In the summer of 1989, primed by "Kiss" and "Alphabet St." and "Sign 'O' the Times" to expect brilliance from the first taste of new Prince music, I raced out to buy "Batdance," the first single to be released from his soundtrack to Tim Burton's Batman. It seemed like a great idea at the time.
I remember my feeling of dazed disappointment the first time I heard "Batdance" lurch to an end. "Batdance" isn't even a song, as such, but a cluster of unrelated chunks of underdone rhythm tracks, ineptly pasted together with chopped-up samples of film dialogue, a couple of lines flown in from other songs, Prince singing the hook from Neal Hefti's '60s Batman theme, and (in its album mix) a very aggressive guitar solo that has almost nothing to do with what's going on around it. Prince and Batman together? How could that not be awesome? What just went wrong here?
In celebration of the 25th anniversary of Tim Burton's Batman movie, The Arkham Sessions takes a break from analyzing the psychology of Batman: The Animated Series to pay special tribute to the legendary film that influenced the style, music, and dark themes of the animated show. Consistent with her measured, analytical approach to the characters and stories of BTAS, Dr. Andrea Letamendi offers psychological conceptualizations of Burton's Batman and Joker with the help of co-host Brian Ward.
Is the film, as Burton once described, a story about the intertwined paths of Batman and the Joker, culminating in a "fight between two disturbed people?" Furthermore, how does Keaton's Bruce Wayne compare to Kevin Conroy's version when it comes to the maintenance -- or fusion -- of multiple identities? How is Nicholson's Joker more destructive and dangerous than Hamill's? Listen to this special edition of the The Arkham Sessions and reminisce about Batman '89 in a whole new way.
I'm not a big fan of Tim Burton's 1989 Batman movie, which is celebrating its 25th anniversary this week, but there's definitely one thing that I think it did right. Burton's Gotham City, redesigned for the screen by Anton Furst, is absolutely beautiful. The Academy Award-winning production art direction is stylish, terrifying, visually engaging and arresting on a level that the rest of the movie has a hard time living up to, creating a world that looks like Batman could exist there.
It's also one of the movie's lasting influences on the world of the comics. Ever since Furst and Burton unveiled their version as a backdrop for the Joker blasting Prince from a boombox while trashing an art museum and Batman blowing up a chemical plant with his remote-control car, Gotham has adhered to their vision of the city, transforming from the bustling stand-in for New York that it was before and becoming its own unmistakable entity. And in true comic book fashion, the comics accomplished this by blowing everything up and starting over.
Launched in late 1988 by the B.D. Fox agency -– who had also handled the campaigns for E.T.: The Extra-Terrestrial, the one true Robocop movie, and mankind’s crowning cinematic achievement, Bill & Ted’s Excellent Adventure – with a poster designed by the film’s production designer Anton Furst, the Batman campaign is a classic example of doing more with less. It’s sexy, sleek, mysterious and new. It’s regarded as one of the best movie campaigns ever, and for good reason. On the occasion of the film's 25th anniversary, let’s talk about why the campaign was so good.
ComicsAlliance's official position on Tim Burton's 1989 Batman movie may be a littlemore harsh than other people's, but even I can't deny its importance in bringing superheroes to life in movies. To this day, it remains a pretty fascinating film, and one of the biggest touchstones that comic books have to mass media, even when we're seeing movies like The Dark Knight and Avengers make a billion dollars at the box office.
So if you're holed up avoiding the snow -- or just looking for a way to kill time on your lunch break -- you could do a lot worse than to take 25 minutes and check out The Making of a Hero. Originally produced in the UK during the filming of Batman '89, it's a behind-the-scenes look at how the movie was made, featuring crew members like Tim Burton himself and designer Anton Furst, along with Michael Keaton, Kim Basinger and Robert Wuhl. Give it a watch below, but be warned: That jerk Bob Kane shows up to ruin everything.
Fan-favorite DC movies are getting the 4" action figure treatment from Mattel next year as part of the new Multiverse line. First among the films receiving figures will be 1978's Superman with a figure bearing the likeness of actor Christopher Reeve and a Batman 1989 figure featuring an alternate "Bruce Wayne" head bearing actor Michael Keaton's likeness. Villains will be joining the fray as well with Batman Returns versions of Catwoman (based on actress Michelle Pfeiffer) and Penguin (Danny DeVito) and Superman 2's Zod (Terence Stamp) set to roll out alongside the heroes. Batman and Zod were shown with movie-centric accessories, so it's safe to assume Superman, Catwoman and Penguin will all be packed with appropriate items when the time comes. Check out all five of Mattel's 4" Multiverse movie action figures shown at NYCC 2013, after the jump.
NECA's 1/4 scale superhero movie figures have a sizable presence at the toymaker's Comic-Con booth this year. In addition to the Batman '66 and Batman '89 figures that were initially shown at Toy Fair being displayed with their upcoming accessories, NECA also debuted its Avengers Thor and battle-damaged Iron Man, plus a Man of Steel Superman. All five figures stand 18 or so inches tall and feature unique accessories and, in the case of the caped crowd, some cloth costumery.
If mechs, aliens and superheroes are your cup of tea, NECA's 2013 Toy Fair lineup is like... well, it's like a huge vat of tea that somebody could fall in while being chased by police. NECA's got quite a few detailed Pacific Rim and Aliens figures in the pipleine, plus massive 1/4 (18"+) scale Avengers movie toys and Batman '89 and, yes, Batman '66 figures...
A recent interview with Michael Keaton has shed some light on the actor's acclaimed work on Batman, the Tim Burton film based on the DC Comics superhero that launched the comic book movie genre as we know it...
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