Tag Archives: Tim Burton

What Batman Means to Me.

In honor of the 75th Anniversary of Batman, I’ve decided to write about my favorite hero of all time, The Caped Crusader.

"You ever dance with the devil in the pale moonlight?" [image prop. of Warner Bros.]

“You ever dance with the devil in the pale moonlight?” [image prop. of Warner Bros.]

One my fondest childhood nerd memories was when I went to see Tim Burton’s 1989 classic (and I legitimately mean that), Batman, starring Michael Keaton and Jack Nicholson. I was only six or seven at the time, but for me it was a life-changing experience. The moment when he was holding the purse-snatching thug over the side of the building and the thug frantically asks, “What are you?”, and Gotham’s Dark Knight replied in his fearsome, non-just-gargled-glass tone, “I’m Batman.” He then tossed the terrified scumbag back to the roof and leaped off into the shadows of the city. I had goosebumps when I first experienced that scene and have every time since then. That was the moment when I knew Batman was my superhero, the hero that would forever be the paramount of all heroes. None would ever compare to him and none have, save for The Doctor, who could ever only tie with him.

Just in case you need your memory jogged, this is the moment:

Growing up, I was a Batman fanatic. I had toys, I had t-shirts, I had comic books and anything else I could get my hands on. I was obsessed. I used to run around the yard or the playground pretending to be Batman. I would sit and watch reruns of the ’60s Batman television series with Adam West and Burt Ward. When I received an original Game Boy for Christmas one year, one of the first games I got was Batman: Return of the Joker. I almost wore out the cartridge playing from playing it so much. I lost count of how many times that I beat the Joker. I could not get enough of Batman.

He was the best kind of hero: incredibly intelligent and clever, strong, agile, trained in many styles of martial arts, and resourceful. He was rich, which when I was a kid, was freaking sweet. He was a detective, using his brains to solve crimes instead of running around beating the confessions out criminals. He had the best costume in comic books. And he didn’t kill, which I tend to disagree with every now and then, but it’s an admirable gesture. My favorite thing about him was that he was human. He wasn’t a super-powered alien or a robot or a god, nor was he given powers by some sort freak accident. He was just a regular guy using his brain and the gadgets he made to clean up the streets of Gotham.

Batman: The Animated Series [image prop. of Warner Bros.]

Batman: The Animated Series [image prop. of Warner Bros.]

Throughout the years, my admiration has never wavered, never faltered. Even with some less than desirable mishaps in the adaptations of the character (Batman & Robin), I’ve always stayed true. Thankfully, there have been more good than bad when it comes to Batman on the big and small screens.

For example, Batman: The Animated Series, which is widely regarded as the best adaptation of the Dark Knight ever to be created. I wholeheartedly agree. The superior writing, the phenomenal animation work by Bruce Timm, and the outstanding voice acting from Kevin Conroy (Batman) and Mark Hamill (Joker) that will forever be ingrained into the memory banks of every fan of the show. If you haven’t watched every episode of that entire series at least once, you haven’t truly lived. I mean seriously…what have you been doing with your life?!

Here’s one of my favorite episode’s, Joker’s Favor:

Batman TAS – 1×22 – Joker’s Favor

Most, if not all, of the other animated version have been exceptionally entertaining but none so much as Batman: TAS. It’s quite difficult to live up to its perfection. The Batman, Batman Beyond, The Dark Knight Returns Parts 1 & 2, and pretty much any other animated version that came out were all done remarkably well, especially Batman Beyond. It was essentially a sequel to TAS, but its story took place in a future Gotham where Batman had become to old and broken to continue on. He had hung up his cape and cowl and chose to retire until a young man by the name of Terry McGinnis came along and took up the mantle. Once again, the series was blessed with excellent writers, stories, characters, and voice actors, which makes this series a close second to the greatness of TAS. Will Friedle (Eric Matthews from Boy Meets World) was a fantastic choice to voice Terry. Beyond is another series that needs to be viewed multiple times just because it’s that good. Batman Beyond: Return of the Joker, an animated movie continuation of the series, is a top notch choice for multiple viewings. For a children’s animated film, it was actually somewhat disturbing, but not in a bad way.

The movies were another story though. They started off really well and then descended on a downward spiral with each sequel. Tim Burton brought Batman to life in 1989 with the first of two films (Batman Returns being the second), starring Michael Keaton as the Dark Knight. Keaton’s Batman is my absolute favorite version of the character. To me, he was the perfect Bruce Wayne and Batman. He was dark and menacing, charming and aloof, heroic and fearless, all when needed to be. The films were dark in their tone, just as they should’ve been, and the villains were amazing: Jack Nicholson as The Joker, Michelle Pfeiffer as Catwoman, and Danny DeVito as the Penguin created three of the best villains ever to grace the screen.

Then 1995 came along, Tim Burton and Michael Keaton didn’t want to continue doing the films, so Joel Schumacher and Val Kilmer took over as director and star, respectively. Things changed rather quickly with Batman Forever. The scenery was dark but not as dreary, everything turned neon and bright, and the villains became a little more over the top. They introduced an older Robin, changed Harvey Dent from black to white, and cast Jim Carrey as the Riddler. Actually, Carrey’s version of the Riddler was one of my favorites. Yes it was a bit over the top, but if you pay close attention, it’s not hard to tell that it’s a homage to Frank Gorshin’s version from ’60s series. I don’t hate this film, I rather enjoy it.

Now as for 1997’s Batman & Robin, that’s a whole ‘nother story. I despise this poorly-written, over-acted, over-the-top, campy, cartoonish piece of trash with all of my being. George Clooney became Batman, Alicia Silverstone became Batgirl (and also Alfred’s niece, not the Commissioner’s daughter), Uma Thurman hammed it up as Poison Ivy, Bane became a mindless henchman, and Arnold Schwarzenegger took a huge dump on my favorite Batman villain, Mr. Freeze. HUGE DUMP. I have never been so appalled by a film in all my life, and it’s mostly because of his performance. It makes me sick just thinking about it.  This film is such a blemish on the film history of Batman that most fans, including myself, completely disregard it as part of the series. It makes Phantom Menace look like Citizen Kane.

Awful. Just awful. [image prop. of Warner Bros.]

Awful. Just awful. [image prop. of Warner Bros.]

Luckily, eight years later, Christopher Nolan came along and rebooted the films with Batman Begins. In doing so, he also restored my faith in cinema as well as humanity. This film essentially brought Batman out of the comic book and into the real world. Nolan gave the Batman mythos depth and grounded it in reality, making viewers feel as Batman was flesh and blood and not some cartoon character. Begins was the start of one the best film trilogies ever, followed by The Dark Knight and The Dark Knight Rises. Christian Bale did a remarkable job with the characters of Batman and Bruce Wayne, although his Batman voice did need a bit of work. He was able to capture the character in a way that rivaled what Keaton had done before. And with TDK, we were graced with the greatest interpretation of The Joker that we may ever see, thanks to the late Heath Ledger. Such a sadistic and homicidal, yet still hilarious, version that even Jack Nicholson’s version pales in comparison. And I will fight anyone who says differently (not really though). It was a sad day when Nolan declared that he would not be continuing with the series after the third film, after he had done such amazing things with it already. An even sadder day came when it was announced that Ben Affleck would be taking over as Batman, but that’s a rant for another time.

And let’s not forget about the games, mainly just the Arkham series, because pretty much every other Batman game has sucked. Except for Batman: Return of the Joker for the original Gameboy, of course. If you want to experience what it’s like to be Batman but don’t have billions of dollars to buy all the gear and don’t feel like getting the crap kicked out of you, then play the Arkham series. Well written, well designed, and they brought back Kevin Conroy and Mark Hamill! Truly some of the best games ever made and worth every minute you’ll spend completely engrossed in them.

But I think I may have gotten off topic… What Batman means to me. For me, and I know this may sound corny, Batman has always been a hero. He’s a sign of hope in even the most grim of situations. A light in the darkness, if you will, even though he dwells in the darkness. He’s justice when there is none, courage in a city that is drowning in fear, strength even when the world breaks your back and leaves you for dead. As a kid, when I was afraid, pretending to be him or asking myself “What would Batman Do?” helped me to overcome a great deal of fear. Some might say there are other real heroes to look up to, but to me, he was real. He was the hero I needed in the worst of times. He was a mortal human who fought a great deal of injustice and super-powered villains and never faltered. He just kept fighting. He’d keep going if it killed him. He was and always will be a great protector. And in my opinion will always be a greater and more powerful hero than Superman ever could be. The fact that he could die at any moment, be killed by any foe he faces, and yet he continues fighting and protecting and making sure justice is served, without killing, is what makes him so incredible. Out of his greatest tragedy (the murder of his parents), he has gathered the courage and strength to become the greatest hero that Gotham, and the world, has ever seen. And because of that he has become the one of the greatest heroes many in the real world, including myself, have ever seen.

To me, Batman is courage, strength, hope, determination, intelligence, kindness, justice, and so many other wonderful things that have helped make me the person I am today. And I will continue to use what I have learned for the rest of my days. I will pass this knowledge on to my children and I will teach them about the greatness of Batman and how truly spectacular he is and what they can learn from him. He will forever be a part of who I am.

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Haunting with Style

I hope we’re friends until we die. And then I hope we stay ghost friends and walk through walls and scare the shit out of people.

I saw this Someecard on Facebook the other day, and it sent me on an interesting thought tangent.

My best friend and I have mused about haunting people when we die. Over the years, we joked about adding people to our list of victims – ex-boyfriends, mean girls, condescending bosses, etc. We wouldn’t be the jerky, creepy, hollow-eyed ghosts that seem to appear in every horror movie. Just because we’re dead doesn’t mean we can’t look hot.

And although scaring the crap out of people would be fun at first, I think I’d want variety in my days–especially if I’m doomed to walk the earth for eternity. I’d possess people, make them do a little dance, and sing a little song a la Beetlejuice.

It’s been 25 years (wow, I feel old) since Beetlejuice was released, and I can’t think of one movie with a funny and frightening ghost that has graced theaters since. I don’t think a remake is necessary (we’ve recycled enough beloved movies), but you can’t argue that Michael Keaton’s devilish specter didn’t have panache.

Tim Burton’s fantastical underworld with fabulous phantoms simultaneously scared and generated guffaws. The hauntings were creative and conniving. If you were too young or not born yet when Beetlejuice graced our tube TVs, I suggest you acquire it. It was bizarre, boisterous and quintessential Burton.

It’s been over a decade of ghastly twitchy ghosts, which began with The Ring, the 2002 American remake of the Japanese 1998 film Ringu. I think it’s time we move on. Hey Hollywood, bring back the ghosts with pizzazz. If I’m going to be a ghost friend, then I need some clever, mischievous inspiration.

(If you read this out loud, then you’ve said Beetlejuice three times. Ha!)

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After Going Back to Wonderland, Do We Really Need to Return to Oz?

Oz: The Great and Powerful.

Michelle Williams as Glinda. [source: totalfilm.com]

Once again, Disney feels the need to venture into another fantastical world with an eccentric director as our tour guide. This time, however, it’s thankfully not Tim Burton, and Johnny Depp is nowhere to be found. Disney has chosen Sam Raimi as their kooky auteur-of-the-moment and James Franco as their star. He plays Oscar Diggs, also known as The Great and Powerful Oz, a small-time magician who becomes the savior of the Land of Oz. Rounding out the cast is Rachel Weisz as Evanora (The Wicked Witch of the East), Mila Kunis as Theodora (The Wicked Witch of the West), and Michelle Williams as Glinda (The Good Witch of the South).

The film is actually a prequel to the 1939 classic The Wizard of Oz, starring Judy Garland. It tells the story of how Oscar ended up in Oz and the events that lead to him becoming “The Wizard.” From the trailer, you can see he gets caught up in a tornado, just like Dorothy, whilst hot-air ballooning away from the black-and-white, pre-technicolor Kansas to accomplish greater things. Once through the twister, he finds himself in a strange new place, and in color, where he must battle an evil witch and save the inhabitants of this fantastical new world.

Seriously…WTF?! [source: rottentomatoes.com]

Although I’m a bit excited to revisit The Emerald City, I’m a bit leery to take the trip after Disney’s last “magical” journey, Alice in Wonderland. I didn’t hate the film, but by that point, I had my fill of Burton/Depp/Bonham Carter collaborations. It was a visually beautiful film, though. The costumes, characters designs, and set designs were all incredible. Except for Depp’s Mad Hatter. I enjoyed the way he played him, but not the way that he looked  like a cross between Madonna and a cracked-out clown.

The title of the film also should’ve been changed. There was a lot of confusion as to whether the film was a remake or a sequel. Upon viewing the film, it was easy to see that it was a sequel, but many were still perplexed. I overheard a lot of angry people talking about how it was a completely different story than the original, and Disney ruined it because they changed the story. The story wasn’t changed, just continued. In all fairness, it would have made more sense to call the film Through the Looking Glass or something other than Alice in Wonderland. It would’ve helped with a lot of the confusion and anger.

Thankfully, Disney is not making the same mistake twice, and hopefully, people won’t see the word “Oz” and think this is just a remake.

I will admit that I am a bit more excited for this film than I was for Alice, even though I’m more a fan of the story of Alice. However, I am still skeptical. Sam Raimi is one my favorite directors, but he has made some stink bombs (i.e. Spiderman 3, Drag Me to Hell), so there’s a chance this film might take a nosedive into the Poo-town City Pool. His good films (i.e. Evil Dead trilogy, Spiderman 1&2, The Gift, The Quick and The Dead) do outweigh the bad ones, but after Spiderman 2, most of us thought Spiderman 3 was going to be phenomenal; it was nothing but a huge letdown.

James Franco as Oz. [source: ifc.com]

Strangely, James Franco playing the lead does not worry me. He’s quickly become one of my favorite actors and is a greater talent than most give him credit for. I believe he will carry this film quite well, and his supporting cast, especially the actresses cast as the witches, will make his performance stronger. I’m not worried about the visuals or designs either. I think this film will look stunning, better than Alice.

I’m not gonna hold my breath, thinking this film is going to be the greatest film ever, but I will say that I am eager to see how this all turns out. And I hope it turns out well. I don’t need another film taking a crap on a favorite story from my childhood. I need one that’ll knock the dust off and polish it up, give it a new shine.

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The Week in Geek: Sept. 28, 2012

You may have added pumpkin spice to everything you’re eating and drinking, but I’ve got some geeky spice to add to your weekend! (Not my strongest opener,  I’ll grant you. I just got back from the dentist. I’m traumatized; cut me some slack!)

Avengers part 1 by La-Chapeliere-Folle

What if Tim Burton had been given the reigns of The Avengers instead of Joss Whedon? Deviantartist La-Chapeliere-Folle has a pretty good idea. Image courtesy of La-Chapeliere-Folle on DeviantArt.

Edgar Wright screened test footage for his finally confirmed Ant-Man. Thanks to talented Deviantartist Samurai Jack, who storyboarded his recollection of the footage, I can pretend I hopped a plane to San Diego, spent seven hours standing in line for a panel, and then spent two more in a massive room that slowly became filled with fanboy/girl farts. (via Topless Robot)

A Reddit user with the handle “european_douchebag” took a surreptitious photo of a Sikh woman with facial hair and posted it to be mocked. Her dignified, lovely, and forgiving response would have been enough. But then, the internet imploded and the original poster actually wrote a sincere apology. Internet, just when I think I know you, you surprise me. (Thanks to Colleen Carow for the Facebook tip!)

TJ has found a way to make his boredom disappear in a Flash (game)! (Come on, stop groaning! That was moderately clever! No? Alright, then.)

Hope Larson explains why she said, “Yes!” to adapting A Wrinkle in Time. I think the reasoning should be, “They asked me to adapt A Wrinkle in Time. What other answer is there?” (via Huffington Post)

Avengers part 2 by La-Chapeliere-Folle

Loving the Hulk interpretation here. Which is your favorite? Image courtesy of La-Chapeliere-Folle on DeviantArt.

Nerd Approved thinks that this Thor and Loki snuggle blanket is bizarre. I have two alternate synonyms to suggest: “Sold out online” and “Perfect for my living room.” (via The Mary Sue)

You’ll be able to download your tweets before 2013. That’s great because I was getting worried that all my shameless self-promotion on Twitter was just going to be lost forever. (via Geekosystem)

Gabrielle showed us where you can buy fabulous comic-covered kicks; but let’s assume you don’t have cash to burn on these nerdgasmic shoes. The Offbeat Bride has tips on how to make them yourself. (via Offbeat Bride)

Hey, what exactly do you get a search engine for its 14th birthday?

The companion of the Clown Prince of Crime, Harley Quinn, is 20 this year. What better way to remember many women’s (and men’s) favorite felon-ess than with a stunning sculpt…that (ugh) features her Arkham Asylum Juggalette of Death outfit. (via Kotaku)

Rapunzel by La-Chapeliere-Folle

A waifish, innocent blonde pulled into a mysterious world? I’m surprised Tim Burton hasn’t made an interpretation of Rapunzel already! Image courtesy of La-Chapeliere-Folle on DeviantArt.

They’re creepy, kooky, spooky, and all related. Rob runs down his favorite Halloweenie families.

Why were the Nazis obsessed with this Buddhist statue carved from a meteorite? If you have to ask, you’ve clearly never seen an Indiana Jones movie. (via io9)

Mark Millar, the creator of Kick Ass, has signed on to consult Fox on the future of the X-Men and Fantastic Four franchises. As much as I loved X-Men: First Class, I’m hoping this means 100 percent more Nic Cage insanity in future installments. (via CBR)

These adorable images prove Dr. Seuss and Star Wars go together like Boba Fett and a sarlacc. (via Neatorama)

Like sands in the hourglass so goes the flow of power in Game of Thrones. Not really, but John’s back with part two of his hella insightful analysis of the series.

A long time ago in a yarn shop far, far away, a motivated crafter bought patterns for these squee-worthy Star Wars ships amigurumi. Then she gave me one just because I’m awesome, and it’s that kind of story. (via Laughing Squid)

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