Batman: The Movie
"It does a feller
good to know they're up there, doing their jobs."
Batman The Movie
Release Date: August 21, 2001
Run Time: 105 minutes
One Sentence Summary: The dynamic duo battle to stop their arch-enemies
from using their fearsome human dehydrator.
Version: 35th Anniversary Special Edition
- Audio Commentary
by Adam West and Burt Ward
- Tour of the
Batmobile hosted by car customizer George Barris
- 18 minute documentary/interview
with Adam West and Burt Ward
- Adam West's
Personal Photo Collection Still Gallery
- Theatrical Trailer
Tech Specs: Anamorphic
Widescreen (Aspect Ratio 1.85:1), English Stereo, English Mono, French
Mono, English & Spanish Subtitles
Once upon a time,
Bat-mania ruled the land in a way that those who didn't live through
it can scarcely comprehend. (And no, I didn't live through it - I watched
re-runs and thought it was a deadly serious adventure show, being terribly
peeved as a five-year-old when my father laughed at it.) Hundreds of
thousands danced the Batusi. Stars clamored to play villains. After
one season, being shown twice a week, the demand was so high that the
producers of Batman launched a film.
Like the TV series
that spawned it, Batman The Movie is goofy beyond belief, as well
as beyond plot description. In many ways, this take on the caped crusader
does more harm to the image of comics readers than the opening statistics
of Unbreakable. But its style was imitated (badly) thirty years
later for Batman and Robin, so it clearly made its mark. Ignore the Schumacher
take (for so many, many reasons), because Fox has done a nice job of giving
us the original.
The print itself
offers an improvement over the last major release on VHS. The details
are sharp; you can make out every painted-over hair of Cesar Romero's
moustache. Though the print still has a slightly washed-out sixties
look, that lends it a nostalgic charm. At least for the first time in
years, The Joker's hair is once again green. And of course the Wham!s,
Pow!s,and Ka-Boom!s look like they belong on mando paper.
Reunited for this
project, Adam West and Burt Ward reminisce in the audio commentary,
offering little in the way of production tidbits. Mostly they comment
on how much fun they had. West has the most to offer, about the shooting,
the cultural craze, and his co-stars. Even if you've seen the movie
many times, it takes West's commentary to point out what incredibly
stylized and strangely serious work Frank Gorshin did as The Riddler.
He could easily have fit in Tim Burton's version.
Ever the sidekick,
Ward tends to echo West, and trots out a few mechanized anecdotes, which
he repeats verbatim in the included featurette. Otherwise his most repetitive
statement is "What is Frank (Gorshin) doing?" Between the two, it seems
like West understands the appeal of Batman. Ward sounds like
he understands that it's a joke, but doesn't get why.
The disc does feel
a little thin on extras. Besides the featurette interview, Batmobile designer
discusses the creation and impact of the Batmobile. (And in this age of
CG work, it is impressive to realize that all the gimmicks did have to
actually work live.) West contributes from his personal collection of
photos, and the original theatrical teaser and trailer show up. Outtakes
were probably too much to ask (and probably don't exist anymore), but
a quick search on-line turns up Ward's screen test for the show; why isn't
Still, it's a fun
package of a fun movie. With Fox turning out boxed sets of The X-Files
and The Simpsons, the Batman release begs the question:
where's the series? Let Fanboy Planet put out the request now. At least
give fans the best episodes, starting with the pilot storyline. We'll
leave the Batsignal on for you.