Cert: PG Runtime: 125 mins Director: Joel Schumacher Starring: George Clooney, Chris O’Donnell,Arnold Schwarzenegger, Uma Thurman, Alicia Silverstone and Michael Gough
There is no defeat in death, Master Bruce. Victory comes in defending what we know is right while we still live
When you think of your all time low point in life, this was the all time low for Batman. Considered as one of the worst films of all time Batman & Robin is thought of as the bastard child of the franchise. New troubles have arisen in Gotham City. First, there’s a new super villain in town: Mr. Freeze (Arnold Schwarzenegger), a former doctor whose blood is laced with cryogenic liquid, causing him to be cold in look and feeling who plans to freeze Gotham until he gets the money needed to finish finding the cure for a mysterious disease that has stricken his wife. Second, Poison Ivy (Uma Thurman), a villainess with luscious lips full of venom, has arrived in Gotham with her hulking servant, Bane, with plans to team up with Freeze and prepare the way for genetically enhanced plants. Third, Ivy has caused a rift between the partnership of the Dark Knight (George Clooney) and the Boy Wonder (Chris O’Donnell). And finally, Alfred (Michael Gough), Batman’s trusted butler, has developed the same disease that Freeze’s wife has. It is in this time of need that a new partner, Batgirl (Alicia Silverstone), steps forward to help the two rid the city of evil once more.
And all I really have to say is who cares? Batman and Robin is a deliriously awful action movie that manages the tough task of being mind-numbingly dull with non-stop action at the same time. Watching this movie only makes me yearn for Tim Burton to return the franchise, because Joel Schumacher, with the help of screenwriter Akiva Goldsman, is ruining the series. To some extent, it seems almost as if though the both of them want to stray from as far as possible from the 1989 original. They don’t seem to realize what was appealing about the Batman character was the dark tone, his psychological need to take down criminals, and the fact that he was a loner. Adding Robin in Batman Forever was a mistake, but the addition of Batgirl is at least twice as bad. Speaking of the characters, that takes me to the performances, which are downright awful, enforced only by the equally atrocious dialogue (we get classics like “it’s the hockey team from hell!” and “Adam and Evil!”). George Clooney has definitely been the worst choice so far as both Batman and Bruce Wayne. He shows none of the quiet intensity of Michael Keaton, and turns his character into a cheerful rich man, far from the brooding and haunted figure Bruce Wayne and Batman should be. Schwarzenegger hams it up to no end, and I suppose that’s a little better than a flat performance, though I did hear the part of Mr. Freeze was originally written for Patrick Stewart, which sounds like a much better choice for the villain.
Uma Thurman is equally over-the-top, and Chris O’Donnell and Alicia Silverstone are a painful to watch duo. Even if the performances are bad, there would still be hope if the sets, special effects, or action scenes were any good. Unfortunately, there’s none of that in quality, either. The sets are garish, the special effects are cheesy, and the action scenes are dull and unrealistic, with Schumacher often directing them in a tilted angle for some unknown reason.The worst thing Schumacher did with the sets themselves is change Gotham City from a dark and grim society into some sort of flamboyant city. Gotham City simply doesn’t look the same. It looks, well, happy an cheerful. Plus, somehow, the whole city has gotten some sort of odd purplish tint surrounding it, along with statues and designs, most of which are plain overkill, that were never there in the previous films. It may seem rather harsh of me to say that this could very well have been the worst theatrically-released film in the last 15 or so years, but it certainly has deserved this dubious distinction. I can still see people regarding this movie with disdain years from now. Schumacher should of never got the job.