Thursday, October 30, 2008

Halloween Short Take: Batman (**)

Directed by Tim Burton
Cast: Michael Keaton, Jack Nicholson, Kim Basinger, Michael Gough, Pat Hingle.
1989--126 min.
Rated PG-13 (violence, scary images)
Reviewed by The Teen Critic on October 30, 2008.

Like "Beetle Juice," Tim Burton's "Batman" is great-looking, but flat, uninteresting stuff that never takes the comic book on which it is based seriously. Earlier this summer, "The Dark Knight" knew perfectly how to marry unequivocally stylistic filmmaking to a strong, almost epic story. "Batman" knows nothing of this, instead using Jack Nicholson's overrated to centerpiece everything else (I'll talk about his performance in a second). If you know the story of "The Dark Knight," then you know the story of "Batman": the Batman faces off with the maniacal yet strangely logical Joker. That's all you need to know, because that's all "Batman" is.

Again, "Batman" is a visual masterpiece, on the level of films such as "Minority Report." Burton has collaborated with cinematographers and set people to create a world that has no inhibitions. The problem, then, is Burton's handling of the visuals. He makes them the central point of the movie: Gotham City is a visually dark place. Okay. Now what? Burton takes it only to arm's length and no further.

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