Big Screen Batman Review – “Batman and Robin”

The film that killed the first franchise now gets a review. Our Big Screen Batman week will come to a close tomorrow with a review of Batman Begins.

Cast, Crew, and Other Info

George Clooney as Batman

Chris O’Donnell as Robin

Arnold Schwarzenegger as Mr. Freeze

Uma Thurman as Poison Ivy

Alicia Silverstone as Batgirl

Michael Gough as Alfred

Pat Hingle as Commissioner Gordon

John Glover as Dr. Woodrue

Elle Macpherson as Julie Madison

Vivica A. Fox as Ms. B. Haven

Jeep Swenson as Bane

Written by Akiva Goldsman

Directed by Joel Schumacher

Complete information is available from the IMDB.

Buy from: Amazon.com or Amazon.ca

Premise

A plant themed villain wants to punish Wayne Enterprises for damaging the environment, so naturally she teams up with a second villain who is trying to bring about a second ice age.

High Point

The images of Alicia Silverstone in a tight latex outfix were enjoyable.

Low Point

Pretty much everything not listed in the High Point was grating and irritating, but the one that topped them all was “take two of these, and call me in the morning.”

The Scores

The originality gets a small boost for changing the Batgirl’s origin, probably don’t to bring a “family” theme into things. I give it 3 out of 6.

The effects were not awful, though some looked worse than others. I give it 4 out of 6.

The story was hard to pick out of the mess that the audience is bombarded with. It was very predictable, and the dialogue is some of the worst I’ve ever heard. The irritating thing was the potential. The villains don’t convincingly combine, though any of them could have worked as the sole villain. (Even Bane, the brute who does Ivy’s bidding, was a serious enough villain in the comics to break Batman’s back.) Instead, we get a studio retooled mishmash that was being rewritten during filming, which leads to all sorts of continuity editing errors and nonsensical “plot” twists (as previously filmed scenes were moved to “get their money’s worth” from the filming). Still, the germs of useful ideas are here, such as the “Alfred is dying” plotline that looked interesting in the trailers, but was defeated in the film because you learn that Freeze can cure that stage of the disease before you even know that’s what Alfred has. I give it a 2 out of 6.

The acting was poor. Gough did a fine job, but nobody else did. I suspect that Schumacher was willing to print any take that didn’t include flubbed lines, so the actor trained for the stage (where you have to get it right every performance without the director there to intervene) was the one who got the job done. I give it 2 out of 6.

The emotional response was very poor. Every audience I spoke to felt as I had; bored and insulted. (I’ve never seen word of mouth spread as effectively as it did for this film. Opening Friday, the theater I worked at ran two shows and turned away enough customers to fill two more shows. Opening Saturday, it still sold out, but we didn’t turn away more than four or five people. On Sunday, the matinee was about half full. On the first Tuesday, we sold a grand total of 30 tickets to both showings.) I give it 2 out of 6.

The production had decent costumes. The city had a distinctive, neon look that was still completely out of place in a Batman film. The directing was poor, the lighting was uniform and all too shadow free, and the continuity editing was outright horrible as a result of the mid-shooting rewrites. I give it 2 out of 6.

Overall, this is the worst theatrical release of Batman I’ve ever seen. I give it 1 out of 6.

In total, Batman and Robin receives 16 out of 42.

13 replies on “Big Screen Batman Review – “Batman and Robin””

  1. Damien says:

    Never seen the entire thing
    I’ve seen a few clips here and there, mainly Ms Silverstone saying “you’re compost!” Ugh! I’m not sure I want to torture myself that much, but then again I like watching movies for the (often tiny) story and like to torture myself. Ever see Legend of the Chupacabra? Truly aweful but I both a) paid to rent it and b) finished watching the entire thing, and yes I guessed the ending as probably did our four-month-old son at the time.

    Damien

  2. octa says:

    Augh
    Why Clooney of all people? He didn’t even seem to be in the f’ing movie, it was like the sidekick hour. Right from the start with the surfing metal doors I could smell trouble. Then when Arnold came out and his neon gang of rollerblading baddies I knew this was going to be stupid. Only good scene was the bike chase scene, that’s it.

    Terrible… Just terrible.

    • Erf says:

      Re: Augh
      Apparently, this movie is the reason Clooney has vowed never to take a role in a movie unless he’s at least seen the script. (He might want script approval, too, but I’m not sure.) From what I understand, he agreed to this movie before it was written…

      • y42 says:

        Re: Augh

        From what I understand, he agreed to this movie before it was written…

        I don’t blame him. Someone says “you wanna be batman?”, I would automatically say “YES!” too.

        Shoemaker though, ought to be tared, featered, and run out of hollywood for this crime of a movie.

  3. brainwise says:

    Clooney
    I had misgivings about Clooney as soon as I heard he was cast in the film. My hopes were raised a bit when I saw him in an ER episode in which he saves a young boy who is trapped in a rapidly filling sewer/drainage system. He was focused, he was fighting against huge odds, and time was running out. In short, he was heroic. Of course, this was, in my opinion, the only time he turned in a good performance on ER, but that is beside the point.

    Now, I have no idea what happened between that episode and the filming of Batman and Robin. He looked like he didn’t know if he should play it straight or campy … so he just went for “absent”. In fact, he continued to play “absent” until Three Kings — the first movie to show that he had any acting chops.

    But that was far too late for Batman.

  4. SemperAskew says:

    Bane
    For me the largest and worst travesty of this debacle called a film, was the portayal of Bane. In the comics, he was a brilliantly homicidal man with an addiction to venom. He orchestrated a massive breakout from Arkham unleashing all of Batman’s worst villains on Gotham at once. He then sat around and observed Batman, until he deduced his identity. And then, when Bats was at his weakest Bane shows up in the Bat Cave and puts the smackdown on him. It was a brilliant tactical maneuver.
    But I guess, we should have all known the movie was going to be crap when Batman & Robin click their heels together and have ice skates pop out. Hopefully, the new one will help wipe this out of our memories.

    • y42 says:

      Re: Bane

      But I guess, we should have all known the movie was going to be crap when Batman & Robin click their heels together and have ice skates pop out.

      For the recor5d, I knew this movie was going to be crap when I saw that the safe fell back exactly where it had started from at the beginning of the previous movie. I knew where this was going (“hey, remember those 60’s campy Batman? Weren’t those fun? Lets do those again instead!” stupid stupid stupid).

      • theangrymob says:

        Re: Bane

        For the recor5d, I knew this movie was going to be crap when I saw that the safe fell back exactly where it had started from at the beginning of the previous movie. I knew where this was going (“hey, remember those 60’s campy Batman? Weren’t those fun? Lets do those again instead!” stupid stupid stupid).

        Actually, that was the previous Batman film, Batman Forever. But yes both are crap.

        • y42 says:

          Really? : )

          the previous movie

          Actually, that was the previous Batman film

          You don’t say…

          • y42 says:

            Re: Really? : )

            the previous movie

            Actually, that was the previous Batman film

            You don’t say…

            To make it clear (because evidently, clarification seems welcomed), I knew I wasn’t going to see Bat4 about ten minuttes in Bat3. I understood where they were going, and I knew it would suck.

            It’s a gift… or a curse. Whichever ;-)

            • FarmerBob says:

              Re: Really? : )

              the previous movie

              Actually, that was the previous Batman film

              You don’t say…

              To make it clear (because evidently, clarification seems welcomed), I knew I wasn’t going to see Bat4 about ten minuttes in Bat3. I understood where they were going, and I knew it would suck.

              It’s a gift… or a curse. Whichever ;-)

              It appears that I have that gift too, as I never saw Batman and Robin, although some may belittle it and call it apathy.

              • J_W_W says:

                Re: Really? : )

                the previous movie

                Actually, that was the previous Batman film

                You don’t say…

                To make it clear (because evidently, clarification seems welcomed), I knew I wasn’t going to see Bat4 about ten minuttes in Bat3. I understood where they were going, and I knew it would suck.

                It’s a gift… or a curse. Whichever ;-)

                It appears that I have that gift too, as I never saw Batman and Robin, although some may belittle it and call it apathy.

                I never saw this one in the theater either, but when I finally spotted it years later on TV, I was amazed at how jaw-droppingly bad it was.

  5. grimjack says:

    Batman: The toy commercial…
    I called this movie Batman: The Toy Commercial, becuase it seemed like they never used the same piece of equipment or clothing more than once. By making 50 versions of bat suits, bat cars, bat boats, etc etc…, thay seemed to be pushing a toy line, not a movie.

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