Friday, August 04, 2006
I’ve been a bit of a Batman fan since I was a kid. They used to show re-runs of the old 1960’s Batman TV series, which starred Adam West and Burt Ward, late on a Saturday morning. The old show had a lot going for it – a cheesy script, over the top outfits, the bat signal, the bat car and the batcave, as well as lots of gadgets and special effects that looked hilarious. My favourite thing about the old show was the fight scenes when words like ‘POW’ and ‘WHAM’ would pop up on the screen to signify the ferociousness of the onscreen fighting and they also looked like comic book style sound effects. The 1960’s TV series was very colourful with psychedelic costumes and an endless line-up of mad villains. The show had a pompous sounding narrator that uttered the immortal lines – ‘same bat time, same bat channel’ at the end of each show making sure that viewers tuned in next week to find out how the dynamic duo would escape from the clutches of another evil villian.
Batman (1989) – In 1989 Tim Burton brought out an excellent Batman movie and kick started a new wave of Batman films. I loved this film when I went to see it. Michael Keaton played Bruce Wayne/Batman, Jack Nicholson played the Joker and Kim Basinger played Vicki Vale, the love interest. The film’s dark tone is closer to the original comics than the 1960’s TV series which was very camp. Michael Keaton is an unlikely choice for Batman but does an excellent job as the mysteries hero that may or may not be slightly unbalanced. Jack Nicholson is great as the Joker and brings a lot of colour to the film.
Batman Returns (1992) –
Michael Keaton reprised his role of Batman in Tim Burton’s second Batman film ‘Batman Returns’. Again the film is dark like its predecessor but this time there are two villains instead of one. Michelle Pfeiffer takes on the role of Catwoman and Danny De Vito plays the Penguin. Both do an excellent job especially De Vito as the Penguin. Although the characters in the film were good the script wasn’t great and I didn’t like this film as much as Burton’s previous offering.
Batman Forever (1995) –
Joel Schumacher directed the third Batman film and Val Kilmer took on the role of Batman. This film was more colourful and lighter than the previous two Burton films. There was two villains – The Riddler, played by Jim Carey, and Two face, played by Tommy Lee Jones. The film also starred Nicole Kidman as Dr. Chase Meridian and Chris O’Donnell as Dick Grayson/Robin. I was disappointed with this film. There is too much going on with lots of colour and flashy scenes but ultimately it’s an empty sort of film. Val Kilmer was ok as Batman but I preferred Keaton.
Batman and Robin (1997) – Joel Schumacher returned as director for the fourth film in the series but Val Kilmer was replaced by George Clooney as Batman. This film was even more colourful and sillier than the last Schumacher film. The costumes were even crazier too – why did the Batman suit have protruding nipples? The script was truly awful, I found myself predicting lines while watching the film in the cinema. Again I think that the film was too crowded with character with two villains and Batgirl being added to the mix. The villains, Mr. Freeze and Poison Ivy, were played by Arnold Schwarzenegger and Uma Thurman while Batgirl was played by Alicia Silverstone. Although George Clooney looked great in black there wasn’t much he could do with the script and Chris O’Donnell was as annoying as ever.
Batman Begins (2005) – Christopher Nolan took over directing duties from Joel Schumacher for the fifth Batman film which was a blessing considering the last two films that had been made. Overall I enjoyed this film a lot, Christian Bale worked well as Batman and I loved the casting of Michael Caine as Alfred. Cillian Murphy was extremely creepy as the villain Scarecrow. Apparently he actually auditioned for the part of Batman and when he didn’t get it he was asked to audition for the part of the Scarecrow. I don’t think that Katie Holmes added much to the film, she didn’t really seem to suit the part. Gary Oldman was good as Jim Gordon and I loved Morgan Freeman’s part as Lucius Fox. The start of the film was a bit long and it took a while for it to get going but I loved the action and all the bat gear. I cheered as each new bat gadget was introduced. This film was a return to form and a more believable and watchable Batman than the last few Joel Schumacher films.
The Dark Knight - Summer 2008 (tbc)
It was announced recently that there will be a follow up to last year’s blockbuster ‘Batman Begins’. Christopher Nolan is set to direct his second batman film entitled ‘The Dark Knight’. The script is written by Jonathon Nolan and is based on a story by Christopher Nolan and David Goyer. Christian Bale will resume his role as Bruce Wayne/Batman and Heath Ledger has been cast as the Joker. It will be interesting to see how the Joker character is handled this time. Will he be camp and funny or dark and menacing? It should be a very watchable film with Bale and Ledger facing off against each other.
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