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Desc:Tim Burton FTW!
Category:Classic Movies, Classic TV Clips
Tags:batman, Tim Burton, siskel and ebert, jack nicholson, Michael Keaton
Submitted:John Holmes Motherfucker
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Comment count is 30
John Holmes Motherfucker - 2012-08-14
The Nolan Batman films are noirish. Burton's Batman was nightmarish. I love the way that it began with a reinactment of the primal scene of Wayne's childhood, and I love the way it tweaked the Batman origin story so that Batman and the Joker could be seen as creating each other.

When it comes to Batman, it really seems like the more heroes and viallains you throw in the mix, the weaker it gets. (I don't know why, but it works the opposite way for Avengers) Keaton's grim silent Batman and Nicholson's merry, voluble Joker, creating each other, seeking to desty each other, often mirroring each other visually in their actions, they make a great conflict.
BillLumbergh - 2012-08-14
"In my opinion, Tim Burton is the only one who got it right, and he only got it right once."

you have to lay off the booze John Holmes Motherfucker

Riskbreaker - 2012-08-14
I like this movie, but Nolan's take on the character is far better. This movie has a damsel in distress during a good portion of the story, and with the Joker being the direct creator of Batman, it boils down the whole thing to just Batman looking for vengeance against him. It simplifies both characters a lot. Keaton was a good Batman, but a rather dull Bruce Wayne, Bale might go overboard with the Batman voice, but he gets the job done as both Wayne and Batman.

Bort - 2012-08-14
The Batman / Joker creating each other thing undermines the concept of Batman, which is a guy taking on crime itself (as opposed to seeking revenge on a single guy). Even as Bruce Wayne he provides equipment and resources to the police, while also offering gainful employment to ex-cons who want to go straight. Yeah, those filthy Occupy Gotham layabouts love to bitch about Bruce Wayne, but even while he's swilling champagne he devotes a lot of his money goes to the public good.

Old_Zircon - 2012-08-14
I watched this movie a few years ago, and I rel like it aged really badly. Unlike the 60s Batman, which just gets better.

That's all.

John Holmes Motherfucker - 2012-08-14
I haven't had a drink in thirteen years. Got something to say about the movie? Because if you do, you haven't said it yet.

Since you haven't raised any objection, I'm going to stick with my position. The problem with the Nolan movies is that they take Batman seriously, and, like someone has already pointed out, Batman is a pretty silly concept. I just saw the Avengers for the second time, and it seems to me that in some ways, a superhero with powers is somehow more credible than a guy who dresses up like a bat because he thinks it will scare criminals.

Also I resent the Nolan Batman franchise because I keep waiting for Nolan to make something original like MEMENTO. So now he's doing a Superman movie? Fuck.

>>The Batman / Joker creating each other thing undermines the concept of Batman, which is a guy taking on crime itself (as opposed to seeking revenge on a single guy).

It's a different concept, but it's not about revenge on one guy. It is about fighting crime, but it's also about being motivated by psychic pain.

I have to concede that you guys are obviously a lot more into Batman than I am. It's obvious that the Nolan films are more faithful to the comic book. I haven't read the comic book since I was ten, and therefore don't give a rat's ass.

Until I saw THE AVENGERS this year, this has always been my favorite comic book movie. It hasn't aged well, and it doesn't work nearly as well on the small screen, but when I went to see dozens of over-hyped summer disappointments over the years, I've always been hoping for an experience like the first time I saw Burton's Batman.

Interesting that Ebert mentioned Fritz Lang's Metropolis. I've always thought that was a conscious influence.

Old_Zircon - 2012-08-14
People, people, let's not forget we're talking about Batman, here.


Bort - 2012-08-14
"motivated by psychic pain"

See, I like my Bruce Wayne a little simpler than that. Yes, there was and is pain in his life. But he puts on a unitard and beats people up because he believes he can make Gotham a better place -- it's not therapy, it's a vision.

The "Batman" comic is exceptionally good these days; pop in to the comic book store and ask for the "Court of Owls" collection that came out the other month. You may not turn into a big nerd like me, but you may begin to see the appeal.

Xenocide - 2012-08-14
Batman IS a silly concept, but not so silly that you can't milk some real drama out of him if you're halfway talented and feel like putting in the effort.

The whole "it's a comic book, why even try to make a real movie out of it" approach just feels incredibly lazy to me.

Paracelsus - 2012-08-14
IMHO, The Nolan films still don't get Batman quite right. By that I mean none of them have yet come up with someone who I can really call one of the greatest detectives the world has ever known--something that is there in the brief patch of Batman comics I read all those years ago and liked a lot. There's an intellect to Batman that I think has not been captured.

Riskbreaker - 2012-08-15
We are indeed still missing a proper movie where Batman displays his detective skills. A good movie with the riddler could provide that, but it would certainly require damn good writing to make the whole thing engaging from start to finish.

Bort - 2012-08-14
See if you can find where I changed the way I was trying to phrase something and then fucked up the editing. Go ahead, I dare you.
Bort - 2012-08-14
Fucked that up too. I quit.

Screwtape - 2012-08-14
Burton's Batman didn't reduce it to a mere revenge story--Wayne only recognized that the Joker was the murder of his parents half way through the film. I liked Keaton's Bruce Wayne simply because he seemed so out-of-it and aloof while having to be Bruce; he only seemed comfortable as Batman

Riskbreaker - 2012-08-14
I also agree with Ebert about Batman/Wayne and Vicky Vale having little to no chemistry.
Hooker - 2012-08-14
I agree with Ebert about the whole movie being filled with dull characters.

I remember before The Dark Knight came out, everyone would talk about how Nicholson was the perfect Joker. That always confused me. The Joker was by far the most interesting part of the movie, but it was like the 20th or so most interesting Jack Nicholson performance.

Riskbreaker - 2012-08-14
Yes, this is just Jack replaying his "crazy" guy character he has been playing for a while, recycling previous performances. Heath actually created a character, instead of rehashing or imitating someone else. As with many other Burton movies, the set design here ends up having far more weight than the story or characters.

poorwill - 2012-08-14
Ledger was just imitating a young Tom Waits, apparently.
I thought '89 Batman was dull and pointless.

Hooker - 2012-08-15
I love the "just" in comments like that. It glosses over a huge chasm to draw a straight and not particularly long line between the two ends of something. Jet planes are just immitating the Wright brothers.

Rodents of Unusual Size - 2012-08-15
I never got the mass appeal of it. It looks great but there is very little in terms of characterization. I think the animated series actually did a much better job of showing Bruce's emotions. And yeah, Kim Basinger just stood out as the one that didn't really belong there.

John Holmes Motherfucker - 2012-08-15
>>Yes, this is just Jack replaying his "crazy" guy character he has been playing for a while, recycling previous performances.

I don't think so.


Nicholson played a lot angry characters, but not so many crazy ones. I did a google search for "Jack Nicholson Crazy characters", and the thing that kept coming up was Jack Torrence from THE SHINING. Obviously, a completely different performance. And there was the OCD guy from AS GOOD AS IT GETS, but that came later. The joker wasn't supposed to be very deep. He was scary and funny. Batman was the one with " a rich inner life". He didn't have as many lines, but he was the central character.

I so agree with ebert that there are a lot of dull stock characters. And yeah, not a lot of chemistry with Basiner, but that's the way it was supposed to be.

Riskbreaker - 2012-08-15
What Nolan did with his Batman movies that nobody did before was actually giving Batman a rich set of support characters. As in, finally having Gordon and Alfred becoming characters with real weight in the story. Somebody like Cillian Murphy as Scarecrow is, to me at least, far superior to pretty much every bad guy of all the previous live action Batman movies. Jack as the Joker is fun, but the character is portrayed rather bland when you consider all the potential it has.

chairsforcheap - 2012-08-14
I agree to agree on batman related products and endorsements. Batman, best man, a full nation aimed forward, let's do it bros, count your engines. Amen.
cognitivedissonance - 2012-08-14
It was full of original art and sound direction for the time, which is something that does get lost 25 years later. It was very accurate to the comics at the time, as was Adam West to the comics of the 60s. Burton should just be an art director and leave the selection of scripts and actors to other people.

I'm glad he did "Ed Wood", and in some sense I'm glad "Nightmare Before Christmas" exists, but lets be fair, "Pee Wee's Big Adventure" was not his film, it was Pee Wee and Phil Hartman's, but if he was just a guy who designed sets and costumes, he'd have done less harm.
chairsforcheap - 2012-08-14
ahem... beetlejuice

Xenocide - 2012-08-14
No one actually made a Batman movie between 1966 and 2004.

Burton made a Joker movie and a Penguin movie, and Schumacher made a Riddler movie and some sort of weird arthouse gay porn film.

Batman is basically a plot device in these films. He's there to give the scenery-devouring villains someone to fight. Nolan was the first person to actually attempt a movie about Batman.
John Holmes Motherfucker - 2012-08-14
>>The whole "it's a comic book, why even try to make a real movie out of it" approach just feels incredibly lazy to me.

That's not what I'm saying at all. I know I was flip before, and I apologize for that. The respectability of comic books ought to be noncontroversial by now. They are the source of many of our shared stories, our myths. I'm just not drawn to the form, the same way I'm not drawn to Wagnerian opera, and perhaps for the same reason: adult ADHD. I find reading comics to be difficult, I don't know where to put my eyes.

I'm saying that there are other ways of judging the Burton movie than by how well it captures the comic book.

The Nolan films (the two that I've seen) are very good movies that I just don't happen to like that much. My personal reasons don't really rise to the level of film criticism. Does anybody else think Christian Bale's Bruce Wayne looks a lot like George W. Bush? I It may be intentional, and it's kind of cool, but it bugs me.

>>but lets be fair, "Pee Wee's Big Adventure" was not his film, it was Pee Wee and Phil Hartman's,

You're wrong.
Pee Wee with Tim Burton = "Pee Wee's Big Adventure"
Pee Wee without Tim Burton = "Big Top Pee Wee"

Riskbreaker - 2012-08-15
Exactly Xenocide, that's a common mistake many writers make, focus too much on the nemesis of Batman. If it's well written like, say, the killing joke then sure, go ahead, but that wasn't the case with this movie. There's no tricky psychology with the character here, just a gangster that took a bath in acid. Even so, Mask of the Phantom had a gangster joker that worked better, then again, that movie is more about Batman and the Phantom.

John Holmes Motherfucker - 2012-08-15

Everyone agrees that they don't like the Burton Batman, but for wildly different reasons that contradict each other. Is the Joker bland, or is he the oveer to overwritten scenary chewing villain who walks away with the picture? Too much character development for Bruce Wayne or not enough?

Jack Nicholson's Joker was funny and scary. That's what it was supposed to be, and it's not that easy to do.

Why so serious? All that dark scary political stuff in the Dark Knight... I respect it, and I respect anyone who prefers it, but the lack of it in a movie that doesn't try to attain it isn't a valid criticism. It's like saying that PSYCHO isn't a good movie, because it doesn't have enough laughs.

John Holmes Motherfucker - 2012-08-15
>>Batman is basically a plot device in these films. He's there to give the scenery-devouring villains someone to fight. Nolan was the first person to actually attempt a movie about Batman.

I'll be right back after I complete a series of elaborate eyerolls.

Okay, I'm back. So you're saying that Michael Keaton's Batman wasn't a real character study, but Adam West's WAS? Is that for the record?

That's crazy. Remember the newspaper photo of Bruce Wayne as a lost, terrified boy? Remember the way the opening scenes recreated the primal scene (another boy sees his parents being muggged)? Burton put this trauma at the center of Batman's story, and in so doing established themes that Nolan built on later.

The scenery-chewing Joker allows Batman to be grim and often silent, but that doesn't mean he's not a character. We're reminded again and again that he's damaged. Remember the weird romantic scenes with Vick Vale, where they may have had some kind of sex, but they kept their clothes on? She wasn't getting close to him.
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