Thursday, July 17, 2008

REVIEW: Batman & Robin

Batman & Robin

Year: 1997
Director: Joel Schumacher
Starring: George Clooney, Arnold Schwarzenegger, Chris O'Donnell, Uma Thurman, Alicia Silverstone
Distributor: Warner Bros. Pictures
MPAA: Rated PG-13

After Batman Forever managed to make $336 million worldwide, Warner Bros. wanted to continue milking this franchise until it went sour. Director Joel Schumacher who directed the last movie came back as director of this movie. The only real surprise was that Val Kilmer who was cast as Batman in Forever didn't want to return so the studio went with someone else. This was a huge mistake because just like me, alot of people hate recasts. The studio even went with high paid celebrities for some of its cast. So with all of this, what was the mistake you ask? Easy, the movie as a whole. It was criticized by fans around the world and even some critics as one of the worst Batman films ever. The movie only ended up making $238 million worldwide which is a disappointment considering it was a big franchise.

Plot Outline:
Bruce Wayne (George Clooney) a.k.a Batman and Dick Grayson (Chris O'Donnell) a.k.a Robin are facing Mr. Freeze (Arnold Schwarzenegger), a college professor whose research to find a cure for his wife has gone terribly wrong making his body adapt to the cold. Meanwhile, Pamela Isley (Uma Thurman) becomes another victim of mutation after her colleague professor tried to kill her. She transforms into Poison Ivy, a nature beauty whose kisses are venomous. Mr. Freeze and Poison Ivy team up to take down Batman and Robin. There's also Barbara (Alicia Silverstone), the niece of butler Alfred (Michael Gough), who discovers the batcave and becomes Batgirl.

The story of Batman & Robin is simply pathetic. It isn't creative and feels like it should belong in a 30 min TV show. It just doesn't go anywhere and feels like its been done before with other movies. The characters are dull and not even interesting. Not only that, but the series also has gotten so much brighter. When I mean brighter, I mean more gayer. This is suppose to be a Batman film meaning at least some darkness towards the film and yet the producers treated it like some Saturday afternoon cartoon. The movie also has plot holes and completely stays away from the comics. We get nipples on his costume, the characters in the movie aren't portrayed like they are in the comics and many more. I appreciate that the studio added Batgirl and more villains this time, but whats the point of that if their acting and parts in the script aren't good? I cant even tell you how many cheesy lines there are in the movie. Its really bad and overshadows everything. It makes the movie too funny and pretty stupid. I lost count on how many times I laughed my ass off when someone said something. I think Schumacher did a terrible job directing this film, nothing feels right. If I have to say one positive thing about this movie its that it is somewhat mildly entertaining if you looking for some mindless action.

The cast is also a mess. George Clooney replaces Kilmer as Batman/Bruce Wayne and doesn't do a good job. I was getting use to Kilmer and instead they give me someone else so damn fast. Clooney doesn't even convince me hes Batman. His voice sounds way to similar to his Wayne side instead of sounding alittle different. and hes just not that serious enough. Arnold Schwarzenegger plays as Mr. Freeze and man is he wrongfully cast in this part. His lines make him so damn funny in this film. He is suppose to be the bad guy of this movie and he doesn't do anything to prove this. Chris O'Donnell returns from the last movie as Robin/Dick Grayson and he just gets annoying. He also seems like hes trying too hard and acts like he deserves more screen time. Uma Thurman plays as Poison Ivy/Pamela Isley and she cannot act for shit in this movie. Shes just terrible and really un-convincing. We also have Alicia Silverstone playing as Batgirl/Barbara and she seems way to eccentric for this part. I never took her seriously.

The visual look of this film is kind of a mixed bag. I say mixed bag because the previous Batman films were dark and interesting yet this one is very colorful. I know Batman Forever was alittle bright, but this one just over does it. Their are also alot of CGI used in the film. The previous movies had some too, but Batman & Robin has a ton. Their are just way too many scenes that have alot of CGI in them and they look pretty ugly like they weren't finished or something. With that said, the films source is an excellent shape resulting in a clean image. Colors are very vibrant and eye popping. This film has many scenes that really use a ton of color and all are flashy. This makes the film stand out compared to the other ones. Detail is pretty great. Since this has a clean film source, you can really appreciate the level of detail here. Environments and costumes really show alot of clarity and sharpness to them.

The soundtrack in Batman & Robin is very lively. Its even more engaging than the soundtrack in Forever. Elliot Goldenthal who composed the last film returns and scores this film. Its mostly the same one that we heard in Forever, but maybe more enhanced. He also does some other orchestral work that pretty much goes well with his score. Its used in just about every scene and can kind of get annoying at times by taking the seriousness of the movie. Just like I said with Forever, this is a pretty good score, but I liked Elfman's music alot more. Bass is on the great side with the movie boasting some great bass work which shouldn't come as a surprise considering theirs more action this time around. Its more impressive than the one found on Forever and definitely delivers. Dynamics are solid with most of the dialogue being said through the front speakers.

Batman & Robin is a major disappointment when compared to the others. Its probably the worst superhero movie I have seen yet. The story is a mess and doesn't have a whole lot going for it. It just stays away from the comics and adds problems to everything in the film. The cast is terrible and their wasn't one person I found that gave a good performance. Everyone felt miscast and out of place. The visual look of the film is campy and bright with lots of colors. While it certainly doesn't look like a Batman film, the movie still manages to look great as a disc. The soundtrack is more lively than the film before and is filled with music in every scene. I don't suggest you watch unless your into mindless action and popcorn flicks, but even then Id recommend watching something else. Warner Bros. definitely fucked up on this film.

Grade: D-


Jaccstev said...

What a great review, i totally agree with you Farzan. This film is very embarrassed every Batman fans, but luckily we have Nolan who's brilliantly turn up the table with "Batman Begins".

Marcy said...

I don't think I can take this movie seriously. Ever. It's a joke. A great, big toy advertisement disguised as a movie.

I like to think of it as a comedy. I honestly laughed at the jokes. It's quintessential camp. The terrible acting, the blinding sets, the dumb's all surprisingly enjoyable.

But another great review, Farzan. I love how you reviewed all the Batman movies!