12/1/07

R051 Batman and Robin

(1997, Action-Superheroes, color)

Riffers:

Mike Nelson, Kevin Murphy, and Bill Corbett

It’s like someone dared Schumacher that he couldn’t offend every sense at once.


Rating: ***

In a nutshell:

Pun-spouting demi-humans in fetish costumes do battle across a homoerotic fantasyland.

Summary:

What?  No love for Michael Gough and Pat Hingle?Our curtain opens on Batman (George Clooney) and his sidekick Robin (Chris O’Donnell) fighting Mr. Freeze (Arnold Schwarzenegger) and a gang of hockey thugs in the Gotham City Museum. As his name would imply, Mr. Freeze freezes everything in the course of his plan to steal a large diamond to power his freezing research (I don’t know, so don’t ask). Having finally obtained his prize, he boards the rocket he somehow smuggled in and blasts off with Batman trapped inside.

Robin clings to the outside, eventually breaking in to free his partner. They escape by using exit doors as snowboards to slide down the, um, empty air to pursue Freeze, now floating gently earthward on his on his five hundred pound gem-encrusted butterfly wings. When they finally reach the bottom, Freeze freezes Robin and makes his getaway while Batman races an arbitrary eleven minute time limit to unthaw his pal.

The utility belt equipment includes bat-whips and bat-handcuffs.Back at the bat cave, Batman and Robin share heated words while Alfred does that one thing and, um... Well, there’s this girl named Barbara with big lips played by Alicia Silverstone who like motorcycles and, uh, Uma Thurman gets buried in snakes and food coloring after sneaking into a professional wrestler factory and then....er, Alfred is dying of the same disease as a frozen woman, while Batman’s alter ego Bruce Wayne throws a lot of nonsensical parties so that he can step out with Elle Macpherson.

Does that make any sense? No? I still think I’ve done a better job explaining it than the movie. Sufficeth to say that everyone involved throws ice-related puns heedlessly about while rubber nipples, codpieces, and butt-cracks fly every which way. Uma Thurman appears quite often as Poison Ivy, but doesn’t get to do anything but ineffectually vamp until she finally gets chomped by a leafy deck chair. Freeze eventually freezes the city, after which Batman and friends unfreeze the city, after which Freeze agrees to cure Alfred in exchange for clemency.

Thoughts:

At least his costume doesn't have nipples.Lurid, nonsensical, puerile, insulting even to tubeworm levels of intelligence, inappropriate for all ages... I could go on like this, but it wouldn’t help. Is it for kids? The constant sexual banter and repeated close-ups of shrink-wrapped genitalia say no. Is it for adults? The obvious action figure product placement, the childish dialog, and the cartoonish behavior of the characters say no. Is it for action fans? The disjointed fight choreography, the invulnerability of the participants, and the complete disregard for anything even remotely related to physics say no. Is it for fans of cinematography, sound mixing, and/or art direction? The nauseating camera work, Bugs Bunny sound effects, and ubiquitous homoerotic colossi say no. It doesn’t matter what your sensibilities are; equal opportunity offender Joel Schumacher has included something to affront them. Not since Battlefield Earth have they done a film so hostile to its audience.

This is probably why Mike and company delegated the task of writing it to Chris Hanel and James Whistler of Riff Raff Theater, who, in turn, delegated it the forum denizens of Rifftrax.com. The only copy of Batman and Robin I could find was on VHS, preventing me from providing the DVD time codes necessary for participation, but many others responded with such excellent quips as “The airline lost my accent,” (referring to Alicia Silverstone’s supposedly British character, written by RevJones' Brother, performed by Mike); “How can he resist [Poison Ivy’s] lettuce-covered eyebrows?” (written by RoninFox, performed by Bill); and “It doesn’t count as a double-entendre if it doesn’t mean anything to begin with,” (referring to one of Ms. Thurman’s many failed attempts at innuendo, written by Insert Coin(s)to Continue, performed by Bill.) My only complaint is that the action sequences near the end feature very long gaps between comments—so long that I had to keep looking at my MP3 player to make sure I hadn’t accidentally stopped it. Quality-wise, however, this is good stuff. The gaps are the only thing that differentiates this commentary from one written by Mike, Bill, and Kevin. Hopefully the Rifftrax forum community will get the opportunity to do this again sometime, and if that happens, hopefully we’ll remember to submit enough comments to fill the whole movie.