Transcript: Batman: Mask of the Phantasm (1993) Bonus Episode

SLIM Hey, it’s your old pal Slim. And this is a special bonus episode of 70mm, a podcast for film lovers. Every Monday, I usually sit down to talk about recently watched movies with dear friend and artist Danny Haas, and our spiritual advisor, Protolexus. But in this special episode, we’re focusing on the animated feature Batman: Mask of the Phantasm, along with a major announcement about the future of this podcast, we need you to sit down for this. Enjoy!

[music plays]

SLIM Bonus episode today, this is not our normal format. Breaking news. We’re gonna get right into the movie in just mere moments. That’s right, you saw the title, Batman: Mask of the Phantasm, the animated motion picture. We took the week off from recording, we recorded this secretly. Even our own VHS Village doesn’t know by this episode. And I think as of release, this week, Danny, you’re out of the country right now? You can’t say where it is. But you might be out of the country.

DANNY Yeah, I can’t say where. I don’t need —

PROTO Do not reveal the coordinates.

DANNY I can’t — yeah, the grid is off. I am out of the country.

SLIM On location. On Assignment.

DANNY Yes.

PROTO Say no more.

SLIM More important than Danny being transatlantic traveling, we have an announcement to make. Maybe the biggest announcement the history of this show?

DANNY I think so.

SLIM Proto is doing the face! [Slim & Danny laugh] Sorry, I would tell you what face he’s doing but that would reveal the announcement. On February 21st, Episode 106. We will be starting the Road to The Batman, ending with us covering the brand new Batman movie on March 14th. Leading up to that…

DANNY Talk to us.

SLIM How do we make this even bigger than us covering The Batman? How? We’re going to do the entire Christopher Nolan Batman trilogy in three weeks preceding that episode.

PROTO Prayer hands.

DANNY That’s a big deal.

SLIM Proto, your thoughts on covering the Nolan movies and the new Batman on the main feed?

PROTO My two main thoughts is just knowing that, you know, I’m a warm blooded man, and we’re going to be watching The Dark Knight again. You know, that’s pure success.

[Hans Zimmer Batman theme plays]

PROTO And then, I mean, the third one, I haven’t seen the third one since the theater, so I have no idea what that’s gonna be like. So, this is gonna be a fun trilogy to cover.

DANNY A fun road.

PROTO Danny, how are your insides? How are you feeling?

DANNY They’re warm. I’m very excited about it. I love these movies very dearly. So I’ve just been waiting for the time for us to do this. Getting through these Keatons and Kilmers and Clooneys to get to our Christopher Nolan trilogy.

SLIM My god.

PROTO This is the road. Some would say this is where the road ends. Like we’ve made it, right? We’re here.

DANNY Yeah, some would say that.

SLIM So that’s February 21st, our 106th episode, it’s weeks away. We will be doing Batman Begins to kick things off. I was thinking about this earlier. I remember Batman Begins, I had a DVD burner.

DANNY Yeah baby!

SLIM I would make like DVDRs.

DANNY Okay, are you getting arrested for what you’re about to say? [Slim laughs]

SLIM I know for a fact the FBI listens every week. [Danny laughs] I need you to stand down. Stand down.

DANNY Stand down.

SLIM I went on a date with a girl and I played the DVDR of Batman Begins on the date — even worse, I tried to play the DVDR. If you remember trying to burn DVDRs, those things worked 50% of the time. [Danny laughs] So I maybe got like 10 minutes of that movie, it was chunking up and the whole thing was a disaster.

DANNY The rest is history.

SLIM Needless to say, I don’t think we made it to a second date.

PROTO It’s a dark memory. [Danny laughs]

DANNY I can’t believe you did that.

SLIM Gosh, Batman Begins. Remember how bad George Clooney was when we covered Batman and Robin for the VHS, for the 70mm vault?

DANNY That’s rough. That’s real rough.

SLIM Proto, did you block out all the George Clooney memories from that movie?

PROTO You know, that was a tough movie but it was a fun episode. So it was worth it. The conversation was so much fun talking about – oh my gosh, Uma.

[Slim does inaudible Schwarzenegger impression]

SLIM The face Proto was making a minute ago was the — a movie we’re not covering — but it Joaquin doing the Joker face, doing his hook mouth pose. [Slim laughs] What would you even call that? Is it a hook mouth?

DANNY Hook mouth.

SLIM Very disturbing. So we thought it would be fun to do this bonus episode while Danny is traveling and make our official announcement for the Road to the Batman, with Mask of the Phantasm. We’ve been doing these Batman episodes for the vault. And we have so many episodes planned for the vault. We don’t know when we’re going to get back to Batman. So why not just make it happen? Feature prezzo. I mean, I would ask what our history is with Batman The Animated Series, but I feel like we could talk for an hour, right?

DANNY We probably shouldn’t do that. [Slim laughs]

SLIM Proto, did you watch Batman The Animated Series when it was on afternoons?

PRTO Oh yeah, sure. Yeah, it was a gift when that was on. Like, oh, what’s this? You know, I have no concept of time as a child. You know, I didn’t know you know, when the show would be on. I’m just turning the TV on. And there it is. Those were great moments.

SLIM Bruce Timm. Bruce Timm probably big impact for you. I’m guessing, Danny.

DANNY 100%. I feel like so many times, even in making any sort of art. I’ve probably just looked him up. What did he do coloring bests or drawing bad or — big deal. Love Bruce. Bruce has some great Rocketeer art too.

SLIM Ohhhh.

DANNY Google it.

SLIM Might have to bleep that noise out. [Slim & Danny laugh]

DANNY That was… sexual.

SLIM You know, I read online that they’re doing a new animated series for HBO, Batman: Caped Crusader.

PROTO Oh yeah!

SLIM And Bruce Timm is show running it along with Ed Brubaker who did The Winter Soldier comic book. So they got a pretty good team. They’re leaning into the noir. I think it might all be in black and white. I don’t know. Danny’s head is down as I’m talking right now.

DANNY Sorry I’m looking at my Rocketeer by Bruce Timm stuff. [Slim laughs]

SLIM So Batman: Mask of the Phantasm. We’re jumping right into our feature presentation, this is a bonus episode. So it’s gonna be a shorter episode than normal. And we’ve been doing our, you know, top three notes, top three things we jot down on these viewings. Proto, do you want to kick this one off?

DANNY Kick it!

PROTO I guess I have to, right?

SLIM What’s your number one thing for Mask of the Phantasm that you wrote down?

PROTO Number one thing, my notes were pretty loose on this.

SLIM Theatrical presentation. This was in theaters when it dropped.

PROTO My first note is Bruce punching the guy off the bike. [Slim & Danny laugh] That was a great fight scene fight scene. [Proto laughs]

DANNY That slo-mo motorcycle fight scene?

PROTO Which was like, way into the movie. I don’t know. is it like a half hour or something? It’s pretty far I feel like. But for whatever reason that was like my first note, I just, I guess I’m just like taking it in. You know, seeing this. I’ve never seen this before.

DANNY Oh! You’ve never seen this before?

PROTO Yeah, I’ve never seen this before. So like seeing this for the first time in just purely like animated series form is such likea blast to the past that I’ve never had before.

SLIM It felt like an Akira-esque animated like action scene. It reminded me of Akira with the slo motion. I guess to backtrack, like before Batman Begins had come out, you know, if you were like a comic nerd, this was the best Batman movie because there were no Nolan movies to hold to the top. So like if you were like a Batman comic nerd, you were like actually, Mask of the Phantasm is actually the best Batman. [Danny & Proto laugh] Because this came out in theaters, which was so odd to begin with, like the animated series was out. And this just like, popped into theaters in widescreen. You know, it’s pretty wild.

DANNY Big flop, too.

PROTO ‘93.

SLIM Big time flop. They had to like rush production. They made it in like eight months or something insane.

DANNY Insane.

SLIM Cripes.

DANNY How many times you’ve seen this, Matt?

SLIM Countless times. This is probably the first time I watched it in a couple of years. But my first note for this viewing was, you know, the idea that there’s a new villain, brand new IP in the Batman animated series universe, and it’s Bruce Wayne’s ex, and it’s a woman.

DANNY So wild.

SLIM Like, that is crazy. It’s like mind blowing to look back. And so cool! Like as a kid, I can’t remember how I felt when it was revealed to be a girl. You know, young me, like, ‘Oh, it’s not a guy? It’s a girl?’ But like, it’s just such an awesome gamble that it was that it was her and it’s like crazy because this character pretty much went untouched for decades. Maybe like one or two times they used it in Batman —

DANNY Yeah, very little.

SLIM Like what was the future Batman one?

DANNY Beyond.

SLIM Batman Beyond? Yeah she popped up in Batman Beyond once. Yeah, Danny, what do you think of Phantasm when you saw for the first time?

DANNY Oh, I don’t remember the first time. We watched it countless times on repeat in the comic book shop. But yeah, I mean, I think one of the biggest my notes that sticks out is how vulnerable Bruce is in this film. Like, I don’t think we see Batman or Bruce himself be, I don’t know, this vulnerable. Crying at the grave of his parents, begging them for, you know, to be released of his vengeance on Gotham as Batman.

PROTO Yeah, that was harsh. [Proto laughs]

[clip of Batman: Mask of the Phantasm plays]

BRUCE Please, I need it to be different now. I know I made a promise. But I didn’t see this coming. I didn’t count on being happy. Tell me that it’s okay.

DANNY I don’t think we’ve ever seen Bruce like that. And I really dug that in this film. I don’t think I actually appreciated it until this viewing. I think I kind of glossed over it a bit like yeah, whatever. That’s cool. It’s Batman. But now watching it, I was like, oh, damn, like he was legit asking for his parents’ blessing to allow himself to love again, which was wild. And that whole scene’s amazing, where the lightning strikes and it lights up the Wayne tombstone, and it’s beautiful.

SLIM It kind of speaks the whole thing. The whole thing is, like, amped up. Like there’s blood. And there’s gangsters dying. Like how many people got killed in this movie off screen or otherwise? [Proto laughs] Like, that never happened in the animated series.

DANNY For sure.

PROTO And the Joker shows up too!

DANNY Ohhh, out of nowhere. My king.

PROTO It was at the beginning. [Proto laughs] Yeah, you’re like, what? He’s in here too? I I had never seen anything about this. So other than the cover really, I didn’t even know he was in it.

SLIM So what did you think when the Joker like slowly started to creep in and became almost like the main villain, really?

PROTO Yeah, well, I think that is what’s so cool about this is it rewrites his origin story while also like telling a new story. So it’s almost like you’re introducing this villain, like present Batman, but then you’re going you’re saying hey, actually, this is his first like, you know, this is his first girlfriend. So to create like this new history in here and tell a story like this the way they could use like his whole life. And it felt almost like you were seeing a period of, I don’t know, like that those flashback scenes felt like a different kind of Bruce Wayne. Yeah, then yeah, like any other story I can think of.

SLIM He's cocky and annoying, kind of, in those flashbacks. When he was beating up those thugs in his ski mask. [Danny & Slim laugh] Kind of wanted him to get taken down a peg. What's number one on your list, Danny? Was it your note or was it something else?

DANNY My number one is always going to be Mark Hamill’s Joker. It’s so iconic. I don’t think I’ve watched any Batman: The Animated Series in a long time. And when he comes on screen and his laugh...

[clip of Batman: Mask of the Phantasm plays]

DANNY I can't get over how perfect it is and how ingrained when I think of Joker or voice I think of Mark's before anything else. And I actually think of Batman: The Animated Series as a whole and even this film and some after as being even better than the Nolan-verse or most of the Batman stuff we have now. I really do like this a lot more. I guess because it's it takes longer to flesh out stories and it's not forced into whatever movies. But I can't get over how good Joker is in this I still love him. I love that they still use Jack Napier as his gangster name. And I love the introduction to Bruce and him seeing for the first time, but they're actually seeing each other as not their alter egos. They're seeing each other as Bruce Wayne and as Jack Napier the gangster. It's such a rad storyline. It's like they didn't even care where they were at in telling Batman stories. They're like, let's just tell this one-off story that who knows where the timeline, this is going to fall in. He doesn't talk about either Tim Drake or Dick Grayson, no Robins are mentioned or any of that stuff and I just really dug that.

SLIM I loved where he had the photo of young Joker gangster. And he draws the red lips. [Danny laughs] And he's like [gasps]. The big reveal that he's like, I don't know who this is. But if I had read lips, oh that's the Joker. He had a couple good, funny reveal moments when he was confronting Phantasm towards the end of the movie. And he says to her, he's like, 'What will vengeance solve?'

[clip of Batman: Mask of the Phantasm plays]

BATMAN What will vengeance solve?

PHANTASM If anyone knows the answer to that, Bruce, it's you.

SLIM And then she's like, well, you should know more than anyone. He makes that like another shocked face. He's like [gasps] [Danny & Slim laugh] You idiot, Batman! Why would you even say that?

DANNY I know!

SLIM Wake up, my friend. Proto, what's your second one?

PROTO Yeah, there are so many scenes that I loved. Another scene that I loved, was I love when he puts the mask on for the first time.

SLIM Ohhhh.

PROTO It seems like a piece of cloth and he just drapes it over his head. And he turns around and when Alfred sees him for the first time, he's like, [gasps]. He's like actually scared. [Proto laughs]

SLIM My god! The animation in that scene is insane.

DANNY It's bonkers. [Danny laughs]

SLIM It's like Disney Renaissance animation moment right there. It's the Batman Renaissance.

DANNY Yeah, for sure. I love that. I have that scene written down too. That scene's so good.

SLIM Yeah, that's one of my honorable mentions. 100%. My next note that I wrote down in my top three, kind of talks about like the how everything is amped up, but like, you know, Bruce Wayne and Andrea, it's Andrea, right?

PROTO [in Bruce impression] Andreaaaaa.

SLIM Bruce and Andrea, just kissing on screen. Like, this doesn't happen in in the animated series. So I'm sitting in theater as a kid. Like, it's almost like I'm watching a porno. [Danny & Proto laugh] Those two kissing and making out. And even like, they're like going at it pretty hardcore when he's doing the Kung Fu jujitsu. And then later on, it's inferred that they had sex!

PROTO Oh yeah, totally.

SLIM They see each other. And then it's like, the next morning, they're waking up in lane pj's and I'm like, whoa! [Slim & Danny laugh] Like, this is like an R rated, it's like a hard PG-13.

PROTO You're looking left, and you're looking right.

SLIM Y'all seeing this guys?! [Danny laughs] It what I probably said to nobody because I probably was alone in the theater. But yeah, looking back, it's just crazy how they stepped it up in those like minor terms, but pretty major looking back. Danny, number two?

DANNY I like how, I think at this time, there are so many fight sequences in this movie that felt super amped up, at least, I don't know if it's not only choreography is the right word when it comes to animation. But there are some fight scenes that were legit, like, still had me like damn, this looks amazing. Like I couldn't get over the sequences, like when he actually fights Phantasm for the first time and she's disappearing in the smoke and there's just so many great little action sequences in this that I felt were a little bit ahead of its time when it first came out.

SLIM Yeah, there was some cool designs. I watched a 15 minute making-of featurette on YouTube and it had like they interviewed pretty much everybody but all, it was so weird. They had like crazy camera angles. Like it was like Batman 66, like upside down angle with like green lighting behind their head. Like everything was amped up really oddly. They showed Bruce Tim's like original rejected designs for Phantasm, they all look pretty cool.

DANNY Imagine rejecting anything Bruce did. [Slim laughs] They don't have jobs anymore.

SLIM They're long gone. Long gone. The building scene where the cops are like, almost going to kill him. I thought that was pretty cool. I think that was like a homage to Year One, pretty much. I guess pretty obviously Year One. But what I didn't remember was that this story takes a lot from Year Two, which isn't as popular. Where there's like a vigilante before Batman was around called the Reaper. It was like this older man and the Reaper appears again after many years and they're trying to figure out who it is. So I had no idea that this was connected to that comic book all those years ago. Yeah, it's Proto's number three.

PROTO Yeah, the action scenes, I just had 'trigger happy psycho cops.'

DANNY Seriously.

PROTO The amount of bullets that were fired at Batman is insane.

SLIM Yeah. Very violent.

PROTO Another note I have: Joker whacking her with the bologna. [Slim & Danny laugh]

SLIM Yeah, like he could have grabbed a knife or the thing of bologna, I think. And he grabs the bologna and nails her with it.

PROTO It's like 18 inches long.

SLIM Yeah, talking about Mark Hamill, it kind of gets forgotten with like the new Skywalker trilogy, but like he was pretty popular in conflict circles as a voiceover artist.

DANNY Yeah. 100%.

SLIM Like he was pretty big.

DANNY I remember the first time I met Mark was at one of the celebrations here in Orlando, and the way they had him set up, where you couldn't, if you waited in line to see him you couldn't just see him from a crowd. He was roped off like cloth, like curtains around him. You couldn't just see him until it was your turn to meet him. But every like four or five minutes, you'd hear him do the Joker laugh like blaring loud throughout the hall and you're just like, the hair on the neck and your neck is just standing up because you're listening to Mark do it in person. And he doesn't know who hears. And he's being so loud! And it was just amazing to hear come out of his mouth.

PROTO It's like a man-whistle. [Danny laughs] Did you hear that? What is that? Dad?

DANNY I don't think we should say man-whistle anymore. [Danny & Proto laugh]

SLIM Just got kicked off Spotify. Just got kicked off. My third note is, you know, probably been taught to death. But the design of Gotham and the technology and how it's displayed in the series in this universe is... it's timeless. It's perfect in like almost every way like they drive old cars but he still has like bad supercomputers with like, size 90 font on it. And like that's the OS that it's running. It's so gorgeous. You know, you like want to live in that world. You want to play with all that stuff. Like let's get a Batman: The Animated Series land, you know?

PROTO My gosh!

DANNY Stop!

SLIM Get the Batcave? How come that hasn't happened yet? Why can't we go into the Batcave? You know?

PROTO Oh yeah! That's a great idea. Those old cars too? Yeah, I love everything about the time period. This made me actually appreciate the city design in Batman and Robin a little bit more. Like it felt like an homage to this, like the look of that. Speaking of which--

SLIM Uh oh.

PROTO Do you feel like this will be made into a live action movie at some point?

SLIM God, I'd love that.

PROTO I know! I kinda would too. In some ways you wanna be like, come on, like leave it alone, but this story –

SLIM The story is great!

PROTO Hearing it again, yeah, it would be fantastic if it was the same exact thing frame by frame.

SLIM I mean, can you imagine Matt Reeves announcing a teaser poster for the second Batman. It just says like “Phantasm” with just the mask.

PROTO It's just the mask!

SLIM Oh my god. That would be legit.

DANNY Gosh.

SLIM Your last note, Danny, for Mask of the Phantasm?

DANNY My last note. Oh. The juxtaposition of Joker's hideout, it was where Bruce took Andrea to the World's Fair to like the future Gotham. And then it's just destroyed. And it's Joker's hideout now. I don't know why I love that. But there's like this crazy juxtaposition of it, when he just comes in with the roller coaster car. I don't know. I just love it so much. I love the Joker. The Joker is legitimately my favorite comic book character. So I get very hype when he's ever around. So anytime he's on screen in this I'm just excited.

PROTO Remember him in Zack Snyder's Justice League? At the end of that?

SLIM We were robbed of further movies. Remember the epilogue? The 30 minute epilogue Justice League? [Slim laughs] How about when he's on the jetpack with Batman and Batman is just committed to just dying with him. Joker's like crapping his pants.

[clip of Batman: Mask of the Phantasm plays]

DANNY You know what I will say, this actually isn't my favorite of the animated movies.

SLIM Is it the Mr. Freeze one?

DANNY Not the freeze one. I'm a massive fan of Under the Red Hood. That one is actually my favorite and then the Batman Beyond: Return of the Joker is incredible too.

SLIM That one technically...

DANNY It's not Animated Series.

SLIM Right, it's not this universe.

DANNY But whenever I put on a bat animated movie, it would always be Under the Red Hood.

SLIM Under the Red Hood I think was like one of the earlier ones, right? Where they started to--

DANNY It got dark too.

SLIM PG-13, R-rated movie animated movies.

PROTO Todd! [Slim laughs]

SLIM Proto, what's an honorable mentions and your final thoughts on Mask of the Phantasm?

PROTO Honorable mention. I love the chorus of voices in the theme song for this. That just like raised a nice little level. That was fantastic. Man, talking about this, I like it a lot more. I feel like I had to like, sit on this movie. I don't think I absorbed the story, but like hearing your guys's thoughts, man, I feel like it is really great. But I was like resting at three stars. So that's where I'm at. But I feel like I'm gonna watch it more, I'll like it more.

DANNY I'm trying to look up the music. I think it's Shirley... Yeah, Shirley Walker did the music for this. And I just, I love the score. She did Escape From LA as well. And Final Destination.

SLIM When that choir starts singing. Game over.

DANNY Killer.

SLIM Let's see, honorable mention. There's a shot of Phantasm climbing the ladder to the roof as like something is exploding behind her. It looks so cool. It's just that kind of movement in animation, I just don't remember seeing, I think I remember seeing a lot in the trailer too. That one guy has the laughing gas in the hospital.

PROTO Oh, yeah. [Proto laughs]

SLIM He's like scared, but he's laughing and he's like, oh no!

DANNY It went so well too.

PROTO Yeah, that is an amazing scene, god!

SLIM I think I'm a four stars. Iy might have been three and a half on Letterboxd on my most recent viewing, but I still had a great time. I love the ending, the mystery ending with with Phantasm and Joker. So I'm at four stars.

DANNY Yeah, I'm with you, too. I'm four stars on this. I think I really enjoy how they've just decided to make this movie almost complete standalone outside of what we know of Batman and his storyline. It feels like a 'what if' kind of episode movie. So yeah, four stars. I really dug this film. I love the design of Phantasm a lot. And it's just, it's a good time.

SLIM We're ready for a big journey. The road to the Batman. Starting with the Christopher Nolan trilogy, Batman Begins. We'll kick things off in a few weeks. Do you remember the world's finest two parter from the Batman/Superman--

DANNY Stop.

SLIM Adventure Hour, whatever kind of goofy name they had. You got to track that one down if you're listening right now and haven't seen that. I love when they did like the Timm-verse 2.0. And you know, Batman's costume was like black and gray. Everyone's design changed a little bit. I like that stuff, too. It was cool.

PROTO If you go to the IMDb page for this, and you look at the photos. There's almost, there's 330 photos and it's just kind of like frame by frame of the whole movie. It's so cool. [Proto laughs]

DANNY I respect that.

SLIM Proto, any final thoughts on this special bonus shorter episode as we prepare for your episode next week, which you haven't announced to as of recording. That's the next episode.

PROTO I haven't. Should I put it now because at that point, it will be in the past?

SLIM No, we don't--I don't know.

PROTO Okay. [Slim & Danny laugh] Check the IG page.

SLIM Check the IG page. So we'll see everybody next week for that episode and then get prepped for Batman Begins in a few short weeks.

[music plays]

70 millimeter is a tape deck production featuring original artwork provided by Danny Haas spiritual guidance and vija the robot who loves movies provided by Alexis producer at large Dale underscore a transcripts provided by Sophie shin and music composed by cinnamate trick prints and other merch are available on 70 Mm pod.com. This episode was mixed, edited and produced by me slim. Support our patreon for access to our VHS village discord to talk movies with new friends, access to our exclusive episodes and the 70 millimeter vault discounts on merch uncut episodes and a physical membership card mailed to you. To check out other tape deck podcasts find the link in the Episode Notes. And if you'd like to support our friends at letterbox and upgrade to pro or patron status, you can do so with a 20% off discount using the links on 70 Mm pod.com. Glad to take that podcast

Transcribed by https://otter.ai

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70mm

A podcast for film lovers, inspired by Letterboxd.