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 screen edition, since the Tim Burton and Joel Schumacher renditions have sucked in serious fashion, to be sure. Burton tried to make the series darker, but fell flat on his face and aside from Jack Nicholson’s turn as The Joker, the films were bland and unmemorable. I don’t even need to mention Schumacher’s efforts, as we all know how poorly they turned out, without a doubt. So that leaves us with Batman the television show, which 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. I also want to commend Fox for their efforts here, as they have gone above and beyond with this disc, which is sure to please fans and make this a must own release, if you ask me.
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 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 a 1.85:1 anamorphic widescreen transfer. This is the first widescreen treatment the film has seen on home video and as if that wasn’t enough, Fox has issued a masterful transfer, to be sure. The print shows some grain, but looks cleaner than I ever expected, with minimal wear signs and a very sharp overall image. The intense colors never miss a beat, remaining bold and stable throughout, while flesh tones retain their natural hues also, very impressive work indeed. The contrast is stark and well balanced as well, with only a couple small errors present and those are minor in nature, so no worries. I never thought this film would be given this kind of deluxe treatment, so I am thrilled and I want to thank Fox for their work on this title, as I know they’ve made many people very happy, so thanks Fox!
Audio: How does it sound?
The original mono track has been included, in addition to a new stereo option, which should please fans. As expected, the materials seem a little dated and it shows at times, but in the end, this is a more than adequate effort, I think. The music sounds a little dated here and there, but remains stable enough and the wacky sound effects come across well, though perhaps a little limited in a few scenes. The dialogue is clean and sounds good however, with only a little harshness found in a few instances, though nothing to be worried about. I think Fox has done the best they could here, but the materials only allowed for so much, I suppose. This disc also includes a French language option, as well as subtitles in English and Spanish.
Supplements: What are the extras?
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.