Batman: Mask of the PhantasmEdit

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Batman: Mask of the Phantasm
Batman mask of the phantasm
Directed by Eric Radomski

Bruce Timm

Produced by Alan Burnett

Michael Uslan Benjamin Melniker Bruce Timm

Screenplay by Alan Burnett
Martin PaskoPaul Dini

Michael Reaves

Story by Alan Burnett
Comic book:
Bill Finger(uncredited)

Bob Kane

Starring Kevin Conroy

Mark Hamill Dana Delany Hart Bochner Abe Vigoda Stacy Keach

Music by Shirley Walker
Editing by Al Breitenbach
Studio Warner Bros. Animation
Distributed by Warner Bros. Family Entertainment
Release date(s) December 25, 1993 (1993-12-25)
Running time 76 minutes
Country United States
Language English
Budget $6 million
Gross revenue $5,617,391
Followed by Batman & Mr. Freeze: SubZero

Batman: Mask of the Phantasm (also known as Batman: The Animated Movie) is a 1993 animated superhero film based on the fictional DC Comics character Batman. Eric Radomski and Bruce Timm directed the film, which stars Kevin Conroy as Batman and Mark Hamill as the Joker, as well as Dana Delany, Hart Bochner, Abe Vigoda, and Stacy Keach. The film's storyline introduces Andrea Beaumont, an old love interest of Bruce Wayne, who returns to Gotham City, restarting their romance. At the same time, a mysterious killer begins systematically eliminating Gotham's crime bosses, and due to the person's dark appearance, he is mistaken for Batman. Now on the run, Batman must apprehend the killer and deal with the romance between himself and Andrea.

Development for the film started after the success of Batman: The Animated Series. Warner Bros. assigned Alan Burnett to write the story, and Burnett collaborated with writers Paul Dini, Michael Reaves, and Martin Pasko. The original idea was to release the film as direct-to-video, but the studio decided for a theatrical release, giving the filmmakers a strenuous eight-month schedule. Mask of the Phantasm was released with positive critical success, but resulted into a dismal box office due to the decision to release the film in theaters on such short notice. The film has since found cult success through its various VHS and DVD releases.


[hide]*1 Plot

[edit] PlotEdit


Bruce Discovers Andrea's Locket Left For Him In The Batcave

Gotham City crime lord Chuckie Sol is killed by a mysterious cloaked figure shortly after Batman bursts in on a meeting Sol was having with his henchmen. Due to their similarity of appearance, Batman is blamed for the death. Councilman Arthur Reeves tells the media that Batman is an irresponsible menace, and demands that the city's police take action against him. Commissioner Gordon insists that the killing cannot be Batman's fault, but Reeves is adamant.

Later, Councilman Reeves attends a party at the mansion of billionaire Bruce Wayne, Batman's alter ego. Reeves jokingly taunts Bruce for his bad luck with women and for having allowed an old girlfriend, Andrea Beaumont, to get away.

In a flashback to Bruce's college days, we see him meet Andrea in a cemetery while visiting his parents' grave. Bruce has vowed to avenge his parents' murder by dedicating his life to fighting crime. He dons a mask and black ninja-styled outfit and foils an armored car robbery, but is discouraged that the criminals do not fear him. Around the same time, he begins a romance with Andrea. Eventually, Bruce decides to quit his plan on becoming a crime-fighter and proposes marriage to Andrea. Andrea mysteriously leaves Gotham with her father, ending her engagement to Bruce in a Dear John letter. Believing that he has lost his only chance of having a normal life, Bruce finally dons the mask of Batman. [1][2]Bruce discovers a locket that Andrea left for him in the Batcave.In the present, the killer finds and kills another gangster, Buzz Bronski, who had come to morn for Sol at the same cemetery. Batman discovers evidence at the cemetery linking the two crimes and, while visiting his parents' grave in the process, has a run-in with Andrea. He quickly leaves, and Andrea then notices the grave he was standing in front of was his parents', which leads her to suspect the truth of both Bruce Wayne and Batman. Back at the Batcave, Batman links Andrea's father with a number of organized crime figures. He confronts Andrea, and she reveals that she knows Bruce Wayne and Batman are one-and-the-same. The killer later targets Salvatore Valestra, the mob boss for whom both Sol and Bronski once worked as enforcers, but is beaten to the punch by the Joker, whom Valestra had foolishly consulted for help; Batman is blamed again and has a close call with the police after a brief confrontation with the killer. Rescuing Batman in her car, Andrea explains that she and her father had been hiding in Europe, from the Valestra mob, to whom he owed a lot of money. Carl Beaumont eventually repaid them, but that did not satisfy them. Batman believes that Andrea's father may be the killer, until he learns from Reeves (who was told by the Joker that Batman is innocent) that Beaumont was murdered some time before.

The Joker tussles with the killer, who is revealed to be Andrea herself as the Joker has recently discovered, intent on avenging her father's death by killing the mobsters to whom he owed money and who ordered Beaumont murdered. The Joker is also revealed to be the last surviving member of the Valestra mob: an unnamed hitman who personally murdered Beaumont for Valestra. During the course of their struggle, Batman arrives. Bruce begs Andrea to give up her desire for revenge but she refuses stating that they ruined her chances with Bruce and that he himself is constantly fighting for revenge. Andrea vanishes and Batman battles with the Joker in a miniaturized replica of Gotham City. After a protracted battle, Andrea reappears and both she and the Joker vanish in a cloud of smoke, with Batman barely escaping a series of rigged explosions by falling into a waterway and being swept away to safety by the current.

Back in the Batcave, a heartbroken Bruce receives consolation from Alfred stating that no one could have helped Andrea. Bruce finds a locket with a picture of Bruce and Andrea in it in the cave. Meanwhile, Andrea stands on the deck of an ocean liner, alone. The final scene shows Batman now permanently alone standing on top of a building, still in grief. The Bat-Signal then emerges in the distance and Batman flies into action to continue his crusade against crime.

[edit] Voice castEdit

  • Kevin Conroy as Bruce Wayne / Batman: A billionaire industrialist whose parents were killed by a mugger when he was eight years old. After traveling the world for several years to seek the means to fight injustice, he returns to Gotham. At night, Bruce becomes Batman, Gotham City's secret vigilante protector.
  • Mark Hamill as The Joker: The insane archenemy of Batman. It is revealed that he was once an assassin for Valestra (and responsible for the murder of Carl Beaumont) who later hideously transformed into his more recognizable appearance. His identity is still unknown, as he was never referred to by name. Valestra hires him to kill Batman, and is later killed by him. Inevitably, the Joker functions as the main villain of the film. Mark Hamill claims he took the opportunity of reprising his role from Batman: The Animated Series by way of creating new "laughing vocabularies".[1]
  • Dana Delany as Andrea Beaumont: A woman Bruce meets in the early years of his return to Gotham after traveling the world. The decision to propose to her in marriage leads to him abandoning his plans for becoming a vigilante. After she unexpectedly and mysteriously leaves, Bruce's frustration leads to his becoming Batman. Delany's voice performance in the film impressed the filmmakers, leading to her casting as Lois Lane in Superman: The Animated Series. The character of Andrea Beaumont would later re-emerge in Justice League Unlimited.[2]
  • Hart Bochner as City Councilman Arthur Reeves: A corrupt city official who was once an interim for Carl Beaumont (before "selling his name to the mob"). He later becomes involved with Valestra's gang in order to gain the influence to enter City Council, and is poisoned by the Joker. His last appearance is at the Gotham City Mental Hospital, recovering from the effect of exposure to the Joker's poisonous chemicals and went insane. Because he was desperate for money during his first election campaign, he sold out Beaumont's hiding place in Europe to the Valestra mob. This was Bochner's second trip into the DC Comics' s film universe. In 1984, he played Ethan, the love interest in the Supergirl feature film.
  • Abe Vigoda as Salvatore "The Wheezer" Valestra: A powerful crime boss who practically forces Carl Beaumont to leave. Once Andrea returns, he is nearly dying with the effects of aging and years of inhaling cigarette smoke. Fearing his death due to the murders of other crime bosses, he hires the Joker to kill Batman, but he himself is killed by the Clown Prince of Crime.
  • Stacy Keach as Carl Beaumont and The Phantasm: Andrea's father who made deals with the Valestra gang. He goes in debt to Valestra and flees to Europe with Andrea, but is later murdered. Keach also provided the voice for the Phantasm.
  • Dick Miller as Charles "Chuckie" Sol: A crime boss who falls as the first victim to The Phantasm. In the book version, Chuckie is known for never smiling as he sees smiles as a sign of weakness. In the book and the movie he smiles when he wrongly believes he will defeat The Phantasm, reasoning (in the book) that nobody would live to tell about it.
  • John P. Ryan as Buzz Bronski: A crime boss who seemed to have had a brief partnership with Chuckie Sol whom Buzz disliked. He is later killed by The Phantasm at the graveyard while visiting Sol's grave.
  • Efrem Zimbalist, Jr. as Alfred Pennyworth: Once the trusted butler to Bruce Wayne's parents, he continues his loyal service to their son after their deaths. He is Bruce Wayne's closest confidante.
  • Robert Costanzo as Detective Harvey Bullock: A police detective of the Gotham City Police Department who is highly cautious and questions Batman's vigilantism.
  • Bob Hastings as Commissioner James Gordon: The police commissioner of Gotham City who refuses to capture Batman, believing the Dark Knight isn't responsible for any of the killings done by The Phantasm.

[edit] ProductionEdit

Impressed by the success of the first season of Batman: The Animated Series, Warner Bros. assigned Alan Burnett to write a story for a full-length animated film. Although The Joker does play a pivotal role in the film, it was Burnett's intention to tell a story far removed from the television show's regular rogues gallery. Burnett also cited he "wanted to do a love story with Bruce because no one had really done it on the TV show. I wanted a story that got into his head."[3] The writers were highly cautious of placing The Joker in the film as they didn't want any connection to Tim Burton's Batman (1989), but writer Michael Reaves said: "We then realized that we could make his appearance serve the story in a way that we never could in live-action."[4] Aiding Burnett in writing the script were, Martin Pasko, who handled most of the flashback segments, Michael Reaves, who wrote the climax, and Paul Dini, who claims he "filled in holes here and there."[3] Citizen Kane (1941) served as an influence for the flashbacks, a story about loss and the passage of time.[5] “It was basically an expanded episode. We boarded the script and did all of our designs and shipped it overseas. We were treating it with more quality, but we originally didn’t intend it for the big screen.” —Eric Radomski on Warner Brothers' decision to release the film theatrically[6]Early in production, Warner Brothers decided to release Phantasm with a theatrical release, rather than straight to video. That left less than a year for production time (most animated features take well over two years from finished story to final release). Due to this decision, the animators went over the scenes once more in order to accommodate widescreen theatrical aspect ratio.[7] The studio did cooperate well, granting the filmmakers a large amount of creative control.[8]

In addition to the creative control, the studio increased the production budget to $6 million,[6] which gave the filmmakers opportunities for more elaborate set pieces. The opening title sequence featured a flight through an entirely computer-generated Gotham City.[3] As a visual joke, sequence director Kevin Altieri set the climax of the film inside a miniature automated model of Gotham City, where Batman and The Joker were giants. This was a homage to a mainstay of Batman comic books of the Dick Sprang era, often featuring the hero fighting against a backdrop of gigantic props.[7] From start to finish, the film was completed within eight months.[6] Composer Shirley Walker cited the score of Mask of the Phantasm to be the most favorable of her compositions.[9]

[edit] ThemesEdit

[3][4]Bruce Wayne about to put on the mask of Batman for the first time. This was calculated by writer Michael Reaves to be a standing point in the film.Paul Dini intended each of the flashbacks into Batman's love life to "have a tendency to get worse, when you hope things will get better." Bruce's relationship with Andrea, which at first shows promise, eventually turns into turmoil.[10] At first, Bruce and Andrea are set for marriage, but then Bruce is given a farewell note from Andrea cutting off their relationship. This

Bruce puts on the mask of Batman for the first time. This was calculated by writer Michael Reeves to be a standout point in the film.

eventually leads into Bruce's decision to become Batman.[10] Richard Corliss of Time felt this scene paralleled Andrea's decision to avenge her own parents and reject love, when she finds her own father Carl dead by the hands of an assassin. Both events transform the two people (Bruce Wayne becomes Batman, Andrea becomes The Phantasm).[11]

One scene depicts Bruce Wayne at his parents' tombstone saying "I didn't count on being happy." According to writer Michael Reaves, this scene was to be a pivotal moment in Bruce's tragic life, as he is denied the opportunity to live a normal life.[4] Reaves also stated: "When Bruce puts on the mask for the first time, [after Andrea Beaumont breaks their engagement], and Alfred says 'My God!' he's reacting in horror, because he's watching this man he's helped raise from childhood, this man who has let the desire for vengeance and retribution consume his life, at last embrace the unspeakable."[4]

[edit] ReleaseEdit

[edit] Box officeEdit

Batman: Mask of the Phantasm opened on Christmas Day 1993 in the United States in 1,506 theaters, accumulating $1,189,975 over its opening weekend. The film went on to gross $5,617,391 in the domestic total box office intake.[12] The filmmakers blamed Warner Bros. for the unsuccessful marketing campaign. Mask of the Phantasm did eventually pass its $6 million budget with its various home video releases.[7]

[edit] ReceptionEdit

[edit] Critical responseEdit

Based on 23 reviews collected by Rotten Tomatoes, Batman: Mask of the Phantasm received an average 87% overall approval rating with the consensus stating, "Stylish and admirably respectful of the source material, Batman: Mask of the Phantasm succeeds where many of the live-action Batman adaptations have failed."[13]

Empire cited it as the best animated film of 1993, and felt it contained better storylines than Tim Burton's Batman and Batman Returns.[14] TV Guide was impressed with the Art Deco noir design that was presented. In addition the film's climax and Batman's encounter with the Gotham City Police Department were considered to be elaborate action sequences.[15] Richard Harrington of The Washington Post agreed with overall aspects that included the animation, design, dialogue. and storyline, as well as Shirley Walker's film score.[16] Gene Siskel and Roger Ebert regretted not having viewed the film in its theatrical release. They did give a positive reaction, with Siskel feeling that Phantasm was better than Batman Returns and Batman Forever, and only slightly below Batman.[17]

Stephen Holden of The New York Times thought the voice performances were "flat and one-dimensional".[18] Chris Hicks of the Deseret Morning News felt "the picture didn't come alive until the third act" feeling that the animators sacrificed the visuals for the storyline. In addition, he felt Mark Hamill "stole the show."[19] Leonard Klady of Variety had mixed reactions towards the film, but was overly negative. He felt the overall themes and morals were cliché and cited the animation to be to the "point of self-parody".[20]

[edit] AwardsEdit

Alongside The Lion King and The Nightmare Before Christmas, Mask of the Phantasm was nominated for an Annie Award in the category of Best Animated Feature, but lost out to The Lion King.[21] The Nostalgia Critic placed the film at #2 on his list for the Top 11 Underrated Nostalgia Classics.[22]

[edit] Tie-insEdit

In December 1993, two novelizations were released. One was written by Alan Burnett, Paul Dini, and Andrew Helfer[23] with the other authored by Geary Gravel.[24] DC Comics released a comic book adaption written by Kelley Puckett and drawings by Mike Parobeck.[25] The film was released on VHS in May 1994[26] and again in April 2003, though this time, part of a three tape pack with Batman & Mr. Freeze: SubZero and Batman Beyond: The Movie.[27] Mask of the Phantasm was first released on DVD in December 1999[28] and in October 2005 as a keep case.[29] The film was released in April 2004 as a three disc DVD box set that included SubZero and Batman Beyond: Return of the Joker, but it is currently out of stock.[30] Warner Home Video released the film once more in February 2008, but as a double feature DVD with Subzero.[31] Warner Home Video has stated they might release a 2-disc special edition of the movie.

[edit] SoundtrackEdit

Batman: Mask of the Phantasm - The Animated Movie
Film score by Shirley Walker
Released December 14, 1993
March 31, 2009
Label Warner Bros / Wea

La-La Land Records

Professional reviews
*Allmusic link

The soundtrack score to Batman: Mask of the Phantasm was originally released on December 14, 1993 under the label of Warner Bros. Records.

  1. "Main Title" (1:35)
  2. "The Promise" (0:46)
  3. "Ski Mask Vigilante" (3:06)
  4. "Phantasm's Graveyard Murder" (3:43)
  5. "First Love" (1:35)
  6. "The Big Chase" (5:32)
  7. "A Plea for Help" (1:55)
  8. "The Birth of Batman" (4:17)
  9. "Phantasm and Joker Fight" (4:05)
  10. "Batman's Destiny" (3:50)
  11. "I Never Even Told You" - Performed by Tia Carrere (4:20)

Remastered version:

On March 31, 2009, La-La Land Records released a limited edition remastered version of Shirley Walker's soundtrack score through their "Expanded Archival Collection". The new release included bonus tracks that extended the score 27 minutes longer than the original release.

  1. "Main Title: Batman: Mask of the Phantasm" (Expanded) (5:01)
  2. "The Promise" (Expanded) (1:25)
  3. "Ski Mask Vigilante" (Expanded) (4:28)
  4. "Fancy Footwork" (0:40)*
  5. "Phantasm's Graveyard Murder" (3:52)
  6. "Bad News* / Set Trap* / May They Rest in Peace*" (1:51)
  7. "First Love" (1:59)
  8. "City Street Drive* / Sal Velestra* / Good Samaritan*" (2:16)
  9. "Birth of Batman" (Expanded) (6:01)
  10. "The Joker's Big Entrance"* (3:02)
  11. "The Big Chase" (5:40)
  12. "Nowhere to Run"* (2:01)
  13. "A Plea for Help" (1:01)
  14. "A Tall Man / Arturo and his Pal* /Makes You Want to Laugh* / What's So Funny?*" (4:04)
  15. "Andrea Remembers* / True Identity*" (3:18)
  16. "Phantasm and Joker Fight" (6:01)
  17. "Batman's Destiny" (1:46)
  18. "I Never Even Told You" (4:23) - Performed by Tia Carrere
  19. "Theme from Batman: Mask of the Phantasm" (2:06) (Bonus Track)
  20. "Welcome to the Future!"* (1:01) (Bonus Track)

[edit] ReferencesEdit

  1. ^ Jacquie Kubin (April 1997). "An Interview With Mark Hamill". Animation World Magazine. Retrieved 2008-01-22.
  2. ^ Barry Freiman (2005-06-14). "Exclusive Interview with Dana Delany". Superman Homepage. Retrieved 2008-01-28.
  3. ^ a b c Paul Dini; Chip Kidd (1998). Batman Animated. Titan Books. pp. 114. ISBN 1-84023-016-9.
  4. ^ a b c Joe Tracy. "Interview with Michael Reaves". Animation Artist. Retrieved 2008-01-22.
  5. ^ Les Daniels (2000). Batman: The Complete History. Chronicle Books. pp. 184. ISBN 0-8118-2470-5.
  6. ^ a b c Bob Miller (June 1994). "Knight Vision". Comics Scene.
  7. ^ a b c Dini, Kidd, p.117
  8. ^ Emru Townsend (1999-05-17). "Paul Dini: From Babs and Buster Bunny to Batman". Purple Planet Media. Retrieved 2008-01-22.
  9. ^ Randall Larson (2006-12-07). "Remembering Shirley Walker". Mania Music. Retrieved 2008-01-28.
  10. ^ a b Richard Verrier (1996-09-14). "More That Meets the Eye: Producer-Writer of Batman Gives All". Los Angeles Times.
  11. ^ Richard Corliss (April 1994). "Corliss' Roundups of Latest VHS Releases". Time.
  12. ^ "Batman: Mask of the Phantasm (2005)". Box Office Mojo. Retrieved 2008-01-21.
  13. ^ "Batman: Mask of the Phantasm". Rotten Tomatoes. Flixster. Retrieved 2008-01-21.
  14. ^ "Batman: Mask of the Phantasm". Empire. Retrieved 2008-01-21.
  15. ^ "Batman: Mask of the Phantasm". TV Guide. Retrieved 2008-01-21.
  16. ^ Harrington, Richard (1993-12-27). "Batman: Mask of the Phantasm". The Washington Post. Retrieved 2008-01-21.
  17. ^ Roger Ebert; Gene Siskel (1995-06-12). "Batman: Mask of the Phantasm". Siskel & Ebert. Retrieved 2008-04-22.
  18. ^ Holden, Stephen (1993-12-25). "Batman: Mask of the Phantasm". The New York Times. Retrieved 2008-01-22.
  19. ^ Hicks, Chris (1994-01-06). "Batman: Mask of the Phantasm". Deseret Morning News.,1257,144,00.html. Retrieved 2008-01-22.
  20. ^ Klady, Leonard (1993-12-27). "Batman: Mask of the Phantasm". Variety. Retrieved 2008-01-22.
  21. ^ "Annie Awards: 1994". Internet Movie Database. Retrieved 2008-01-22.
  22. ^ [1]
  23. ^ "Batman: Mask of the Phantasm - The Animated Movie, A Novelization". Amazon. Retrieved 2008-01-28.
  24. ^ "Batman: Mask of the Phantasm (Mass Market Paperback)". Amazon. Retrieved 2008-01-28.
  25. ^ "Mask of the Phantasm: Batman : the Animated Movie (Comic)". Amazon. Retrieved 2008-01-28.
  26. ^ "Batman: Mask of the Phantasm (1993)". Amazon. Retrieved 2008-01-23.
  27. ^ "Batman Animated Collection (Sub Zero/Batman Beyond - The Movie/Mask of the Phantasm) (1998)". Amazon. Retrieved 2008-01-23.
  28. ^ "Batman - Mask of the Phantasm (1993)". Amazon. Retrieved 2008-01-23.
  29. ^ "Batman - Mask of the Phantasm (Keepcase) (1993)". Amazon. Retrieved 2008-01-23.
  30. ^ "Batman Collection DVD 3-Pack (Mask of the Phantasm / SubZero / Return of the Joker) (1998)". Amazon. Retrieved 2008-01-23.
  31. ^ "Batman & Mr. Freeze - SubZero / Batman: Mask of the Phantasm (Double Feature)". Amazon. Retrieved 2008-01-23.

[edit] Further readingEdit

[edit] External linksEdit

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