Synopsis: Based on the acclaimed Batman: The Animated Series and released theatrically Christmas 1993, Batman: Mask of the Phantasm has not only been ranked by Time magazine as one of the 10 best superhero movies ever, but is also argued amongst fans as being the best Batman movie ever as well.
When the city's most feared gangsters are systematically eliminated, the Caped Crusader is blamed. But prowling the Gotham night is a shadowy new villain, the Phantasm, a sinister figure with some link to Batman's past. Can the Dark Knight elude the police, capture the Phantasm and clear his own name?
Unmasking the Phantasm is just one of the twists in this dazzling animated feature. Discover revelations about Batman's past, his archrival the Joker and Batman's most grueling battle ever - the choice between his love for a beautiful woman and his vow to be the defender of right. Batman: Mask of the Phantasm is "a mystery that is genuinely absorbing, suspenseful and moving" (Cincinnati Enquirer).
The cult classic film features an all-star and is directed by Eric Radomski and Bruce Timm (Batman: The Animated Series). The Blu-ray features a new 2017 1080p HD remaster and is presented in both the original theatrical 16x9 aspect ratio (1:78:1) and open matte 4x3 (1:37:1) aspect ratio. Run Time 76:00. Subtitles English SDH. DTS HD-Master Audio 2.0 Stereo - English. Color. BD 50. Theatrical Trailer (HD).
Bonus Feature: Theatrical Trailer (HD)
Review by James Harvey:
Media provided by Todd Dubois
Fans can finally own Batman: Mask of the Phantasm in high-definition and, yes, it was well worth the wait. Arguably the best Batman movie ever made finds our hero on the wrong side of the law as a new ruthless vigilante touches down in Gotham. Secrets from Batman's past also comes to light as the Dark Knight Detective works to uncover the mystery of the deadly Phantasm. And it's all in HD and, yes, it looks absolutely fantastic. Warner Archive has done right by fans who have been itching to see this film in the high-definition format.
More in-depth reviews of Batman: Mask of the Phantasm can be found elsewhere on this site, so thoughts on the film itself will be brief, but honestly, what else can be said? It's an absolutely amazing movie with a stunning, complex story, stirring emotion and some 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 (there's a reason why we have a special subsite for it). Batman: Mask of the Phantasm could arguably be considered a high-point (one of many) of story-telling not only for the animated series that spawned it, but also everything that would come from the DC Animated Universe. It's great, great stuff.
And now, finally, it's available to own on Blu-ray, courtesy of Warner Archive. There's one thing to keep in mind that, despite an HD remaster, there are aspects of the film that are going to look rough. There will be a few specks of dust and grain and perhaps the odd blemish. Given how and when the film was animated, before computer animation and coloring were common place, it's to be expected. However, Warner Archive's remaster of Batman: Mask of the Phantasm is just ... unreal.
For the Blu-ray release, Warner Archive remasters both the open matte and widescreen transfers of the movie. Why are there two? To be brief, Batman: Mask of the Phantasm was originally a direct-to-video feature that Warner Bros., mid-production, opted to release theatrically, resulting in a widescreen version of the full-frame feature being created. Details on this can be found elsewhere on this site. Both transfers here look fantastic, giving the film a refreshed look. Since this is a remaster of the original negative, and not the actual film cels, there are still blemishes present. Some shots look a little blurry and imperfections and dust remain. That said, Batman: Mask of the Phantasm looks absolutely stellar. While the film clearly shows its age, it's never looked better. Besides, the imperfections add to the film's personality and reminds us of it's history.
To compare the open matte and widescreen editions, check out the examples below the review. DVD shots are also included down below for comparison. Be warned, these images do contain spoilers.
The HD remaster really does look great, offering a clean, crisp presentation. Comparing this Blu-ray to the original Batman: Mask of the Phantasm DVD release really highlights just how far Warner Archive went with this HD remaster. Colors look great and full, while blacks are mostly deep with a little noise present. It looks absolutely as it should, especially with the odd blemish or dust speck. Batman: Mask of the Phantasm looks and feels like an authentic presentation of the movie, free of any artificial enhancements or fixes to make it look more modern.
As for the audio, the Blu-ray release includes a single English 2.0 DTS-HD track. The dialogue sounds crisp and clear and action scenes have a fine amount of heft to them. Action scenes might not be as robust as they could be, but what we get here works quite well. It's worth noting that Shirley Walker's score to the movie sounds really powerful with this remaster. Even on DVD the score always sounded so grand in key moments, and that is just amplified here. It's a solid audio track, with everything - be it dialogue, action or score - nicely in balance.
In terms of bonus content, just the remastered theatrical trailer is included. While disappointing at first, it's easy to overlook considering just how long the wait has been to see Batman: Mask of the Phantasm in HD. Personally, I don't mind the lack of bonus content, as enticing as the idea of a new commentary or documentary is (which, honestly, was a long shot to begin with). What matters is getting a great, pristine HD remaster of Batman: Mask of the Phantasm, and we get that right here. That said, the remastered theatrical trailer looks pretty sharp and its inclusion is a nice bit of history.
Cited as the best Batman movie ever made (and, arguably, rightfully so) Batman: Mask of the Phantasm looks magnificent on Blu-ray, courtesy of Warner Archive. As someone who frequently watches this movie, the difference between the original DVD release and this new Blu-ray HD remaster is staggering. The image has never looked better and the audio track is noticeably improved. The lack of bonus features might be a sore spot for some, but that shouldn't deter fans from picking this up. After years of watching this movie on VHS and DVD, it's delightful to see how refreshed, clean and clear this movie looks with the remaster. For fans who have been waiting to see Batman: Mask of the Phantasm in HD, Warner Archive absolutely delivers. Must Own!
Blu-ray (widescreen) - Blu-ray (full frame) - DVD (full frame)
Click here for over 400 HD images from "Batman: Mask of the Phantasm!"
Note: Warner Bros. Home Entertainment has also added Batman: Mask of the Phantasm in HD on iTunes and other digital providers. The HD release includes the full-frame and widescreen version of the film plus the Justice League Unlimited episode "Epilogue."