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Batman: Mask of the Phantasm
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  • The Darkest of the Dark Knight
    I recently read a review on this which had a line summing up this movie very well: there is no happy ending here.

    Lots of Bat-Fans point to "Batman Returns" as the darkest entry into the catalogue, but this one has it beat hands down in the dark department. And I mean that as a compliment. Batman is not supposed to be an ode to daffodils. The whole foundation of the Batman story is rooted in tragedy, murder and mayhem. And boy-oh-boy, you have it here in spades.

    Is it a violent movie? Yep. It has a higher murder rate than "Psycho". How about depressing? Oh yeah. There is a VERY downbeat ending, and a flashback scene so depressing, that I swear even Batman is teary-eyed at the end of it (although he is in a heavy rain, so it could be only that). Many pivotal moments in this film take place in the cemetery. There are also complicated plot points may make it hard for the very young to undertsand what's going on (Like why are the police going after Batman? Explain that to your 3-year-old).

    Kudos to the writers for a great story and script that doesn't deign to try and market the daycare set. This is an animated film, but everything about it is grown-up. Shirley Walker's score drives everything to the brink (especially the chase scene with GPD). The visuals are great, with the 40s look and 90s problems as a setting. The voice characterizations are right on the mark, with Conroy and Hamill becoming icons themselves as Batman and The Joker respectively.

    It has been stated many times, but I'll do it again: the makers of the live-action films need to take a lesson from this film and the related TV series. Unfortunately, the 60s series with Adam West and the Batman of "Superfriends" were around so long and came along at such times they became iconic; they were the rule rather than the exception. But this film showed everyone how it's supposed to be done.

    ...more info
  • Danny Elfman doesn't have ANYTHING on Shirley Walker!
    So Elfman wrote the original Batman theme that can be heard in the opening for the animated show. However, when I think of Batman, a different theme comes to mind. It is the powerful gothic theme very well showcased in this score that I think of. Shirley Walker wrote this theme/score as well as the remainder of the score for the animated series. (as a side note, her work on the animated series is truly incredible- each episode features its own unique, very high quality score). Anyway, it is this theme that truly describes the Batman mystique to a tee. The score is relatively short, but then, so is the movie. There are very few unpleasant cues on the cd. Most of the score circles around presenting the main theme and a couple of sub-themes in a myriad of different very interesting rhythms and instrumentation. Her music is truly a brilliant tribute to the ideas that, collectively, are Batman!...more info
  • Best Batman Feature
    This is one of the best Batman animated features I have ever seen.The writing was good and Mark Hamill doing the voice of the Joker?G-O-O-D.The soundtrack gets high marks and the actors picked to voice the characters was good.With plans to make a new series of Batman feature films in the works,I would like for Warner Brothers studios to please keep Tim Burton as the executive producer and most important,Michael Keaton as Batman because he is the right actor for the role....more info
  • The Most Detailed Batman Origin From The 90s Animated Era
    "Batman: Mask Of The Phantasm" is the theatrical release spun off from the 1990s's great "Batman: The Animated Series" from television. Those unfamiliar with the animated Batman material from this era should check out both the series, the movie, and the subsequent direct-to-video movies from the same line, because collectively they comprise the best pre-"Batman Begins" filmed versions of the Dark Knight, far surpassing several of the previous, live action, incarnations.

    "Mask Of The Phantasm" unfolds on two fronts - the appearance in Gotham of a new crimefighter known as Phantasm, who uses (in direct contrast to the Batman) lethal methods to take out members of Gotham's organized crime groups; and a series of extended flashbacks that take us far more indepth to the early day of the Batman than the animated tv series ever had. Like the series, the movie tones down the darker elements from the modern-era comic books, and keeps things from becoming too complex, so as to keep the show as accessible to five year-olds as to twenty-five or sixty-five year-olds. It retains the higher levels of characterization and believability than the live-action Batman movies of the 90s, and in terms of sophistication and detail runs somewhat closer to the comics than the pre-2005 live-actions ever did. It ties the two timeframes it takes place in together very well and fits perfectly with the tv show, incorporating a number of the main characters (and their voice actors) from the series into the flow of the movie, all brought to life by voice acting that's way above the norm for animated comic adaptations. The distinctive visual look of the series's unorthodox animation style is in full effect here, and is as well-done as ever. Overall a great movie; well-suited to young kids but older viewers definately shouldn't pass it up on the grounds of it not being live-action. A solid 4.5 stars...more info
  • Terrible Disappointment
    Although the animation and voice talent was tremendous (even had Abe Vigoda - love that gravelly voice) the story line was so weak and the resolution was not thought through. It was like the producers said "Ooh! Let's have a hot sexual theme because we are now in a theater and can avoid the censors!" Any Batman fan knows he forsook love because of his dedication to his second persona (Batman). In Mask, Batman appears weak and controlled by his libido. I was uncomfortable with the scene implying [physical interaction] had taken place between Bruce and Andrea. The blatant sexual story didn't fit with Batman as how we have come to know him. Nor did it fit with the masterful animated series, which used subtleties so powerfully.

    In the Ras-Al-Ghul episodes, his romance with Talia is cinematic, his affection for and implied dalliance (Cat Scratch Fever) with Catwoman fit with the series and Batman's character. Even his chick from the past, Zatana, is acceptable. This is because at all times, Batman remains in control of his emotions. In Phantasm, he acts like a pimply fourteen year old, even spying on Andrea in plain sight with binoculars!

    The movie's resolution was extremely sloppy. The Phantasm was a compelling character, but the strength and movement the Phantasm displayed was never explained, like a Scooby Doo episode, when the monster's head is pulled off and reveals weak "Uncle Albert." Also, the Joker and Harley are depressing rather than scary/humorous as in the series.

    I love Batman: the Animated Series. I went to a lot of trouble to tape every episode. I even put the tapes in a safe deposit box at one point, when I lived in an apt. with incidents of crime. When I saw the poster for this film, I was dizzy with delight. When I came out of the theater I felt sick to my stomach and almost cried.

    I highly recommend the movie Batman and Mr. Freeze: Sub Zero, as well as the Batman Beyond series and movies. They are truer to the Batman characters to say the least....more info

  • Enough cannot be said about how good this is....
    ..i think every positive review on here has nailed it, so i won't repeat what's already been said. This has got to be the best animated movie ever made. Well written...just like Batman animated series of the 90's!...more info
  • Worth Watching
    SUMMARY: In the beginning, you witness The Dark Knight (aka: Batman) going after a feared crime boss, but things take a turn for the worst when this crime boss gets murdered by a mysterious, deathly like figure that calls itself "the Angel of Death". Now, one by one, the figure takes down certain crime bosses, but unfortunately, Batman is blamed for this madness! Can Batman find this mysterious being before it slays more criminals? Can he ignite an old flame between himself and the beautiful Andrea: his almost-to-be wife from the past? Time will tell...
    In this movie, we not only watch Bruce Wayne piece together clues about the 'Phantasm', but we also look a bit in depth to his whole Batman past, and why he fights crime the way he does. This movie also looks into the past about Bruce and his love, Andrea...and how they're all tied to a crime boss chain...which includes the Joker!

    MY OPINION: Well, to be honest, there really isn't much to give my opinion about. Overall, it's a great movie and definetely worth seeing if your a 'Batman: The Animated Series' fan and similar Batman titles. Although...I gave it four stars, because even though it's a really good movie, but it just wasn't as good as I thought; and thus, that's where the four stars come in.

    DISC FEATURES: Unfortunately, there are no special features on the disc. It's basically just the usual: scene selection, languages (English and Francais), subtitles (English and Francais), and a theatrical trailer of the movie itself.
    ...more info
  • Batman is the Coolest Non-Super powered Hero EVER!!!!
    This movie shows some interesting history of how Batman became the way he was. It starts with Batman's first appearance and the introduction to a woman that I think is the love of his life.
    It made me cry.
    All the same Voice Actors are here, including Bruce Conway as Batman. (In my opinion has the best voice ever!)
    It you are a fan of the Animated Series, or a Batman fan in general you'll love this movie!...more info
    Not to take away from the 1989 movie which I have also reviewed, but this Batman is far superior to what has followed in the sequels. Kevin Conroy has found his place alongside Michael Keaton and Adam West as one of the best Batman portrayals on screen. And Mark Hamill as the Joker, who again is my absolute favorite villain ranks right up there with Jack Nicholson and Cesar Romero. The plot is well written, the animation is great and all in all this film, for a cartoon, is much more believable than recent Batman films. If you see this for the first time, I also recommend Batman:The Animated Series Volumes 1-3(I'm not a big fan of the revamped series on Volume 4), and Batman & Mr. Freeze: Subzero....more info
  • An absolute must have!!!!!
    This is an extremely good movie. For Batman fans, this is one that definitely belongs in your collection.

    My favorite aspect of the movie is that it actually focuses more on Bruce Wayne instead of Batman. The hero is always entertaining, but the vulnerability of the man behind the mask is far more interesting. Because of that, the movie has mass appeal that can stretch out to a wider audience. ...more info
  • Best animated Batman movie!
    Batman (voiced by Kevin Conroy) has been accused of the murder of several mafia members. The former love of his life, Andrea Beaumont with her father have returned to Gotham City as Bruce Wayne falls for her again. However there is trouble brewing ahead, a mysterious villain named Phantasm is killing off gang members one by one and The Joker (Mark Hamil)is next on his list, Batman must find this mysterious killer or still be romancing his love.

    This is in my humble opinion the second best Batman movie with "Begins" being number one and "Batman 1989" as the third. It's totally one of the best animated movies ever and captures the esscence of Batman in every possible way from his DC Comics roots thanks to Series's executive producer and writer Bruce Timm. It's quite true to Bob Kane's creation and is a well crafted animated tale that's more to adults and teens then kids due to the dark nature of the film, Andrea is a total animated babe and really reflects Bruce Wayne's inner-fraustrations lead to him once she left him originally.

    This DVD offers only two extras which is bios and a theatrical trailer but it is a must have for Bat fans. ...more info
  • My Favorite Batman
    Yes, i've seen all the other movies & shows on my favorite superhero, Batman (Oh, we can discredit the lame "The Batman" series) & without any reservations i can honestly say the DCAU version of Batman is the best. He's believable in so many aspects (George Gooney should've watched these). The voice alone is so distinct too that anytime i hear another version I imagine Kevin Conroy's tone. Or if i'm picking up a Batman comic, it's the same voice that rings in my ears. Conroy's voice embodied exactly what i have always imagined the Dark Knight to sound like & the TimmVerse animators bring such a perfect sculpting to the character that i really don't need a live actor to take up the suit. I am completely satisfied with this version of Batman & as for the movie, "Mask of the Phantasm" this is for fans of the show already. This is a must-see movie for sure. I give it 5 stars, but to better enjoy it pick up the first 2 volumes of Batman the Animated Series & watch them first to get into this character. You will not be dissapointed with this film or any other of the DCAU Batman for that matter. Great writing & animation definitely put this at the top of my list of favorite versions of Batman (Mr. Keaton was a close second). Also note, if you go crazy over this version of Batman, he can also be seen in Superman the Animated Series, he is a founding member in Justice League the Animated Series, & in Justice League Unlimited. For an aged version, watch Batman Beyond. All titles are very well made & alot of fun. Enjoy!...more info
  • Even better than the "live action" movies
    Drawn on black paper, this animated feature has the dark, brooding film noire style one would expect considering the storyline of "the Batman's" genesis. A thoroughly enjoyable film that can only be compared to the original Tim Burton motion picture. This is how future Batman films should be made....more info
  • Your angel of death awaits you!!!
    When batman the animated series came out it was a whole new relavation in batman a movie was inevitable. When mask of the phantasm came out in the summer of 1993 it opened to very bad reviews why? because the so called movie critic experts dont know jack thats why!!! It is one of the most creative batman movie you'll ever see watch it and love it....more info
  • Most of the great stuff has been said here but...
    It would have been better if they would have taken an extra 15 mins. and showed the true back story of Bruce/Batman. For those who don't know, they should have had a few scenes of Bruce going to the theater with his parents and Joe Chill shooting his mother and father and the aftermath of that and a little bit of his childhood. In the comics it is refered to quite a bit either in flashback or as a mini story at the begining. In Superman Animated it shows Kal-El/Clark going through his 3 episode beginnings with the death of millions so go figure! Joe Chill was only featured on the episode of Justice League Unlimited called For the Man Who Has Everything. ...more info
  • Just as good as i remember.
    I remember watching this as a kid and loved it. Watching it years later i thought it would not be as good. I was wrong. This movie along with the series holds up to the test of time. Of course the lack of special features is the big dissapointment here. and thats why i cannot give it five stars. I mean commentary is so common even in the worst movies and dvds. and they could not put a simple director or whoever commentary is bad. A simple deleted scene or something would have been so nice. All we get is a lame trailer. On the box it mentions subtitles as special features, come on lol. BUT the movie is great. Could be the best batman movie animated or live action. ...more info
  • Best of the animated movies
    I missed this movie when it first came out. Within the last few years, I've gotten back into watching my favorite cartoons from my childhood. Batman: TAS is one of them. I've seen all the other animated movies on Cartoon Network (Subzero, Mystery of the Batwoman, Gotham Knight, Return of the Joker). This is, by far, the best.

    The story line is compelling & the animation is top notch. We get to see a young Bruce Wayne as he begins his career as Batman. Very interesting. The voice talents have also done an amazing job. Kevin Conroy has become one of my favorite people to listen to.

    The only downside is with the DVD itself. There are no special features, other than the theatrical trailer. It's a two-sided DVD (standard/widescreen). ...more info
  • The best Batman yet!
    The animated feature-length debut of one of the most popular superheroes of all time is a must own for any fan. Unlike the films, this movie goes into more character detail and gives us insight into the mind of Bruce Wayne, and what made the 'Bat'. The story and script are great, supported by good animation and amazing sound effects. Mark Hamill's joker is the best. Hope a special collector's edition comes out soon....more info
  • Excellent music.
    Shirley Walker truly was a master composer. I've listened to this score many times and it still surprises me. The sound quality is a little iffy (numerous popping sounds due to analog source material, I'm guessing) but it's not at all distracting....more info
  • Couldn't have gone better
    transaction went smooth. Got the DVD pretty fast and it's condition was as the seller said it was....more info
  • Batman for all ages
    I used to own the movie before I bought it from amazon. I sold it to a friend and instantly regretted it, because it really is a great movie. Perhaps one of the very few Batman stories that involve a love interest makes it a very intruiging story indeed, and the Joker is more hysterical than ever, which is probably my favorite thing about the movie. But the reason you know it's a love story for sure is the song played during the credits, a truly romantic song that creates emotion and the feeling that you've just watched a great movie....more info
  • Batman!
    I am a big fan of the graphic novel Batman: The Dark night retuns. I saw this at a DVD store and said why not? I did not think much about it. The when I saw it I loved it. If felt like I was waching a batman graphic novel on screen. This is a good DVD and I think it should be in everyone's DVD collection
    ...more info
  • Beautiful Batman Movie
    Batman: Mask of Phatasm is an engrossing grown-up story which is also lovely to look at. The animation is extremely well done creating a 3-dimensional look to a 2-dimensional genre. Shading, shadowing, movement and character face definition are all there - just like the series. We see how and why Wayne becomes Batman and why he remains there and the sacrifices he makes - namely the love of his life and any love for that matter. There is a good mystery with a twist. We see Batman bleed, and implied murder and sex. Batman actually acts with the full range of emotion - sadness, angst, anger, happiness (well as much as our dashing crusader can muster). This is a much better story than I expected - for a cartoon or any other type of genre....more info
  • Love or Duty? The Puzzle of the Batman
    Batman Mask of the Phantasm (1993) is one of those better cartoon series with way more excitement and adventure than many of the live action Batman movies of the post Tim Burton era (except for Batman Begins and Dark Knight of course).

    Who is the Phantasm? And why is the D.A. so intent on labeling the Bat as an evil vigilante. Even the Joker didn't believe it.

    Batman confronts who he is and why he is; how love, though strong, is not stronger than the duty to his parents, to Gotham.

    The animation was realistic and spot-on. Bruce Timm did a great job in co-producing, and I didn't know that Paul Dini (Elfquest comics) had a hand in the script.

    Mark Hamill (Star Wars) does a great voice-over as the maniacal, cackling Joker!

    The DVD is very barebones, with English and French subtitles, a scene selector and a film trailer.

    Bruce Timm had a hand in other great DC animation:

    Batman Collection DVD 3-Pack (Mask of the Phantasm / SubZero / Return of the Joker)
    Superman: Doomsday
    Justice League Unlimited - Season One (DC Comics Classic Collection)...more info
  • Warner Brothers Classic! 5-STARS!!! The greatest film of 1993!
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  • Captures Batman better than any other movie
    I have watched and own all of Batman the Animated Series and I have to say Kevin Conroy IS the definitive Batman. So noting that I consider this to be the best Batman movie. Any newcomer to Batman or even old fan will love this movie. I had never watched any of the Batman animated movies before recently and I have to say that I missed out. If you have all the seasons of Batman the Animated Series this is another DVD you'll have to add to your collection. This just captures Batman better than the big Hollywood movies. You won't regret buying this one!...more info
  • One of the best
    If I had to pick which animated movie deserves high praise, this would be one of them. The way this movie is done was actually so wel thought out, it puts most live movies to shame. First off, this movie is more about Bruce Wayne than Batman himself and shows his past with his true love. The setup is pretty much someone is going around killing off the mob bosses and the police believe its Batman. A connection is found when his once true love and her father returned who ran away from these mob bosses many years ago. Is it one of them doing it or someone else? Great movie that shows the origin of batman, and no, not the parent killing part but the true beginning with his first mission before he chose the costume. Also shows the early days of the joker and one of Bruces loves (he had many, though whats funny is that on an episode of Batman Beyond, they showed every one of Bruces past loves except for this one which was odd). Anyways a great animated movie to get and lets just say, everything about it is perfect. ...more info