THE STORY SO FAR…
When Batman (Adam West) and Robin (Burt Ward) get a tip that Commodore Schmidlapp (Reginald Denny) is in danger aboard his yacht, they launch a rescue mission. But the tip is a set-up by four of the most powerful villains ever, who seek to defeat the Dynamic Duo once and for all! Armed with a dehydrator that can turn humans into dust, the fearsome foursome intends to take over the world! Can the Caped Crusaders use their high-flying heroism and groovy gadgetry to declaw Catwoman (Lee Meriwether), ice the Penguin (Burgess Meredith), upstage the Joker (Cesar Romero), and stump the Riddler (Frank Gorshin) in time?
- Forced Trailers: Jumper, Day After Tomorrow, Independence Day
- Commentary by Actors Adam West & Bruce Ward
- Commentary by Screenwriter Lorenzo Semple, Jr.
- Isolated Score Track 5.1 DTS HD Master Audio (Lossless)
- Batman: A Dynamic Legacy
- Caped Crusders: A Heroes Tribute
- Gotham City’s Most Wanted
- 2001 Featurette
- The Batmobile Revealed with George Barris
- The Batmobile Interactive Tour
- BATMAN on Location: Mapping the Movie
- Holy Pop-up Trivia Track, Batman!
- Original Teaser and Theatrical Trailers
- From the Vaults of Adam West
- Interactive Pressbook
- Production Stills
- Behind the Scenes
- Video: I’ve now seen this film in the best presentation possible.
- Audio: English: DTS HD-MA 5.1
- Extras: Commentaries, Featurettes, Isolated Score Track and more!
- Packaging: Standard Blu-Ray keepcase
- Final Tally: 99% – A
The plot of the film is paperthin. Batman (Adam West) and his sidekick, Robin (Burt Ward), are out to thwart the four most dangerous villians in Gotham: Catwoman (Lee Meriwehter), The Joker (Cesar Romero), The Penguin (Burgess Meredith) and The Riddler (Frank Gorshin, who recently left us, sadly) from taking over Gotham. To lure Batman into a trap, they kidnap Batman’s secret identity, Bruce Wayne. This is more or less all the plot there is. There’s also somehing about destroying people with a dehyrdator, but other than that, there’s no real plot. And that’s the film’s charm.
Bruce Wayne has a remarkable amount of screen time here, especially compared to any episode of the TV series. Note also that of 3 fight scenes (unless you count the part where Batman is punching the shark as a fight scene!), in 2 of them, Adam is dressed as Bruce Wayne. It is highly gratifying to see Batman, alone and outnumbered, outfight the villains without so much as a Batarang to aid him.
By means of some incredible, unknown energy, Adam West was able to convey a character who is compelling, intense, brave, noble, and suave. Yet, if one possesses just the slightest bit of insight, Batman is also completely ridiculous. Of the many, many hero parodies that came from the 60’s and later, from Maxwell Smart, to Matt Helm to Captain Nice, only James Coburn as Derek Flynt is the only other with the potential to come across as a credible heroic lead. But Batman, unlike Derek Flynt, shows a few precious and very brief moments of emotional vulnerability.
Thus it is that this wonderfully-written and perfectly-executed character straddles the razor edge that usually separates parody from epic. Despite the absurdity of the character and the situations, Adam West, with his leading man good looks, super-cool manner, and heroic intensity causes one to simultaneously jeer at him and admire him. In all the annals of adventure, he resembles no one so much as Don Quixote.
Because Adam West’s Batman, in the TV incarnation at least, was so influencial, because it so thoroughly skewered every heroic clichÃ©, and because the TV show ultimately succumbed to the lowest of buffoonery, this film is singularly reviled by many Batman fans and comic fans in general. And yet, because this film so deftly places one foot knowingly in the world of absurdity and one foot earnestly in the world of the heroism, there are few better cinematic translations of comic book material.
The Blu-Ray disc brings out the sheer joy of Adam West. Brilliant camp shown with such clarity that it’s almost scary. I’m seeing details in the Batcave that I’ve never seen before. This added detail also makes some of the sets stand out. Cheap nature and all. Still, it’s a fun Blu-Ray and one of the best of the year.
RELEASE DATE: 07/01/08