Tim Burton's Batman is filled with nonstop comic book action and Hollywood star power and started a series of much-anticipated sequels. Keaton stars as Batman/Millionaire Bruce Wayne, who must save the distinctive Gotham City from The Joker (Nicholson), a constantly grimacing villain exacting murder and fear among Gotham's citizens. Basinger stars as Vicki Vale, the beautiful photographer who poses as Batman's love interest. (Gary Reber)
Special features include premium hardcover book-format packaging, with a 50-page book and excerpts from the Official Film Book, Script Pages, and DC Comic Book Adaptation; commentary by Director Tim Burton; the following featurettes: On The Set With Bob Krane (SD 2:33), Legends Of The Dark Knight: The History Of Batman (SD 40:39), and Shadows Of The Bat: The Cinematic Saga Of The Dark Knight Parts 1 - 3—The Road To Gotham City (SD 17:45), The Gathering Storm (SD 22:59), and The Legend Reborn (SD 30:59). Beyond Batman includes Visualizing Gotham: The Production Design Of Batman (SD 10:25), Building The Batmobile (SD 9:24), Those Wonderful Toys: The Props And Gadgets Of Batman (SD 6:02), Designing The Batsuit (SD 6:57), From Jack To The Joker (SD 10:39), and Nocturnal Overtures: The Music Of Batman (SD 7:05). There are also five "Batman: The Heroes"—Batman, Vicki Vale, Alexander Knox, Commissioner Gordon, and Harvey Dent (SD 12:35) and two "Batman: The Villains"—The Joker and Bob The Goon (SD 7:21) profile galleries; a "Batman: The Complete Robin Storyboard Sequence" (SD 4:24); the theatrical trailer; the following music videos by Prince: "Batdance," "Partyman," and "Scandalous"; and a digital copy DVD.
The 1.78:1 1080p VC-1 picture corrects every flaw in the previous DVD's digital video transfer. The picture is dramatically sharper and more detailed than all previous editions. The visual impact is incredible, with fine details that are resolved, for a realistic three-dimensional living picture, with exceptional depth. Contrast is excellent, with deep, solid black levels and nicely resolved shadow delineation, which is extremely important in such a dark film. Color fidelity is exceptional, with perfectly accurate hues that are naturally warm and vivid. Fleshtones are perfectly natural. Resolution is superb, revealing fine facial features and textures throughout. This is a reference-quality picture that delivers an incredible visual experience. (Gary Reber)
The Dolby® Digital 5.1-channel soundtrack is the same as the previously reviewed DVD's Dolby Digital 5.1 discrete soundtrack in Issue 102, November 2005. The newly mastered lossless Dolby TrueHD 5.1-channel soundtrack is a dramatic improvement, compared to the lossy Dolby encoding, which tends to sound a bit thin and distorted. Everything sounds much more refined and resolved, with an overall fuller sonic character, especially when Re-EQ is engaged. The sound is very dynamic, with good bass extension, especially with the extended below-25 Hz occasionally delivered by the .1 LFE channel, and generally excellent dialogue integration. The music score resolves fine instrument timbres and is effectively expansive. Surround envelopment is often aggressive and holosonic®, with directionalized surround, but unfortunately, the soundtrack unnecessarily collapses to stereo too often. Still, this is a world-class soundtrack that is sure to please fans of the
franchise. (Gary Reber)