Totally drained after a week of working your ass off for the weekend? Sounds like it's time for a camp-out! And no, we ain't talkin' s'mores, sing-a-longs and psycho killers. (Although, they may very well make questionable individual appearances.) What we're really talking about is getting in touch with your guilty pleasure zone. Every third Saturday, Emily (our resident camp connoisseur) will lead you through one of the best of the worst movies of all-time. It's gonna be awesome—and terrible!—all at the same time!
BATMAN & ROBIN (1997)
Call me a terrible inauthentic not-so-secret fangirl, but I have absolutely no desire to see either X-Men: First Class or The Green Lantern.
The former seems much too serious for my tasteless liking and the latter, well, just looks awful. Perhaps it has something to do with their relentless reliance on CGI (cough, Green Lantern, cough) or poor casting choices (a brunette Blake Lively, really?!), but both superhero-focused films seem to be garnering mixed responses from critics. The Green Lantern especially. Ebert called it "childish" (but better than Thor). Travers was more blunt, dubbing it "shamelessly soulless" and a "new primer for how not to make a comic book movie unless you want to screw shit up." He doesn't mention it in his review, but I'm guessing the previous primer was last entry in the first half (at least in terms of release dates) of the now-dark-as-all-hell knight's big-screen saga, Batman & Robin.
When I went to buy this Razzie-nominated, universally-despised (13% freshness on Rotten Tomatoes, baby!) disaster movie/pun-house/celebration of perkiness of George Clooney's nipples at HMV, I attracted the attention of two different employees. Since I was buying a criminally cheap ($9.99 or 2 for $15 with another movie - I got Creepshow!) four pack of all the pre-Christopher Nolan flicks, naturally, they asked me which one I liked most. When I told them the honest-to-good-god-that's-awful truth, they put on fake smiles and laughed a bit too long. One even ventured to say I had "good taste." His pants then inexplicably burst into flames. WHY IT'S TERRIBLE:
- The title, and I suppose the very existence of this film, is just ridiculous. Not only was Robin (Chris O'Donnell) introduced in the previous film, that movie had an epic, finale-evoking title that really should never be attempted to be topped (Batman Forever). Unless, of course....you use an ampersand?
- As if the last film's title wasn't enough of a warning to Joel Schumacher, his former Batman/Bruce Wayne, Val Kilmer, passed on the project out of total disinterest. Well, at least that's what he said.
- This is the only movie of the first bunch not to have at least one Oscar-winning actor playing a villain....
- ....as a result, this is the first name in the credits. (He plays the Andre 3000 of supervillians, Mr. Freeze! If you catch my dead of winter drift...)
- Unlike the gritty Nolan revamps (Batman Begins, The Dark Knight) or Tim Burton originals (Batman, Batman Returns), which showcase the dark side (in terms of emotional weight and colour scheme) of the man behind the mask, his mobile and his oft-maligned metropolis, this film is nothing more than a steaming slice of sensory overload.
- Freeze's hencemen are, and I quote Robin, "the hockey team from hell."
- Freeze's fighting ensemble is a blatant, silver spray paint-heavy rip-off of Buzz Lightyear's everyday attire. Not cool, Freeze. NOT COOL.
- In an attempt to inject some much-needed sensitivity into the otherwise hyperactive plot, there is a whole side plot about Batman's long-time butler, Alfred, and his poor health. It might have worked in an earlier film, but in between all the flashy costumes and made-for-Burger-King-kids-meals sets, it seems forced.
- When they click their heels, Batman & Robin aren't taken back home to the Wayne manor. They're given the power - to ice skate?
- The latest tool in the bat cave....rubber lips?!
- There is no "Kiss From a Rose" on the soundtrack. Just some forgettable R. Kelly and Goo Goo Dolls tracks
- I don't know about you, but I love me some ampersands.
- This is what get, right off the big bad bat. (Yeah, I did!) In case you're unfamiliar with latex body suits, what you're seeing is Batman's (& Robin's!) rock-hard, suit-encased ass and matching cod piece!
- I actually kind of like the ridiculous costumes and over-the-top colours. And you will too, if you've got a hankering for highly stylized summer blockbusters. Unlike the earlier (and later) films, this actually looks like a comic book come to life.
- After Val stepped out of the batsuit, George Clooney stepped in. Cloons actually makes a pretty perfect Bruce Wayne thanks to his effortless charm (something Kilmer never had) and bad-ass stare. And he doesn't resort to this while suited up.
- Is that Arkham Asylum or Hogwarts?
- Mr. Freeze's first line, as he attempts to steal, what else, a mega hunk of ice (the wearable, wedding wear kind) from a museum: "The ice man cometh!"
- And the next: "My condition has left me cold to your pleas of mercy!"
- And the next: "You are not sending me to the cooler!"
- And the next: "What killed the dinosaurs?! The ice age!" (See also: "Everybody chill!", "Allow me to break the ice!", "Revenge is a dish best served cold!')
- Freeze's relaxing look. Hugh Hefner meets Uncle Fester.
- Honestly, the number of puns and terrible innuendos in this movie is record-breaking. I was going to list the actual number, but to be honest, I lost count. Also, I don't want to ruin the word play goodness for you.
- Batgirl is finally introduced - and played by none other than Cher Horowitz (a.k.a. Alicia Silverstone). And her appearance elicits the line: "We're going to need a bigger cave!"
- I didn't know Coolio moonlighted as an underground racing pimp.
- Uma Thurman plays a frumpy botanist who gets turned into a plant-based black widow -- after being infected by animal plant toxins her lab partner was hoping to use to create a super army of criminals! With venom flowing through her lips, pheromone dust in her hand and a new, infectious demeanor, she becomes the most saucy female baddie of all-time, Poison Ivy.
- Batman, on Ivy: "Great stems..." Robin: "Buds too."
- "Try not to make a mess....when you die!"
- Because of this hot mess, we never got to see another Schumacher movie. After it flopped at the box office, Warner Bros. started looking for a new director for the series. The rest is awesome, posthumous-Oscar-winning history.
- When Batman pulls out his credit car to pay for his bid in a super sexy rainforest-themed auction (yes, I said super sexy rainforest-themed auction), you can see that his expiry date reads, "FOREVER."