Batman: The Movie

"It does a feller good to know they're up there, doing their jobs."

Batman The Movie
Release Date: August 21, 2001
Run Time: 105 minutes
One Sentence Summary: The dynamic duo battle to stop their arch-enemies from using their fearsome human dehydrator.
Version: 35th Anniversary Special Edition

  • Audio Commentary by Adam West and Burt Ward
  • Tour of the Batmobile hosted by car customizer George Barris
  • 18 minute documentary/interview with Adam West and Burt Ward
  • Behind-the-scenes Still Gallery
  • Adam West's Personal Photo Collection Still Gallery
  • Theatrical Trailer & Teaser

Tech Specs: Anamorphic Widescreen (Aspect Ratio 1.85:1), English Stereo, English Mono, French Mono, English & Spanish Subtitles

Once upon a time, Bat-mania ruled the land in a way that those who didn't live through it can scarcely comprehend. (And no, I didn't live through it - I watched re-runs and thought it was a deadly serious adventure show, being terribly peeved as a five-year-old when my father laughed at it.) Hundreds of thousands danced the Batusi. Stars clamored to play villains. After one season, being shown twice a week, the demand was so high that the producers of Batman launched a film.

Like the TV series that spawned it, Batman The Movie is goofy beyond belief, as well as beyond plot description. In many ways, this take on the caped crusader does more harm to the image of comics readers than the opening statistics of Unbreakable. But its style was imitated (badly) thirty years later for Batman and Robin, so it clearly made its mark. Ignore the Schumacher take (for so many, many reasons), because Fox has done a nice job of giving us the original.

The print itself offers an improvement over the last major release on VHS. The details are sharp; you can make out every painted-over hair of Cesar Romero's moustache. Though the print still has a slightly washed-out sixties look, that lends it a nostalgic charm. At least for the first time in years, The Joker's hair is once again green. And of course the Wham!s, Pow!s,and Ka-Boom!s look like they belong on mando paper.

Reunited for this project, Adam West and Burt Ward reminisce in the audio commentary, offering little in the way of production tidbits. Mostly they comment on how much fun they had. West has the most to offer, about the shooting, the cultural craze, and his co-stars. Even if you've seen the movie many times, it takes West's commentary to point out what incredibly stylized and strangely serious work Frank Gorshin did as The Riddler. He could easily have fit in Tim Burton's version.

Ever the sidekick, Ward tends to echo West, and trots out a few mechanized anecdotes, which he repeats verbatim in the included featurette. Otherwise his most repetitive statement is "What is Frank (Gorshin) doing?" Between the two, it seems like West understands the appeal of Batman. Ward sounds like he understands that it's a joke, but doesn't get why.

The disc does feel a little thin on extras. Besides the featurette interview, Batmobile designer discusses the creation and impact of the Batmobile. (And in this age of CG work, it is impressive to realize that all the gimmicks did have to actually work live.) West contributes from his personal collection of photos, and the original theatrical teaser and trailer show up. Outtakes were probably too much to ask (and probably don't exist anymore), but a quick search on-line turns up Ward's screen test for the show; why isn't that here?

Still, it's a fun package of a fun movie. With Fox turning out boxed sets of The X-Files and The Simpsons, the Batman release begs the question: where's the series? Let Fanboy Planet put out the request now. At least give fans the best episodes, starting with the pilot storyline. We'll leave the Batsignal on for you.


Derek McCaw


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