May 262019
 

Batman & Robin is just an all around terrible movie and truly a corporate movie made to sell toys, but thankfully it did tank at the box office ushering in Christopher Nolan’s Batman Trilogy, but man this movie did not improve, even on the so bad its good level.

 

 

Batman & Forever
(1997)

Genre(s): Action, Adventure, Fantasy
Warner Bros. | PG13 – 124 min. – $41.99 | June 4, 2019

Date Published: 05/26/2019 | Author: The Movieman


MOVIE INFO:
Directed by: Tim Burton

Writer(s): Sam Hamm (story), Sam Hamm and Warren Skaaren (screenplay)
Cast: Jack Nicholson, Michael Keaton, Kim Basinger, Robert Wuhl, Pat Hingle, Billy Dee Williams, Michael Gough, Jack Palance
DISC INFO:
Features: Commentary, Featurettes, Theatrical Trailer

Slip Cover: Yes
Digital Copy: Yes
Formats Included: 4K, Blu-ray
Number of Discs: 2
Audio: English (Dolby Atmos), French (Dolby Digital 5.1), Spanish (Dolby Digital 5.1)
Video (4K): 2160p/Widescreen 1.85
Dynamic Range: HDR10
Subtitles: English SDH, French, Spanish
Codecs: HEVC / H.265
Region(s): A, B, C

Warner Bros. Home Entertainment provided me with a free copy of the Blu-ray I reviewed in this Blog Post.
The opinions I share are my own.


THE MOVIE — 1.0/5


And then it all came crashing down.

Batman Forever may certainly have been a change-up to the two Tim Burton movies in both style and quality, but Batman & Robin is in its own class, its own class of crap. I’ll forget that it’s sacrilege upon the source material and instead focus on the basic levels of story and acting.

From the opening sequence where Batman (George Clooney) and Robin (Chris O’Donnell) gay-lishly suit-up for a night of fighting crime to a finale that is just laughable, Batman & Robin is such an awful movie, I would have loved to have seen Warner executives reactions after a screening… In any case, from the jump, we have stilted dialogue, terrible acting from a future Oscar winner in George Clooney and a neon/loud production design that will give kids with ADD a headache.

Not helping matters, director Joel Schumacher and Oscar-winning writer Akiva Goldsman decided to go with two of Batman’s more colorful villains in Mr. Freeze (Arnold Schwarzenegger) and Poison Ivy (Uma Thurman). Together, these super villains come together to rid the Earth of humans, first by freezing everything and everybody then letting nature run its course after which Freeze and Ivy will apparently rule with a cold and green fist.

In terms of casting, I have nothing against George Clooney as Bruce/Batman. In fact, over the years he’s made fun of himself for the debacle, but he’s actually not bad in the role, just sorely miscast, although I guess going back to 1997, Warner quickly nabbed the future superstar and he, being someone ready to move from television (“ER”) to feature films.

As much as I can forgive miscasting Clooney as the Caped Crusader, I cannot fathom what the hell they were thinking with Schwarzenegger as Mr. Freeze. I’ll overlook that he’s just too large for the role, but having the man who can’t even say ‘California’ make those one-liners and punned-laden punch lines, was pure brilliance: “What killed the dinosaurs? The Ice Age!”, and then Mr. Freeze proceeds to destroy a giant dinosaur to help with his escape (into a spaceship where more he lays more puns upon Batman who he has trapped).

Last we have more brilliant, perhaps even thespian, casting of the likes of Uma Thurman and Alicia Silverstone, the latter coming aboard with the idea of making her a part of the Bat-team in a fourth film if this had been successful (more than likely being called Batman: Triumphant). Despite this was the time when Alicia Silverstone was still relatively cute/borderline hot, she reached the depths of her co-stars and the awful writing with an equally terrible performance that would be laughable if you weren’t cringing every time she opened her mouth.

Fact is, as terrible as Batman & Robin was and as much as it raped Bob Kane’s creation, if it weren’t for this crown jewel of a film, we would never had gotten Batman Begins and The Dark Knight, so for that I salute you Mr. Schumacher, Mr. Schwarzenegger and Mr. Clooney. Job well done gentlemen.

2019 Update: It’s still a shit movie. Moving along.

 

SPECIAL FEATURES – 4.25/5


This release comes with a semi-glossy and reflective slip cover. Inside is a redemption code for the Digital HD copy along with a remastered Blu-ray disc.

Feature Commentary – Joel Schumacher sits down for what had to have been one of the most anticipated commentaries for such a horrible movie and thankfully it was a pretty good track, though I kind of zoned out after he apologized for the film… Whether he was sincere or not, I don’t know. Anyway, the commentary was part trivia, some honesty and the rest just who did what and all that.

The Shadows of the Bat: The Cinematic Saga of the Dark Knight finishes things up with Part 6 Batman Unbound (27:01). The last entry is an honest account on why Batman & Robin failed and it was most appropriately said by Chris O’Donnell that making this one felt like he was making a toy commercial. What I enjoyed the most was the inside Hollywood elements including briefly talking about why Val Kilmer did not return for this one (he had already committed to doing The Saint and there was miscommunication between Kilmer and Warner Brothers).

Beyond Batman (49:33):

  • Bigger, Bolder, Brighter: The Production Design of Batman & Robin (10:00) – Features more interviews with Chris O’Donnell, Joel Schumacher, the set designer plus some archive interviews with Clooney and Schwarzenegger. This examines the various sets like the museum, Poison Ivy and Mister Freeze’s respective lairs.
  • Maximum Overdrive: The Vehicles of Batman & Robin (9:55) takes a look at the cars or bikes featured in the movie and how they tried to make things like the Batmobile different from that in Batman Forever. What was cool about this is you do get more behind-the-scenes footage of them testing out the vehicles.
  • Dressed to Thrill: The Costumes of Batman & Robin (12:13) – This one examines each of the costumes from the changes they made from the Forever Batsuit to this one, making the Mr. Freeze costume and all the rest (including Robin and Batgirl).
  • Frozen Freaks and Femmes Fatales: The Makeup of Batman & Robin (9:23) focuses just on the makeup for both Poison Ivy and, especially, Mr. Freeze who had a massive amount of makeup for his head.
  • Freeze Frame: The Visual Effects of Batman & Robin (9:02) tackles the effects on the film with more interviews from crew members on the difficulties of creating certain visual effects shots. The most fun part was an old interview with the then Visual Effects Supervisor Andrew Adamson, who would late go on to direct the first two Chronicles of Narnia movies.

Batman: The Heroes and Villains Galleries (17:18) is just more little featurettes on the various characters from Batman, Robin and Batgirl on the heroes side and Mr. Freeze, Poison Ivy and Bane for the villains.

Last is a short Deleted Scene (0:45), 4 Music Videos (“The End is the Beginning of the End”, “Foolish Games”, “Gotham City” and “Look Into My Eyes”) and the Theatrical Trailer.

 


VIDEO – 4.75/5


Of the four Batman movies, it’s sad that the worst of the bunch looks the best, or at least takes full advantage of the HDR technology where the bright neon colors shine bright. Other than that, the 2160p high-definition transfer presented in the original 1.85 widescreen aspect ratio looks grand. Detail is sharp for the most part, especially close-ups and mid-range objects while some of the more distant shots do get less defined. That said, the natural film grain remains intact making for a more accurate film viewing experience.

AUDIO – 5.0/5


Both the 4K UHD and Blu-ray discs come with upgraded Dolby Atmos tracks. I knew I was in for aural treat with the opening credits which rumbles and glides through each channel with great depth and beyond that, the action scenes, for which there are many, sounds amazing. If this movie didn’t suck so much, I would say this near reference quality.

 


OVERALL – 3.0/5


Overall, woof Batman & Robin is just an all around terrible movie and truly a corporate movie made to sell toys, but thankfully it did tank at the box office ushering in Christopher Nolan’s Batman Trilogy, but man this movie did not improve, even on the so bad its good level. As for the 4K UHD/Blu-ray combo pack, the ported over special features are still great and the video and audio transfers both very well done.

 

 

 

 

The screen captures came from the Blu-ray copy and are here to add visuals to the review and do not represent the 4K video.

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