B is for "Batman"
I know, there are plenty other films beginning with "B" that have been nominated with beautiful sets. Brazil, Blade Runner, Barry Lyndon, Black Panther and Breakfast at Tiffany's are a few. These are all great looking films, but honestly, I find them boring. Yes, I will admit I don't like Breakfast at Tiffany's. It's completely ridiculous, and I don't find Holly Golightly likable character at all..Paul is an idiot. Batman is unique. The only Oscar it won was for Production Design in 1989 yet it was the highest grossing film of that year. It also had an awesome soundtrack by Prince. Double Prizes!
I remember in the summer of '89 Batman was the big summer blockbuster. I loved this film so much I saw it twice in the theater that summer. Yes, twice. Mostly because they were giving out collectable Batman jumbo cups, which I'm sure is still at my mom's house. This Batman is a much lighter version that what we've seen lately. It's not a very complex story and it's even funny. The production design must have been a dream to design, as most Tim Burton films are. With the sets being full of large scale city streets, huge skyscraper models are used instead of todays CGI that we are so use to today. The model makers of that time were true artist of details in scale. The position of model maker in the Art Department isn't as necessary as it used to be, that's sad. Although you can't tell what year this story is set in the clothing gives you some perspective of the modern day and the flashbacks. If you start to think of the timeline.. they have Bruce Wayne at like 8 years old in the 40's? It's all over the place. Beautiful design of Art Deco and Gothic styles in the architecture of the exterior buildings. Vicki Vale's deco apartment is classic but still has a 80's vibe in the color pallet. The iconic Batmobile, Bat Cave, and the Bat suite gave the audience everything they wanted back then. So classic. I love Batdance too... highly underrated song by Prince.
Watching it again.. some small things don't hold up. For example, although Kim Basinger is stunning, that hair is frizzed out girl! You can see a little Beetljuice pop out of Keaton in one scene. And yes, the special effects look dated now. The constant of watching it then and now: you still can't take your eyes off of Nickelson. I read that he loved his performance so much he would watch this film at his house once a week. I don't believe that. Of all of his films he's rewatching this one? Naaa... it's definitely Witches of Eastwick. I miss Jack.
Hope you are getting your vote into the Best Production Design of the Decade bracket!
Batman will appear in the Best Production Design of the 1980's bracket... but who will it be up against??