June 23, 1989: Batman


June 23, 1989 was a huge day for me: Tim Burton’s Batman opened in the cinema. I had been waiting years for this movie, having followed the various rumors and stories from magazines and comic book store employees. The months leading up to June were painfully slow, especially when I finally saw the first trailer for the film in January. Watching the trailer over and over again on VHS wasn’t enough.

I lived and breathed Batman during this time. I remember meeting with my friends in our 9th grade biology class and sharing our comics and any new information we might have heard about the movie. My friend Sean was as excited about the movie as I was, and every day we’d predict what would happen in the movie based on the pictures we saw.

In early June, not being able to take the suspense any longer, I bought the novelization of the movie. I read it in a day. The movie in my head based on the book was epic and insane. And unsurprisingly, the novel only made me want to see the movie even more. Though, I’d learn later that a lot of the book’s best parts weren’t even in the movie.

On Friday, June 23, my father and I went to the first screening of the film, a 1:15 showing. Surprisingly, the cinema was empty, which had me feeling a little disappointed. When the lights went out and Danny Elfman’s music kicked in, I was the happiest 14 year old boy in the whole world. And when the credits ended and we were given that first shot of Gotham City, my head was ready to explode.

280px-batmanmovie1989novelizationI would end up seeing the movie five times that summer, and I would have a different Batman t-shirt for every day of the week. Pretty much every fifth word out of my mouth was “Batman”. If I wasn’t talking about Batman, it was because I was too busy reading my Batman comic books.

It was a beautiful summer.

I’m not suggesting the movie was the best movie ever. If you’ve seen the movie as many times as I have, you can’t help but notice the film’s flaws, and the fact that Batman is made a secondary character in his first movie is more than a little disconcerting. And the movie hasn’t aged all that well.

Still though, I’ll never forget the anticipation of the event, the magnitude of it.

20 years later, I’m still waiting for a movie to come along to affect me like Batman did.

4 thoughts on “June 23, 1989: Batman

  1. I remember always reading novelizations of movies as a kid – and they were almost always drastically different. As for Batman, I mean – who didn’t love it back in the day? While I now prefer the new franchise with Bale, the old Keaton and Nicholson Batman will always hold a special place in my loins.

  2. I’m not sure when I stopped reading novelizations. I used to really enjoy them as a kid. I suppose back then, the novels were easy substitutes for the real thing. These days, we have the comic book prologues, the viral adverts for the movie, promotional games, etc.

    Oh, yeah, the Keaton films are pretty special. I think it’s a shame that Keaton didn’t get the chance to really shine as Bruce Wayne in his movies.

  3. There are some moments he does shine though – my favorite scene has to be the awkward dinner with Vicki Vale, sitting on opposite ends of the ridiculously long dinner table. It’s a much different take on the character than the playboy that is Bale’s Wayne.

    As for novelizations, I read tons as a child. I probably stopped sometime shortly after entering junior high school, as I began to discover there was more out there than novelizations and Tom Clancy/Michael Crichton books.

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