You're just jealous cause I'm a
freak and you have to wear a mask!
Rotten Tomatoes Charlie and the Chocolate Factory
FilmForce Charlie and the Chocolate Factory
Burton's eagerly anticipated
sequel came to the screen three years after the first film and
scored an even bigger opening at the box office. However, it was
heavily criticised by some for supposedly straying too far from
the comic book mythology and being too dark and perverted for
kids. It was this that led to Joel Schumacher taking over the
franchise and putting his decidedly campy stamp on it.
The Bat, the Cat and
the Penguin as imagined by Burton.
However, despite the backlash,
Batman Returns is a real treat for Burton fans. It's a far more
personal movie than the original and a rare example of a blockbuster
which is actually an art film. The visuals and score are even
more stunning than in the first film, and the characters and performances
have far more depth. Burton brilliantly uses the three villains
to emphasise different aspects of Batman's psychology. This is
best illustrated by Catwoman (an unforgettable performance by
Michelle Pfeiffer) who, aside from being a far more fascinating
romantic interest than Vicki Vale, also shows how close Batman
is to going over the edge in his vigilante escapades.
Danny DeVito and Christopher Walken
also turn in brilliant performances and it is the interaction
between these four characters who are all scarred in their own
way that stays in the memory long after the action scenes are
forgotten. It's one of the few comic book movies where, despite
the freakish look of the characters, they actually feel like real
people. The films ends on a pretty downbeat note and it would
have been interesting to see where Burton would have taken the
Dark Knight next if he had completed the trilogy, but alas it
was not to be.
The long-awaited 2-disc
special edition DVD of the film is a real treat for Burton
fans. The remastered picture and sound make the movie better than
ever, and Burton's audio commentary is sparse but entertaining.
You can really feel that he has a more personal connection with
this sequel compared to the first film. You only get one of the
film's two trailers on the first disc, but it's hard to complain
when there's so many other great extras.
And disc 2 is where you'll
find them. First up is a vintage documentary, The Bat, the
Cat and the Penguin, hosted (for no particular reason) by
Robert Urich. This is more entertaining than the usual making-of's.
Even better is Shadows of the Bat: The Cinematic Saga of the
Dark Knight Part 4. This offers a retrospective look at the
production, with nearly everyone involved offering some insight.
It even tackles such controversial subjects as Sean Young's attempt
to get cast as Catwoman by breaking into the studio in costume
(the actress gracefully offers her thoughts on the experience)
and the parental backlash against the film when it was released.
While it's not as in-depth as the documentaries for the first
film (and the lack of any new interviews with Michael Keaton or
Pfeiffer is disappointing) this is still a very well-produced
You'll also find profiles
of the heroes and villains of the film, the Beyond Batman
Documentary Gallery, which examine the production design,
costumes, make-up, visual effects and music, and the Face
to Face music video from Siouxsie and the Banshees. Overall,
this is a great DVD for an underrated masterpiece.
Arran McDermott 2004
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