Plot: What’s it about?
Batman (Adam West) and Robin (Burt Ward) have just learned that a yacht captain is in serious danger, so the two head out to rescue him, unaware of what awaits them. As the two crimefighters soon discover, the mission was a setup of some sort, complete with an exploding shark that attacks Batman. After a meeting with the city leaders, it is decided that this event was planned by four of Batman’s mortal enemies, The Joker (Cesar Romero), Catwoman (Lee Meriwether), The Riddler (Frank Gorshin), and The Penguin (Burgess Meredith). With all four of these powerful crooks on the same team, it could only mean an attempt at global takeover, which means Batman and Robin will have to intervene and shut down the nefarious plans. But the baddies have a real good plan, which involves Catwoman in disguise, the kidnapping of Bruce Wayne, and a new device that removes all moisture from whatever it touches. With such steep odds against them, can even the Dynamic Duo manage to thwart the quartet of super villains?
If you ask me, the Batman television series with Adam West and Burt Ward is the definitive Hollywood take on the Dark Knight. Batman the television show had intentional camp elements that made the show seem like a live action cartoon, very cool indeed. The acting was over the top, the fight scenes were off kilter, and cornball dialogue abounded, which means you either love the series, or you hate it. I happen to like it and as such, I am a fan of the movie edition, Batman: The Movie, of course. This big screen adventure was released just after the show’s first season and offers more of the series’ charms, in addition to new gadgets and a wide scale yarn, of course. If you’re a fan of the series, you should enjoy this feature film also, as it offers more of the same antics, but on a larger scale. For this high definition release, Fox has upped the ante with a great transfer, plus a mix of old & new extras, so fans will want to upgrade without hesitation.
You can keep Keaton, Kilmer, and Clooney, because as far as I’m concerned, Adam West is Batman and no one will dethrone him. I know he overacts and is by no means the best actor of the bunch, but I like his rendition of Batman better than the others, to be sure. I suppose the camp nature of the series and this flick speak to me, but I think West’s deadpan deliveries work very well and if nothing else, never fail to entertain. You can complain about his performance, but this is how it was supposed to be played, unlike the more serious, but just as bad other feature film Batmans, who were just plain bad, as opposed to intentionally so. This is about all West managed to be known for in his career, but come on, what a role to be remember for, right? You can also see West in such films as Drop Dead Gorgeous, Zombie Nightmare, Hooper, and of course, Robinson Crusoe on Mars. The cast here also includes Burt Ward (Karate Raider, Robot Ninja), Lee Meriwether (4D Man, The Undefeated), Burgess Meredith (Rocky, Clash of the Titans), Cesar Romero (Lust in the Dust, Ocean’s Eleven), and Frank Gorshin (Twelve Monkeys, Hail Caesar).
Video: How does it look?
Batman: The Movie is presented in 1.85:1 anamorphic widescreen. This isn’t razor sharp or three dimensional, but the movie has never looked better. The image is so clean and clear, with strong detail and a natural, bright presence. As I said, you won’t be floored by the depth here, but detail is quite good and easily puts the standard DVD to shame. The movie’s bright color scheme is well replicated, so hues are bold and rich in hue. I didn’t see much in terms of print concerns, though some scenes do show some softness at times. Even so, I was impressed with this new transfer and I think fans will be satisfied.
Audio: How does it sound?
This movie doesn’t have an epic sound design, but the comic book sound effects have never sounded so good. A DTS HD 5.1 option brings all the haymakers, shark attacks, and riddles to life in grand fashion. The surrounds don’t boom by any means, but the material sounds natural and full of life, which is all we can ask. The vocals sound good too, so Adam West’s hilarious delivery doesn’t miss a beat here. And of course, the music is in fine form and that means the classic theme song comes across well. This disc also includes a French language track, as well as subtitles in English, Spanish, Cantonese, and Mandarin.
Supplements: What are the extras?
New to this high definition release are some featurettes, all well worth a look, an isolated score track (in DTS HD 5.1, no less), a trivia track, and audio comments from writer Lorenzo Semple, Jr. Semple is talkative and touches on the movie’s tone and shares some production anecdotes. I didn’t love this session, but it was decent and worth a listen if you have the spare time. The rest of the extras are ported over from the DVD, but at least they’re here, right? I was thrilled to learn an audio commentary with Adam West and Burt Ward was being included, as I knew the two would have some great stories and such. I was not let down in the least either, as the two discuss the film’s production and the television show also, which made it an even better session than expected. This is no dry track either, as the two crack all sorts of jokes and in many cases, the humor is a little lowbrow, but hilarious nonetheless. This is a fantastic overall track and once again, I commend Fox for putting the extra effort into this release, as I loved every second of the commentary session. A newly created featurette is also found on this disc, which includes more comments from West & Ward, while another featurette offers a look inside the Batmobile, which is a welcome inclusion. A very ample selection of production photos, behind the scenes stills, concept artwork, and other materials can be viewed in the two still galleries, which offer much more content than expected, to be sure. This disc also includes the film’s theatrical trailer, as well as the teaser trailer, both of which are cool to have on deck.