Directors: Eric Radomski, Bruce Timm
Cast: Kevin Conroy, Dana Delany, Mark Hamill (VOICES)
Release Date: September 12, 2023
A Review By: Kevin Lovell
Disc Rating: 7/10
Batman: Mask of the Phantasm opens with the city’s most feared gangsters being systematically eliminated, and assumed blame falling on the Caped Crusader. 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, which provides new 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.
Please Note: Warner Bros. Discovery Home Entertainment provided me with a free copy of the 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray I reviewed in this Post. The opinions I share are my own.
‘Batman: Mask of the Phantasm’ joins the Dark Knight as he is forced to tackle his own past while trying to stop a new, deadly masked villain who has begun systematically eliminating the biggest gangsters in Gotham City. As our hero tries to unlock the identity and intentions of this mysterious killer before more bodies drop, it leads to Bruce reflecting on a point in the earlier days of his crime fighting career when he fell in love and the internal confliction that resulted from it. Now, as Batman tries to clear his own name after many start to believe he’s the masked killer, he will also have to reconnect with his lost love who has returned to Gotham City after so many years away.
‘Batman: Mask of the Phantasm’ was first unleashed upon moviegoers on Christmas day in 1993 and it still delivers all of the thrilling and beautifully animated fun and excitement that it did when I first had the joy of catching it in theaters three decades ago. The animated feature still holds up as one of the best adaptions of the Dark Knight to ever hit the big screen thanks to the iconic voice performances by Kevin Conroy and Mark Hamill, along with Dana Delany, Stacy Keach, Abe Vigoda and many more, not to mention the engaging mystery and villain at its core. It also benefits from its ability to offer fans an exciting and action-packed ride while also showcasing some of Batman’s infamous detective skills, not to mention exploring some early moments in his career as Batman without making us all sit through another full-blown origin rehash.
On top of everything else, ‘Batman: Mask of the Phantasm’ is gorgeously animated from start to finish in the same style as the iconic 1992 animated series that it originated from. It all evolves into a nearly perfect animated feature that works as well for young audiences as it does for the older fans and never seems to get dull or repetitive on revisits. If you’re a Batman or DC Comics fan that’s never had the pleasure of this magnificent animated movie, I would wholeheartedly encourage you to go out of your way to rectify that whenever possible, while those that love it as much as I do should be quite excited about this stellar upgrade that proves worthy of the animated masterpiece.
In celebration of the animated feature’s thirtieth anniversary, Warner Bros. Discovery Home Entertainment brings home ‘Batman: Mask of the Phantasm’ for the first time on 4K Ultra HD, fully remastered and available in its original 1.85:1 Aspect Ratio for the first time since theaters and the result is a marvelous Ultra High Definition presentation with HDR-10 for the beloved film that should have fans thrilled. The great new 4K UHD video presentation is also wonderfully complemented by a newly remastered 5.1 channel DTS-HD MA soundtrack that contributes a new and splendidly immersive new audio presentation for the film which combined breathe some delightful new life into the fan-favorite animated movie while still retaining its filmic appearance. The release also comes with a brand new Featurette honoring the beloved Kevin Conroy and as a whole this makes for a pretty tremendous upgrade that many diehard fans of the film should be largely ecstatic about. If you’re a fan of the film that’s fully 4K capable and already considering a purchase, then this release is definitely recommended.
The 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray release of ‘Batman: Mask of the Phantasm’ features a full 2160p Ultra High Definition presentation with HDR-10, presented in its original 1.85:1 Aspect Ratio for the first time since its theatrical release. The announcement for the release provided some details on the new remaster which can be viewed below.
“The 4K HDR/SDR remaster of Batman: Mask of the Phantasm was sourced from the 1993 Original Cut Camera Negative and was scanned at 4K resolution. Digital restoration was applied to the 4K scans to remove dirt, scratches and additional anomalies, but special care was given to not touch the film grain or the animation cell dirt that was part of the original artwork.”
The newly remastered video presentation looks spectacular as a whole and provides a sharp, richly detailed presentation from start to finish that shows significant improvements across the board while still staying faithful to its filmic source and retaining plenty of grain and other welcome artifacts throughout. Nearly every element within looks improved upon, with increased detail evident in character and costume/clothing specifics, vehicles and Gotham’s various buildings and backgrounds. The HDR-10 addition also contributes a gorgeous color palette that sees notable upgrades in various elements throughout such as the cityscapes and headlights on vehicles during an earlier car chase sequence, plus plenty more which is all splendidly boosted by deep, clean and problem free black levels. Overall, this is a wonderful new Ultra High Definition video presentation that impresses nearly every step of the way and should truly thrill the fans.
The 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray release features both a new 5.1 channel DTS-HD Master Audio soundtrack and the film’s original DTS-HD MA 2.0 theatrical presentation. I opted for viewing with the new 5.1 soundtrack and this multichannel soundtrack delivers a clean, crisp and surprisingly aggressive audio presentation throughout that immerses the viewer within the excitement like never before. It repeatedly takes advantage of all five available channels in order to send helicopters and other vehicles whipping throughout the various speakers, along with lightning booming in the rear channels, in addition to a hard-hitting mass of audio activity during the conclusion with the giant fan, plus plenty of other action effects and tidbits along the way, all while still ensuring that any dialogue or other audio elements that might be occurring simultaneously remain clean and fully audible. Overall, this is a great new 5.1 DTS-HD MA soundtrack that sounds better than expected and should easily excite fans.
The 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray release of ‘Batman: Mask of the Phantasm’ includes one noteworthy extra in the way of the Featurette ‘Kevin Conroy: I Am The Knight’ (running approximately 26 minutes in length) which explores Kevin Conroy’s unforgettable legacy and career as surely the most iconic voice of Batman for the generation.
*Please note that the above images are taken from a previously released Blu-Ray disc and resized. They do not represent the quality of the 4K Ultra HD disc itself and will additionally suffer quality loss as a result of .jpg compression. Larger versions of each image can be viewed by clicking on the image. All images and content included on the 4K UHD & Blu-Ray release are the property of their respective owners.
Disc Rating: 7/10
‘Batman: Mask Of The Phantasm’ is Now Available to Own on 4K Ultra HD & Digital from DC Comics & Warner Bros. Discovery Home Entertainment
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