The following 4K was provided to me by Warner Brothers for review. Thoughts and opinions are my own.
Following the massive success of 1995’s Batman Forever Warner Brothers fast tracked the next installment of the series Batman and Robin for a 1997 release. Joel Schumacher returned to direct with Chris O’Donnell returning as Robin, but as Val Kilmer was filming The Saint George Clooney stepped into the role of Batman / Bruce Wayne. Alicia Silverstone was added to the cast as Batgirl to help battle Poison Ivy, played by Uma Thurman, and Mr. Freeze played by Arnold Schwarzenegger. Joel Schumacher once again piled on the action sequences but also decided to make the film much more campier than the others. This film, was much more in tune with the 1966 Adam West version.
IN this one Batman and Robin are after Mr. Freeze, who is stealing diamonds to help power his freeze suite. Batman and Robin, in the beginning interrupt him robbing a museum of its diamonds. Why a museum has diamonds on display is beyond me but luckily Batman and Robin have ice skates built into there boots so whey can battle Mr. Freeze’s gang on the ice. They also have Bat Hockey Stick to help them as well. My Freeze, after a daring air capsule escape freezes Robin, but Batman has Bat Ice Thaw things to cure that. Freeze is working on a cure to save his wife who he has frozen until he can find a cure for MacGregors syndrome.
As the ice battle in Gotham continues we cut to Brazil to one of the Wayne Enterprises labs where Pam Isley (Thurman) is working with a growth drug called Venom. Well it turns out the Dr she is working with is injecting the venom into people to make them super soldiers. He then plans on selling them to the highest terrorist bidder. For an example he injects the drug into a serial killer who he names Bane. Pam find out but is thrown into a mixture of poison which causes her to come back to life with plant venom in her veins and the ability to make plants do her bidding. She calls herself Poison Ivy, and takes Bane with her to Gotham as she blames Wayne Enterprise for the dangerous experiments on plants. Its only natural that they team up with Mr. Freeze leaving Batman and Robin to stop them. Luckily for the Dynamic Duo, Alfred’s niece has arrived in town (Silverstone) and she’s ready to be Batgirl.
Is the film good? Sort of. Is this film bad? Sort of. Its more like watching a jumbled mess unfold. Personally I don’t hate it like a lot of fans do. Its action packed, its really fun, Its just a rushed production and you can tell. Parts of the film seem like they don’t even belong. Arnold does a serviceable job as Freeze, and clearly the character was written for him specifically, as Joel Schumacher thought Freeze should be a hulking Ice Monster as opposed to a frail old man like in the comics. Its just the part was written badly. His character is essentially just given one-lines to spout off. Of course that’s what Arnold is known for during his action films. But this time his lines ae bad. “Your not taking me to the cooler” “Chill out” “The Iceman commeth” its just bad writing. Clooney is a good Bruce Wayne. Very smooth and debonair but as Batman it was a little of. I mean at one point he pulls of a Batman Credit Card and says “Never leave home without it” I still cant figure out how Batman, whose identity is secret even filled out a credit card application. It’s just plain silly. And I’ll just say that the addition of Silverstone as Batgirl added absolutely nothing to this film. If her character was edited out it would not skip a beat. But as I stated the action is good, and lets be honest this film is geared towards kids. That claim can be denied but this was clearly an attempt to make a family fun Batman film, and on that level it really worked.
The transfer, like the others is fantastic. The 4K really brings out the ice gun effect from Mr. Freeze. It really and truly shines and looks like real ice. You can see every speck of silver, white, and blue in it. Its just breath taking. All the costumes look amazing. You can see every glisten from every bend of the outfits. The city is done much more colorful this time around with tons of reds and blues. Its probably the best example out of all the films of what 4K can really do as this has the most amount of contrast between dark and colorful. The audio is fantastic, the freeze gun is just amazing to hear over your surround sound. It’s definitely a beautiful film to watch unfold. And like the others it has special features like commentary, making of featurettes, and trailers. It’s a loaded set to say the least.
Overall its not a horrible film. It doesn’t deserve the flack it gets. Its just a more family friendly version of Batman that didn’t fit the mold of the other films. Its got more action then the Burton films so for that I give it a plus, and I wont lie, I find it good campy fun.
Overall 3out of 5 Stars for the Film!
Overall 5 out of 5 Stars for the transfer!