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Review of The Danny Elfman Batman Collection – Limited Edition Score

The Danny Elfman Batman Colllection

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Batman (1989) and Batman Returns (1992) Scores

25 Years ago….. Batman made the leap from comics and the small screen to the big screen. Tim Burton’s 1989 Batman film changed the character’s direction forever! Danny Elfman was tapped to score this film, and it’s sequel Batman Returns! TFG1Mike gives you his thoughts on the score from La La Land Records, which includes both film scores, and more!

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Even now as I’m about to turn 35 years old in February 2015. I still LOVE the 1989 Batman film. I love Danny Elfman’s score even more now that I can hear it outside of the film. Without this film, this music, we would not have gotten Batman The Animated Series, and everything that comprises the DC Animated Universe! I’ll be writing this review as an overall look at both film’s scores. I will not be going track by track like I have done with BTAS Volumes 1, 2, & 3! however I’ll still be giving this a FULL review. So let me ask you “Where does he get those wonderful scores?” Danny Elfman the lead singer of Oingo Boingo has become one of the great composers of film music of our time! The 4 discs have a total of 97 Tracks with a full album runtime of 139:35!

Batman: Expanded Edition – Discs 1-2

Disc 1: 30 Tracks with a run time of 75:40

Disc 2: 29 Tracks with a run time of 68:20

Batman starring Michael Keaton and Jack Nicholson, who’d ever think Mr. Mom would be an awesome Batman right? And Jack…. well there’s a lot you can say about Jack! The Joker before him was Cesar Romero from the 60s Batman TV Show with Adam West and Burt Ward. When Jack is being funny as The Joker I can see a bit of the Romero character type, but when he is being sinister…. it’s a whole new ballgame! Danny Elfman really out did himself here, crafting themes for every aspect of this hit film. I remember the advertising for Batman, every TV spot said it was “THE BEST FILM OF THE DECADE!” While the acting is superb, as well as the special effects, setting, and more. The music is really what set the 1989 Batman film apart. Disc 1 has 30 tracks on it, and they are each wonderful to listen to. Track 9: “Roasted Dude” has a dark twisting sound to it, that will just send chills up and down your spine. Track 10: “Vicki Spies (Flowers)” is from the scene where Vale follows Bruce to Crime Alley. It emotionally heart wrenching music. Track 17: “Batman To The Rescue/Batmobile Charge/Street Fight” is another of my favorites, because it has Batmobile themes in it!!! The music Elfman crafted for the Batmobile and Batwing is simply amazing!!!! Mixed into these montages is the overall Bat theme Elfman created, it’s all very well done. Track 18: “Descent Into Mystery” is from the scene where Batman drives Vicki to the Bat Cave. Absolutely love this one, it incorporates a few small vocal clips, and some mysterious music set up for the Bat Cave itself! My absolute favorite track from Disc 1 has to be Track 23: “Charge Of The Batmobile” for one simple reason… it’s  THE FREAKIN’ BATMOBILE!!!! After that track I love “Joker Flies To Gotham (Unused)/Batwing I” more specifically for the Batwing music, and then there is “Batwing II/Batwing III”! Honestly anytime the music for the vehicles is playing… that’s what I love the most about Danny Elfman’s Batman score! I can’t write this without mentioning Track 26: “Cathedral Chase” simply because that is the crux and climax of the entire film. The music is high endurance action, with a slight sadness to it. It also sounds very ominous in several places. On Disc 2 we have several cues of music a few were unused, but it’s nice to have them here. We also get two alternate versions of the Batman Theme, and more. A few of my favorites are “Joker’s Commercial”, and the “News Theme”. Once again it is so nice that La La Land Records gos after these tracks. Before we get to Batman Returns… I need to mention Disc 2 Track #28: “Charge Of The Batmobile (Film Edit)” this was an interesting addition to the expanded edition.

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Batman Returns: Expanded Edition – Discs 3-4

Disc 3: 21 Tracks with a run time of 71:27

Disc 4: 17 Tracks with a run time of 68:08

Batman Returns came out in 1992, I was 12 years old at the time, and this movie freaked me the hell out. This might be the scariest role Danny DeVito has ever done. Well at least it would look that way to a 12 year old right? The opening track “Birth of a Penguin / Main Title” is 5:40 of creepy haunting music. This was the track used in the beginning of the film. When we see the opening scene and the horrors of The Penguin being born. The second half of this opening track also serves as the main title for the film, as we roll into the credits. After the creepy beginning it rolls to Elfman’s awesome Batman theme! As we go along on this musicl journey, there are times that the music is so soft… I forgot I was even listening to it. Track 5: “Caught in the Act / Uh-Oh Max” is a perfect example of this. It has a wonderfully slow soft, yet creepy tone to it. However Track 6: “Kitty Party / Selina Transforms” which might be my favorite villain track from this film’s score. I remember seeing this in theaters and the scene where Selina transforms. I remember the music sticking with me even then. Track 19: “Batman’s Wild Ride” is interesting and fun. It also has a few sinister spots in the music. Again Elfman has really outdone himself here. A Few of the cues throughout the tracks are musical effects and tones I’ve never heard before. With this expanded edition, on Disc 4 there are 11 tracks that are alternate cues. Then Track 17 is a bonus track entitled “Super Freak (Bonus Track)” In Track 23: “Final Confrontation/Finale” There are a lot of cues I like, and this might be my favorite track for the entire score. Because it has Batman against both The Penguin and Catwoman. This allows Elfman to combine all their themes together in a wonderfully conducted masterpiece mashup.

Simply Battastic music by Danny Elfman. Wonderfully done action themes, and a few slower emotional ones. Batman Returns really surprised me on how DARK the scoring is. I knew the film was dark, like Burton wanted it to be. However I had no idea how dark and slow the music really was, until I listened to it outside the film. Any Bat Fan NEEDS this set in their soundtrack collection. You can get this awesome score from LA LA Land Records directly! So there ya have it! The Danny Elfman Batman Collection!!!!

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