Projections - Movie Reviews
With Jim Sabatini

Batman, Mask of the Phantasm

Batman, Mask of the Phantasm
Mark Hamill, Kevin Conroy and Dana Delaney

Rated: PG 
Reviewed by: Chris  
Release date: December 25, 1993 Released by: Warner Brothers

In the new Warner Bros. animated feature, someone is impersonating Batman, and the Caped Crusader doesn't like it one bit. Gotham City's mobsters are being eliminated one by one and everyone thinks it's Batman's handiwork.

The mob bass pleads with the Joker (voice by Mark Hamill, Star Wars) to help them get rid of the impostor they think is Batman, so they can continue their evil deeds unhindered.

Bruce Wayne, Batman's alter ego (voice by Kevin Conroy), has fallen in love with Andrea Beaumont (voice by Dana Delaney), a girl with many talents. She's smart, self-sufficient and can hold her own when it comes to self-defense. Wayne wants to marry her and give up his night job, but since the Joker's on his case, he can't settle down just yet.

Hamill, who also does the Joker's voice on the Fox TV series, has perfected his outrageous laugh and sinister voice. He also has the best lines, as he spouts that his prey is "harder to kill than a cockroach on steroids."

Instead of the animators beginning with the usual white background and adding color, the process used here as to add color to a black background, giving the film a very dark and stylish look.

The characters are precisely drawn with exaggerated features. Red mouths and big eyes for the women; large teeth and prominent heads on the men, and Batman has a jaw that so square he resembles a bodybuilder with a brick growing out of his neck.

Younger children might be frightened by scenes in a cemetery and the dark characters. However, older kids and adults should enjoy the romance, clever dialogue, wonderful characters and the terrific look of the film. It's a great treat for a cold, dreary day. Take the kids, or go by yourself, you'll have a super time.

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