Tim Burton’s original Batman movie from 1989 was completely re-edited into a silent motion picture by a fan, and the result works great.
Tim Burton’s Batman was completely re-edited into a silent motion picture, and the result is pretty cool. Long before Matt Reeves’ The Batman or Christopher Nolan’s Dark Knight trilogy, the Caped Crusader was brought to life on the big screen by the gothic mind of Tim Burton in 1989. The seminal DC film starred Michael Keaton as Bruce Wayne, Jack Nicholson as the Joker, Kim Basinger as Vicki Vale, Pat Hingle as Commissioner Gordon, Billy Dee Williams as Harvey Dent, and Michael Gough as Alfred Pennyworth.
Released in 1989, Batman was an unbridled critical and commercial success. Burton and Keaton were both brought back for a sequel, Batman Returns, which debuted in 1992 to similar fanfare. The influence that Burton’s Batman movies had on the DC property, and the superhero genre at large, cannot be understated. They gave rise to the equally successful Batman: The Animated Series and heavily influenced how Hollywood developed and marketed superhero movies. For Burton’s take on Batman, the director took prominent inspiration from classic cinema like German Expressionism for his visuals and the art movement known as Art Deco for his depiction of Gotham City.
Now, a fan saw fit to give 1989’s Batman a silent movie makeover. In addition to removing the dialogue, the edit takes all 2 hours and 6 minutes of the movie and adds various color tints, artificial film grain, and stylized title cards. The creative edit was done by Ben Crew and is available to watch on Internet Archive.
What Other Modern Superhero Films Would Work As Silent Films?
After watching just a few minutes of the edit, it’s clear that 1989’s Batman functions fantastically as a silent picture, mostly due to its influences from that era which Burton made no effort to hide (Christopher Walken’s villain from Batman Returns was named Max Shreck after the actor who played Count Orlok in 1922’s Nosferatu). However, Danny Elfman’s score might be the main reason why Batman works so well as a silent film since the music plays in perfect harmony with the action and visuals. Keaton and Nicholson’s performances also shine as well without any dialogue, as they only have their faces to convey emotion.
This Batman edit working so well begs the question of what other modern superhero movies would work as silent films. Because of Batman‘s direct influence from the silent film era, none will probably work as well as Burton’s gothic take on the Dark Knight. In addition, many modern superhero movies feature scores that sound like background noise, and they certainly wouldn’t benefit from being brought to the forefront. Having said that, it would be interesting to see other gothic-inspired superhero movies like The Crow or Reeves’ recent Batman movie receive the silent movie treatment, but perhaps the best answer is the most obvious one – Burton’s Batman Returns.
Source: Internet Archive