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Batman & Robin
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166 of 221 people found the following review helpful
on May 28, 2006
How to review one of the five worst movies ever made?

I could say that Batman and Robin plays less like a superhero movie and more like an episode of Queer Eye for the Hero Guy; but that doesn't quite capture the true level of putrid that this film reaches.

I could say that Alicia Silverstone (playing Batgirl, if you can believe it) and spandex pants are not friends; but that might seem a little too snarky.

I could say that Joel Schumacher's "direction" is so non-existent and Akiva Goidsman "writing" so abysmal that the entire film never even manages to reach the quality of the average high school talent show; but that doesn't give enough credit to talent shows.

I could point out that all the flashing neon that assaults the viewers during nearly every scene (and from nearly every Bat device that the "stealthy" Dark Knight uses) causes severe eye strain before the movie is half way through; but most viewers lost their vision when their eyes were poked out by the huge, hard nipples on the Batsuit, and the rest of the viewers either turned it off or committed suicide before the halfway mark anyway.

I could say that Arnold Schwarzenegger, George Clooney, Chris O'Donnell, Uma Thurman, and Alicia Silverstone all turn in the worst performances of their entire careers (and with Silverstone that's really saying something); but that might be too obvious since none of them ever mentions this film at all, even when asked about it.

But instead of saying all that I think I can sum it up best like this:

Not since "Manos: The Hands of Fate" (the worst film ever made) have I ever actually felt myself aging second by second while watching a movie until I watched Batman and Robin.

I have no doubt that this movie plays on a continuous loop in hell.
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19 of 24 people found the following review helpful
on April 3, 2007
I'm just not going to reiterate what countless others have said about this movie. Simply said, this is the movie that singlehandedly ran the "Batman" franchise off the tracks and for a long time was considered the end of the franchise, until Christopher Nolan boldly resurrected the franchise with the magnificent "Batman Begins" in June 2005.

There's just so many things about it it would probably take me pages to list them all. The screenplay, written by Akiva Goldsman (who has proven himself to be a capable screenwriter in other movies), is just the primary offender. The screenplay is also atrocious in dialogue, mostly relegated for the badly-miscast Arnold Schwartzenegger as Mr. Freeze and it beats us over the head with its absurd plot twists and sickening melodrama. Superhero movies are definitely not Akiva Goldsman's strongest suit. The movie is also much gaudier and colorful, to the point where it seems more like a three-ring circus act rather than a proper Batman movie. Director Joel Schumacher (who also has some good films under his belt, such as "The Client" and "Tiger Land") just phones it in and doesn't aim for any sort of restraint or subtlety.

The good points? well, most of the actors escape unscathed, although this is one film they'll prefer to forget on their resumes. George Clooney does fine, just playing himself wearing the Batman costume and acting like a faux Cary Grant when he's out of the suit. Chris O'Donnell is fine and so is Alicia Silverstone (even though the script absurdly rewrites her origin as Alfred's niece and not as Commissioner Gordon's daughter in the comics), but Arnold Schwartznegger is just badly miscast. Every time he's on screen, I just grind my teeth in agony over the bad one-liners the script gives him. The only real standouts are Uma Thurman who vamps it up wonderfully as Poison Ivy and looks great in the wig and skintight outfits and Michael Gough does inject his trademark class into a rather thankless reprise of Alfred.

When Warner Brothers adapted the DVD format, "Batman & Robin" (as well as the four other Batman movies) were a few of the first films to see the light on DVD, albeit in stripped down and barebones versions. With the impending release of "Batman Begins" in summer 2005, Warner Brothers announced that all four Batman movies would receive new digital transfers and be released on DVD with all-new bonus material. This is "Batman & Robin"'s second offering on DVD, and does it warrant a double-dip? Yes and no.

If you hate "Batman & Robin", you're liable to skip this and just pick up the first two "Batman" special editions. However, if you're a fan of the film, this is definitely worth a purchase in terms of better video and great extras.

In comparison to the 1997 edition, the 2005 transfer of "Batman & Robin" is a significant improvement. The previous edition was on a dual-sided, single layer disc, while this edition is housed on a dual-layer disc and is progressively encoded. The colors were messy and runny in the 1997 edition, but the 2005 edition corrects those errors. Detail is better, as well as overall compression and color stabilization. This edition isn't quite an improvement as the first "Batman" movie was, but as such it was a newer release and didn't warrant a more extensive transfer. That said, it looks gorgeous even with all the gaudy colors on display and looks impressive, even though there are a few instances of film artifacts.

The Dolby Digital 5.1 track is the same offering as on the 1997 edition, but even then it sounded great without any major problems. There is a most significant audio upgrade in terms of a higher-bitrate DTS 5.1 surround track. The Dolby track is just as noisy and bombastic as the film demands, with frequent surround activity, deep bass and clear dialogue. Elliot Goldenthal's music has fine stereo spread and sounds great. The DTS track is marginally louder but is just as clear and precise as the Dolby track, but both lack the subtler ambience and sense of spaciousness that "Batman Begins" had. Still, this is a reference-quality transfer. Also included is a French 5.1 dub (which is preferable since you won't have to be subjected to the awful dialogue) and the film has optional subtitles in English, French and Spanish.

Like the previous three "Batman" movies, the first disc has the movie, a full-length audio commentary by Joel Schumacher, and the film's theatrical trailer (presented anamorphically with stereo sound). The audio commentary by Schumacher is decent, but does tend to be self-congratulatory in places. He does make a discreet apology to those who didn't like the film and asserts that he fully knew what he was doing when he signed on to do "Batman & Robin". It's a boon for those who want to hear Schumacher's apology, and it too is an alternative audio track to listen to the movie with in that it masks most of the horrible dialogue. The trailer is decent, but it makes the movie to be much better than what it turned out to be. The film is divided into 41 chapters and the main menu is animated against a segment of Elliot Goldenthal's different Batman theme.

The second disc of extras mirror that of the previous three releases. There's the sixth part of "The Cinematic Saga of Batman", which covers the release and critical drubbing the film got. Also included is a similar heroes and villains section that covers the different heroes and villains of the movies, such as Commissioner Gordon, the Dynamic Duo, Batgirl, Bane, Poison Ivy and Mr. Freeze. Almost all of these featurettes feature new interviews with Joel Schumacher, producer Peter MacGregor-Scott, Alicia Silverstone, Chris O'Donnell, executive producer Michael Uslan, and Akiva Goldsman (unsurprisingly, there are no new interviews with Schwartznegger, Thurman or Clooney -- perhaps they're too embarassed to talk about B&R now). In addition to the "Beyond Batman" gallery, which covers production design, makeup design, vehicle design, costume design, and visual effects (no featurette about the musical score here) and the usual plethora of movie-related music videos, there is also a brief deleted scene included, "Alfred's Lost Love". It clears up a plot point in the film, but is nothing extraordinary and worth giving a cursory glance. The menus on the second disc are still, with only the main menu featuring a segment of the score. The set is packaged in a double-width Amaray keep case without inserts of any kind.

If you hate this movie with a burning passion, then avoid this disc like the plague. If you're enamored with the film because it's unintentionally funny (or if you actually think it's good), then by all means get it because the extras are extensive and the transfer is a noticeable improvement over the initial release. But if you're a completist, then it'd be preferable if you buy the Complete Batman Anthology set so you won't be heckled for having such a bad film in your collection.
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32 of 43 people found the following review helpful
Even now to this day, I still can't seem to figure out how Schumacher managed to go from being able to pull it off well with "Batman Forever" and cause the movie series to tumble down to the ground with the abysmal follow-up movie entitled "Batman & Robin". That's probably what the third Batman movie should've been called. It's even funnier that they couldn't muster up a movie title more creative than "Batman & Robin". Now come on! Robin was in the third movie in the series. Even when brushing aside the uncreative movie title, "Batman & Robin" absolutely fails on almost all fronts, turning the dark and foreboding franchise from a chilling series into a laughable joke that's almost on par with a bad remake of the campy 60s series but more like bathtub TV material. It's really sad to see one of the darkest and most angst-ridden comic book characters become the laughing stock of the decade or possibly the century.
The main villains this time are the nefarious Mr. Freeze and the sultry villainess Pamela Isley also knows a Poison Ivy. George Clooney fills Batman shoes after the dark knight was played by Michael Keaton and Val Kilmer. Unfortunately, while I personally am not trying to criticize Clooney, he (at least at the time) was completely unfit for playing the mysterious dark knight crime-fighting hero. Chris O'Donnell's role as Robin was almost as ill-fated, faring much worse than in "Batman Forever". Where as in the previous movie, Robin at least showed reason to be angry and sometimes even snotty with the loss of much of his family, in "Batman & Robin", Robin comes off as just a spoiled brat with little or no common sense. Batgirl in this movie was absolutely despicable and wretched, looking more like something that I would've seen from a bondage video film. That Bat mobile was repulsive and disgusting to look at. Do we need to see close-up [rear] shots? Eww!
I don't mean to sound like a mad scientist with this review but most of the scenes are completely unrealistic. The scene where Robin was frozen and then revived after being thawed out was almost like a bad dream. HELLO! Freezing an entire human body would instantly kill him/her and even if the person didn't die immediately, the extremely low temperatures would cause immense tissue destruction and more than likely tortuous suffocation and it would take HOURS, not minutes, to unthaw a frozen human body. Believe me, I've tried to thaw out chicken in hot water and it took nearly an hour to do so. To add to that, a human would be killed just being in extremely cold water for too long and suffer fatal hypothermia...and this is without being frozen completely. Mr. Freeze's metal wings would more than likely only accelerate his fall to the ground. To add to that, how can diamonds enhance the cold temperatures needed to keep him alive? Diamonds actually amplify the heat generated by lights and would also scatter light and laser beams in all directions. Dry Ice or liquid air would've made much better material for Freeze's well-being. Perhaps this movie should've taken place on Ellesmere Island or in the icecaps of central Greenland with Mr. Freeze lying comfortably in the extremely cold weather of the Arctic or on top of a mountain and with with Poison Ivy, it should've taken place in like Florida for her ambitions.
Bane was the most despicable of all, being nothing more than just a steroid OD'd junkie whose role was no more than just the equivalent of a bear with rabies. In the comic books, he was an intelligent and evil character. In the movie, he's no more than just a pawn whose strength is because of a disgusting yellow fluid fed to his head by means of a series of tubes and he would be a goner if one of those tubes were severed by a coat hanger, light fixture, or just simply detached. What a horrible insult to a great character! Poison Ivy was rather disgusting as well, being a rather tasteless object that is nowhere near being sexy like Catwoman was from "Batman Returns" and Poison Ivy could'nt be able to able to save this movie from plummeting into the realm of mediocrity and artistic oblivion.
Schumacher could've been able to follow up on his grade A success that became "Batmen Forever" with the perfect balance between the colorful visuals and the dark undertones of the first two Batman movies. Sadly, none of that happened and instead was just a hodgepodge of colors and monotonous and boring dialogue that an elementary school student could surpass by entire oceans. On it's own, this movie is okay but this absolutely does no justice to it's three predecessors and should've have even been categorized with the movie series and should've been categorized separately from the other three. In fact, this hardly feels like a Batman movie at all. I, to this day, still can't believe that Schumacher pulled it off so well with "Batman Forever" and destroyed a legendary legacy with this burning wreckage of a movie. Nothing, not even the action sequences that came along nor the sympathetic role of Alfred battling health failure could've been able to salvage this garbage.
I find the whole ranting about the "Batman is Dead" to be somewhat exaggerated somewhat but I do have to admit that if the franchise is to be revived in the future, I sure don't see that happening anytime soon and Batman might as well be in a state of dormancy or hibernation while he recovers from the blow that "Batman & Robin" inflicted on him. Schumacher and company completely soiled a great legacy and deserved the high level of criticism for the mess his crew made. Crash a vase over my head for all I care but for a Bat-O-Phile like myself, give me the Gothic foreboding darkness of 1989's "Batman" or the Gothic, cold, wicked black & white undertones of 1992's "Batman Returns" or even the fun eye-candy of "Batman Forever" over the MGM Grand flashy colors of "Batman & Robin". We could wind up waiting for many years before Batman hops back onto the big screen again. "Batman & Robin" is a sad, crushing, and extremely ignominious bookend to a legendary legacy.
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11 of 14 people found the following review helpful
on March 5, 2008
Akiva Goldsman has written some really good screenplays.... This is not one of them. The dialog was trite and derivative. Some of the worst one-liners given to Schwarzenegger (yes worse than the ones he used in all his other films including Total Recall and Running Man).

Joel Schumacher's direction was.... well. Let's be honest. There was no direction. But that's OK because there were no actor's on set to direct. They all faxed in their performances (which would explain why they were all so flat).

The set (especially the bizarre gargantuan statues that seem out of place), the nippled batsuits, and the neon everywhere - well lets just say that it wasn't the Batman I knew.

It was like no one cared about this film while making it. As a result, the audience doesn't care either.

I give it 2 stars because kids under 12 seem to like it. At least those who have never heard of Batman before.
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11 of 14 people found the following review helpful
on January 29, 2014
I don't understand the frigid reception this movie has gotten. I think people really need to chill out and enjoy it for what it is. Too many flaky reviewers are giving this movie the cold shoulder, if you catch my drift.

The cast members definitely give the coolest performances of their careers, especially polar opposites Batman & Mr. Freeze. While George Clooney gives a biting performance, it's Schwarzenegger who really puts the icing on the cake, outwitting Batman at almost every turn. Only at the end, through his icy resolve, does Batman finally defeat his adversary. I mean, let's get real, Mr. Freeze was really skating on thin ice throughout.

I would have posted this review sooner, but my computer froze on me a few times mid-sentence.
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10 of 13 people found the following review helpful
on May 26, 2011
Batman & Robin(1997) was a critical and commercial flop. It almost killed the Batman film franchise. It's the butt of jokes. Director Joel Schumacher apologized to people who hated it. It suffers from bad editing, plot holes, and campy humor. Arnold Schwarzenegger and George Clooney were miscast as Mr. Freeze and Batman. The film is also packed with product placement. I saw it on opening day in 1997 and I enjoyed it. I still get a warm, nostalgic feeling from watching it. Batman(George Clooney), Robin(Chris O' Donnell), and Batgirl(Alicia Silverstone) must stop Mr. Freeze and Poison Ivy(Uma Thurman) from taking over Gotham City. Batman & Robin "borrows a few pages" from the Captain Cold episode of The Flash(1990-1992). Poison Ivy yells "curses" in one scene. A Wizard of Oz(1939) reference, perhaps? Vivica A. Fox makes a brief appearance as Mr. Freeze's mistress. Batman & Robin is on par with a cheesy El Santo movie such as Operacion 67(1967).
Elliot Goldenthal's energetic, over the top music score for Batman & Robin was awesome. It sounds "alive". Uma Thurman struggles to give a sincere performance as Poison Ivy. We get to see the late Michael Gough play Alfred Pennyworth for the last time. Alicia Silverstone was a sensual, photogenic Batgirl. She looks just as good as Yvonne Craig's version of Batgirl from TV's Batman. Arnold Schwarzenegger gives a sincere performance as Mr. Freeze even with his limited acting range. Patrick Stewart or Ben Kingsley would've been a more inspired choice to play Freeze. George Clooney is a good actor, but he was very wooden as Batman. Cindy Carol was a wooden Gidget. Chris O' Donnell works hard to play Robin, but he seems unfocused. John Dykstra's visual effects are solid and he worked on Spiderman(2002) years later. Batman Begins(2005) and The Dark Knight(2008) returned Batman to his dark, violent, gothic roots. Batman & Robin(1997) was made a time when Batman had to "lighten up".
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22 of 30 people found the following review helpful
on May 1, 2001
I know I'm probably going to get some flack for this, but I actually enjoyed this movie. It's kind of a guilty pleasure though because most people (including most of my friends) hated it. It is not my favorite BATMAN film by any means. I liked the darker Tim Burton movies the best, but I enjoyed this film simply for the eye candy it offers and for also Arnold Schwarzenegger. The movie is beautiful to look at (it was the most expensive BATMAN flick to date) and I although I'm not really a Schwarzenegger fan, I thought Arnold was very effective as Mr. Freeze, totally overshadowing George Clooney's portrayal of Batman and also Uma Thurman's Poison Ivy. (Did you ever notice Clooney's rather annoying acting style of tilting his head to one side while shaking it at the same time?)
Now the really bad news: Joel Schumacher (who also directed BATMAN FOREVER) was absolutely relentless with his flamboyant camp style in this chapter. BATMAN FOREVER hinted at the camp, but never took it to the extreme that this film does (think Superman II vs. Superman III). Some of the action sequences are really unbelievable (the embarrassing kind of unbelievable that is). There are also some very cheesy lines that could've been left out, particularly some of the Batgirl / Poison Ivy dialogue that's exchanged when they're fighting in Ivy's lair. Things are generally a little too bright in this movie which takes all of the mystery out of the "dynamic duo", making the film more of a live-action cartoon than a comic adaptation of the Dark Night. Of course, the constant change of actors playing the title role didn't help either (Clooney is currently the third actor to portray Batman in this series). This is why most people panned the movie, I guess.
So with all that said, hopefully this will be Schumacher's last turn as director. Supposedly there are two new BATMAN movies in the works right now. A live-action version of the animated series BATMAN: BEYOND (about the new Batman of the future-Terry McGinnis, under the guidance of a very senior Bruce Wayne) and in the opposite direction, BATMAN: YEAR ONE (about Batman's first year of crime fighting).
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8 of 10 people found the following review helpful
on July 26, 2005
I knew this movie was in trouble from the opening credits when Arnold got billing over Clooney and O'Donnell. Not all bad though, and a lot better than much of the stuff that passes for action films these days, but it could have been a much better film if the "suits" at Warner Bros. had kept their hands off the script. Clooney is actually a very good Batman and the rest of the cast delivers, but the script and storyline are a mishmash obviously lumped together to create a rather large commercial for action figures and movie merchandise. With it's budget, cast, director, and fan base, this should have been a much, much, better film. Next time, suits stand down and let the writers, director and artists work !
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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
on January 13, 2015
When Bob Kane introduced Batman to the world in 1939, he introduced a dark, brooding vigilante who was just as likely to kill his prey as arrest them. This Dark Knight would last untill the introduction of Robin...
In 1940.
That's right, Batman's "dark" period lasted about eleven issues, something "purists" seem to forget. Kane and Finger may have created a dark brooding figure, but they sure seem to have enjoyed the more lighthearted Caped Crusader a lot more, seeing that this version of The Dynamic Duo would last through to the 1970's. Even then, when the wonderful Denny O'Neil took the series in a more mature, detective oriented direction, it wouldn't be untill Miller's Dark Knight Returns that the "dark" Batman would be viewed by fans as the "true" Batman.
But the simple fact is, there is no "true" Batman. Batman has been interpreted many different ways over the years, each with their own pros and cons. Adam West's Batman is not The Dark Knight's Batman is not The Lego Movie's Batman, yet they are all undeniably Batman. And it must be said that Batman in the comics has spent far more time with bigger than life villans and cheesy puns and one liners than without. This movie doesn't spit on the image of Batman as so many would have you believe, it embraces one of the many views of the Batman, one perhaps sadly neglected in our cynical and jaded times.
Frankly, I find the Batman of this and "Forever" to be closest to the source material. Tim Burton's Batman was fun, but also a psyco killer. Nolan's Batman tries too hard to be "realistic", something a man in a bat suit can never fully achieve. Not to mention the fact that the timeline of "Rises" seems to say Bruce was Batman maybe a year and a half total. This I find less forgivable than a Bat-Credit card. In this movie, we have a Batman who's been Gotham's protector for years. The citizens seldom see him, but know he's out there and sleep better for it. The police know they can rely on him (perhaps too much) and criminals fear him. He operates in the shadows, but will come into the limelight when it's in his city's interests. This may not be the gritty Batman of the 90's on, but it is Batman nonetheless. A lighter knight, but as entertaining in his own right despite, or even because of that lightness.
It's often reported that director Joel Schumacher would remind the actors "Remember everyone, this is a cartoon." Usually this is given as a sign that the film was doomed to fail. But for most of his history, and clearly the part of Bat history this draws from, Batman WAS a cartoon. A glorious, irreverant and most of all FUN cartoon. I've read comics from the 40's, 50's and 60's, and I can easily see the museum ice skating scene, the rocket surfing escape and even the chairity ball battle taking place there. Even Bruce Wayne's girlfriend in this one is Julie Madison, harking back to the 40's Golden Age comics. Somebody did his homework!
If this movie's reputation has kept you away, open your mind and give it a try. If you have not seen it in ages because it wasn't the "real" Batman, take a look at the Dark Knight Detective's long, rich history and give Batman and Robin another chance.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
on October 20, 2013
I finally watched this movie after seeing trailers on youtube for it. I thought the movie was ok. I'm a huge batman geek and I have reason to believe that this movie was really aimed at kids even though it has a pg-13 rating. I think this movie was made due to the popularity of The Adventures of Batman and Robin which was part of Batman: The Animated Series.

First, Mr. Freeze's freeze puns were way too cheesy. Second, I will give props to Chris O'Donnel for his part as Robin. He made an awesome Robin in my opinion! Third, Bane is supposed to be this big powerful mexican wrestler type villian not Poison Ivy's pet. Plus I didn't feel that George Cloony's Batman was dark like the other verisons. Batgirl was ok.

Overall, the movie was just ok. The action was ok. And I felt it was just too cheezy.
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