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With the exception of Superman: The Movie, I’m hard pressed to think of a superhero film more iconic than Tim Burton’s Batman (no offense to fans of the Christopher Nolan trilogy). Based in part on The Killing Joke and The Dark Knight Returns comics, Batman helped to establish the modern superhero film genre and also helped ignite the DC Animated Universe (launched with the premiere of Batman: The Animated Series). The Caped Crusader was portrayed by Michael Keaton, and his eternal nemesis the Joker was brought to memorable life by Jack Nicholson.
Several factors contributed to make this film so iconic: one is the amazing sets and backgrounds that make up Gotham City. The second is Danny Elfman’s awe-inspiring score for this film. Elfman was brought in by Burton after the two had previously collaborated for Beetlejuice (1988), this despite the fact that Elfman knew very little about the current state of Batman in comics (he was given a copy of The Dark Knight Returns for reference).
Having grown up watching re-runs of “campy Batman” starring Adam West and Burt Ward on television, I initially didn’t like this “dark” Batman at all, but as I grew older and learned about the comics history of the character, I grew to appreciate what Tim Burton had done (and there’s no denying that Jack Nicholson’s performance as The Joker is one for the ages).
I was pleased to find this interview and “making of” for the Batman score and I hope you enjoy listening to it too (Elfman shares a funny story about how he came up with the iconic main theme for the film). Let me know your thoughts on Batman in the comments below!
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*poster image is the property of Warner Bros. Pictures