors growing up, seeing as how all I would ever watch was Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves, Beetlejuice and the first two Batman films. Keaton could take on a thousand roles before he turns in his final performance, and it won't matter. I'll always think of him as Bruce Wayne.
He was cool, quiet and collected, but he was also extremely complex. You never really knew what was going on in his head, which made him interesting to watch.
But of course, if you talk about this film and standout performances, you can't go without mentioning Jack Nicholson as The Joker. He's one of those actors who could probably play anything, and yet he seemed perfect for this.
Whereas Ledger's interpretation of Batman's most interesting villain showcased a mentally disturbed yet unexpectedly ingenious criminal, Nicholson's was more of a clown, albeit a clown with homicidal tendencies.
It's hard for me to imagine anyone seeing both performances and not enjoying them.
There are some composers that seem to just get the directors they write music for, and I think that's always been the case when it comes to Tim Burton and Danny Elfman. The music here is pretty much classic Burton-Elfman, though with a little bit more of a punch to it.
The 2-disc DVD has a nice set of extras (interesting featurettes, Prince videos, storyboard sequences), with the most notable being the feature-length commentary by Burton. He basically talks throughout the entire movie, which is something you won't hear much on most DVDs.
He offers up nice bits of insight and behind-the-scenes info, including how supportive Jack [Nicholson] was during the filming, and how scary Jack [Palance] was to work with.
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