Re: Did anyone see 1989's movie in theaters?
You can't understand the hype about the film without referencing the casting controversy. Warner Brothers had had Batman in development for so long - like Spider-man long - and this was to be their flagship franchise after the implosion of Superman. Finally, we had an announcement of the movie going ahead with the wrong director - Tim Burton, who at that time was known only for "Pee-Wee's Big Adventure" and "Beetlejuice" - and the wrong star - "pudgy, half-balding, runt" (to paraphrase some dearly departed members of the Hype) Michael Keaton who was known as a lightweight comedic actor. Now remember kids this was before the internet was in wide use so we had to get our news from the mainstream media, fanzines, or in my case, the guy who ran my local comic book store. When we wanted to talk about the movie we had to actually get together over coffee - normal coffee, not a Grande half-fat mocha latte - or a beer -again from a mainstream brewery like Labatt's, the most exotic beer we had available was Foster's from Australia, "Gee, Uncle Irony, how did you ever survive?" or we could call each other on an actual telephone that was connected to the wall with a wire and may even had had dials rather than buttons. I'll give you a minute to get that horrible image out of your mind.
Anyways, a couple of things started to happen. Keaton appeared in a movie called the "Dream Team" that showed a dramatic, psychotic edge. Burton started to talk about how he wanted to explore the psychological fracture of the character and how he wanted to show Gotham as a gloomy, Gothic character in the movie. Jack Nicholson was cast as the Joker. Then, WB released a trailer featuring the fight scene between Batman and the Joker's goons and the momentum started to swing.
Suddenly everything was Bat related. People started to get excited about the movie. Our fears that the casting of Keaton had meant a return to the 60"s camp version of Batman receded as we saw the trailer and heard Burton and Keaton discuss the movie seriously.
Then the movie came out. And whether you ended up liking it or not, whether you felt that Keaton was miscast or not, whether you thought that it concentrated too much on the Joker at the expense of Bruce Wayne, you had to admit that they had treated the material with respect, seriously and in with a depth that was usually missing when you discussed a "comic book movie". Comic books and comic book movies would never be the same.
"There is no off ramp from the one-track mind!"
"The Batman franchise mirrors Elvis: It starts with a raw brashness in Batman; achieves maturity and depth in Returns; experiences it's Las Vegas stage (entertaining but empty) in Forever; and ends up bloated, irrelevant and dying on the toilet in Batman & Robin."
"Quoting yourself is a form of intellectual masturbation"
"Wat den een sun uul is den annern sin nachitigall" (One man's owl is another man's nightingale).