hosted by popgeeks.com | Forum DC Comics Solicitations August 2024 DC Comics Solicitations July 2024
The World's Finest Presents

Releases - Batman: Mask of the Phantasm - 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray Review

Packaging

Batman: Mask of the Phantasm 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray
Studio: Warner Bros. Discovery Home Entertainment
Release Date: Physical, Digital - September 12, 2023
Run Time: 76 minutes
Press Release: Click here!



Synopsis: The Dark Knight must save Gotham City from a new threat in the critically acclaimed 1993 Warner Bros. major motion picture Batman: Mask of the Phantasm.

When a woman from Bruce Wayne's past, Andrea Beaumont, comes back into his life, Bruce questions whether he should continue protecting Gotham City as Batman. But his introspection is short-lived when the city's most notorious crime bosses are killed, and the Caped Crusader is blamed for their murders. The Dark Knight sets out to clear his name, revealing a new masked vigilante: the Phantasm.

Based on the hit television show Batman: The Animated Series and featuring Warner Bros.' first-ever use of computer-generated animation, this film noir-inspired original story continues the Batman legacy with a dark mystery involving the Phantasm and Batman's infamous archrival, the Joker.

Batman: Mask of the Phantasm (4K Ultra HD + Blu-ray + Digital) Special Feature includes:
-Kevin Conroy: I am the Knight



Batman: Mask of the Phantasm 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray
Review by James Harvey

To mark the 30th anniversary of Batman: Mask of the Phantasm, Warner Bros. Discovery Home Entertainment has released arguably the best Batman movie ever made to 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray and, yes, the end result is ultimately satisfying. In addition to giving Batman: Mask of the Phantasm a bit of a visual tune-up, the studio has also included a new special feature dedicated to the late Kevin Conroy, the voice of Batman, which itself is worth the price of admission alone.

To quickly recap, Batman: Mask of the Phantasm finds a woman from Bruce Wayne's past, Andrea Beaumont, coming back into his life and making him question whether he should continue on as Gotham's protector. But his introspection is short-lived when the city's most notorious crime bosses are killed, and the Caped Crusader is blamed for their murders. As the Dark Knight sets out to clear his name, he discovers the true culprit is a mysterious vigilante named the Phantasm.

Given the focus of this review will be on the actual 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray release, thoughts on Batman: Mask of the Phantasm itself will be brief. In short,Batman: Mask of the Phantasmis a phenomenal movie, driven by an emotional, complex story and solid animation. It's everything we love about the world of Batman: The Animated Series - the characters, the art style, the writing, the action, the score - all condensed into a riveting, tense 76-minute thriller.

Batman: Mask of the Phantasm could even arguably be considered a high-point (one of many) in story-telling not only for the animated series that spawned it, but also everything that would follow (i.e. DC Animated Universe). For much, much more on the acclaimed animated movie, go check out The World's Finest Batman: Mask of the Phantasm subsite. It includes a full review, interviews, and a wealth of videos, images, and more.

Digging into the actual 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray release for Batman: Mask of the Phantasm and, thankfully, the end result is positive overall. Not only was the video transfer given a nice polish, but the studio has also included a new 5.1 audio mix for the film. And that's on top of the disc's new special featurette dedicated to Conroy.

Starting with the video transfer, Warner Bros. Discovery delivers a 4K presentation that givesBatman: Mask of the Phantasm a nice, new sheen without the loss of any detail or tone. According to the studio, the transfer here was sourced from the 1993 original cut camera negative and scanned at 4K resolution. Dirt, scratches and other additional anomalies were removed, though any film grain and animation cel dirt that was part of the original artwork was retained. Rest assured, the end result of this process was absolutely a success.

A visible improvement from its Blu-ray release, it's safe to say Batman: Mask of the Phantasm has truly never looked better. Colors are given a sizable boost and pop off the screen, especially against the movie's considerably dark aesthetics. Blacks are deep and shadows are inviting, but never enveloping, even with the bolstered colors. Film grain and animation cel dirt looks natural and adds to the authentic-feeling 4K presentation of the movie. There are occasional blemishes, such as occasional heavy grain and loss of detail, but those clearly come from the source material itself and not the authoring process.

It's also worth noting the film is presented here in the 1.85 aspect ratio, making the 4K Ultra HD release the first time Batman: Mask of the Phantasm has been presented in its intended theatrical exhibition format on home video. This release doesn't include the 1.33:1 open matte presentation or the 1.78:1 versions from the movie's previous Blu-ray release.

When it comes to the audio transfer, Warner Bros. Discovery not only offers up the original 2.0 mix, but also a brand-new 5.1 mix sourced from the original elements. While the original 2.0 mix is nothing to scoff at, and still performs admirably, the 5.1 mix just sounds heavier and weightier. It adds heft to the film's already impressive and surprisingly immersive soundtrack, especially when it comes to Shirley Walker's consistently impressive score and the movie's multitude of action beats. That explosive finale at the World of the Future exhibition shakes the room, for example. Between the still strong 2.0 and the new 5.1, you really can't go wrong either way.

Shifting to the included bonus features and, really, it's a bit of a mixed bag. Not included are the film's theatrical trailer or bonus Justice League Unlimited episode, despite the latter being mentioned in the film's press materials. Both the episode and trailer are available on the digital version, however. All that's included on disc is a single retrospective dedicated to the late Kevin Conroy, though itself alone arguably worth the cost.

Called "Kevin Conroy: I Am the Knight," here a small collection of friends and colleagues sound off on the recent passing of Conroy, sharing stories and memories of the beloved actor. The featurette, running over 26 minutes, includes vintage footage of Conroy mixed in with new interview pieces featuring Bruce Timm, Paul Dini, Eric Radomski, Andrea Romano, Dana Delaney, George Neubern, Michael Uslan, Paul Levitzand Geoff Johns. Here, participants talk about Conroy's audition and his impact in the role, his private life, and the overall impression and legacy this magnificent person leaves behind. The love these people have for Conroy radiates off the screen. It's a simple and straightforward piece, but it's one that'll likely leave viewers feeling pretty emotional and shedding a tear or two. Just ... be prepared.

The 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray release also comes with a cardboard slipcover and a redemption code for a digital copy of the film. And, somewhat disappointingly, that's it. It's likely still worth it to hold onto Batman: Mask of the Phantasm's recent Blu-ray release for completion's sake.

Despite including Batman: Mask of the Phantasm's best presentation to date, along with a stirring featurette that's a must watch for fans, some will likely be understandably sore by the slight release. Given the home video history of Batman: Mask of the Phantasm , this sadly isn't anything new. The lack of a "30th Anniversary" retrospective is especially puzzling for a release aimed at cashing in on just that. Still, being upset over what's not included hopefully won't result in folks overlooking the legitimately great material that actually is here.

Marking 30 years as the best Batman film, Warner Bros. Discovery Home Entertainment has put together a nice and tidy 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray for Batman: Mask of the Phantasm that excels despite a couple shortcomings. With a fantastic 4K transfer, two hefty audio mixes and a lovely, simple featurette dedicated to Conroy, the pros here truly outweigh any of the cons here by a long shot. For the best possible presentation of Batman: Mask of the Phantasm, look no further! Must Own!


Bonus Videos:


Additional Promotional Imagery


Note: The "Kevin Conroy: I am the Knight" bonus feature is also available on iTunes editions of Batman: Mask of the Phantasm. Click on the images below for a closer look.


[ Back to Releases ]

 

DC Comics on popgeeks.com