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iReview ◦ BATMAN: Mask of the Phantasm on Blu-ray

Available now on Blu-ray the very first full-length animated theatrical adventure starring the Caped Crusader! Batman - Mask of the Phantasm may be a classic, but it stands the test of time especially in Hi-Def!

Though there have been many cartoon interpretations of the Batman. From his Saturday morning days, to his time as a member of the Super Friends. The Dynamic Duo have even on several occasions teamed-up with Scooby Doo and the gang to solve a ghoulish mystery or two, but after his blockbuster makeover by Tim Burton in the 1989 big screen Batman, the next time audiences got a whim of the Dark Knight detective Batman - The Animated Series had reimagined the hero in a stunning new way!

Using the film as a template, the Batman’s new animated adventures would more broadly appeal to a new audience. Gotham City was modeled in an art deco darkness and decadence that translated beautifully, it’s arched spires reaching into a limitless sky and providing the caped wonder with endless avenues to impose his brand of justice. Produced by Paul Dini, Bruce Timm, Alan Burnett and Eric Radomski the Animated Series would be awarded for its originality and groundbreaking storytelling!

Behind the Mask

Riding on the success of the Batman on the big screen, the DC Comics hero was enjoying a new wave of popularity, and The Animated Series was a hit in syndication! In 1993, the show’s producers readied themselves for the most ambitious story yet, but in order to tell it, they would require a larger canvas. Batman - Mask of the Phantasm (The Animated Movie) was released in theaters at Christmas time and it provided the necessary canvas to tell a story of this scope and scale.

So much of the Dark Knight’s origin story has itself become the stuff of legends. The publishing imprint, after its best-selling prestige release of Frank Miller’s The Dark Knight Returns in 1986 reignited an interest in Batman that was nearly unprecedented in the genre. After the 12-issue maxi series Crisis on Infinite Earths rebooted much of the DC Comics continuity, creatives had great license to explore and reinvent many of the classic characters backgrounds. Batman and his menagerie of villains proved a fertile garden in which to play.

With Tim Burton’s feature film drawing from so many of these sources and the syndicated animated cartoon expanding the mythos even further, the creators brilliantly decided to add an entire new layer elaborating on the Batman’s earliest days as a crimefighter and mixing in a potentially new adversary that is as merciless as any he’s ever faced. Largely adapted from Batman: Year Two a multi-issue narrative that appeared in the comics and was written by Mike W. Barr, Mask of the Phantasm carves a very special place in the lengthy animated storyline.

Presented In Hi-Definition

Now in its latest hi-definition release Batman - Mask of the Phantasm the film proves the test of time and surpasses any expectations. It is still one of the most dramatically provocative tales in the legend of the Dark Knight, and is expertly directed by Eric Radomski. The feature’s screenwriters have created a genuinely captivating villain in Phantasm (similar styled after the comic book character Barr introduced named The Reaper), a vigilante on a vendetta to destroy Gotham City’s underworld.

There’s a deeply seeded connection to the Batman himself as well as one to his arch-nemesis, the maniacal Joker. Both are voiced by veteran actors Kevin Conroy and Mark Hamill who became infamously known for his portrayal of the Clown Prince of Crime, with Dana Delany voicing a love interest from Bruce Wayne’s past before she took on the role of Lois Lane in the spin-off series Superman: The Animated Series.

If you’ve been missing the classic feel of the Animated Series fear not, we’ll all be nostalgically walking back down that road when the new full-length feature Batman and Harley Quinn is released later this month. The new film reunites many of the creatives behind the animated series, but in the meantime, go hi-def and get reacquainted with Mask of the Phantasm — get a glimpse of how it all began, including our fandom for the Dark Knight’s animated adventures.

Batman - Mask of the Phantasm (The Animated Movie) directed by Eric Radomski and starring the voice talents of Kevin Conroy, Dana Delany, Hart Bochner and Mark Hamill and is now available on Blu-ray and Digital HD in its full widescreen presentation as well as the original “made for TV” format with bonus features.

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