Batman Returns: Two-Disc Special Edition (1992)

If you create a user account, you can add your own review of this DVD

Released 19-Oct-2005

Cover Art

This review is sponsored by
BUY IT

Details At A Glance

General Extras
Category Action Main Menu Introduction
Main Menu Audio & Animation
Audio Commentary-Tim Burton (Director)
Theatrical Trailer
Featurette-The Bat, The Cat And The Penguin
Featurette-Shadows Of The Bat: The Cinematic Saga Of The Dark Knight
Featurette-Batman: The Heroes
Featurette-Batman: The Villains
Featurette-Beyond Batman
Music Video-Face To Face By Siouxsie And The Banshees
Rating Rated M
Year Of Production 1992
Running Time 121:14 (Case: 126)
RSDL / Flipper RSDL (67:10)
Dual Disc Set
Cast & Crew
Start Up Menu
Region Coding 2,4,5 Directed By Tim Burton
Studio
Distributor

Warner Home Video
Starring Michael Keaton
Danny DeVito
Michelle Pfeiffer
Christopher Walken
Michael Gough
Michael Murphy
Cristi Conaway
Andrew Bryniarski
Pat Hingle
Vincent Schiavelli
Jan Hooks
Steve Witting
John Strong
Case ?
RPI $19.95 Music Danny Elfman
Steven Severin
Siouxsie Sioux


Video Audio
Pan & Scan/Full Frame None English Dolby Digital 5.1 (384Kb/s)
English dts 5.1 (768Kb/s)
Italian Dolby Digital 5.1 (384Kb/s)
English Audio Commentary Dolby Digital 2.0 (192Kb/s)
Widescreen Aspect Ratio 1.78:1
16x9 Enhancement
16x9 Enhanced
Video Format 576i (PAL)
Original Aspect Ratio 1.85:1 Miscellaneous
Jacket Pictures No
Subtitles English
Italian
English for the Hearing Impaired
Italian for the Hearing Impaired
Smoking Yes
Annoying Product Placement No
Action In or After Credits No

NOTE: The Profanity Filter is ON. Turn it off here.

Plot Synopsis

    Three years after Tim Burton reinvented Batman for the big screen, he once again brought a nightmarish version of Gotham City to the big screen – Batman Returns. This time the caped crusader would be taking on two of his arch-nemeses, the Penguin (played by a wonderfully repulsive Danny DeVito) and Catwoman (masterfully done by a seductively slinky Michelle Pfeiffer), while dealing with the evil corporate greed of Gotham City’s richest entrepreneur, Max Shreck (a wonderfully deranged Christopher Walken).

    With Gotham City under siege at Christmas time from a marauding acrobat troupe, Batman (played by Michael Keaton in his one and only reappraisal of the role) is called in to stop them. When billionaire Max Shreck is kidnapped by the troupe, he finds himself face-to-face with the Penguin who wants Shreck’s help to re-enter society as a man, not a freak. Shreck on the other hand has his own problems – a deal to build a power plant that the City Council will not approve. When he is forced to kill his secretary, Selina Kyle, after she gets too close to his corporate wrongdoing, he finds himself pondering the use of the Penguin to further his own agenda. But when Selina turns up alive, and psychotically disturbed (it’s not exactly normal to wear a cat suit made of leather), it seems that everybody has a Yuletide agenda, and Gotham City is caught in the middle, with only the Batman to protect it.

    Batman Returns was not as critically or commercially successful as its predecessor, and Burton was never given the chance to make another Batman movie. Instead, the reigns were passed to Joel Schumacher who nearly destroyed the franchise with the two clunkers Batman Forever and Batman & Robin. In this reviewer’s opinion, Batman Returns was unfairly maligned, and although it loses itself in its fourth Act (the film is fairly divisible into five Acts rather than the more conventional three), it is a worthy contribution, with a lot of subtext, wonderful imagery and outstanding performances all around. Far more a tragedy of Shakespearian proportions than its predecessor, its final moments are reminiscent of Hamlet.

    In time I think history will be kinder to the Burton adaptations, including the sequel, and Batman Begins will earn its place in the Batman canon. While certainly imperfect, it has enough outstanding moments to redeem itself for its faults.

Don't wish to see plot synopses in the future? Change your configuration.

Transfer Quality

Video

    Presented in 1.78:1, 16x9 enhanced, mastered from a new high definition transfer, this is close to its original aspect ratio of 1.85:1. Upscaled to 1080i at 50Hz, this is another stunning transfer for the Batman franchise.

    Colour saturation is excellent, and shadow detail is far more pronounced and less murky than it was for the original R4 release. The image is also sharper and more defined.

    Film-to-video transfer artefacts are non-existent, although there is still some dirt and the odd hair cropping up – hardly surprising for a film of this vintage.

    There are subtitles available in English and Italian. I watched the subtitles in English for the Hearing Impaired. They are quite accurate.

    The dual layer pause is at 67:10. It occurs during a scene change and is barely noticeable.

Video Ratings Summary
Sharpness
Shadow Detail
Colour
Grain/Pixelization
Film-To-Video Artefacts
Film Artefacts
Overall

Audio

    Audio is available in English 5.1 DTS (768Kb/s), as well as English and Italian in Dolby Digital 5.1 Surround (both at 384Kb/s).

    The Dolby Digital tracks are acceptable. The DTS track is far superior.

    Dialogue is faultless, and much better than the original DVD releases in terms of clarity.

    Surrounds are aggressive, and Danny Elfman’s brilliant score is given the treatment it deserves.

    The subwoofer in heavily utilised.

Audio Ratings Summary
Dialogue
Audio Sync
Clicks/Pops/Dropouts
Surround Channel Use
Subwoofer
Overall

Extras

Menus

    The main menu on all the discs is presented in 1.78:1, 16x9 enhanced with a 2.0 Dolby Surround audio track. The submenus are static and silent.

Disc 1

Audio Commentary – Tim Burton (Director)

    Presented in 2.0 Dolby Surround, this is a reasonably interesting commentary. Worth a listen if you’re a fan.

Theatrical Trailer (2:29)

    Presented at 1.78:1, 16x9 enhanced, with 2.0 Dolby Surround audio.

Disc 2

Featurette – “The Bat, The Cat And The Penguin” (21:52)

    Presented in 1.33:1, Full Frame, 2.0 Dolby Digital Surround audio, this is a fairly corny TV special behind-the-scenes for the film.

Featurette – “Shadows Of The Bat: The Cinematic Saga Of The Dark Knight – The Dark Side Of The Knight” (30:16)

    Presented in 1.33:1, Full Frame, 2.0 Dolby Digital Surround audio.

Featurette – “Batman: The Heroes” (12:32)

    Presented in 1.33:1, Full Frame, 2.0 Dolby Digital Surround audio, this is a series of interviews about the history of the various characters:

Featurette – “Batman: The Villains” (7:20)

    Presented in 1.33:1, Full Frame, 2.0 Dolby Digital Surround audio, this is a series of interviews about the history of the various characters:

Featurette – “Beyond Batman” (65:42)

    Presented in 1.33:1, Full Frame, 2.0 Dolby Digital Surround audio, this is a very interesting documentary on the making of the film, containing the following chapters:

Featurette – “Batman: The Complete Robin Storyboard Sequence” (4:24)

    Presented in 1.33:1, Full Frame, 2.0 Dolby Digital Surround audio, this is a series of storyboards from a sequence that was conceived but never shot in which Robin would play a role in the film.

Music Video – “Face To Face” by Siousxie and the Banshees (4:22)

Censorship

    There is censorship information available for this title. Click here to read it (a new window will open). WARNING: Often these entries contain MAJOR plot spoilers.

R4 vs R1

NOTE: To view non-R4 releases, your equipment needs to be multi-zone compatible and usually also NTSC compatible.

    Content-wise, the R1, R2 UK and R4 Special Edition releases appear to be identical. The R1 release has a French Dolby Digital 2.0 Surround soundtrack instead of the Italian 5.1 Dolby Digital track available here. I have seen no negative reviews regarding video quality. Visual and audio quality is infinitely better than the earlier releases, and this time we actually get special features. Buy whichever Special Edition is cheapest.

Summary

    Tim Burton’s Batman Returns is an unfairly maligned visual masterpiece. Although the plot becomes slightly muddled in the fourth Act, this movie is much darker that its predecessor, and very emotionally satisfying. If you have not seen this for a while, I recommend trying it again.

    This DVD transfer is excellent, and much better than the earlier releases.

Ratings (out of 5)

Video
Audio
Extras
Plot
Overall

© Edward McKenzie (I am Jack's raging bio...)
Thursday, April 27, 2006
Review Equipment
DVDMomitsu V880N Deluxe, using DVI output
DisplaySony VPL-HS50 LCD Cineza Projector with HP 80" Widescreen (16:9) HDTV Mobile Projector Screen. Calibrated with Video Essentials/Digital Video Essentials. This display device is 16x9 capable.
Audio DecoderBuilt in to amplifier/receiver. Calibrated with Video Essentials/Digital Video Essentials.
AmplificationMarantz SR7000
SpeakersDigital Accoustics Emerald 703G - Centre, Front Left & Right, Rear Left & Right Satellites, Subwoofer

Other Reviews
The DVD Bits - DonovanS

Comments (Add)
The R2 UK SE DVD - Still cut by the BBFC & Missing Commentary - Klokwerk