Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Batman: The Motion Picture Anthology Blu-ray Review

Batman: The Motion Picture Anthology Blu-ray Review
Written by Loys Johnson

Batman:Disc Size: 38.5 GB (BD-50)
Film Size: 26.3 GB

Batman Returns: Disc Size: 37.1 GB (BD-50)
Film Size: 28.4 GB

Batman Forever:Disc Size: 35.3 GB (BD-50)
Film Size: 27.2 GB

Batman & Robin:Disc Size: 37.3 GB (BD-50)
Film Size: 30.2 GB

All:
Film Rating: PG-13
Region: Free

VIDEO:
All 4 films come to Blu-ray with 1080p VC-1 video presentations. Overall I was more than pleased with the results.

The first film in the collection, Batman, was actually very impressive all things considered. It has a good amount of detail, that ranges from lacking to stunning. Colors are quite stunning, and black levels stay solid throughout. There is a light layer of film grain throughout, and fortunately there is no noticeable tampering to reduce it. Batman has never looked better, and fans of the film will definitely be pleased. 8/10.

Batman Returns features another top notch video presentation, only more stunning visually. Detail is very impressive, and the we get quite a bit of 3-D pop with it. Black levels are solid, and colors were very nice. There isn't anything I can really complain about, as it seems accurate and true to the source. Batman Returns is sure to impress all viewers. 9/10.

Batman Forever is also a very nice presentation. Almost bordering on the quality of Batman Returns when it comes to high-def video. Forever is definitely a lot more colorful in it's environments, and is certainly impressive. The colors are vibrant and leap off the screen, with out looking too out of element from the film. There is a great amount of detail, with only a few darker scenes that were definitely weak compared to the overall presentation. 9/10.

Batman & Robin was actually quite disappointing overall. Not to say that it was a bad transfer, but It definitely had some moments where I felt like I was almost watching a DVD, particularly towards the end at times. Some elements just didn't lend themselves well to high-def, but I was still impressed overall. Poison Ivy (Uma Thurman) shines on Blu-ray, with the amount of detail in her hair and makeup at times, as well as her green outfit. Close-up shots are very impressive of all the characters in the film, providing some top notch demo material at times. There were just some scenes that weren't appealing visually, whether it was the choice of lighting or effects, it just didn't impress as much as I had expected. 8/10.

AUDIO:
Warner has included a 5.1 Dolby TrueHD audio track for each film, and while not as impressive as the video, there is still plenty to be loved.

Batman had the weakest track of the four films, which was expected being the first film. The track actually felt pretty cheap at times, with a bit of screeching noise coming out at times. The film's score never felt as smooth as it could be, but it was definitely an upgrade from the DVD at the same time. I can't really complain, as it has never sounded better. Dialogue stays clear for the most part, although there were a few scenes that felt a bit dull and lacking. There are also times where the track really does impress as well, it's just not perfect. 7.5/10.

Batman Returns sounds great, and definitely features a more impressive audio track. Whether it be explosions, punches, or whipping effects, it all sounded very clear and impressive. The only thing effects-wise that disappointed where the gunshots, sounding quite dull and cheap compared to the overall presentation. Dialogue is clear at all times, and the film's score was always smooth and natural. 8/10.

Batman Forever is even more impressive than Returns when it comes to audio, and there is no way to be disappointed with it. The film's effects were always clear and impressive, and added a lot to the weak film. The action sequences were magic to the ears, and I loved how it expanded to the surround speakers at times. Dialogue was very clear from beginning to end, and the film's score made a nice surround use. 9/10.

Batman & Robin was nice, but had some bits that knocked down what could have been a very impressive track. The film's sound effects were quite impressive, featuring a significant amount of action throughout, especially towards the end. Dialogue while clear for the majority of the film, did sound very cheap when you could tell it was re-recorded. It was definitely distracting, and quite annoying actually. It's not the end of the world, but definitely dropped the overall presentation a bit. 8/10.


EXTRAS:


BATMAN:

Commentary by Director Tim Burton


On the Set With Bob Kane (2:32) (SD)
Join the creator of the original Batman character on set.

Legends of the Dark Knight: The History of Batman (40:37) (SD)
The Batman Comic Book Saga as reinvented and reinterpreted over nearly seven decades

The Road To Gotham City (17:44) (SD)
The filmmakers and cast discuss the pre-production obstacles of bringing this reinvention of the comic book genre to the screen using a dark and serious tone.

The Gathering Storm (22:59) (SD)
The filmmakers and cast discuss the difficult scripting and cast process.

The Legend Reborn (30:57) (SD)
Explore how Tim Burton set out to create a movie that the fans would appreciate and that would preserve the legacy of Batman.

Visualizing Gotham: The Production Design of Batman (10:23) (SD)
Take a look inside the award-winning set designs, including Gotham City and the Bat Cave, created by Production Designer Anton Furst and Set Decorator Peter Young.

Those Wonderful Toys: The Props and Gadgets of Batman (6:01) (SD)
Batman and Joker's gadgets are closely examined as the filmmakers reveal their designs and discuss their practicability during production.

From Jack to the Joker (10:38) (SD)
Filmmakers and cast discuss Jack Nicholson's transformation into the Joker, including his hair, wardrobe, and his infamous smile.

Building the BATMOBILE (9:22) (SD)
Get a first hand account of the design, construction and gadgets of the Batmobile

Designing the BATSUIT (6:56) (SD)
From the cowl and cape down to the Batboots, get insight into the creation of the Batsuit

Nocturnal Overtures: The Music of Batman (7:04) (SD)
Danny Elfman talks about his original score and how he captured the sound and tone of Gotham City

Batman: The Heroes (12:33) (SD)
Brief character analysis by the filmmakers, cast and fans.
Batman
Vicki Vale
Alexander Knox
Commissioner Gordon
Harvey Dent

Batman: The Villains (7:19) (SD)
Brief character analyses by the filmmakers, cast and fans.
The Joker
Bob The Goon

Batman: The Complete ROBIN Storyboard Sequence (4:22) (SD)
An animated visualization of a scene taken from an early draft of the script that included Robin, using the film's original pre-production storyboards.

Theatrical Trailer (1:47) (SD)

Music Videos:
Prince - "Batman" Music Video (6:57) (SD)
Prince - "Partyman" Music Video (4:01) (SD)
Prince - "Scandalous" Music Video (4:17) (SD)

Digital Copy (Compatible with iTunes and Windows Media)

BATMAN RETURNS:

Commentary by Director Tim Burton


The Bat, The Cat, And The Penguin (SD)
Cast and crew recall the making of this equally spectacular sequel.

Dark Side Of The Knight (30:18) (SD)
The cast and crew share how this sequel came to fruition.

Batman: The Heroes (7:08) (SD)
Batman
Alfred

Batman: The Villains (11:21) (SD)
The Penguin
Catwoman
Max Shreck

Gotham City Revisited: (11:27) (SD)
The Production Design of Batman Returns

Sleek, Sexy And Sinister: (13:31) (SD)
The Costumes of Batman Returns

Making-Up The Penguin (8:15) (SD)

Assembling The Arctic Army (9:33) (SD)

Bats, Mattes and Dark Nights: (11:37) (SD)
The Visual Effects of Batman

Inside The Elfman Studio: (11:25) (SD)
The Music of Batman Returns

Siouxsie and the Banshees - 'Face to Face' Music Video (4:21) (SD)

Theatrical Trailer (2:35) (SD)

BATMAN FOREVER:

Commentary by Director Joel Shumacher

Riddle Me This: Why Is Batman Forever? (23:25) (SD)
How a new director and cast created a new vision of Gotham's classic good and bad guys.

Reinventing A Hero (28:28) (SD)
The Batman Franchise is reenergized with a new look and new characters.

Out of the Shadows; The Production Design of Batman Forever (12:38) (SD)
Barbara Ling explains how each location in famed Gotham City was modernized and customized to each character.

The Many Faces of Gotham City (13:42) (SD)
See how the costumes and make-up of Batman Forever contribute to the new and edgy look.

Knight Moves: The Stunts of Batman Forever (5:41) (SD)
Stuntman Keith Campbell demonstrates how some of the most difficult stunts are set up and executed

Imaging Forever: The Visual Effects of Batman Forever (7:05) (SD)
A look back at the special effects of the movie - during the beginning of the Digital Age of movie making.

Scoring Forever: The Music Of Batman Forever (6:25) (SD)

Batman: The Heroes: (9:30) (SD)
Batman
Robin
Dr. Chase Meridian

Batman: The Villains: (6:46) (SD)
The Riddler
Two-Face

Deleted Scenes (13:57) (SD)

Theatrical Trailer (3:29) (SD)

Seal - 'Kiss From A Rose' Music Video (3:56) (SD)

BATMAN AND ROBIN:

Commentary by Director Joel Shumacher

Batman Unbound (27:00) (SD)
Cast and crew discuss the casting, controversies, fan anticipation and reaction to the fourth installment of the Batman franchise.

Bigger, Bolder, Brighter: The Production Design of Batman & Robin (9:59) (SD)
Take a look behind the scenes of the biggest character environemtns and the unique new inventions.

Maximum Overdive: The Vehicles of Batman & Robin (9:54) (SD)
Highlihgts the redesign of the Batmobile, Robin's motorcyle and the Mr. Freeze machine.

Dressed To Thrill: The Costumes of Batman & Robin (12:13) (SD)
The design and manufacturing of the hot and heavy outfits are discussed by the costume crew.

Frozen Freaks And Femme Fatales: The Makeup of Batman & Robin (9:23) (SD)
Check out the details that go into the makeup and hair as the crew transforms the actors into their characters.

Freeze Frame: The Visual Effects of Batman & Robin (9:01) (SD)
With more technology available than previously seen in Batman movies, filmmakers pushed the envolope in using visual effefcts.

Batman: The Heroes:
Batman (3:33) (SD)
Robin (3:08) (SD)
Batgirl (2:34) (SD)

Batman: The Villains:
Mr. Freeze (3:22) (SD)
Poison Ivy (2:29) (SD)
Bane (2:09) (SD)

Deleted Scene: Alfred's Lost Love (:44) (SD)

Theatrical Trailer (2:25) (SD)

Music Videos:
The Smashing Pumpkins - 'The End Is The Beginning Is The End' Music Video (5:13) (SD)
Bone Thugs-N-Harmony - 'Look Into My Eyes' Music Video (4:56) (SD)
R. Kelly - 'Gotham City' Music Video (5:03) (SD)
Jewel - 'Foolish Games' Music Video (4:00) (SD)


Packaging:
Warner brings Batman to Blu-ray in a Motion Picture Anthology Set. The cases are stored in a small Batman theme case, where each film is stored in it's own thin Blu-ray case. I'm not too impressed with the packaging here, as it is quite flimsy. That said though, it's far from the worst packaging I have seen on Blu-ray.

Blu-news Summary:
The Batman Anthology has finally come to Blu-ray, and Warner has done a fantastic job with the release. We get very nice video and audio presentations for each film, as well as all the extras from the previous DVD release, and yes there are many. The only thing I can complain about is the packaging, which was mentioned above. Batman fans, do not hesitate to pick up the set on Blu-ray today. 'Highly Recommended For Fans.'

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1 comment:

Farzan said...

Awesome review, been waiting for this for awhile. Love the Burton films and im glad their picture quality is great. Will buy with my next paycheck. Keep up the good work, I love your screen grabs.