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Reviews » DVD Video Reviews » Batman: The Movie (1966)
Batman: The Movie (1966)
Fox // Unrated // August 21, 2001
List Price: $19.98 [Buy now and save at Amazon]
Review by Earl Cressey | posted July 31, 2001 | E-mail the Author
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Review:
Batman: The Movie (1966)

Movie:
Batman: The Movie, originally released theatrically in 1966, followed on the heels of the very successful Batman TV series. Originally the film was to be made first, as an effort to sell the TV series, but when the series was green-lighted before the film, the movie was pushed back and was finally completed and released in 1966. The film stars Adam West (Batman/Bruce Wayne), Burt Ward (Dick Grayson/Robin), Lee Meriwether (Catwoman/Kitka), Cesar Romero (Joker), Burgess Meredith (Penguin), and Frank Gorshin (Riddler).

When the yacht carrying both Commodore Schmidlapp and his "total dehydrator" invention are abducted, Batman and Robin are called in to recover them. However, they face not one, but four of their most vile villains – Penguin, Joker, Catwoman, and the Riddler. Soon, the fearsome foursome's motive is revealed – they plan on capturing all nine members of the United Nations Security Council. With the fate of the entire world in their hands, the dynamic duo must find a way to stop their foes before its too late.

While I was born quite a bit after the film's original debut, I have many fond memories of catching the movie on TV as a kid, and I was eager to revisit it on DVD. Anyone unfamiliar with the film should know that its intentionally campy with some bad dialogue and acting, but the film is quite funny because of it. Somehow, the actors involved all seem to be able to deliver their lines with straight faces, and West's deadpan tone is hilarious. However, the film does drag a bit and it might have limited appeal to those who grew up with Tim Burton's vision of Batman. Nevertheless, it's an enjoyable flick, and I'm glad that it's finally a part of my collection.

Picture:
Batman: The Movie is presented in its original theatrical aspect ratio of 1.85:1 anamorphic widescreen. The transfer is simply awesome for a film 35 years old: the only defects in the print are some specks, other than some slight grain in the stock "Polaris Missile" footage. Colors are vibrant and stable with no smearing, flesh tones are accurate, and blacks are rich.

Sound:
Batman: The Movie is presented in a new Dolby 2.0 Stereo track in English and the original Dolby 2.0 Mono track in English and French. Differences between the stereo and the mono tracks are slight: the stereo track does open up the sound stage somewhat, but not much. Dialogue is understandable throughout, but there is some hiss on occasion. Optional subtitles are available in English and Spanish.

Extras:
Batman: The Movie contains a terrific array of extras that are sure to please both fans and newcomers. First up is a newly recorded screen-specific audio commentary with West and Ward. The commentary is quite entertaining, as the two discuss everything from making both the TV series and the movie to their tights. The commentary was quite a fun listen, and fans will definitely want to check it out. Next up is the new sixteen-minute "Batman Featurette." The featurette contains all new interviews with West and Ward, and the two talk about the filming of the movie, the new gadgets in the film, the locations the film was shot at, and even the original screen test that brought the two of them together. Next we get the six-minute featurette titled, "The Batmobile Revealed," in which George Barris, the original designer and builder of the Batmobile, shares how the car was built and talks about the gadgets and how they worked. Two still galleries, "From the Vaults of Adam West" and "Behind the Scenes" present close to a hundred stills, which show everything from vehicle designs, posters, publicity photos, and shots of the cast and crew. Rounding off the disc are the film's theatrical trailer, the film's Spanish trailer, the teaser trailer, and the Planet of the Apes DVD box set trailer.

Summary:
Fox has exceeded my expectations for Batman: The Movie, delivering a DVD experience that no fan of the film should miss. The transfer is incredible for the film's age, and the extras are top-notch. This coupled with the low MSRP of $19.99 makes this a must-get. Highly Recommended!

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