Blu-ray Buyer’s Guide – July 25

22-years-later-does-batman-mask-of-the-phantasm-still-hold-up

This Tuesday’s release pick doesn’t have any competing bonus goodies at competing retailers. In fact, it has no real bonus features even on the disk! But to longtime fans of a certain caped crusader, this film being released on Blu-ray (finally) is a worthy addition.

Here’s my pick for July 25, 2017.

63145_frontBatman: Mask of the Phantasm
Warner Bros. Animation
Written by Alan Burnett, Paul Dini, Martin Pasko
and Michael Reaves

Based on a story by Alan Burnett
and characters appearing in DC Comics
Directed by Eric Radomski and Bruce Timm

If there was ever a definitive, timeless vision of Batman on film, The Animated Series of the early 1990s was it. Bruce Timm and his crew expertly crafted a series that pushed the envelope of what a so-called “children’s show” could be.

Batman: The Animated Series looked great, was full of outstanding animation, and the stories were some of the most well-written for an animated show (check out my top 10 favorite episode list here). The villains, most of them gimmicky and played for laughs (especially in the 1960s TV series), were reimagined in the series as deeply disturbed human beings – most of whom had tragic and sympathetic backstories. Plus, the series gave us the two quintessential voices of Batman and the Joker: Kevin Conroy and Mark Hamill, respectively.

Green-lit after Warner Bros. executives were impressed by the quality of the first season of The Animated Series, Mask of the Phantasm is an excellent extension of the show. It contained all the elements of the series and ramped them up just a little for a full-length theatrical feature. The story is a multi-layered murder mystery mixed with a character study of Bruce Wayne himself, adding some additional details to Batman’s origin story.

The only bummer about this release is the lack of bonus features. There should have been at least a commentary with Timm and company or a short behind-the-scenes promo at the least. Still, I’m glad this film is finally getting the Blu-ray treatment.

Happy Watching!

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