Batman: The Mask of the Phantasm

MPAA Rating: PG

Entertainment: +2 1/2

Content: -1/2

Having had some success with its live action BATMAN films, Warner Brothers now tries its hand at an animated, cartoon BATMAN movie. The characters are the familiar ones from previous BATMAN movies and the scene is the same, the rather dark and sinister Gotham City. The two main antagonists, Batman (voice of Kevin Conroy) and The Joker (voice of Mark Hamill) again find themselves in intense confrontations. But there now is a third very foreboding party known as the Angel of Death. Looking much like the grim reaper, he is out to eliminate some criminal gang lords in Gotham City. This would be fine except that the gangs think Batman is after them and they turn on him. They engage the Joker to help them, which leads to incessant battles between him and Batman. Much of the fighting takes place in a futuristic theme park which the Joker uses to his advantage. The romantic interest is provided by Batman's girlfriend, Andrea, who is regularly in and out of trouble. The artistry and special effects in the movie are colorful and fascinating, but the show seems to lack a strong entertainment impact. Nevertheless, teenagers and adolescents will probably go for it.

Rated PG, this BATMAN animated movie is less intense, crude and sexually oriented than its live-action counterparts. Except for one comical crude remark, a slang reference to sex, and a slang expression for Jesus, it's virtually devoid of foul language. Sexual content is confined to one scene which subtly implies that Batman and Andrea have an overnight affair. As in the past, much of the action is taken up with ongoing fighting, gun battles, menacing threats of all kinds, car crashes, massive explosions and some stylistic bloody injuries. All this borders on the excessive, but is not unusually severe. All the time, Batman is fighting against the forces of evil and protecting Andrea. The Angel of Death is a ghost-like, phantasm creature who inflicts harm both on the gang leaders and Batman, but the significance of this character is not clear. Except for the implied acceptable affair between Batman and Andrea, this animated film has relatively few questionable elements. However, it's really not appropriate for young children, although they will probably be attracted to it.

Preview Reviewer: John Evans
Warner Brothers, 4000 Warner Blvd., Burbank, CA 91522

The following categories contain objective listings of film content which contribute to the subjective numeric Content ratings posted to the left and on the Home page.

Crude Language: Once - Moderate (reference to posterior)

Obscene Language: Once (slang reference to intercourse)

Profanity: Once - Regular (slang for Jesus)

Violence: Many times - Moderate (Intense hand fighting, gun battles, threatening situations, attacks by miniature planes and robot, car and truck crashes, massive explosions and fires, injuries)

Sex: Implied once subtly, no nudity (unmarried couple)

Nudity: None

Sexual Dialogue/Gesture: Few times - Mild (references to love making; kissing)

Drugs: Few times (social drinking)

Other: Vengeance portrayed as undesirable; good wins over evil; woman makes believe she talks to deceased mother)

Running Time:
Intended Audience: Under 14

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