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.
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
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.
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
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.