By Allison Skornick-Rose

Jun 02, 2019 06:18 PM EST



Batman 4K Ultra HD Review

Batman (1989) 4K video quality is exceptional here and the transfer is terrific when compared to the original film.

Batman first appeared in DC Comics 80 years ago.  Over the years he has been referred to as the Dark Knight, the Caped Crusader and even, the World's Greatest Detective. In 1966 he first appeared on television portrayed by Adam West and ran for three seasons. There were also two movies that were made in the 1940s.  Then in 1989 Tim Burton and Warner Bros. took on the franchise casting Michael Keaton (Spotlight) in the lead role and re-energized the story for a new generation. Now four of these reimagined movies are headed to stores on 4K for the first time.

Batman is a billionaire playboy with a dark secret.  When he was a young boy he watched as his parents were murdered and he grew up wanting to avenge their deaths.  As an adult, he found he had the means and the desire to take on all sorts of "bad guys" and became a sort of vigilante in a mask and a cape.  From hunting and capturing criminals to protecting the city, he became the superhero Gotham never knew they needed but always wanted. Working with Commissioner Gordon (Pat Hingle; Maximum Overdrive) and the Gotham police department, he helped make the fictional city a safer place to live.

As Gotham plans to celebrate their bicentennial a new threat looms over Gotham.  Sociopath Jack Napier a.k.a. The Joker (Jack Nicholson; As Good As It Gets) plans to release deadly Smilex gas that makes people laugh so hard that it eventually kills them.  As he readies his troops to release the gas Batman a.k.a Bruce Wayne tries to figure out exactly where and when the attack is going to occur in an effort to save Gotham City's citizens from certain death.

Keaton was a strong choice to portray this new version of the Caped Crusader.  He blends intelligence with a broody demeanor that shows his internal conflict.  Nicholson plays the joker like the crazy, demented man his character is meant to be.  There is a reason the actor has won three Oscar Awards and he brings his brilliance to the screen only to be rivaled in later years by the late Heath Ledger (Brokeback Mountain).  Kim Basinger (L.A. Confidential) is very good as a reporter and Bruce Wayne's love interest Vicky Vale. Burton expertly directs this talented casting a dark reboot that has set the tone for the franchise going forward (until Batman Forever).

The 2160p High Definition video quality is exceptional here and the transfer is terrific when compared to the original film.  The details are clean and the dark tones are deep and true.  The Dolby Atmos audio is really something to experience.  The surround sound is excellent with sharp and crisp sounds.  The extras are all previously releases and include: Audio 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 of the Dark Knight, Batman: The Heroes, Batman: The Villains, Beyond Batman, Batman: The Complete Robin Storyboard Sequence, Music Videos, and the Theatrical Trailer.

This film could have been a bomb and destroyed any future sequels but instead, it re-energized the franchise which has spawned an ever-growing list of Batman-themed movies.  Warner Bros. did a great job with this transfer and the quality improvements can definitely be seen and heard.  Batman: The 30th-anniversary edition is a worthwhile purchase and fans certainly won't be disappointed.

Grade: A-

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MPAA Rating: PG-13
Running Time: 127 minutes
Distributed By: Warner Bros.

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