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Releases - CD - Batman: Mask of the Phantasm - Expanded Archival Collection

Original Release Date
: March 31st, 2009
Number of Discs: 1
Label: La-La Land Records
Music Composed by: Shirley Walker
Limited Edition run of 3000 copies.

Track Listing
1. Main Title: Batman: Mask of the Phantasm (Expanded) (5:01)
2. The Promise (Expanded) (1:25)
3. Ski Mask Vigilante (Expanded) (4:28)
4. Fancy Footwork (0:40)*
5. Phantasm's Graveyard Murder (3:52)
6. Bad News* / Set Trap* / May They Rest In Peace* (1:51)
7. First Love (1:59)
8. City Street Drive* / Sal Velestra* / Good Samaritan* (2:16)
9. Birth of Batman (Expanded) (6:01)
10. The Joker's Big Entrance* (3:02)
11. The Big Chase (5:40)
12. Nowhere to Run* (2:01)
13. A Plea For Help (1:01)
14. A Tall Man / Arturo and his Pal* /
Makes You Want To Laugh* / What's So Funny?* (4:04)
15. Andrea Remembers* / True Identity* (3:18)
16. Phantasm and Joker Fight (6:01)
17. Batman's Destiny (1:46)
18. I Never Even Told You (4:23) - Performed by Tia Carrere
19. Theme from Batman: Mask Of The Phantasm (2:06) (Bonus Track)
20. Welcome to the Future!* (1:01) (Bonus Track)
Total Time 62:05
* - Denotes Previously Unreleased Material

Review (Zach Demeter): Without a doubt one of the most iconic of the scores in the DC animation genre is Mask of the Phantasm. I say this being wholly biased, of course, as I grew up listening to this soundtrack. An odd thing to listen to when you’re six or seven to be sure, but Batman was always a childhood favorite of mine and I watched, listened, and read anything that he was involved in. The original release of the Mask of the Phantasm score, while fantastic in its own right, however, was wholly incomplete. After years of listening to the track and watching the film I slowly isolated the bits of the soundtrack that wasn’t included on the original release and it got to the point where I couldn’t watch the movie without a cue of music sounding strange to me, simply because I hadn’t heard it isolated on the soundtrack before.

But La-La Land Records has remedied that situation. Now, shortly after they released the BTAS: Volume 1 soundtrack, they have announced and released their latest DC Universe soundtrack with the release of the Expanded Archival Collection edition of Mask of the Phantasm. Not only does it the soundtrack bring forth new pieces of music that were previously heard only in the film, but it also brings them unedited without the many sound effects, voices or fading effects used on them in the film. The extended soundtrack is evident from the start, with nearly double the amount of tracks and nearly an extra half hours worth of music.

Sadly not everything on this soundtrack is all that new to me—I had a copy of an extended edition of the soundtrack land in my lap a few years back and I’d since been listening to that copy over the original score release, simply because of the added tracks. There was quality issues with that, however, which are not present here; in fact, I daresay this recording sounds a great deal clearer than even the original soundtrack release, if only because they came directly from Shirley Walker’s personal masters of them. Everything on this soundtrack is crystal clear, clean and crisp and sounds as if it was just conducted a day prior to the pressing of the disc.

I really love the added pieces of music on the soundtrack; even the small little cues in-between the opening credits and the slow pan-in on the board of Gotham’s dirtiest criminals is included and the segment between Bruce and Andrea in the flashback that discusses piles of lose cash is even included. On top of that an isolated version of theme is included (after the obligatory “I Never Even Told You” vocal song, which, despite how many others feel about it, I actually enjoy for some reason). But the soundtrack only wraps up when an unedited version of “Welcome to the Future!” closes it out. Despite lasting barely over a minute in length, this is actually probably one of the more entertaining unreleased tracks on the CD, if only because I never even imagined that we’d ever hear that segment unedited—it was pushed to the back of the scenes and a lot of it (especially the beginning portions) were completely new to me.

If it isn’t evident by now, the Mask of the Phantasm: Expanded Archival Collection soundtrack is well worth the price. On top of the chance to own the score in its full length is the notion that you get one of three thousand copies of it. Three thousand may not seem like a lot and…well, it isn’t, but the production window for these releases is likely pretty small and the audience for it is admittedly limited. Still, the soundtrack is well worth owning and any fan of the animated Batman will thoroughly enjoy it. Regardless if you own the previous edition (which is now out of print anyway), pick this one up. It comes Highly Recommended.

The CD
The presentation of this release is remarkably similar to the original one, but hey—the original packaging was kind of awesome, so no real reason to change that up. The disc art this time around is a combination shot of Phantasm and Batman and the backdrop is a shot of Phantasm behind that shot of promotional art of Batman punching Joker out. The booklet is, as usual, one of the greatest bonuses to these releases. Randall Larson, an author who has written several books on film music and a contributor for several websites, provides a fantastic intro to the soundtrack, which then evolves into discussions about each individual track on the disc.

The only downside to this release is, once again, a minor issue I have with the presentation of the packaging. Usually it’s a lack of professionalism I have when it comes to these releases, but everything really looks nice and tidy this time around, aside for one thing: the back cover art. There’s nothing terribly wrong with it, per say, but the image is greatly blown out in contrast, with Batman’s face being ghastly white and just a very “left out in the sun” look to it. A little darker image (like the one included on the original soundtracks rear cover—which was actually the exact same image anyway) would’ve been perfect, but, again…very minor nitpick.

Overall the presentation of the soundtrack is fantastic and only further helps drive home the greatness that is this score. It has, and always will be, one of my favorite scores for any film. Even listening to the opening titles (and now in expanded form!) gives me goosebumps, which is something that is rare for a score to do by itself, but Shirley Walker was almost always able to do that to you no matter what. Highly Recommended.

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