Posts Tagged ‘Adam West’

Psst! Fox! DC Comics! Warners! Make ‘Batman’ on DVD happen.

July 21, 2009

So last summer, to commemorate the theatrical release of The Dark Knight, I did a ten-part review series called Batmania, in which I reviewed every Batman movie, in addition to some Batman-related spinoffs. I’m not going to lie—it was fun.

The first film I reviewed, Batman: The Movie, kinda’ baffled me. I knew of the campy TV series from the 60’s, but had grown up mostly with the dark Tim Burton-esque Batman (which, compared to The Dark Knight, looks a little campy itself). But recently I watched a documentary called Holy Batmania!, which explained the cultural climate surrounding the TV show. I finally got it–Batman was campy on purpose, because in the mid-60’s, anything superhero-related was considered poison. To produce a live-action show based on a comic book, the producers felt they had to be tongue-in-cheek about the whole thing, knowing that being ludicrous was the only way to get people to watch.

So now that I understand the context better, I want the series on DVD.

But there’s a problem. The original Batman TV series is like the one thing Warner Bros., DC Comics’ sister company, doesn’t have the distribution rights to. The show was produced at 20th Century Fox, but the rights to the characters still lies with DC. It’s kinda’ complex, and you can read a better explanation of it at TVShowsOnDVD.com.

Hell froze over a couple of years ago when Disney began releasing The Muppet Show on DVD, something I thought would NEVER happen. Could Fox, Warners and DC play nice (you kinda’ did it before, with the whole Watchmen lawsuit last year) and get a significant piece of Batman and television history out on DVD before my bones turn to dust? Does anybody have any new information?

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Batmania Part 1: ‘Batman: the Movie’

July 8, 2008

Those who know me well know that I am a huge Batman fan. I don’t read the comics (although I did as a kid), but I always look forward to the Batman films. Tim Burton’s Batman was the movie that changed my life. Batman Forever was the first film to truly disappoint me, and Batman Begins has become one of all all-time favorite films, and my favorite super hero film (with The Incredibles a very, very close second).

And with the anticipation building for The Dark Knight (in theaters July 18), I thought I’d review all six Batman films, beginning with the first: Batman: the Movie.

Released in the summer of 1966, Batman: the Movie was basically a super-long episode of the television series that premiered between seasons one and two. The series was intentionally campy (or so my father told me), which is baffling to me, because camp forces you to ask, what WERE they thinking? You’re not supposed to wonder what ARE they thinking? But according to my father, the Batman television series struck a chord with audiences until the end of season two when audiences realized that camp is a dish best served later and the show was canceled.

Batman 1966

What’s it about? Batman (Adam West) and Robin (Burt Ward) must thwart the combined forces of the Riddler (Frank Gorshin), Catwoman (Lee Meriwether), The Penguin (Burgess Meredith) and the Joker (Cesar Romero), who plan to dehydrate the most powerful leaders of the world. That’s right. Dehydrate them. Batman shows a shark who’s boss, sings the praises of a martyred dolphin, holds on to a bomb with the world’s longest fuse, vaporizes a bunch of goons, and…ah, who cares.

What’s good about it? Bright colors. Oh, and Lee Meriwether is hot.

What’s bad about it? Plenty–from the shoddy-looking costumes (Batman’s costume looks home made) to Cesar Romero’s visible mustache underneath his Joker makeup, to the drawn-out action sequences to the cornball one-liners, Batman: the Movie is so bad it’s bad. And boring. But oddly enough, there’s an earnestness to it all. It’s as if everyone involved with the making of it collectively said, “yes, we know it’s awful, and yes, we know you’ll hate it, but we’re going to have fun making it. Please be as nice as you can when you write your review forty-two years later.” And while I didn’t really enjoy this film, I have to admit that it is NOT the worst of the Batman films.

Perfect for: children, although chances are they can’t/won’t sit still through it.