Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Announcing: Batman Returns

I first saw Batman Returns on VHS in my parents' basement (my folks took the PG-13 rating seriously, so seeing it in theaters at the time of its release had been out of the question, and even the VHS screening was a "clandestine" operation). I was immediately hooked, instantly preferring it to Burton's original Batman. I also adored Danny Elfman's brilliant orchestral score. I sought and received the original soundtrack CD for Christmas that year (thanks, little bro!) and played it incessantly. To date, Batman Returns remains my personal favorite of the live-action Batman films. It is also my favorite score by Danny Elfman.

You can imagine my excitement, then, when I was approached to write the liner notes for La-La Land Records' new release of the complete score to Batman Returns. Not only was the title a dream project, but the scope was appropriately impressive: all of the score heard in the film, plus unused cues, plus amazing alternates, in dynamic sound. Add to that a generous word count for the booklet, which would truly allow me to dig deep and elaborate on what makes this score so special. I am, quite simply, over the moon for this music. It is rich, thrilling, moving, and emotionally and psychologically complex. The way Elfman constructs his main themes for the Bat, Cat and Penguin so that they all relate to and play off of each other is brilliant – up there with the best of what this art form has to offer. Batman Returns is also a score that benefits enormously from being heard at its full length; there is not one wasted note. The original album was well-loved, but La-La Land's new release is absolutely in a different class.

So here are the gory details: Batman Returns is a limited edition of 3500 copies, priced at $29.98 for two CDs running 140 min. You can get it direct from La-La Land, or from various online specialty retailers ... just don't wait too long! (While you're at it, their limited expanded releases of Elfman's iconic Batman, Shirley Walker's stupendous Batman: Mask of the Phantasm, and Nelson Riddle's groovy Batman (1966) are still available!) Special thanks to producers Neil S. Bulk, Dan Goldwasser and MV Gerhard for bringing me on board. Working on this release was a truly amazing experience.

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