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Batman: The Movie (1966) (Blu-ray Review)

20 Jul, 2008 By: John Gaudiosi

Batman BD

$14.98 DVD
Rated ‘PG’
Stars Adam West, Burt Ward, Cesar Romero, Frank Gorshin, Burgess Meredith, Lee Meriwether.

In crafting today’s Batman, Christian Bale and director Christopher Nolan have served up a pair of violent, atmospheric films that work perfectly in a post-9/11 society. But back in 1966, Adam West and Burt Ward brought camp to a whole new level with the “Batman” TV series and this feature film, which pits the Riddler, the Penguin, Cat Woman and the Joker against the Dynamic Duo.

This high-def 1080p transfer keeps everything from those tights to the obvious plastic sets intact. Bu-ray brings out the original film’s many colors, and colorful characters, with a crisp picture and solid sound (although this film pre-dates Dolby 5.1, so your rear speakers won’t get much of a workout).

Audiophiles have the option of watching the film (and reading those “Pows” and “Whacks”), while listening to the isolated musical score track in DTS-HS Master Audio (still with limited discreet rear channel audio) as one of the bonus features. In some ways, cutting out the cheesy dialogue actually improves the experience.

The film comes with two entertaining and informative commentary tracks, one with West and Ward, the other with screenwriter Lorenzo Semple Jr.

Fox has really delved into BD features with this title, which is anything but a cheap attempt to capitalize on The Dark Knight’s July 18 theatrical release. There are three interesting featurettes filmed in 1080p (a rarity on BD these days) that are actually worth watching. “Batman: A Dynamic Legacy,” offers interviews with comic book artists, writers and fans who tell the story of how the series become a pop culture phenomenon. “Caped Crusaders: A Heroes Tribute” focuses on the melodramatic acting style of West and the rest of the cast. Rounding out the exclusives is “Gotham City’s Most Wanted,” a look at how the filmmakers took inspiration from the comics.

Fox has also recycled some extras from the 2001 DVD, all of which are in 480p, including behind-the-scenes featurettes and a tour of the Batmobile. A “Holy Trivia Track, Batman” offers pop-up factoids during the film.

Batman: The Movie certainly holds up well today in terms of picture and extras, but the film is probably best enjoyed by those who grew up on it. Today’s Batfans are more than happy with Bale and Nolan at the helm.

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