Once in a while a movie comes along which is a box office failure but a critical success that goes on to achieve cult status. It’s pretty rare. It’s even rarer with animated movies. Considering the immense popularity of this movie now, I’m having a hard time thinking of a movie that is so different to what the box office figures suggest.
If you ask a fair few fans what the best Batman movie is, this is going to be near the top of quite a percentage of their lists. If you ask fans what the best animated Batman movie is, the answer is this movie. I would say close to 100% of the responses would agree.
First off, we have two of the greatest voice actors in animated comic book movies; Kevin Conroy (arguably the best Bruce Wayne/Batman) and Mark Hamill (THE Joker, sorry Heath). They get their characters spot on perfect and work together really well. Dana Delany as Andrea Beaumont gives a good performance too, with what is one of Batman’s more interesting on-screen romances.
Secondly, it is scored beautifully by Shirley Walker, the main composer of The Animated Series, which I will get around to reviewing at some point. The sound effects are also decent.
Animation wise, I think it fits the movie perfectly. It improves the detail of The Animated Series while keeping to the same film noir style. The title screens were 3D animated, but the movie itself shied away from that, and it allowed for a better expression of the characters and is more close to the comics.
In fact, I think a lot of the popularity of this movie can be attributed to the fact we got the Batman we know, very comic faithful, and not a directors interpretation of Batman. About the only bad thing that can be said about this movie is that the plot is at times clichéd and the twist is a pretty common one. I don’t think that matters as much because while that is true, it is handled with great care. The love story feels more real than the live action romances. Bruce Wayne’s torment is there as a main underlying theme and not left out, which is important as it is a huge part of the characters motivation. The scene at the graveyard really stands out as how to convey this properly in a movie. The action sequences are cool too.
Overall, this is one of the most enjoyable Batman movies. It is one of the best representations of Batman outside of the comics, and a fun movie to watch from start to finish. It has enough focus on what makes Batman tick, and interesting, fleshed out villains. It also has a great soundtrack. Definitely one of the best animated movies you could watch.
Movie info from Wikipedia:
|Story by||Alan Burnett|
|Music by||Shirley Walker|
|Edited by||Al Breitenbach|
|Distributed by||Warner Bros. Family Entertainment|
|Box office||$5.6 million|