VOICES OF: Kevin Conway, Dana Delany, Hart Bochner, Mark Hamill, Stacy Keach Jr., Efrem Zimbalist Jr., Abe Vigoda, Dick Miller, John P. Ryan

1993, 76 Minutes, Directed by: Eric Radomski and Bruce W. Timm

Description: The Saturday morning cartoon show's whose creators are responsible for this feature film, in which everyone's favorite schizophrenic billionaire crime fighter is investigating the murders of several prominent gangsters. Meanwhile, his ex-fiancé and her father are back in town. Through flashbacks, these two death-obsessed kids are shown falling in love (she lost her mother; he lost both parents--of course, they meet in a graveyard), until she leaves quickly and mysteriously. Along the way, there's a short course in the origins of the Batman costume and the origins of the Joker (voice of Star Wars' Mark Hamill!), a big fight with the smoke-enshrouded Phantasm character, who is suspected of killing the gangsters, and an even bigger fight with the Joker at the abandoned Gotham World's Fair grounds.

To be frank I enjoyed this extended spin-off of the animated Batman TV series more than I did the previous live action Batman Forever movie. Perhaps it's a good indication of what's wrong with the current Batman franchise. Batman: Mask of the Phantasm has everything the current franchise doesn't: it focuses on characters, plot and (surprisingly good) dialogue.

It also isn't overwhelmed by its technical aspects: although the retro-1940s design is great, the animation itself isn't all that hot however. But for once there seems to be somebody behind the Batman mask instead of the vapid Bruce Waynes (Batman's alter ego) portrayed by Michael Keaton, Val Kilmer, et al.

The plot involves Batman being mistakenly blamed for the killing of several prominent mob bosses (a mysterious masked figure known as the Phantasm is actually responsible). There are other complications: an ex-girlfriend of Bruce Wayne pitches up unexpectedly and so does the Joker (excellently voiced by Mark Luke Skywalker Hammil)!

If you're into Batman you'll find that this movie, which was initially intended only for video release but made it to the big screen (in the States at least) as well, is closer to the original comics than anything Joel Schumacher or even Tim Burton can throw at us . . .


Sci-Fi Movie Page Pick: Pencil doodle has more charisma than Val Kilmer! Better than anything Joel Schumacher has ever foisted upon unsuspecting Bat-fans, this full-length animated movie version of the cartoon series has more genuine thrills and characterization than Batman & Robin and Batman Forever combined.


Watch Trailer / Clip:







blog comments powered by Disqus

Latest Headlines

Most Popular

Copyright © 1997-forward James O'Ehley/The Sci-Fi Movie Page (unless where indicated otherwise).