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Tim Burton's Batman, the opposite of Pee-wee's Big Adventure
February 19, 2014 7:58 PM   Subscribe

This year marks the 25th anniversary of 1989 Batman movie, which is remembered for everything from the logo "that helped set the course for superhero movies" to the ways the movie was true to the comics, or was really a "noir" update to the 1960s Adam West Batman. While preparing yourself for what may come in the lead-up to the June 23 anniversary date, enjoy Batman: The Making of a Hero documentary, a rare 25 minutes behind-the-scenes look at the making of the film, from the folks at 1989 Batman, a fansite dedicated to the movie, and its sequel, Batman Returns.

If you want more batty behind-the-scenes, you can read about how DC announced at the 1980 New York ComiCon that it was "The Year of the Batman" (Google books preview), the 1983 script for The Batman by Tom Mankiewicz (or read the revised first draft script as a PDF), the 1985 outline, drafted by Tim Burton and Julie Hickson, Steve Englehart's 1986 treatments (in brief, part of a longer interview), Sam Hamm's first draft version of the screenplay, or an over-all history of The Batman, with "The Burton/Schumacher Series," Part 1 and Part 2.

If you want a little mood music (and video), here's Prince's Batdance, and a soundtrack playlist.

More videos, you say? Here's another half-hour documentary - The Making of Batman, Batman's Back on 20/20, Michael Keaton promoting Batman on Letterman, and a clip of Burton and Keaton being interviewed, plus Siskel & Ebert's review of the movie.

If you really have nothing better to do by now, here's the TV Tropes page for the film.
posted by filthy light thief (48 comments total) 34 users marked this as a favorite

 
Boy we got a live one here
posted by The Whelk at 8:01 PM on February 19 [9 favorites]


Man, that FPP title is such a teaser. I see no links to a trailer for a noir update of Pee-wee's Big Adventure.
posted by XMLicious at 8:06 PM on February 19 [6 favorites]


Sorry XMLicious, that's a vague re-quote from the Wikipedia article on the movie.
posted by filthy light thief at 8:10 PM on February 19 [1 favorite]


Was at the movies last weekend and I was remembering that it was the same theater that I'd seen Batman in but I didn't quite realize that it was a twenty five years ago.

I do remember people complaining about how dark Burton's movie was compared to the TV series.
posted by octothorpe at 8:27 PM on February 19


I totally expected to see mention of how Paul Reubens was in Batman Returns.
posted by zachxman at 8:31 PM on February 19 [2 favorites]


It's the ciiiircle of life Tim Burton ....
posted by filthy light thief at 8:35 PM on February 19 [1 favorite]


Damn, I'm old.
posted by Curious Artificer at 8:36 PM on February 19 [4 favorites]


zachxman: I didn't realize that until yesterday when I was watching the ending credits on TV. Apparently, I never paid much attention during my viewings of the movie.
posted by Redfield at 8:38 PM on February 19


The Comics Alliance reviews really got me re-thinking the 1989 film. It's so weird, and at the time it was so focused on being the opposite of the old campy Adam West TV series, that even a few years later when I was more than 8 years old I didn't see that it was just a pallet swap - a darker version of the '66 show. Also, the reporter is the protagonist for much of the film, which just makes it kind of awkward when Batman shows him up at the very end.
posted by graymouser at 8:47 PM on February 19 [1 favorite]


Man, that logo was EVERYWHERE! I mean, it wasn't just everywhere, it was EVERYWHERE!!!! It was the first movie marketed on such a massive scale before its release, and it was utterly inescapable.

Led to a (then mind-blowing) $43million opening weekend, crossing $100million in box office in 10 days (never done before) and a world-wide gross of $411million, blowing through a huge number of records in the process.

I remember seeing it opening day, and walking out thinking "what the fuck? why???". And then going back a couple of days later and liking it a bit more, and a couple of days after that and liking even more... In the end, I think the Burton Batman movies are my favorite ones -- deeply dark, quite disturbing, amazing outlandish Gothic setting and design...

My only complaint was that in Batman Returns, there was no sequence where either The Penguin or Catwoman was pictured as being the person (or people) who murdered young Bruce's parents. Because that would have been the perfect setup for his particular psychosis -- that EVERY VILLAIN HE FACES BECOMES, IN HIS MIND, THOSE WHO KILLED HIS PARENTS. It would have made it all make sense, somehow, in a nicely comic-book-logic kind of way.

Not a fan of the continuations of that series by that other director. The new trilogy is okay. Others say it is brilliant, and I think a lot of the set-pieces are extraordinary in their executions... But I guess maybe I like the comic-book nature of the villains better in the Burton films (not the self-parodies of the Schumacher villains), and the extreme based-in-the-real-but-not-real settings of those movies.

I hear The LEGO Movie is the best Batman movie yet. So maybe I will see that someday.
posted by hippybear at 8:57 PM on February 19 [10 favorites]


this was the batman that pissed everybody off because it lacked the OOF! BAM! and POW! s of the tv show.
posted by Colonel Panic at 9:16 PM on February 19


hippybear, yeah totally, parent-killers-of-the-week crazy batman.

It had been done from Cerebus' The Cockroach to Memento's Leonard so it could have totally worked through '89/'90s.
posted by porpoise at 9:26 PM on February 19 [1 favorite]


Oh man, that Remedial Batmanology shit is gold. I enjoyed the defense of the Schumacher movies, though I'm not sure I agree.
posted by dogheart at 9:32 PM on February 19 [1 favorite]


Oh man, I recently found myself watching a video of just Mr. Freeze's lines from Batman & Robin, and it really hit it home for me that my wife nailed it when she pointed out that the scriptwriters were writing for Adam West & co. despite the director's objections.
posted by DoctorFedora at 9:42 PM on February 19 [1 favorite]


Another thing that Batman did was flip the home video industry on its head. They released the movie on VHS just a few months after it came out for $20. Before that movies were usually a lot more expensive and you had to wait a long time to buy them Things were tilted heavily towards the video rental store model. The VHS release of Batman changed all of that.
posted by azpenguin at 9:49 PM on February 19 [10 favorites]


Oh, god yes. I think everyone I knew (including myself) bought that video in the first week or two after it came out. Game changing, indeed.
posted by hippybear at 9:53 PM on February 19


I’m constantly being shocked and surprised at how old movies, records, etc. are. Not this one. The Burton, and even the Schumacher Batman seem old, and a long time ago.
posted by bongo_x at 9:53 PM on February 19


You don't watch much Turner Classic Movies, do you?
posted by hippybear at 10:02 PM on February 19 [1 favorite]


What I remember is the shock at the news that Michael Keaton, a light comic actor goofball, was going to be playing the Dark Knight. There was so much skepticism...
posted by LarryC at 10:29 PM on February 19 [3 favorites]


Still the best Batman.
posted by fshgrl at 10:33 PM on February 19 [8 favorites]


I remember being insanely jealous of a kid in middle school with very fancy parents who had one of those official Joker goon leather jackets licensed from the Warner Bros catalog they gave out at the big theaters on opening weekend.
posted by trackofalljades at 10:33 PM on February 19


Meanwhile, word is out that Tim Burton and Michael Keaton are trying to get things together to reunite... not on anything Batman-ic, but on a long-in-coming sequel to Beetlejuice. Then again, if they're really sneaky, it could end with Beetlejuice becoming Batman... because we could always use another alternate origin story, right?
posted by oneswellfoop at 10:52 PM on February 19 [1 favorite]


One of the few VHS tapes I owned. And i must have watched it 300 times. I know every FREAKin line! Because it's the BEST BATMAN !!!!!! So COME ON *smash* Do you wanna get nuts? let's get nuts
posted by Potomac Avenue at 11:00 PM on February 19 [5 favorites]


That you sugar bumps?

Jack Pallance was perfect in this film, and the score became Danny Elfman's signature sound. Just about everything works in this movie.
posted by furtive at 11:29 PM on February 19 [1 favorite]


I've always been perplexed that Returns is so underrated/overlooked.
posted by atoxyl at 12:13 AM on February 20 [2 favorites]



My only complaint was that in Batman Returns, there was no sequence where either The Penguin or Catwoman was pictured as being the person (or people) who murdered young Bruce's parents.

That was actually in the first film, when The Joker (Jack Napier) was shown to be the killer.

Here's another odd observation: Burton's Barman is older now than the Adam West TV show was in 1989.
posted by ShutterBun at 2:53 AM on February 20 [4 favorites]


I love Barman!

Agree with atoxyl -- when i saw Returns in the theater (at the age of 12,) i thought it was the best damned thing i've ever seen. And today i'd much rather watch it than the first one.

...................................michellepfeiffer.
posted by ELF Radio at 2:56 AM on February 20


That was actually in the first film, when The Joker (Jack Napier) was shown to be the killer.

I think hippybear is saying it would be interesting if there were a scene like that for every villain.
posted by grouse at 4:05 AM on February 20 [5 favorites]


I think the best thing about this film is how much it has to do with the early comics and how little it has to do with the comics other than that.
posted by Potomac Avenue at 5:05 AM on February 20


I think hippybear is saying it would be interesting if there were a scene like that for every villain.

Yes, that exactly. Because Batman's particular psychosis is that every villain he faces becomes the person who killed his parents. So it is totally personal with him, every single time.
posted by hippybear at 5:37 AM on February 20 [3 favorites]


Boy we got a live one here

I cannot tell you how much I loved the video for Batdance. I cannot say it in public in an archived and indexed forum.
posted by DigDoug at 5:42 AM on February 20 [2 favorites]


Yes, that exactly. Because Batman's particular psychosis is that every villain he faces becomes the person who killed his parents. So it is totally personal with him, every single time.

I enjoy (?) the Batman: Brave and the Bold interpretation where the Waynes were gunned down in an alley (On Christmas!) because Bruce was a lil shit and threw a tantrum that instead of the action figure he wanted, he got a family heirloom nutcracker, so to placate him his folks took him to the movies.

So it was his fault his parents died.
Because he wasn't grateful.
On Christmas.

HO HO HO KIDS NOW THAT I CAN SMELL YOUR TEARS WANT TO HEAR SOME GERMAN FAIRY TALES ITS CALLED DER STRUWWELPETER
posted by robocop is bleeding at 6:52 AM on February 20 [9 favorites]


I hear The LEGO Movie is the best Batman movie yet. So maybe I will see that someday.

Not only is LEGO Batman the best Batman, he has the best theme song.
posted by Rangeboy at 7:55 AM on February 20 [1 favorite]


Joined this discussion just to promote the LEGO Batman, and happy to see I'm not the only one. Forget the movies and the TV series, forget Batman Returns or Arkham Asylum.

This is the One True Batman. And he always hits his targets on the first try.
posted by bouvin at 8:01 AM on February 20


Large Marge would have scared the hell out of that Batman.
posted by Smedleyman at 8:41 AM on February 20


The 1960s original Batman is the best movie ever made. If you ever have to watch a film with 5-8 year old, consider no other movie. "You sold a nuclear submarine to someone named P. N. Guin?!?!?"
posted by msalt at 9:22 AM on February 20 [2 favorites]


You don't watch much Turner Classic Movies, do you?

Me? That’s pretty funny. Actually, that’s what we watch most of the time. We joke that we should occasionally watch a movie made after 1969. But we don’t.
posted by bongo_x at 9:57 AM on February 20


The Lego Movie Batman is the best Batman in the same way that Galaxy Quest is the best Star Trek movie.

By which I mean the one is a very solid and funny parody of the other, but people who say "[The Lego Movie Batman|Galaxy Quest] is the best [Batman|Star Trek movie]" are not half as clever as they think they are.
posted by DevilsAdvocate at 10:09 AM on February 20


Galaxy Quest is totally the best Star Trek movie.
posted by interrobang at 10:40 AM on February 20 [10 favorites]


I hope you think you have an IQ of at least 200.
posted by grouse at 11:38 AM on February 20 [1 favorite]


I saw an online poll (so, of course, totally scientific) not too long ago, after Star Trek Into Darkness had been released, asking people to rank all the Star Trek movies...and included Galaxy Quest among the movies. GQ ended up solidly in the middle of the pack.
posted by DevilsAdvocate at 11:43 AM on February 20


What if I only think GQ is the *second* best Trek movie? Am I three quarters as clever as I think I am?
posted by ROU_Xenophobe at 12:49 PM on February 20 [1 favorite]


Batman '89 was the only Batman film to get Gotham right. I feel like I say that every time I talk about the Keaton/Burton movie but it has to be said. It is the best Batman movie.
posted by Ray Walston, Luck Dragon at 5:04 PM on February 20 [2 favorites]


I saw an online poll (so, of course, totally scientific) not too long ago, after Star Trek Into Darkness had been released, asking people to rank all the Star Trek movies

I still remain sort of pissed off that Into Darkness boiled down, in the end, to people having a fistfight on top of a moving truck.
posted by hippybear at 10:51 PM on February 20 [4 favorites]


I think hippybear is saying it would be interesting if there were a scene like that for every villain.

Yep,I totally missed that. Misread "no" as "a" and lost the whole point. Thanks for clarifying.
posted by ShutterBun at 11:00 PM on February 20


Another thing that Batman did was flip the home video industry on its head. They released the movie on VHS just a few months after it came out for $20. Before that movies were usually a lot more expensive and you had to wait a long time to buy them Things were tilted heavily towards the video rental store model. The VHS release of Batman changed all of that.

Here is a local news report about the release of the home video. Really interesting to watch from a 2014 perspective, and how the standard business model was being shaken up earlier than most people recall...
posted by theartandsound at 8:08 PM on February 21


DevilsAdvocate: By which I mean the one is a very solid and funny parody of the other, but people who say "[The Lego Movie Batman|Galaxy Quest] is the best [Batman|Star Trek movie]" are not half as clever as they think they are.

grouse: I hope you think you have an IQ of at least 200.

ROU_Xenophobe: What if I only think GQ is the *second* best Trek movie? Am I three quarters as clever as I think I am?


I don't know half of you half as well as I should like; and I like less than half of you half as well as you deserve.

- B. Baggins
posted by ActingTheGoat at 9:50 PM on February 21 [1 favorite]


Signal
posted by homunculus at 3:51 PM on February 22


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