Friday, March 9, 2012

"Batman & Robin" (1997)

Starring George Clooney, Arnold Schwarzenegger and Uma Thurman
Written by Akiva Goldsman
Directed by Joel Schumacher
Rated PG-13 - Violence, language, sexual themes
Running Time: 125 minutes

This movie sucks.

Batman (George Clooney) and Robin (Chris O'Donnell) are called to the Gotham Museum, which is under attack by the villainous Mr. Freeze (Arnold Schwarzenegger).  Freeze is stealing the largest diamonds he can find in order to power the suit that keeps him cold and alive, as well as his ultimate weapon, a 'freezing engine'.  Or whatever.

Meanwhile, in some random South American laboratory, weirdo scientist Pamela Isley (Uma Thurman) has been experimenting with creating plant/animal hybrids... or whatever.  Her lab partner, Dr. Woodrue, has used her research to create Venom, a super-steroid he plans to sell to the highest bidder.  He experiments on a local prisoner and creates Bane (Jeep Swenson), a massive, overly muscled, monosyllabic henchman.  ...or whatever.

After Woodrue tries to kill her with the Venom, Isley transforms into Poison Ivy, a sultry half-woman/half-plant (or whatever), kills Woodrue and takes Bane on a trip to Gotham to destroy Bruce Wayne.

Yada yada yada, Alfred (Michael Gough) is dying, his niece Barbara (Alicia Silverstone) shows up for some reason, Batman and Robin start bickering like dicks, and eventually there's some bullshit about freezing the entire planet and replacing people with plants.

Or whatever.

"Batman & Robin" is a flat-out terrible film.  The script is a jumble of horrific one-liners, terrible characterization and ill-conceived action sequences.  The plot, such as it is, is really just a bunch of loosely related nonsense as Batman and Robin stumble through encounter after encounter with Freeze and Ivy.  The entire film is conceived purely to sell toys, which is why there are plenty of extra gadgets and vehicles and costumes for every character.

The design of the characters and locations is ludicrous.  Gotham City is apparently nothing like a real place, with huge statues of muscular naked men one every street, sometimes even holding up buildings.  Every street and every room of every building is lit by garish neon lights and black lights, giving it a sickly, cocaine-and-candy-corn riddled glow.

The acting is even worse.  Schwarzenegger is no great thespian, but even here he's just a buffoon in a huge glittery suit.  Thurman appears to be channeling Hepburn or something, but doing a terrible job of it.  George Clooney is ill-suited as Batman, not even bothering to create differing personalities for Batman and Bruce Wayne.  The less said about Alicia Silverstone, the better.

"Batman & Robin" is an atrociously bad film.  It craps all over the Batman franchise, and its audience.  It works better as a parody, but even then... not really.  For parody to be truly great, it still has to be clever, and there's nothing clever about this film.  Seriously, nothing.  It's all so shockingly stupid that you're laughing at the sheer idiocy of it all.

There's not enough beer in the world to make this film legitimately entertaining.  If you're watching this movie, it's because you need to be ridiculing it.