Lively, entertaining reviews of, and essays on, old and newer films and everything relating to them, written by professional author William Schoell.

Thursday, October 22, 2009


BATMAN AND ROBIN (1997). Director: Joel Shumacher.

Batman (George Clooney) and Robin (Chris O'Donnell) have their hands full with the crazy Mr. Freeze (Arnold Schwarzenegger), when he teams up with the equally crazy Poison Ivy (Uma Thurman) and her silent confederate, Bane (Jeep Swenson). They hope to flash-freeze the entire planet so that the world can start anew, and Ivy's mutant plant-animals can overrun the globe. Alfred's niece Barbara (Alicia Silverstone) becomes Batgirl so she can help the boys overcome the threat. Absurd but colorful Batman feature is too silly, too campy, illogical, and way, way too long, but it has its exciting and amusing moments. The stand-out bit is a thrilling moment near the opening when the boys are aboard Mr. Freeze's runaway rocket; the climax also has its share of exciting stunts and last-second saves. George Clooney isn't bad as an ultra-cool, reign-in-the-emotions Batman, O'Donnell is perky, Silverstone is adequate, and Michael Gough is excellent, as usual. Schwarzenegger walks off with the picture, however. As the fragile Dr. Isley AKA sexy Poison Ivy, the attractively homely Thurman acts as if she's seen one too many Mae West movies and sometimes seems to be in a different movie from everyone else, but she's acceptable as a camp-villainess. The true stars of the picture are those responsible for the special effects (especially Arnold's amazing freeze gun) and for the stunning art direction and scenic design (the observatory building is something to behold). Script-wise, the movie sort of seems thrown together, and despite all the action, it seems three hours long. Former super-model Elle Macpherson makes little impression as Bruce Wayne's girlfriend, Julie Madison. Batman and Robin resembles the comic book from different time periods, with a bit of the TV show and cliffhanger serials thrown in for good measure. Very different from The Dark Knight.

Verdict: Kind of exhausting but fun if you're game. **1/2.

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