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Batman

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Batman

Batman & Robin
Theatrical release poster
Directed by Joel Schumacher
Produced by Peter MacGregor-Scott
Written by Akiva Goldsman
Based on Batman 
by Bob Kane
Starring Arnold Schwarzenegger
George Clooney
Chris O'Donnell
Uma Thurman
Alicia Silverstone
Music by Elliot Goldenthal
Cinematography Stephen Goldblatt
Edited by Dennis Virkler
Mark Stevens
Production
company
Distributed by Warner Bros.
Release dates
  • June 20, 1997 (1997-06-20)
Running time
125 minutes
Country United States
Language English
Budget $125–140 million[1][2]
Box office $238.2 million[1]

Batman & Robin is a 1997 American Chris O'Donnell, Arnold Schwarzenegger, Uma Thurman, and Alicia Silverstone.

Batman & Robin tells the story of the Dynamic Duo as they attempt to prevent Mr. Freeze and Poison Ivy from freezing all mankind to death and repopulating the earth with mutant plants, while at the same time struggling to keep their partnership together. This is also the only film appearance of Batgirl, who helps the title characters win in the end.

Warner Bros. fast tracked development for Batman & Robin following the box office success of the previous film, Principal photography began in September 1996 and finished in January 1997, two weeks ahead of the shooting schedule.

Batman & Robin was released on June 20, 1997 and has been called one of the worst films ever made. Subsequently, Warner Bros. cancelled the unproduced Batman Triumphant and the film series was eventually rebooted with Batman Begins in 2005. One of the songs recorded for the film, "The End Is the Beginning Is the End" by The Smashing Pumpkins, won a Grammy Award for Best Hard Rock Performance at the 40th Grammy Awards.

Plot

Batman and Robin fail to stop Mr. Freeze from stealing a cache of diamonds. They learn that Freeze was once a scientist named Victor Fries, who became dependent on a diamond-powered subzero suit following an accident in a cryogenics lab while working to save his wife, Nora, from a terminal illness called MacGregor's Syndrome.

Meanwhile, botanist Dr. Pamela Isley is experimenting with the strength serum "Venom" to create mutant plants capable of fighting back against mankind. She is angry that her senior colleague Dr. Jason Woodrue used her Venom to transform a diminutive prisoner into the "super soldier" Bane. She refuses to partner with Woodrue so he tries to kill her with animal-plant toxins and chemicals, causing her to transform into the beautiful Poison Ivy. She kills Woodrue with a venomous kiss and vows to establish botanical supremacy over the world.

Alfred Pennyworth's niece Barbara Wilson makes a surprise visit from England and is invited to stay at Wayne Manor. Later, Barbara finds the Batcave and creates her own crime-fighting persona with the help of a computer simulation of Alfred. The real Alfred is suffering from MacGregor's Syndrome. He is, however, in stage 1, for which Mr. Freeze has developed a cure despite being unable to cure his wife's condition because it is too advanced.

Ivy arrives in Gotham City with Bane as her henchman. She interrupts a Wayne Enterprises press conference at the Gotham Observatory where a giant telescope is being unveiled. Ivy demands Bruce Wayne use his fortune to safeguard the natural environment at the expense of millions of human lives, and Bruce refuses.

Ivy appears at the Gotham Botanical Gardens fundraiser, seducing everyone present with her pheromone dust, including the Dynamic Duo, who are there to protect a diamond from Mr. Freeze. When Freeze crashes the event Ivy is instantly captivated by his "ruthless charm". Freeze is captured by Batman and detained at the Arkham Asylum but is released by Ivy.

Ivy turns off Nora Fries' life support and makes Freeze believe Batman did it, persuading him that they should destroy Batman along with the society that created him. They plan to turn the observatory's new telescope into a giant freeze ray to kill all humanity to allow Ivy's mutant plants to take over the world.

Meanwhile, Robin is under Ivy's seductive spell and is rebelling against Batman. Robin goes to meet Ivy at her garden hideout, where her venomous kiss fails to kill Robin because Batman had prevailed on him to coat his lips with rubber. Ivy tries to drown Robin in her lily pond and entangles Batman in her crushing vines, but they are able to free themselves when Batgirl arrives and traps Ivy in her own floral throne.

Batgirl reveals herself as Barbara. The three crime-fighters arrive at the Observatory to stop Freeze who has already frozen all of Gotham. Bane attacks Robin and Batgirl, but they incapacitate him and restore him to his original human state. Robin and Batgirl save Gotham by using the observatory's satellites to reflect sunlight from outer space to thaw the city.

Batman shows Freeze video proof that Ivy pulled the plug on Nora and reveals that he, Batman was the one who saved her. He vows that Freeze will be allowed to continue his research at Arkham Asylum to cure Nora. Batman asks Freeze for his cure for the first stage of MacGregor's Syndrome for Alfred and Freeze atones for his misdeeds by giving him two vials of the medicine.

At Arkham, Ivy is joined in her cell by Freeze, who vows to exact revenge on her. Back at Wayne Manor, Alfred is cured and Bruce invites Barbara to live with them, joining Batman and Robin to fight crime as Batgirl.

Cast

  • Bruce Wayne / Batman
    A billionaire industrialist who witnessed his parents' murder as a young boy. At night, Bruce becomes Batman, Gotham City's vigilante protector.
    • Eric Lloyd portrays him as a child in a flashback.
  • Alicia Silverstone as Barbara Wilson / Batgirl
    Her parents had previously died in a car accident. Alfred, her uncle, was very close to her mother, Margaret. She is Alfred's niece and is an orphan, so Barbara is not Commissioner Gordon's daughter as in the comics - which is why her surname is Wilson, instead of Gordon.
  • Michael Gough as Alfred Pennyworth
    The trusted butler for Bruce Wayne and Dick Grayson. Alfred is dying of a rare disease from which Mr. Freeze's wife also suffers.
  • Pat Hingle as Commissioner James Gordon
    The police commissioner of Gotham City. He is close to Batman and informs him of numerous crimes.
  • John Glover as Dr. Jason Woodrue
    A deranged scientist who aims to create Venom-powered "supersoldiers" to sell to dictators and warlords in order to make millions. He is responsible for the creation of both Bane and Poison Ivy, the latter of whom kills him with a kiss from her toxic lips.
  • Vivica A. Fox as Ms. B. Haven
    Mr. Freeze's sexy assistant who flirts with him constantly. He is unresponsive, as he is still in love with his wife.
  • Robert "Jeep" Swenson as Antonio Diego / Bane
    Poison Ivy's bodyguard and muscle, who was originally a diminutive serial murderer. Transformed into a hugely powerful "Super-soldier" by the strength-enhancing drug "Venom", he was seen getting Mr. Freeze's suit back from Arkham Asylum, as well as fighting against the main heroes several times. Despite proving more than a match for Batman and Robin earlier on, he is eventually defeated by Robin and Batgirl after they find a way to stop the venom flow to his brain.
    • Michael Reid MacKay portrays him in flashbacks prior to his transformation.

Production

Development

With the box office success of Batman Forever in June 1995, Warner Bros. immediately commissioned a sequel.[3] They hired director Joel Schumacher and writer Akiva Goldsman to reprise their duties the following August,[4] and decided it was best to fast track production for a June 1997 target release date, which is a break from the usual 3-year gap between films.[3] Schumacher wanted to homage both the broad camp style of the 1960s television series and the work of Dick Sprang.[5] The storyline of Batman & Robin was conceived by Schumacher and Goldsman during pre-production on A Time to Kill.[6] Portions of Mr. Freeze's back-story were based on the Batman: The Animated Series episode "Heart of Ice", written by Paul Dini.[7]

While [9] Schumacher believed Clooney could provide a lighter interpretation of the character than Michael Keaton (in Batman and Batman Returns) and Kilmer.[4][10] The shooting schedule allowed Clooney to simultaneously work on ER without any scheduling conflicts.[5]

Patrick Stewart was considered for the role of Mr. Freeze,[11] before the script was rewritten to accommodate Arnold Schwarzenegger's casting.[12] Schumacher decided that Mr. Freeze must be "big and strong like he was chiseled out of a glacier".[4] Schwarzenegger was paid a $25 million salary for the role.[13][14] His prosthetic makeup and wardrobe took six hours to apply each day.[15] Thurman took the role of Poison Ivy because she liked the femme fatale characterization of the character.[4] Alicia Silverstone was the only choice for the role of Batgirl.[11]

Filming

The original start date was August 1996,[8] but principal photography did not begin until September 12, 1996.[16] Batman & Robin finished filming in late January 1997,[17] two weeks ahead of the shooting schedule.[5] The film was mostly shot at Warner Bros. Studios in Burbank, California.[4]

When comparing work on Batman Forever, Chris O'Donnell, who portrayed Robin, explained, "It just felt like everything got a little soft the second time. On Batman Forever, I felt like I was making a movie. The second time, I felt like I was making a kid's toy commercial."[4] He also complained of the Robin costume, saying it was more involved and uncomfortable than the one he wore in Batman Forever, with a glued-on mask which caused sweat to pool on his face.[18] According to John Glover, who played Dr. Jason Woodrue, "Joel [Schumacher] would sit on a crane with a megaphone and yell before each take, 'Remember, everyone, this is a cartoon'. It was hard to act because that kind of set the tone for the film."[4] Production designer Barbara Ling admitted her influences for the Gotham City design came from "neon-ridden Tokyo and the Machine Age. Gotham is like a World's Fair on ecstasy."[19] Rhythm and Hues and Pacific Data Images created the visual effects sequences, with John Dykstra and Andrew Adamson credited as the visual effects supervisors.[20]

According to Shadows of the Bat: The Cinematic Saga of the Dark Knight Part 6: Batman Unbound, Chris O'Donnell revealed that despite hanging out with Arnold Schwarzenegger a lot off set and during promotion for the film, they never worked a single day together. This was achieved with stand in's when one of the actors wasn't available.

Stunt coordinator Alex Field taught Alicia Silverstone to ride a motorcycle so that she could play Batgirl.[18]

Music

Like Batman Forever, the original score for the film was written by Elliot Goldenthal.[21] The soundtrack featured a variety of genres by various bands and performers, showcasing alternative rock on the lead single "The End Is the Beginning Is the End" by The Smashing Pumpkins, on the Goo Goo Dolls' contribution, "Lazy Eye" and with R.E.M.'s song "Revolution". R&B singer R. Kelly also wrote "Gotham City" for the soundtrack, which became the other song featured in the end credits, as well as one of the singles, reaching the top 10 in the United States and in the UK. Eric Benét and Meshell Ndegeocello also contributed R&B songs. Also included was the top 5 second single, "Look into My Eyes" by the hip hop group Bone Thugs-n-Harmony. Other songs featured included electronic dance elements, including those by Moloko and Arkana. The soundtrack was released on May 27, 1997, a month before the film.[22][23]

Marketing

The Batman & Robin film trailer debuted on the February 19, 1997 episode of Entertainment Tonight.[24] Warner Bros. spent $15 million to market and promote the film, in addition to its $125 million production budget.[2] The studio also brought in toy companies to be involved with pre-production, including the design of concept art and character illustrations. Director Joel Schumacher criticized Warner Bros.' strategy for Batman & Robin as being overtly toyetic. Various Six Flags parks (Six Flags Great Adventure, Six Flags Over Texas, as well as Six Flags St. Louis) all debuted coasters themed to the film (all of which have since been closed or re-themed to Batman: The Animated Series).[4] Taco Bell featured a promotional campaign including collectible cups and a contest with a replica of the film's Batmobile as a grand prize.

Reception

Box office

Batman & Robin was released on June 20, 1997 in North America, earning $42,872,605 in its opening weekend,[1] making it the third-highest opening weekend of 1997.[25] The film declined by 63% in its second week.[26] Batman & Robin faced early competition with Face/Off and Hercules.[2] Schumacher blamed it on yellow journalism started by Harry Knowles of Ain't It Cool News and other film websites such as Dark Horizons.[27] The film went on to gross $107.3 million in North America and $130.9 million internationally, coming to a worldwide total of $238.2 million.[1] Warner Bros. acknowledged Batman & Robin‍ '​s shortcomings in the domestic market but pointed out success overseas.[2]

Critical reaction

"If there's anybody watching this, that... let's say, loved Batman Forever, and went into Batman & Robin with great anticipation, if I've disappointed them in any way, then I really want to apologize. Because it wasn't my intention. My intention was just to entertain them."

—Joel Schumacher's apology for his work on the film[4]

Review aggregator Rotten Tomatoes reports that 11% of critics have given the film a positive review based on 85 reviews, certifying it "Rotten", with an average rating of 3.7/10, the consensus: "Joel Schumacher's tongue-in-cheek attitude hits an unbearable limit in Batman & Robin, resulting in a frantic and mindless movie that's too jokey to care much for."[28] Metacritic collected an average score of 28, based on 21 reviews which is regarded as "generally unfavorable".[29]

Schumacher and producer Peter MacGregor-Scott blamed the negative reception of Batman & Robin on Warner Bros.' decision to fast track production. "There was a lot of pressure from Warner Bros. to make Batman & Robin more [33] However, Janet Maslin of The New York Times gave a positive review. She praised Uma Thurman's acting, as well as the production and costume design.[34]

Batman & Robin was nominated for the The End Is the Beginning Is the End"). Batman & Robin also received nominations for Worst Picture, Worst Remake or Sequel and Worst Reckless Disregard for Human Life and Public Property. Ultimately, out of 11 nominations, Batman & Robin garnered only one Razzie Award.

Many observers thought Schumacher added possible Batman film because Batman was gay".[36] Clooney himself has spoken critically of the film, saying, "I think we might have killed the franchise",[37] and called it "a waste of money".[38]

Canceled sequel and later plans

During the filming of Batman & Robin, Warner Bros. was impressed with the [41]

Warner Bros. decided to consider a live-action Batman Beyond film and an adaptation of Frank Miller's Batman: Year One. Warner would then produce whichever idea suited them the most.[42] Schumacher felt he "owe[d] the Batman culture a real Batman movie. I would go back to the basics and make a dark portrayal of the Dark Knight."[43] He approached Warner Bros. about doing Batman: Year One in mid-1998,[43] but they were more interested in hiring Darren Aronofsky. Aronofsky and Frank Miller developed a Year One script with Aronofsky to direct, but it was ultimately canceled. Christopher Nolan was eventually hired to helm the next Batman film in January 2003, resulting in the rebooted Batman Begins (2005).[42]

In "Legends of the Dark Knight", an episode of The New Batman Adventures, three teenagers discuss their ideas about what Batman is really like. They briefly meet a youth called Joel whose idea of Batman reflects characterizations and costumes portrayed within Schumacher's Batman and Robin. The teens treat Joel's ideas with utter disdain.[44] In Watchmen, director Zack Snyder and comic book artist Dave Gibbons chose to parody the molded muscle and nipple Batsuit design from Batman & Robin for the Ozymandias costume.[45][46] The film is referenced in the Batman: The Brave and the Bold episode "Legends of the Dark Mite!", when Bat-Mite briefly uses his powers to transform Batman's costume into the same suit shown in the Joel Schumacher Batman films, before declaring it "Too icky".[47] The Batman from Batman & Robin later appeared as part of an army of Batmen gathered from across the Multiverse in "Night of the Batmen!", complete with the blue rubber Batsuit. Additionally, there were worries within Warner Bros. surrounding the negative critical reaction to Batman & Robin and how that may come to harm the success of the subsequent direct-to-video animated film Batman & Mr. Freeze: SubZero, which was originally planned for release at around the same time as Batman & Robin but was subsequently delayed.[48] However, SubZero received a far stronger positive response from critics than Batman & Robin, with Mr. Freeze's role within it being seen in a much more positive light, returning his popularity as a Batman villain to a level comparable to that reached by him within the two Emmy-winning episodes the character featured in of Batman: The Animated Series.[48]

See also

References

  1. ^ a b c d
  2. ^ a b c d
  3. ^ a b
  4. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n Joel Schumacher, Peter MacGregor-Scott, Chris O'Donnell, Val Kilmer, Uma Thurman, John Glover, Shadows of the Bat: The Cinematic Saga of the Dark Knight Part 6-Batman Unbound, 2005, Warner Home Video
  5. ^ a b c d
  6. ^
  7. ^ Paul Dini, Batman & Robin: The Heroes, 2005, Warner Home Video
  8. ^ a b
  9. ^
  10. ^
  11. ^ a b
  12. ^
  13. ^
  14. ^
  15. ^
  16. ^
  17. ^
  18. ^ a b
  19. ^ Barbara Ling, Bigger, Bolder, Brighter: The Production Design of Batman & Robin, 2005, Warner Home Video
  20. ^ John Dykstra, Andrew Adamson, Freeze Frame: The Visual Effects of Batman & Robin, 2005, Warner Home Video
  21. ^
  22. ^
  23. ^
  24. ^
  25. ^
  26. ^
  27. ^
  28. ^
  29. ^
  30. ^
  31. ^
  32. ^
  33. ^
  34. ^
  35. ^
  36. ^
  37. ^
  38. ^
  39. ^
  40. ^
  41. ^
  42. ^ a b
  43. ^ a b
  44. ^ "Legends of the Dark Knight". Dan Riba (director), Bruce Timm; Robert Goodman (writers). Batman: The Animated Series. October 10, 1998. No. 19, season 2.
  45. ^
  46. ^
  47. ^ "Legends of the Dark Mite!". Ben Jones (director), Paul Dini (writer). Batman: The Brave and the Bold. May 29, 2009. No. 19, season 1.
  48. ^ a b

External links


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