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Batman and Robin

Note: This file is officially closed. We've banged on this movie enough!

7/21/97 Update
7/14/97 Update
7/7/97 Update
6/30/97 Update

Called to a museum robbery, Batman and Robin are eventually thwarted in their efforts to stop Mr. Freeze from stealing a giant diamond. Freeze uses diamonds to power the environment suit he must wear to keep his body at zero degrees. He also uses them to build his instant chill-o-matic weaponry and need especially large diamonds for a mega freezing ray that he is building--obstentively to restore the health of his very ill wife whom Freeze has placed in statis until he can find a cure.

Meanwhile, a scientist uses a botanists research to created the ultimate warrior, Bane. When the scientist tries to kill the botanists however, she ressurects as Poison Ivy--a vanguard of all things plant. She kills the scientist, burns down his laboratory, appropriates Bane and head for Gotham city to call Bruce Wayne to account for his business practices of placing the welfare of humanity over the welfare of plants.

At the same time, Alfred's niece comes for a visit. She's a college dropout from England who has been racing motorcycles for a living and has come to free Alfred from a life of servitude because he's very ill and she wants him to live out the rest of his life with dignity.

Batman eventually captures Freeze but Poison Ivy breaks him out of Arkham Asylum and the two join forces to freeze the entire planet. Poison Ivy also works her magic on the dynamic duo but their freindship endures and with the help of Alfred's niece--who has discovered Bruce Wayne's secret identity and now has donned the personna of Batgirl (along with the skintight rubber suit that her uncle kindly provided)--Poison Ivy is captured.

The terrific trio then turn their attention to Freeze whom they eventually capture before setting everything right. As a bonus, Batman even talks Freeze into giving him a cure for Alfred's sickness. Much rejoicing follows.

Brash Reflections

Well, I predicted it was going to be a bomb. Happily, it wasn't that bad but I doubt it's going to set any records at the box office.

In ten words or less: Beautiful sets, great effects, okay acting . . . and the plot? Yawn.

In four words or less: It's a comic book.

On a humorous note, I realize that the creators of this movie intentially attempted to introduce the campy-feel of the television series but there were spots when we were laughing out loud and I wasn't sure if we were supposed to be laughing. (I went with some buddies.) At one point, Mr. Freeze creates a flawlessly ice sculpture of his wife using an ice-sickle and what appeared to be something like a poker chip. The airport surveillance photo of Ivy and Bane stuck us as goofy from some reason. And Robin using a magnifying glass on a computer monitor? Oh man . . .

In the "What An Amazing Deduction, Sherlock" category, Everyone seems amazed when Bruce Wayne figures out that the soon-to-be Batgirl attended a British university. How did he arrive at this amazing conclude. He read the patch on her sweater. (Wow! See, now that's why I'm not a superhero. I would have never thought to look at this big round patch on her sweater!)

Speaking of effects, I do have to say that there were several spots that it was obviously that either the actors were flying with harnesses or the effect had been created digitally. The one spot that stick in my mind was when all three hero came flying back up onto the platform of the observatory near the end of the movie. The shot only lasts for a moment but looks very digital. The movement of the capes just wasn't right.

The really stinko effect though was the plant-imal that Ivy created. I've seen better animatronics displays on sale at Walmart as lawn ornament for Christmas!

I believe Roger Ebert was the one who first noted that Alfred's niece seems to be missing her accent. Sounds like a good nit to me! I couldn't help notice that Alicia Silverstone seems to have a bad habit of talking out of the side of her mouth (smiling that way as well). Okay, maybe it's not a "bad" habit but I found it very distracting.

There lots of other things that made very little sense. Bruce Wayne--the gazillion-aire--has a press conference. The press conference ends. Wayne is still standing at the podium when Poison Ivy's mild-mannered alter ego marches up and starts pouting. A reaction shot shows that the reporters have started to wander off. Reporters wandering off while a gazillion-aire is still in the building?

And what is with the great defender of the plant kingdom anyway?! In her first diabolical act, Poison Ivy burns down a scientist's lab. The lab is filled with plants. Does this make sense? The she teams up with Freeze to send the Earth into a new ice age. Wouldn't this be a bad thing for the plant kingdom. Then--at the end of the movie--she sits in her cell at Arkham Asylum as plucks petals from a flower just so she can play, "He Loves Me, He Loves Me Not." Right.

And how about Mr. Freeze (although I do have to say that Ahnold did much better in the part that I expected)? The police raid his headquarters so Freeze flips a lever from "Heat" to "Freeze". Thankfully Commission Gordon (a "four-star" commission no less) manages to flip the lever back. Question: Why would Mr. Freeze have a "Heat" setting at his headquarters in the first place?

In the category of things that raise an eyebrow . . . Alfred apparently knew his niece's measurements so precisely that he could craft a form-fitting rubber suit for her. Not only that, he apparently decided that zippers on the back of her thighs would be a better way for her to don the suit than the way that Batman and Robin wiggle into theirs. There is something a bit disconcerting about all of this Alfred seems to be spending a wee bit too much time thinking about his niece!

Granted, the movie is a comic book. But, my buddies and I were still very impressed with Batgirl's motorbike. She gets knocked off it at one point and some time later manages to jump back on it. Without a rider, the bike apparent stay upright! (Either it has training wheels or Batman and friends really do get all the cool toys.)

Did anyone else think: BORG DEATH! (When Robin and Batgirl kick loose Bane's tubing.)

Jamie Strathee--Tim Strathdee's son--thought that it would have been more fitting, given all the hockey references with Freeze, to have Robin driving a Zambonie (spelling?) at the end of the movie.

(Rant mode on) AND no review of this movie would be complete without some mention of the fact that the director seems enamored with the terrific trio's rubber-clad posteriors. The movie opens with the dynamic duo suiting up. Surprisingly enough one of the close-ups used (I believe it follows the shot of the breast plates) is of first Batman and then Robin's butts. What is the purpose of this?!? The other shots all engender a sense of power and awesomeness as the duo don their armor to do battle with the baddies. Do Batman and Robin have some special protective armor in the seat of their suits? It this how they protect themselves from lethal projectiles? Do they lean over--figuratively mooning their assailants--while at the same time providing a broad impenetrable target? In case you haven't seen the movie, when I referring to a close up of Batman's posterior, I'm not talking about a medium wide shot. I'm talking about the rubber-clad gluttials FILLING the screen! Even Batgirl gets the same treatment as she suits up (of course her moment to shine is proceeded by an extreme close-up of her breasts but that was expected from Hollywood). Honestly, at these moments in the movie, I was honestly repulsed. I did not go to see Buttman and Ro-butt with their new sidekick Buttgirl! (Rant mode off)

Reflections from the Guild

[Note from Phil: I have not verified these but they sounded good to me! And given my comment in the This Week at NitCentral 6/8/97 Column, some of these comments came in before nitpickers saw the movie.]

Jason Barnes: I read that you don't think that the new Batman movie will work. I would like to say one thing in it's defense and that is it was a HORRIBLE, horrible, HORRIBLE (did I mention it was horrible) to give the part of Batgirl to Alicia Silverstone. That girl stereo typed herself when she did the movie "Clueless" and isn't suited for anything else now in my opinion. Her scenes will be terrible. There's no doubt about that. Also, many people I've talked to don't like her either and according to a story I read, neither did several of the film's producers. Some of them approached Joel Shoemaker (the director) and said that if he didn't pull Silverstone out of the film, they wouldn't back it. Warner Bros. got nervous at this and had a meeting with them to discuss why they signed her. Seems that they wanted to target the audience that Silverstone reached in the movie "Clueless." The previous movies have reached the target range of 18 and up. So, they add Silverstone and have a new target audience and still keep the 18 and up for Batman. The bottom line: money. The producers still weren't happy but decided to let it continue with the warning that if it failed, Shoemaker would not direct Batman anymore.

Arnold may do good as Mr. Freeze. The comics always had Freeze to be a big tough guy (and I mean tough guy. He threw Batman around like he was a doll when he wanted to.) And I'm willing to give George Clooney a chance though he has to work hard to beat Val Kilmer who in my opinion, was the best one so far of the three.

Corey Hines, Hamilton, ON: I read how you feel "Batman & Robin" might be a horrific bomb. One thing's for sure it won't be. Remember, a bomb is a movie that makes less money than it took to produce the movie. I'm sure everyone would agree that "Batman Returns" was the worst Bat movie so far but it did make over $250 million. That's not a bomb. With big stars in "B&R", a lot of people will see it. It will probably be horrific but it won't be a horrific bomb.

Also they seem to take the character of Batman and turn him into a guy everyone loves (except the villians, of course). I read the DC Comics Batman and he is nothing the way he is depicked in the movies. He wouldn't even think of getting married. Studios always seem to do that with comic movies; re-shape a character so people, mainly children, will like it and pay money to see it and buy merchandising from it.

The main problem with Batman movies is that they need to cram in as many stars as they can. Then they forget that there is supposed to be a plot. "The Lost World: Jurassic Park" had special effects, "Batman & Robin" have star power.

Joseph Pintar: This movie is a definite improvement over the overrated Batman Forever (Nicole Kidman is such a bad actress, she undermines the whole film.) but still not in the same league as the first two movies (Jack Nicholson and Michelle Pfeiffer are such genuinely gifted actors that they make those first two movie work. I used to think Tim Burton was a better filmaker, but after watching the extremely bad Mars Attacks, I changed my mind). I do think that this movie works because Arnold Schwarzenegger, George Clooney, Alicia Silverstone, and Uma Thurman are watchable actors and their prescence helps a lot.

I gotta live in Gotham City. It's a city that has gone from a somewhat dark and dismal city to a much lighter looking city in just 8 years. As matter of fact, it has looked different in every movie. That's quite an urban renewal program they have going.

Does it strike anyone else as odd that Poison Ivy and Mr. Freeze would work together? Their goals are just the opposite of each other (one wants plant life everywhere, the other want eternal winter). They should be fighting against each other, not teaming up (unless a double cross was intended).

I'm not impressed with the new Batmobile. Not only is it a one seater, but it leads the driver exposed to danger without protection from, say, bullets.

When you saw the virtual reality Alfred, did anybody else think of Max Headroom?

Why does Uma Thurman give her more memorable performances when she isn't her natural hair color? She's a redhead here and a brunette in Pulp Fiction. Name a movie where she's her natural blond. I can't either.

Why is Mr. Freeze permitted to have his suit on while at Arkham Asylum at the end? He could use the suit to help him escape. (Of course, Bane had a problem getting through the walls earlier, so maybe they're that thick.) It just strikes me as too great a security risk. Why didn't they just use the same technology to freeze his cell (or certain parts of it since Poison Ivy was there too). But if that was done, Poison Ivy would have nothing to worry about.

I don't know about you, but anybody who read the Batman comic series Knightfall knows that Bane deserves his own movie, not being reduced to thug status as he was in this movie.

Where I saw the movie, there was a lot of cheering when Batgirl put on her suit.

Stephen Mendenhall: Have you seen Batman yet? I haven't, but the actors keep talking about how long it takes to get into costume and how terribly uncomfortable the costumes are. I think that constitutes a nit. Because why would the characters in the movie want to wear such uncomfortable clothes which take so long to get into?

Is Mr. Freeze supposed to be a cyborg? Why doesn't he change into something more comfortable? Maybe instead of a psychiatrist he needs a better fashion designer? (Grin)

Matt Nelson: To those with a low tolerance for movies that are slowly evolving into a clone of their 1960s counterparts: Save your money, rent Batman & Robin.

This film, while eye candy at best, is a virtual remake of the 1995 hit "Batman Forever". Here's a list of corollaries!

BF: New villain pops up in first ten minutes of movie, only to have his origin rehashed a little later from police videotape.

B&R: New villain pops up in first ten minutes of movie, only to have his origin rehashed a little later from security camera videotape.

BF: Bat-Butt shots.

B&R: Bat-, Robin-, and Batgirl-Butt shots. (This will also make a sequel appearance in my next list, Real Big Gripes About Batman's New Look.)

BF: Frustrated scientist gets zapped in experiment gone awry.

B&R: Frustrated scientist gets zapped in murderous attack gone awry.

BF: Lame supervillain sidekicks.

B&R: Lame supervillain sidekicks.

BF: Robin fights off the Day-Glo Skull gang.

B&R: Poison Ivy fights off the Day-Glo Skull gang.

BF: Really Big Statues.

B&R: Really Big Statues.

There are even a few throwbacks to Batman and Batman Returns (such as the VILLAINS! ARGH! THEY'RE THE SAME!!) but we won't get into that.

And now.. Real Big Gripes About Batman's New Look. (Also known as, Things I Hope Never Ever To See Again.)

1. Gossip Gertie.
2. Batman's Butt.
3. Robin's Butt.
4. Batg.. well, we'll let that one slide.
5. Gossip Gertie.
6. Really Big Statues.
7. Day-Glo Sets.
8. Day-Glo Villains.
9. Gossip Gertie.
10. Gossip Gertie.
11. G.. AGH! I just can'ts STAAAANDS IT!
12. Corny Lines Like "Why are all the gorgeous women homocidal maniacs? Is it me?" or pretty much anything Freeze said through the whole movie.
13. Joel Schumacher.
14. Villain Sidekicks.

Ok, here's some actual NITS, now.. ;)

In the beginning fight with B&R, Mr. Freeze, at one point, throws a security guard to knock down his gun. He catches it, obstensibly perfectly, but if you watch his right hand, he's groping around for the handle. He obviously can't see with those silver contacts.

There are so many WHIRL and DIETS moment in this movie, I couldn't ever list them all, but there are especially a LOT in the first battle.

The frozen Robin is obviously fake, but a good fake, I'll give 'em that.

I thought the Batmobile got trashed, but it's back in the Batcave, good as new. Does Bats keep a spare?!? Yow.

Dear, sweet, Batgirl wasn't fooling anyone. I knew as soon as she came to the mansion that she hadn't gone on vacation; she'd gotten expelled!

Also, her English accent was just suPERB, wasn't it? Mmm-hmm.

The whole scene with Mr. Freeze and his singing snowmen was absolutely pointless. Not really a nit, but I could NOT let that slip.

(Pardon the slippage pun.)

The whole scene with Robin & Batgirl and the motorcycle race was absolutely pointless. Not really a nit, but.. Hey, this is sounding familiar...

I was VERY disappointed in Batman with the Wayne Benefit Ball. Let me get this straight; he's setting a trap for Mr. Freeze with hundreds of civilians in the line of fire? This is VERY irresponsible on his part.

When Mr. Freeze is captured for the first time (which I thought was nice, actually; made me feel like Batman could actually GET a villain for a change), the unconscious Freeze is a very bad-looking fake. Not like the fake they made of Robin; this one is too short and too STIFF.

When Freeze is in Arkham (which is very shoddily run, by the way, and also bigger than the last film) he assembles an icy music-box of his frozen wife, Nora. Firstly, whose idea was it to give a homocidal maniac a CLOCK?!? He could have used those gears to kill his guards! Secondly, how did he get it to play music?

When Bane is breaking Freeze's suit out of storage, we see the Riddler's costume on the left, and Two-Face's costume on the right. I had assumed, that, from the last movie, Two-Face was dead. Did he survive, and nobody told us? Or did they rip the costume from his wet carcass? Eww.

BTW, speaking of the first movie, what happened to Dr. Meridian? Did Bruce and Robin have to kill her because she found out their secret? =) (I actually liked that line; it was fun.)

Toy nit! Poison Ivy states that every Poison Ivy action figures comes with Bane (a BAD and blatant commercial, if you ask ME!); to my knowledge, all twinpacks contain one villain and one hero except the Batman and Robin pack; there is no Bane and Ivy pack.

This is in poor taste, but just where are the villains getting all their stuff? I mean, it takes time to construct something like the Robin-signal or the Freezemobile. For Pete's sake, it's just a little too much to swallow! (Note from Phil: Four words or less: It's a comic book. ;-)

When Batgirl is trying to figure out the password to Alfred's disk, she looks at a picture of her mother. The second time she looks at it, it says "Love, Peg" which was absent the first time.

When B, R, and BG fight PI in her lair, Robin falls into her pool and has to fight off the killer plant. At one point, to simulate him being dragged under, the creators used Robin surfacing, then reversed the film! VERY VERY SLOPPY!!!

Throughout the movie, it is stressed that only eleven minutes remain before a frozen victim will die. Yet those two annoying scientists are frozen for a lot longer than that before Batman finally shows up.

So, let me get this straight. You've just trapped Poison Ivy in her own flower (which is a nit in itself.) and are off to defeat the evil Mr. Freeze. You're in such a rush, you... STOP to CHANGE COSTUMES?!?

Big-time WHIRL and DIETS moments in the LAST battle scene, also.

Alfred should not have been spry and perky as he was in the last scene. That is truly a miraculous recovery.

Speaking of which, BIG coincidence that Al just HAPPENS to have the same thing as Nora Fries.

All in all, mindlessly entertaining, but vaguely disappointing. Wait till the budget theater if you simply must see it on the big screen, guys.

6/30/97 Update

Bob Canada: Anyway, saw Batman & Robin this weekend. Ehhh...maybe I was just in a bad mood. It was big and loud and noisy and confusing. Not the worst movie I've ever seen, but it could have been a lot better. Actually, I think I liked the quiet scenes with just Bruce and Alfred talking more than anything. Oh well.

On with the nits:

This may be getting too picky, but why wasn't the LAST movie called "Batman And Robin?" This one should have been called "Batman And Robin And Batgirl And Alfred."

Again with the butt shots! Last movie we were treated to a shot of Batman's posterior as he was getting suited up, now we see Batman's rump again, along with Robin's and later in the movie, even Batgirl's! Everytime I see one of these shots, I lose the will to live...

Trivia Time: In DC comics, Jason Woodrue turned into the "Floronic Man," a villain from Swamp Thing comics. Also in the comics, Bane is a cold, calculating killing machine, stronger and SMARTER than Batman. Here, he's a hulking brute who can barely string two words together.

Mr. Freeze gazes longingly at his wife, who he's frozen in a tank, yearning for the day when he can cure her. If she's supposed to be frozen to preserve her until he can find a cure, then why is she in a tank of water, complete with bubbles? The coldest he could be keeping her would be 31 degrees--hardly enough to suspend bodily processes. (Note from Phil: Unless it's not water?!)

How do all these buildings work in Gotham anyway? The observatory is perched atop a giant statue's head or back. Are all the buildings like the statue of liberty inside?

The computer display of the satellite array solves the mystery of where Gotham is once and for all--it looks suspiciously close to New York City!

Apparently Gotham's building codes require all buildings to have at least one skylight for Batman or one of his partners to crash through...

Another weird society ball that gets crashed by a villain.

How exactly do vines wrap themselves around someone and then pull them up toward the ceiling? As far as I know, vines and plants in general don't have any muscles to contract or move, and even if they did, they have no brains to order any muscles to contract.

Throughout the movie, Batman and Robin both whip out little hand-held laser heaters. Why not assemble a large version of a heat gun, like Freeze's gun, only hot?

Whenever anyone was frozen by Freeze's gun, it was pointed out that they had to be thawed out in 12 minutes or they'd die. The two scientists at the observatory seemed to be frozen MUCH longer than that...

This may not be a nit--I'd have to see the movie again, but when Freeze is captured, and Batman and Robin are inspecting his secret lair, and it looks as if Batman walks right into the store room, and knows exactly where the secret panel is to open the door to Mr.s Freeze's chamber.

When Ivy goes to Arkham Asylum to break Freeze out, Bane punches his way through a multitude of guards as he brings Frezze's armor to him. Why didn't they just shoot Bane? After everyone jumps out of the hole in the wall, the guards finally come to their senses and shoot ineffectively at them.

In Arkham, we see the "Prisoner's Personal Property" room. Displayed very prominantly among the items there is the Riddler's Green derby and question mark-covered green body suit. Unfortuneatley, that's not what he was wearing at the time he was defeated by Batman. At that time he wasn't wearing a hat at all, and was wearing a kind of silvery body suit. (Note from Phil: No doubt Gotham has some equivalency to the RICO act. If you're a bad super villian, the police get to confiscate all your clothing!)

Alfred records a message to his long-lost brother Wilfred onto what looks like a Write-Once disc, or a Syquest with the case removed. Let's hope that they have compatible players in India or wherever his brother is supposed to be.

Is it just me, or did Batgirl serve no discernable purpose in the movie? You could have removed every one of her scenes with no damage whatsoever to the plot. the obvious use for her would have been to battle and defeat Ivy, since she would (hopefully) be immune to her pheremones, but this concept is given about 30 seconds of attention. And what possible motivation would Alfred possibly have for making a Bat suit for his beloved neice, knowing the dangers Bruce and Dick face on a nightly basis? By the way, in the comics and on the old TV show, Batgirl was Commissioner Gordon's daughter (or possibly neice--its been a long time), not any kin to Alfred.

Poison Ivy has complete control over the plant world--she can make plants spring from the soil almost instantly. Except of course when Batgirl knocks her into the giant man-eating plant, which clamps shut on her head, allowing her to be captured.

When Batgirl is trying to figure out Alfred's password so that she can unlock the secrets on the disc, she glances down at the photo of her mother (which by the way, looks like it was taken in the 1940s--how old was her Mom when she had her, anyway?). Earlier in the movie, we saw that the photo was signed, "Love, Peg." As Batgirl glances at the photo, there's no autograph. Cut to a close-up of the photo--suddenly the autograph is magically back in place. Cut back to the longshot of Batgirl looking at the photo, and its gone again.

Batman defeats Freeze in the observatory, and Freeze yammers about how he'll have his revenge on Batman for killing his wife. Batman then shows him a video playback of Ivy saying she pulled the plug on his wife. Interesting that the playback seemed to be from the same angle we saw it from, and at the time Ivy said this, Batman was being squeezed to death by vines up on the ceiling of her hideout.

Why is Freeze carrying around two vials of serum that can't cure his wife, who's stage of McGregor's Syndrome is too advanced? Those were tough vials too, to survive the beating Freeze took and not break.

Would Arkham Asylum REALLY put a man and woman together in the same cell? And let's hope that they removed anything Freeze could possibly use or fashion into a weapon before they gave him his armor to wear...His "reformation" bears some scrutiny too--he promised Batman he'd cure Alfred and be a nice boy, but I guess he didn't say anything about not torturing Ivy.

So all it takes to defeat Bane is to pull the tube from the back of his head. So why didn't anyone do that the first time they saw him?

Lisa Shock, Phoenix,AZ: So bad it's almost beneath nitpicking.

Film/Tv refernces: Robin enlarging photo on computer is just like a scene in Blade Runner, they even used the same sounds!

Alfred does Max Headroom

Clockwork Orange groupies in crowd at the race

On to the nits...

When Mr. Freeze crushes the snowglobe it's suddenly become a shell - the insides have vanished!

No one can be "frozen alive", if you're frozen you are dead.

Mrs. Freeze doesn't look very frozen. I do volunteer work at a cryonics facility, and I've seen frozen people. This wasn't even close.

The liquid shown was not liquid nitrogen, and did not look like it at all. (It's the only stuff that real facilities use.)

The bubbles in the liquid were only there to look good.

When hair freezes, it's stiff, not flowing.

Where did all that water come from when people were frozen?

The eleven minutes business has no basis in science, if you are frozen solid, the tissue damage is too profound for any revival.

I spotted Taco Bell "bells" in Gotham City windows.

Alexander Shearer: I'll be polite about this, because otherwise it would turn into a real rant, but...

No less than three times, you explained away things in the movie (bad or illogical points) by stating "It's a comic book." That's dreadful. Please don't be another person who automatically assumes that comic books are lame, ill-thought-out pap for kids. Some are bad, some are good (like every other media, including books, movies, television...). I'd have to specifically say that the last two Batman movies (BF, B&R) are horrible takes on a comic that ranges from good to excellent much of the time. The Batman cartoon (which became The Adventures of B&R) is excellent as well, and much truer to the comic.

On a related note, I was at the preview for B&R last year at the San Diego Comic Con, and everyone was incredulous with the director's choice of actors...specifically, Arnie as Freeze. It was so obvious they just wanted star power in the role. The only justification he could come up with was "the Freeze in the television show had a German accent." No joke.

Anyway, I hope this has been at least a polite rant. If anyone wants to read good, quality comics, they have but to look. I recommend Sandman, Strangers in Paradise, Sandman Mystery Theatre, The Dark Knight Returns, Watchmen, Give Me Liberty, and pretty much anything I haven't mentioned by Frank Miller, Neil Gaiman, and Alan Moore. There's also a lot of good stuff I haven't mentioned - this is just what I can think of in a minute or so.

(Note from Phil: Let me expand on my statement: "It's a comic book." First of all, I respect comic books as an entertainment form. Certainly, it has just as much story-telling potential as television. In fact an artist buddy, a write buddy and I even tossed around an idea for a comic book series for a while. I wrote a story--which the comic books guys said would actually take 24 issues to do it justice!--and we had a few talks about it but it was going to be *a lot* of work for the artist guy. That's not to say that comic books are a *great* story telling medium any more that television or the movies are a great story-telling medium. I still feel that literature is a far superior delivery vehicle for a story simple because the story isn't overpowered by the sizzle of the images. Having said that, I would also add that, as a nitpicker, I don't think it's fair to judge the physical environment of the comic book universe with the same "strictitude" as other genres. For instance, if we are going to judge Batman and Robin on the basis of real life, then the movie is just plain silly and ridiculous. There is no way, no how, Robin could hold onto the side of a rocket that was accelerating away from the gravitational pull of the Earth. Astronauts do not get up, walk around, have a smoke, etc. during blast-off. They are plastered in their seats with just about as much control over their environment as Jell-o salad. By the same token, the whole escape with the airboarding thing from tens of thousands of feet up was ludicrous from a reality-based viewpoint. BUT . . . Batman and Robin isn't reality. It exists in a universe of super-heros to whom the laws of physics apparently do not apply! That's fine. That's part of the basic setup. My phrase, "It's a comic book," doesn't have so much to do with plot as it has to do with the relationship of the characters to the physical universe--i.e. where do all the baddies get their resources? Well, they're super-villians. They can do stuff like that. It's a comic book! ;-)

RE: Joseph Pintar's comments about Uma Thurman's hair and her acting:

I think Uma Thurma is blond in Robin Hood (not the Kevin Costner one, but a recent version...she plays Maid Marian). Of course, I haven't seen it, so maybe she doesn't act well in that role...:)

Side note on Batmobiles: The cartoon has a very good episode which reveals who repairs the Batmobile, why he can be trusted, and how the Penguin manages to track him down anyway by checking for strange part orders from Gotham city garages (because the Batmobile requires some mighty strange bits and pieces...)

Allan W. Fix of St. Paul: Bad, laughably bad, Plan 9 from Outer Space bad! But I enjoyed the heck out of it!!

Didn't anybody else have the urge to yell "Yabba Dabba DOO!" as Batman slid down the icy dinosaur's neck?

They even ripped off Gilligan's Island with the old Rubber Lips to Prevent a Poison Kiss trick (remember the dream episode with Gilligan as spy 014 -- "He's twice as smart as 007!")

Uma Thurman had the worst line-readings I've ever heard as she was in her scientist guise.

Jason Woodrue, the professor that created Bane, is the name of a character in DC comics who was turned into a plant-man called the Floronic Man.

Note to Phil: saying "It's only a comic book" does not excuse a film from maintaining logic and internal consistency. DC has revamped their comic universe TWICE in the last decade to try to clear up all their inconsisten- cies. (Note from Phil: See my comments above. ;-)

Don't you think Freeze would get a strap or something to keep hold of his gun after getting it kicked out of his hand the first time?

The frozen Robin seemed awfully light (did Batman carry him with one hand?).

At the end of the motorcycle race, Dick is holding Barbara while dangling by his toes of the edge of a huge skyscraper. WOW, what a cliffhanger! Do we get to see how they get out of this one? NO, there is simply a cut to the garage and they're talking as if nothing happened!

It seems that now our heroes can virtually defy gravity and even fly.

Robin should NOT be taller than Batman.

Where do they store hundreds of feet of cable for those Bat-hook things? And considering the speed at which they are falling (several times), wouldn't their arms get ripped out of their sockets with the sudden stop? Maybe the device includes a decelerator like stunt people use. (Note from Phil: Without wanting to offend you my, gentle nitpickers, from my viewpoint . . . it's a comic book! ;-)

Matt Nelson: I normally agree with you on most everything, Phil, but I had to take umbrage to one statement in your B&R synopsis. "In four words or less: It's a comic book."

NO! Today's comics are NOT like this! (Well, maybe one or two.) But overwhelmingly, comics are beginning to gain more respect as actual WRITERS enter the field, not just slap-together artists who use hackneyed, recycled plots over and over again. (I'm talking X-Men here.)

One or twelve examples come to mind.

Kurt Busiek's Astro City, if we're talking superheroes, has to be the ultimate in the new genre. A solid ten out of ten, this book is written about a city that is basically overwhelmed by superheroes--and it's all from the eyes of Joe in the corner grocery, or the young Italian woman on Shadow Hill whose parents are hopelessly mired in the ways of the Old Country, or an alien being who desperately looks for a way to salvage the human race--and finds none. One of the best issues, "Dinner at Eight", deals with what happens when the world's two most powerful superheroes get together--for a date. Plagued by ardent fans, the two decide to hide out in a little out of the way diner, assuming their civilian identities, only to find that they can't agree on why they do what they do.

They're PEOPLE, and Busiek makes you care about them. Sure, Batman has loyal fans; I've always loved the Caped One. But when you stand them up? They're as one-dimensional as the pages they're drawn on. What we see today is a new wave of people who want to make you believe; who are gonna grab you by the throat with their story and leave you breathless.

A complete departure from the superhero genre, my absolute favorite title, is Usagi Yojimbo. Obstensibly a "kid's" comic, this book is anthropomorphic, and features Miyamoto Usagi, a rabbit samurai (DON'T start thinking Turtles here!) whose lord was killed in the battle of Adachigahara Plain. From this comic comes some of the most educational and thought-provoking writing I've ever had the pleasure to read. Usagi is a deep character, a ronin wanderer, and the people and places he encounters are so real it is almost as if you walk beside him in feudal Japan. Stan Sakai, the writer AND artist, skillfully retells old Japanese mythology in some issues with his characters, and departs for completely original stories in another. One of his best, "Circles", a multi-issue storyline, involves Usagi's decision to stop his wandering and finally return to his home village. He returns to find chaos, as Jei, an old nemesis of Usagi's, has kidnapped Jotaro, the son of the village headsman, Kenichi, a boyhood rival of Usagi's, and who is now wed to Usagi's former lover, Mariko.

This story deals deeply with themes such as honor, duty, personal obligation, struggle over hardship, community, and revelation, as in the final chapter, Mariko reveals to Usagi that Jotaro is not Kenichi's son, but Usagi's--but Usagi is not Jotaro's father. (I hope you are seeing the distinction here.) She asks Usagi to leave, and finding himself truly unable to stay, Usagi departs once more to return to his wandering life.

These are just two of the incredible examples of the genre that are out there. I won't pretend that comics will ever be Shakepeare; far from it. But neither is it "Batman and Robin". The days of "POW! ZOWIE!" are gone; long live the days of, in the words of Astro City's Samaritan,

"And just before I'm out of range, I hear her laugh quietly to herself, and whisper, 'There's always hope.' 'There's always hope.' "Well, there _is_."

(Note from Phil: See my comments above! ;-)

Alex G Smith: ARGG!! I had so many nits about this movie after I saw it the monday after it came out, but I still had your old e-mail address (at gnn)! Then I look around and I see most of my comments already! D'oh!

Well, I must agree that this movie was really,really bad. The script seemed like it was written by a 9 year old, with every other line being either a cliche or a bad pun. (Gee, how many ice and plant puns can we have?!?!) The thing is, I didn't think they were funny at all, and no one seemed to be laughing about it. I think my favorite character was Bane, probably because he had such a limited vocabulary ("Bane, get the door." "Grrrr door."). I laughed when I saw him in the airport picture with the big hat on; he looked so goofy. What I don't get is why they gave him such a small part; in the comics he was the major character who broke Batman's back! I did notice some interesting things though in the movie (read: nits).

I think there's some Kubrick fan who worked on this movie. The scene in which Alisha Silverstone is motorcycle racing is completely pointless and does nothing for the plot. However, when they are panning across the various motorcycle gangs, one looks oddly like Alex and his "droogs" from Kubrick's _A Clockwork Orange_. (They have black bowler hats, are dressed in white, wear underware on the outside, and have canes...)

It seems unrealistic that Freeze's suit would have to "run" off diamonds. I find it hard to believe that he could keep up the expensive habit of keeping his suit charged up. Of course, he was living in an ice cream factory for a long time... But I don't understand how the suit could consume diamonds with laser cooling. Fusion powered cooling with diamonds?

Why didn't ANYONE notice Ivy's powder in the air? The audience could see it...

Alfred's using a Mac; you can tell by the cables coming out of the back.

The plan to melt the city with reflected sun's rays seems stupid to me. I think that the reflected sun would probably do a LOT of damage. What if someone looked up? Total blindness? What I don't understand is that the satellite's mirrors were obviously parabolic, so that means they would have to focus somewhere. (Learning parabolic mirrors in Physics class taught me that light coming in from that distance [almost parallel] would all be focused on one point.) However, all the light was coming in and leaving parallel, like a beam. This would only happen if the orbiting mirrors were flat.

Now how many coincidences were in this movie? Lets list a few:

1) Alfred just happened to have the same disease that Freeze's wife had but not as bad so he could be cured.

2) Alfred knew that when he gave Alisha Silverstone the disc that she would look at it ever though he told her not to. He also just happened to know that she would be trained in martial arts and would want to be a hero so he made her up a suit. Don't you think it's kind of creepy that Alfred knows his niece's current clothing sizes?

3) Batman happened to have "Bat-Heaters(c)" this time on his utility belt to use against Freeze.

Where did Robin get "Bat-Plastic-Lips(tm)?" so he wouldn't get Ivy's poison? (Note from Phil: No doubt, he got them from his utility belt like all the other gadgets!)

Evan Lorentz of Littleton, CO: Can't believe I actually saw this movie -- but you know the mob mentality, peer pressure, all that.

Someone has already mentioned the time-consuming and unnecessary costume change the Terrific Trio stops for between defeating Poison Ivy and setting on Mr. Freeze. (Probably also had to stop to give Batgirl lessons in how to use all the gadgets!) Later, after the confrontation, when they've returned to give Alfred the cure, Batman and Batgirl have changed out of their costumes. We are to assume that Robin has not yet changed out of his costume. Yet, he is now wearing the black and RED outfit again, not the black and SILVER outfits they changed into the confront Freeze. So, they all stopped to take their costumes off before going to help Alfred (in itself a mystifier), and Robin says, "I'll be there in a minute, you two -- I just want to change into my other Robin suit."

Jim Ferris: In the series, "Batgirl" was Barbara Gordon, daughter of Police Chief Gordon and niece of "Uncle Alfred" (would that Alfred and Commissioner brothers?). In "Batman and Robin" she is now Barbara Wilson, and not related to Commissioner Gordon. (Which leads us to the next question: Which is canon, the original series or the comic books?) (Note from Phil: Beats me!)

In response to Joseph Pintar, I can name you 2 movies where Uma Thurman appeared as a blonde: "The Truth about Cats and Dogs" and "Final Analysis".

The BatCave could not have been built by Uncle Alfred and Bruce Wayne by themselves. Contractors HAD to be involved. The tunnel they drive through when they exit the BatCave could have, in NO WAY, been done by 2 or 3 people.

Why did Batgirl have a cowl on when riding the bike, only to remove it as soon as they arrived at the site?

re: Matt Nelson--The racing scene with Dick Grayson and Barbara WAS pivotal to the movie in that it showed that she could, indeed, handle a motorcycle.

The part where they're driving vehicles along the palm of the statues hand was WAY out of line. No vehicle (Aside from a Hummer) could keep traction on that kind of terrain....Not to mention that Batman disable Robin's engine when he was, presumably, hundreds of feet in the air. That thing would have slid off the edge of the thing and plummeted to the ground far below. (Note from Phil: Hmmm. I wonder what phrase I could use at this point . . . . hmmmm. ;-)

7/7/97 Update

Jason Liu: First, someone mentioned how Gotham City's location seemed to be suspiciously close to New York City. I never knew this before, but, apparently, an old nickname for NYC was "Gotham"

For those of you who were complaining about the reduction of Bane to a thug in this movie, I remind you that they essentially did the same thing to Two-Face in the last one. A shame, since both of them are very interesting characters.

Also, someone was commenting on the choice of actors for this movie. Specifically, they mentioned how Arnold could be chosen for Mr. Freeze. Too bad they didn't choose our beloved Captain Picard instead, who, I heard, had also been up for the role. I think that Patrick Stewart better fit the storyline behind Victor Freeze. According to the TV show, Freeze was just a research scientist who was driven to revenge when his employer terminated the cryo-research he was working on to save his wife. In the process of trying to save his wife when they shut down his project, he was accosted by the company's security guards and was accidently thrown into the cooling liquid, causing his transformation into a cold-dependent person. Freeze's cryo-suit is also what gives him his super strength. So, I think it is obvious the star power motivated the decision here. Even Arnold himself was quoted in the Chicago Tribune on his selection. He himself that part of the reason for his casting as Mr. Freeze was because the previous Batman movies, although big hits in the U.S., did not draw well overseas. Since Arnold has drawing power all over the world, his inclusion would help bring in the foreign audiences.

All that being said, I thought Arnold did a pretty good job. The lines they showed in the previews were cheesy, so I thought that he would be bad. But, as I stated two lines ago, I thought he put in a solid performance.

As for George Clooney, he did an OK job. I agree with whoever said that Val Kilmer was the best Bruce Wayne/Batman so far. Clooney does a decent job (and got the Batman voice down pretty well), but he was too Clooney-ish. I'm a big fan of ER, and all I could think when I saw Bruce Wayne was, "Hey, it's Dr. Ross!" Expecially since Clooney carried over his usual mannerisms and movements.

In general, I'd like to ask, am I the only person who liked Batman and Robin? I mean, a profound and powerful movie it is not, but I found it entertaining. I actually liked it. I thought it was better than the last Batman (even with Jim Carey) and The Lost World (which I thought was mediocre). Maybe it's because I walked into the theater expecting a very bad movie (I mean, that's what everyone had been saying for the past few months). Maybe it's because I only paid half-price for it (but, then again, only a handful of movies are worth $7.75). Whatever the reason, I will go out on a limb and recommend Batman and Robin as an entertaining action flick.

Jim Ferris: One more thing to add to my previous mailing...In the trailer for "Batman and Robin" there was a scene where Barbara Wilson (Gordon) walks up to Commissioner Gordon and introduces herself...presumably at the party where Poison Ivy tried her trick on the Commissioner..that part was NOT in the film!

Alexander Shearer: First, thanks for clarifying what "It's a comic book" meant. I'm glad it's not intended as an excuse for the general badness of the film. That said...

...I still think it's unjustified. Lack of realism is not some special thing endemic only to comics. Sure, if Superguy catches Hapless Victim after a thousand foot fall, HV should splatter all over SG's arms. Similarly, no one is going to be "thrown clear" by any kind of explosion, ever (well, maybe as a pulped mess, but that's hardly Hollywood). In every storytelling medium, there are failures in may just be that you, or any other random person, is more used to the cinematic ones, so you ignore them (e.g. ever notice how much of the blunt trauma in movies should result in death rather than soreness?). I haven't seen a really reasonable action film in a while... (Note from Phil: And that's is why I laughed through the last fifteen minutes of "Mission: Impossible" and that's is why I ranted about the trailer over the cliff scene in "The Lost World" and that's is why I was more than happy to include nits about the silliness of "light-speed bullets" in Eraser. I can't speak for anyone else but personally, I hold action films to a higher standard of "believeability" than a movie like Batman and Robin simply because I feel that each genre establishes a certain covenant with its participants. I do allow action movies some latitude because of the genre--i.e. is it realistic that a compact machine-gun tumbling down a staircase would kill a lot of terrorists as it does in True Lies? Well . . . no but it's an action film. However, I feel more than justified in picking at the final terrorist scene where Ahnold fires the missile with the guy attached and the little air-to-air missile flies straight with and extra 180 pounds hanging off it's nose! No way, no how. I'm not willing to let that one go uncall because--for the genre--it's *still* ludicrous. Now . . . if the creators of Batman and Robin did exactly the same thing, maybe I'd let it pass. After all, the set up for the movie is completely different. You have guys running around in rubber suits, you have Robin hanging onto the side of a rocket, etc., etc.)

Second minirant: I'd argue that comics don't necessarily distract with the "sizzle" of their art. Rather, they slide a lot of description into your mind on a more subconscious just take it in, and the story continues. You may have a preference for having everything described in text, but to have it as a picture doesn't make it less rich or complex - it just attacks your senses in a different manner.

(Note from Phil: Of course, the following is just my opinion but I have a hard time accepting visual mediums like films, television or comics as the equivalent of literature as story telling media. As far as I'm concerned, nothing in those comes even close to true, high-quality literature. When was the last time a film exceeded the book on which it was based? Even Jurassic Park was a far, far, far better story in book form than it was on the screen. About the only thing that has ever intrigued me as a story-telling medium in the "visuals" has been J. Michael Strazinski's Bablyon 5. But there you have a genre that extends beyond the limits of episodic television because the creator had the wherewithall to do his homework and create an entire universe before the pilot every aired. But even still--given the option of encountering the B5 universe as a series of novels or watching it on television--I would opt for the novels because there is so much more story-telling room in the novels. And if they were well written, a series of novels telling the story of the B5 universe would be better. They might not make as much money but they would be better. And, in case, you doubt that assertion, I would simply offer that JMS wrote every script for the third season of B5. I think that was something like 22 scripts. Can you imagine someone writing 22 real novels in one year? Even 22 mass-market novels? [Adult novels, not 100 page, kiddie books.] Why not? Because literature is more demanding. It's just words and everybody has the same words. And it's hard work. And that kind of hard work sometimes produces literature that is truly wonderful.)

In an attempt to swerve back on topic: About Batman Canonicity. I recommend only using the movies themselves as canon. DC has changed their universe enough times that there are separate lines of canon for pretty much everything they make (at one point, Batman married Catwoman; at another point, Catwoman was black [as opposed to the white ecoterrorist she seems to be these days]). Of course, they've probably managed to fail to maintain canon even within the set of movies (Gotham is certainly prettier these days).

Oh, and if anyone wants to know the sordid details about how really painfully bad comics (X-Clones, and such) are made, feel free to ask me.

Joe Griffin: Some responses, additions, etc.:

Not only do we hope Wilfred (love those Brit naming conventions) has a system capable of reading Alfred's CD-R, we hope he's computer savvy at all! Hasn't he been head butler to the Dalai Lama or some Eastern Grand Poobah in a third world country for the past forty years? And then to make him putz around trying to read Alfred's mind for the password...

Is it just me or is the BatSecret (his real identity) simply the worst-kept secret in Gotham? And why don't they even try to protect it anymore? Alfred even assumes that Babs will get down there eventually, and makes her a suit!!?!! Since the first woman to do this was Vicki Vale, do we assume he also does rubber and latex tailor work for all of Bruce's girlfriends, in anticipation of that moment when they finally figure it out?

Ahh-nold went below and beyond his very worst action-film cliches here.

Opening sequence: First of all, the only other opening sequence that made me want to leave the theater this much was Goldeneye. Second, ice skate blades in the boots? Ice skate blades in the boots? I know Bats tries to be as universally prepared as possible, but ICE SKATES IN THE BOOTS???!??

Batmobile notes: In the comic book, sometime in the late '70s, they introduced the guy who designs and builds the Batmobiles. He's a Hollywood stuntman(!) whose life Bats once saved.

Looks like for this and the previous BatFlick, Mr. Shoemacher spent most of his postproduction time watching old Batman episodes from the '60s. Only this time the X-games must have pre-empted them one day.

Of course Alfred's using a Mac; it's so he can make all the folders look like little Batsignals...

Uma Thurman also appeared as a blonde in "Even Cowgirls Get the Blues," but it was a terrible adaption of a terrific book.

Jim Ferris asks whether the comics or the TV show is canonical. Let's see: the comics started in 1939, and the TV show was based on the comics starting in 1965-ish. Seems the comics have seniority. But further, the Batman comics changed radically from the '40s to the '50s, and into the '60s, becoming much lighter and goofier. Batman changed from a dark, vengeful psychotic to a cheerful, happy-go lucky guy battling brightly costumed goons on top of giant appliances. The movies are actually similar enough to this Batman that I wouldn't be surprised to see Bat-Mite in the next film. However,(and this is where the problem is for me and most of my friends), in the '70s, Dick Grayson grew up and left Bats alone, and he turned back into a brooding, dark detective type with no sense of humor who just kicked butt all the time. This is the guy I grew up with. And this seems to be the version of Bats that made it into Frank Miller's Dark Knight books, arguably the comics series that sparked off the public interest that spawned the first BatMovie in '89. So there's really darn little internal consistency of character in the comics, certainly not enough to consider the comics canonical without narrowing the canon to a specific decade. All in all, I'd say the creators are attempting to make the films internally canonical (i.e. The Joker killed Thomas and Martha Wayne in the first film).

Paul Lalli: Okay, most of my nits have already been stated (ie: comic book physics, Batgirl is Gordon's daughter, not Alfred's niece, etc)

Am I the only one who had a real problem with Ahnold being cast as Freeze? I realize I'm not that well versed in the Batman universe (I watch the new cartoon and I've seen some of the old Adam West shows), but I thought that Freeze was supposed to be a relatively dorky scientist type, who's only strength came from that amazing suit he starting wearing after his accident. IMO, Rick Moranis would have made a more logical Freeze. (Then again, maybe someone w/ Moranis's physique couldn't wear a suit that heavy that long)

Note to any guys planning on seeing this movie with their girlfriends -- be prepared not to stare too hardly at the screen when Barbara suits up the first time. The EXTREME close up of Silverstone's breast plate made for a rather uncomfortable situation with my girlfriend sitting right next to me.

IMO, they're trying to cram in too many new characters in this movie. In the first, Joker was introduced as the new character in Gotham. The second featured Penguin and Catwoman. The third had Riddler, Two Face, and Robin. And now in this one, TPTB tried to fit in Poison Ivy, Bane, Mr. Freeze, and Batgirl. There simply wasn't enough time to develop each of these characters well enough.

As far as I know, in the comics, TV show, and cartoon, B & R never found out who Batgirl was under her mask, and vice-versa. (I personally think they should have included the line from The New Adventures of Batman and Robin in which Batgirl first appears: Robin, separated from Batman meets her first. When the kids finally meet up with Batman, he says "I see you brought a date" (or something like that). Then came my favorite line in the cartoon -- Robin: "Me? I thought she was with YOU; she has YOUR taste in clothing!!")

As for someone's comment that the Batmobile was supposed to be destroyed last time around, this was explained in the movie. When the Dynamic Duo leaves the cave the first time, Alfred shouts to BM: "Sir, DO try to bring this one back in one piece this time!" Obviously someone constructed a new Batmobile for them between the two movies - though it does seem strange that _this_ one is only a single seater, seeing as how BM has just now acquired a partner.

I realize Alfred was on his death bed, but his comments to Barbara seemed rather harsh. "Never look at the contents of this disk -- it can't be trusted to anyone except family" Sooooo, Al doesn't consider her family? (Unless he was secretly trying to tell her to look at the CD) Also, when did he have time to reprogram his intruder alert siren and create a Batsuit for Barbara? He was deathly ill, and (I thought) Barbara's arrival was a surprise.

Well, ol' Dick doesn't try to hide his desires very much does he? ("PLEASE be looking for me!!") Way to approach a beautiful woman, Dick.

Mike Leinoff of Glens Falls, NY: I have to say that I'm ashamed to read this page of nits for Batman & Robin. We seem to have degenerated from a group of fun-loving, cheerful nitpickers, into an unruly mob of snide, obnoxious critics. What happened to "All nitpickers shall perform their duties with light-heartedness and good cheer?"

Now I haven't seen the movie yet, but I can't believe that it's so bad that it deserves the kind of relentless bashing we have been giving it. Years of work and over a hundred people must have contributed to putting this film together. Yet it's so easy for us to sit back and scoff at how terrible "Batman & Robin" was. Come back and tell me how bad a picture is someday when making a movie is as easy as criticizing it.

(Note from Phil: Well, first, these are Brash Reflections and I called them that for a purpose. As I state in the setup page for these pages, these are off-the-cuff, spontaneous, "I just finished watching the episode" reactions. Because of that, I feel like people should have a little more leeway in expressing their opinions. Second, I can't speak for anyone else but I really don't take any of this extremely seriously. We're talking about television and movies here! When I read comments from nitpickers, I assume that there is a grin behind them. [Now, if I was putting some of these comments into a real live book, I would rewrite them to make sure that everyone knew there was a grin behind them but I don't have that kind of time here!] I've found that it's easy to add more acidity to comments than was originally invested. Third, I personally hold movies to a higher standard than television. There are millions being spent here. And, people are paying real money to go see these movies after the studio-ites have spent millions assuring the populace that they will be worth seeing. If they aren't at least decent, I happen to think that it's . . . fraud. Now, I think I can say with some certainty that Batman and Robin is not "The Movie Event Of The Summer"--as it is still being touted. In case you haven't followed the "weekend grosses," B&R tanked after the first weekend. It opened at 42 million--which isn't surprising since, according to my source, the studio spent 40 million on marketing--dropped 65% to something like 15 million the next weekend and this last weekend dropped to 8.6 million. Evidently, the nitpickers aren't alone in their feelings about the movie! Fourth, the argument, "you can't talk until you've done it" really can't apply because very, very, very few of us are every going to get a chance to do it and if we applied that rule then we should all pretty much quit talking now because very few of us have done anything! ;-) But, that's the glory of this nation, we are allowed to give our opinions on stuff even though we don't know anything about! And in the case of television and movies, I feel it's perfectly justified because it's just entertainment! It's not like were talking about anything of any great import here! ;-) Fifth, I am perfectly willing to accept full responsibility for letting the Brash Reflection on this movie get a bit out of hand. The more I've thought about the butt shots in this movie, the more offensive they have become to me. Sorry, it's just the way it is. I don't go to movies to have rubber-clad posteriors shoved in my face. Sixth, if you're wondering why so many people have so little nice to say about the movie . . . you really should see it first. And, don't be surprised if you like it! If you're anticipating that it will be a less than worthwhile experience, you might have fun. In that case, this page has actually provided as service! ;-)

Brent P. Kolitz of Tampa, FL: After our heroes had defrosted the city, was I the only one who noticed that as someone (a police officer?) got out of his car, the "horizontal icicles" running along the car's exterior flapped in the air like the cheap, soft plastic they were? Maybe Mr. Freeze makes flexible ice. Overall, the movie's effects were pretty good, but this made me cringe -- it was like watching a school play.

Luke Allen: First, batbutts are nasty and we shouldn't have to see them.

That said, I'd like to point out that plants do move, and there are some that move relatively fast. The Venus Fly-Trap is fast enough to catch flies. It lives in poor soil and uses the extra protein. There is a type of fern that closes its leaves when touched. When the whole plant is shaken, all the leaves close up and it looks dead. This is protection from animals. Plants moving as fast as the ones in the movie, no. It's not even plausible in the comics.

Also, how did they get Harvey Dent's Two-Face costume? He died, plain and simple. And why, oh why, didn't they take off Freeze's costume?

Keep up the good work, but don't bash comics. Please. (Note from Phil: I like comics! I just think you have to factor the believability factor into the the genre ;-)

Rodney Hrvatin of Adelaide, South Australia: Like "Independance Day" and "Stargate" this film was all effects and no plot. What is it with these Hollywood types. That kind of trick worked 10 years ago with "Ghostbusters" (OK 15 years ago) but not now.

I loved Arnie and Alicia (even though her accent was as British as Kevin Costner's in "Robin Hood"). Uma was great too. Clooney was OK but not as good as Keaton. What is there to say about Michael Gough?? He's from "Doctor Who"- of course he's gonna be brilliant!!!

Now a couple nits...

Elle McPherson's character reminds me of...ELLE MCPHERSON!!!! Same drippy talk like "I'm trying to sound intelligent but it doesn't work" that she does in real life.

The people of Gotham must be REALLY dumb- how can they not work out who Robin is- his mask doesn't exactly cover the features very well. KISS do a better job at anonimity.

Richie Laskaris: As I recall, Batman exists in the 1930's. Remember in the first movie (with Michael Keaton and Jack Nicholson), the Joker and the gangsters all wore suits and hats. In Batman Forever, there is a part where Two-Face and the Riddler go on a crime spree. They take with them a bunch of musclebound goons in sleeveless leather vests and ski masks. They look more like professional wrestlers of the 80's than professional criminals of the 30's. The anacronisms continue, to a worse extent, in Batman & Robin.

It's been noted that Alfred uses a Mac in this movie. Not only is he using a Mac, but he is also using a laptop--a relatively modern invention. Of course, he's also using a *computer*, which in itself is silly since we all know the patent for the first transistor was filed in 1948! I find the use of laptops in the 30's on the verge of unbelieveable, but given Batman's penchant for toys, not completely impossible. One thing I just can't forgive is Alfred's use of a WRITABLE COMPACT DISC. These things were even used in Batman Returns!

Sean Savage of Rochester, MN: First of all, I establish the fact that I am an ardent Mac user. So... [Concerning Alfred using a Mac,] Why is this a nit? Apple payed for this movie, all the computers are Macs. Even the one in the observitory. (You could also tell that it's a Mac by the Apple logo in the upper right corner.)

In fact Alfred is using the 20th Aniversery Mac, which does not have a recordable CD drive on it.

If the afore mentioned "nit" refers to the look of the operating system Alfred used, that can be disputed by the fact that Mac OS8 is coming out like next month. Never did they say when this movie was supposed to take place. Otherwise Alfred could download a control panel called Kaleidoscope, that lets you modify the look of the operating system.

Also, it looks to me that BatGirl is using an (white) Apple Emate. The Emate has a Monochrome LCD screen, and is based on the Newton OS. Not a color CRT with Mac OS as shown.

7/14/97 Update

(Note from Phil: And continuing with the opinions expressed for or against this movie . . . ;-)

Doug Brooks: Let me update you on my feelings about the summer movies. "Lost World" was totally awful, "Men in Black" was a disappointment (all the good stuff was in the trailer), "Batman and Robin" was excellent, and "Face/Off" was the best of all. I'm really looking forward to "Contact" on Friday, and I'm going to see "Conspiracy Theory" because Patrick Stewart's in it. That's all for now. I'm looking forward to both season premieres for Star Trek. It ought to be fun.

Jessica Greenlee: All of my nits (and then some) have been taken already, but I wanted to weigh in on the "I _liked_ this movie" side. It was fun! It didn't take itself too seriously (I needed a break from that after the idyll at the end of _Lost World_), and it made for an enjoyable hour and some of entertainment. I doubt I'll see it again, but unlike the first movie, I didn't leave feeling slightly ill & depressed (also, I've always liked the character of Robin!).

Jennifer Pope, of Longview, Washington: Just to respond to Jason Liu; no, you are NOT the only person who liked this movie. A friend and I saw it together, and though we both agreed there were too many brainless fight scenes, we thought it was, at the least, decent.

However, though I appreciate the creator's efforts to lighten things up a bit, most of the jokes in the movie were pretty flat. Also, though Alicia didn't do a bad job as Batgirl, her character came out pretty 2-D as well. The fight scenes crowded out time which could have been better spent on developing this new addition to the Bat-team.

Mike Hanks: Quick reflections: I didn't like the movie overmuch, but I did like Arnie's performance. George Clooney makes a lousy Batman.

When Batman and Robin kicked their feet together to produce skates, I couldn't help thinking "There's NO place like home, there's NO place like home..."

Given the resistance Batman had in the last movie to having Robin as a partner, he acquiesed pretty quickly to having Batgirl as another partner (and with less justification, I might add).

Would the real Batman from the comics attend a gala costume party? I think not.

Pseudo-confirmed rumor has it that John Woo will be directing the next Batman movie. John Travolta for Batman, anybody?

I think if I lived in Gotham, I would have moved by now. It's a pretty dangerous place.

Nits: There's a phenomenon which astronomers call "light pollution." This is when the ambient light from the surrounding environment prevents them from seeing some of the dimmer stars. The more "light pollution" present, the fewer stars they can see (even with a powerful telescope). This is why observatories are always placed as far as possible from human habitation (since the light from even a small town located 20 miles away is enough to introduce light pollution). Given all of this, can you imagine the light pollution present for the Gotham Observatory, which is located in the heart of a downtown Metropolitan area? Clearly, this observatory uses a visual telescope (as opposed to a radio or x-ray (or whatever) telescope. These would be some VERY frustrated astronomers, since they wouldn't be able to see anything but the brightest stars in the sky.

Speaking of the observatory: Doesn't it seem sort of inefficient to have a satellite take a visual image of the stars, and then relay this visually to other satellites and then to the telescope? (And yes, it's done visually, with mirrors and/or lenses. Else they wouldn't have been able to relay sunlight.) Given that each satellite would, by definition, introduce an error into the image, this seems somewhat imprecise for scientific investigation. Even the Hubble Telescope doesn't do this. It takes a visual image of whatever it's looking for, then transmits this image electronically to the scientists on the ground, who then print it out.

Richie Vest II: Saw the film last week. Thought it was better than the last. Anyways, here a nit my brother and I both notice. When Barbara arrives at Wayne Manor, she says" Uncle Alfred" Then it goes to a wide shot We see Alfred come around the corner. In other words, She saw Alfred before he came around the corner.

Dave Craig from Waterloo, Ontario: At the beginning of the film, when Robin comes flying through the wall on the batcycle, the hole he leaves is in the exact shape of the Robin symbol. How'd he do that?

Does Freeze's gun run on diamonds as well? We never see him reload, even though he uses it extensively (especially in the first battle).

At the ice cream factory, Freeze's hockey team seems to be pretty cold in their Parkas, whereas the woman, who is dressed in next to nothing, seems pretty comfortable. (Whatever happens to her, anyway??) (Note from Phil: She was just eye-candy and a quick way to establish that Freeze only had eyes for his wife . . . which, of course, evokes the question: Why Freeze had the eye-candy there in the first place?)

At one point in the film, Ivy tries to kill Nora Freis by removing the power cord that operates the cryogenics tank. Back at her hideout, she shows Freeze the snowflake pendant Nora was wearing to prove to him that she really is dead. How did she get the pendant out of the tank? We find out later in the film that Nora is still alive, so she obviously didn't do any damage to the tank to get it.

For some reason, Batgirl's uniform consists of high-heeled boots. Does that really seem like proper crime fighting attire?? (Note from Phil: No doubt, they work in some kind of synergistic fashion with the zippers on the back of her thighs.)

The keyboard at the Gotham observatory seems to have letters on it, but they didn't appear to be in the standard configuration as the ones on the standard american PC Keyboard. (Note from Phil: Maybe Alfred is advanced enough to use the Dvorak keyboard?)

Matt Nelson: Well, I don't really have a nit here, but just a response; to the individual who believed "B/R" is supposed to take place in the 30's; this is not so. It has merely been the intent of the creators to emulate that "gangland 30s" feel for Batman, because it works so well to depict a crime-ridden city like Gotham. The reason you notice so many anachronisms that weren't in the 30s is because it's NOT the 30's.

7/21/97 Update

Joe Griffin: [Concerning the timeframe for Batman,] Actually, the Batman movie series has been a carefully-constructed study in anachronisms. Even back to the first film, where the bad guys dressed in '40s chic and the cops carried revolvers, but Bruce Wayne drove a new-looking early-'80s sedan to the corner where his folks got shot, and his mansion is wired for sound and vision with hidden microphones and chip video cameras (late '80s) even though the rest of Gotham is using old '50s mics for TV broadcasts, which are in color (late '50s at least) and Vicki Vale is covering the war in "Corto Maltese" using color film.

If you look closely, this tradition has continued. Batman doesn't take place in the '30s; not on this planet, anyway. And the '90s on this planet don't look like that neither. Guess what? It's a comic book! ;)

(Please read all my posts in the light spirit in which they are written.)

Chris Ng: The whole movie is pieced together out of the first three movies!

a. Poison Ivy died and was brought back to life. So was Catwoman.
b. Two-Face was exposed to a weird, damaging substance that changed him forever. So was Mr. Freeze.
c. According to my sources, Joker fell into a vat of something that changed him forever. So did Mr. Freeze.
d. The first time the Riddler met Bruce Wayne, he gave Wayne a proposal for a project and was politely declined. So did Poison Ivy.
e. Riddler worked for Wayne Enterprises. So did Poison Ivy.
f. Batman had a thing for Catwoman. Same with Poison Ivy.

(Note from Phil: Well . . . there are only so many plots and characters in the world! ;-)

Watch the Batman movies. Pay special attention to all the technology, like Mr. Freeze's freezing ray and the Batmobile's camouflage capability in 'Batman Returns.' All this when they're still using BLACK-AND-WHITE TVS!?!?! (At least, according to the cartoons.) (Note from Phil: See Joe Griffin's note above.)

How about that recording view of Poison Ivy when she says that line about killing Nora Friez. Just how did Batman get that shot? He was up on the ceiling, fighting the vines, Robin was getting filmed forwards and backwards in the water, and somehow I don't think Batgirl had enough sense to slap on the recorder. After all, why should she? Is she commemerating her first battle with a home video? (Tee hee hee...)

Once again, look at all the technology. Thermal warmers, palm-sized video recorders, and those little Romulan-disruptor-shaped laser torches. Why does Batman need all this stuff? It's a wonder he can move at all, what with all the Bat-gadgets he's got.

Where's the Batarang?

And, finally... I agree with everyone's opinion about Bane. The 'correct,' 'uncorrupted' Bane is intelligent, strong, a masterful villian in his own right. Just like Mr. Freeze should have been. Both of them could have had their OWN movies and done well! Bane is fabulous! And look at him now.

Peter Shu: Unlike many people, I found this film refreshing from the other films. There's no harm in a lighter Batman. It's just a movie, people! Anyway in reading through the numerous nitpicks, I just wanted to reply to one of them. Someone said that when Barbara is trying to break into the CD, the words "Love, Peg" weren't on the photo, then they were. This was obviously a flashback to what she saw previously in Alfred's room and not some magical photo. Anyway, I saw this film 3 times. To me, it gets better with each viewing.

Joe Bonar: We are glad nobody has seen this yet(but many got close) In the scene where Batman and Robin click their heels and produce ice skates. Next scene, they can be seen on INLINE SKATES. Also not that the other henchmen are also wearing inline skates. Also From what i know The introduction of batman in this movie is exactly like the one in 'Forever', only instead of a colseup on batman they cut to Robin

If you would like to add some comments, drop me a note at Please put "Batman and Robin" in the Subject line and include your real name, city and state (or province and county as the case may be) in the body of the e-mail so I can give you credit if you are the first person to bring up a particular nit. (Remember the legalese: Everything you submit becomes mine and you grant me the right to use your name in any future publication by me. I will do my best to give you credit if you are the first person to submit a particular nit but I make no guarantees. And finally, due to the volume of mail received at Nitpicker Central, your submission may or may not be acknowledged. However, your submission will earn you a membership in the Nitpickers Guild if you are not already a member!)

Copyright 1997 by Phil Farrand. All Rights Reserved.