4 Film Favorites: Batman Collection (Batman / Batman Forever / Batman and Robin / Batman Returns)
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4 Film Favorites: Batman Collection (4FF) (DVD) (WS)
Rev up the Batmobile! An Awesome Action Foursome. BATMAN - Batman (Michael Keaton) vs. The Joker (Jack Nicholson) in the amazing first extravaganza! With Kim Basinger. BATMAN RETURNS - The Bat (Michael Keaton), the Cat (Michelle Pfeiffer), the Penguin (Danny DeVito). And Christopher Walken, too! BATMAN FOREVER - Riddle me this: The Dark Knight (Val Kilmer) bat-battles Two-Face (Tommy Lee Jones) and the Riddler (Jim Carrey). With Nicole Kidman, Chris O'Donnell. BATMAN & ROBIN - Will Mr. Freeze (Arnold Schwarzenegger) put the world on ice? George Clooney wears the hero's cape. Also with Chris O'Donnell, Uma Thurman, Alicia Silverstone.]]>
Thanks to the ambitious vision of director Tim Burton, the blockbuster hit of 1989 delivers the goods despite an occasionally spotty script, giving the caped crusader a thorough overhaul in keeping with the crime fighter's evolution in DC Comics. Michael Keaton strikes just the right mood as the brooding "Dark Knight" of Gotham City; Kim Basinger plays Gotham's intrepid reporter Vicki Vale; and Jack Nicholson goes wild as the maniacal and scene-stealing Joker, who plots a takeover of the city with his lethal Smilex gas. Triumphant Oscar-winning production design by the late Anton Furst turns Batman into a visual feast, and Burton brilliantly establishes a darkly mythic approach to Batman's legacy. Danny Elfman's now-classic score propels the action with bold, muscular verve. --Jeff Shannon
Tim Burton's sequel to his phenomenally successful 1989 "Batman" doesn't try to top the first picture, either with splashier special effects or with loftier pretensions to significance; nor does it simply go through the motions, repeating the surefire stuff with a self-satisfied air of professionalism. It's a blend of playful novelty and reassuring familiarity-a difficult mixture to get right. This time, the hero (again Michael Keaton) does battle with a greedy businessman named Max Shreck (Christopher Walken) and the roly-poly arch-criminal known as the Penguin (Danny DeVito). And whenever Batman ventures out on one of his nocturnal crime-fighting missions, he runs into a mysterious woman who dresses like a cat and carries a whip. The hilariously twisted relationship between the hero and the Catwoman (Michelle Pfeiffer) plays like an apache dance in animal costumes, and it's the glory of the movie. The cat clothes seem to release something strange and wild in Pfeiffer: her performance is ferociously sexy and uninhibitedly, over-the-top funny. As in the first movie, Burton gives the material a luxurious masked-ball quality and a sly contemporary wit without violating the myth's low, cheesy comic-book origins. He's an artist who's comfortable with both the higher aspirations and the lower instincts of his nature as an entertainer: he and Batman are an ideal match.
When Tim Burton and Michael Keaton announced that they'd had enough of the Batman franchise, director Joel Schumacher stepped in (with Burton as coproducer) to make this action-packed extravaganza starring Val Kilmer as the caped crusader. Batman is up against two of Gotham City's most colorful criminals, the Riddler (a role tailor-made for funnyman Jim Carrey) and the diabolical Two-Face (Tommy Lee Jones), who join forces to conquer Gotham's population with a brain-draining device. Nicole Kidman plays the seductive psychologist who wants to know what makes Batman tick. Boasting a redesigned Batmobile and plenty of new Bat hardware, Batman Forever also introduces Robin the Boy Wonder (Chris O'Donnell) whose close alliance with Batman led more than a few critics to ponder the series' homoerotic subtext. No matter how you interpret it, Schumacher's take on the Batman legacy is simultaneously amusing, lavishly epic, and prone to chronic sensory overload. --Jeff Shannon
Batman & Robin
Following Val Kilmer's portrayal of the caped crusader in Batman Forever, the fourth Batman feature stars George Clooney under the pointy-eared cowl, with Chris O'Donnell returning as Robin the Boy Wonder. This time the dynamic duo is up against the nefarious Mr. Freeze (Arnold Schwarzenegger), who is bent on turning the world into an iceberg, and the slyly seductive but highly toxic Poison Ivy (Uma Thurman), who wants to eliminate all animal life and turn the Earth into a gigantic greenhouse. Alicia Silverstone lends a hand as Batgirl, and Elle McPherson plays the thankless role of Batman/Bruce Wayne's fiancée. A sensory assault of dazzling colors, senseless action, and lavish sets run amok, this Batman & Robin offers an overdose of eye candy, but it is strictly for devoted Bat-o-philes. --Jeff Shannon
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Now for really brief reviews of each individual movie.
Michael Keaton? Instant, "Yes." He plays a better Bruce Wayne than he does Batman.
Jack Nicholson's Joker was cut from a different cloth than Ledger's. But that in no way takes away from it. He did a great job.
Cool atmosphere and set design, decent plot, and good cast.
Keaton reprises his role as Batman/Bruce Wayne.
He's joined by Danny Devito, who plays a good but somewhat off-putting Penguin.
Michelle Pfeiffer plays Catwoman. She was, uh...well-suited for the film. Crappy sexist puns aside, she played the role well.
There's some Christopher Walken sprinkled in there, too.
Not as good as Batman, but worth watching.
Let's get the disclaimer out of the way: Val Kilmer is my favorite live-action iteration.
Kilmer's Bruce Wayne is pretty spot on. His Batman is great. Solid suit, gadgets galore, corny one-liners, cool lair and batmobile. Plus the world's greatest detective actually does detective when Kilmer plays him.
That said, the rest of the movie has an abundance of cheesiness,
Jim Carrey's Riddler and Tommy Le Jones' Two-Face are likable. But lord are they stupid. Terrible, terrible supervillains.
Nicole Kidman plays a pretty shallow Chase Meridian. But Batman doesn't have time to spare for emotional depth. Thankfully.
And Chris O'Donnell's Robin is alright, though his backstory falls short.
Batman Forever is something you could watch with your kids and enjoy. The "Holy rusted metal" line was perfect.
Or alone in your room while eating an entire package of Oreos. Sobbing.
Batman & Robin
This movie catches a lot of flack. A LOT of flack. George Clooney, Mr. Freeze, nipples. I'm sure you've heard it all. And for the most part, it's true.
So if you plan on watching this, go in expecting a fairly dumb plot filled with more holes than a termite's dinner table and a cast of goofy, thick-headed heroes and villains.
Clooney as Batman was...probably a mistake. I don't think he deserves the raw hatred some people express for his role. But he doesn't deserve praise for it either.
O'Donnell returns as Robin. Better in this one than in Batman Forever.
Alicia Silverstone as Batgirl was totally unnecessary. It didn't even make sense.
Poison Ivy, portrayed by Uma Therman, was filled with terrible lines and hypnotic movement.
Her partner was Bane. No clue who played him. That actor is probably still trying to forget his time on-set. Bane was just awful. Like a mentally retarded gorilla dressed up as a luchador.
Arnold as Mr. Freeze may be the best example of "so bad it's good" in cinematic history. So many puns. The costume and his plans were over-the-top. His minions were even dumber.
A lot of you might skip this one. Maybe you should.
But you shouldn't.
Just watch it.
Watch them all.
In one sitting.
Eating a package of Oreos.
Price is super cheap so nothing else to complain about it, if you just want to add this films to your collection buy this one if you are a hardcore fan buy The Anthology set.
That's it. Four discs. In a 2-disc case. Why, Warner, why??
As far as BATMAN and BATMAN RETURNS, all the extras from the two-disc Special Editions are here. Unfortunately, Warner couldn't care less about the quality of the transfers. Sure you can see more detail in these BD releases, but there's been no restoration. Matte lines are starting to show, and in the case of BATMAN, very clear sprocket hole wear in the master print results in the main title jumping considerably. Paired with Danny Elfman's soaring crescendo when the title appears, the crisp gold title jittering about is pretty disappointing.
I only bought this for the first two (Tim Burton) films, and at Costco the price was less than the two as individual releases. So no great loss, but still another poor customer experience from Warner Bros.