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Laramie Movie Scope:
Batman and Robin

A great-looking summer movie with plenty of good one-liners

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by Robert Roten, Film Critic
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June 21, 1997 -- "Batman and Robin," of all three Batman movies, is most like the old television show of Batman. It is outrageous, camp, over the top, stylish and not at all serious.

The first two Batman movies were brooding, dark films with tortured, evil villains and heroes who also had a dark side. This film moves away from the darkness into a strange world of Gothic-camp-psychedelic images.

Although this Batman, too, is an exercise in style, it is a decidedly different style. In one scene, for instance, we see Batgirl (Alicia Silverstone) and Robin (Chris O'Donnel) involved in a strange motorcycle race across Gotham City.

The sets are fantastic. The racers roar through tunnels lined with plastic curtains saturated with multicolored lights. It has nothing whatsoever to do with reality, but it is fun to watch. In another scene Poison Ivy (Uma Thurman) does battle with subterranean people dressed in strange costumes glowing in black light. It is a fantastic collision of darkness and light.

Mr. Freeze (Arnold Schwarzenegger) is the only character in the movie vaguely resembling the tortured villains in the first two films and even he can't resist a good one-liner to break the tension in the film's one dramatic scene.

Batman (George Cloony) strolls casually through the middle of this chaos, this jarring combination of psychedelic light and numbing darkness, casually tossing off one-liners. Practically everybody else in the film is over the top, yelling their dialogue instead of delivering it.

The film seems almost hysterical, nearly overcome with intensity and silliness. It is as much a parody of Batman movies as it is a movie about super heroes and super villains. By the time the film is over you could almost swear that heroism, villainy and comedy are all the same thing and maybe they are. It is an interesting ride. Schwarzenegger and Thurman are very effective in their roles as villains. The heroes aren't as interesting.

The real stars of this film are Stephen Goldblatt, the cinematographer, and Barbara Ling, the production designer. It is great film to look at. The movie in-jokes are quite good too. It rates a B.

Click here for links to places to buy this movie in video and/or DVD format, the soundtrack, books, even used videos, games and lots of other stuff. I suggest you shop at least two of these places before buying anything. Prices seem to vary continuously. For more information on this film, click on this link to The Internet Movie Database. Type in the name of the movie in the search box and press enter. You will be able to find background information on the film, the actors, and links to much more information.

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Copyright © 1997 Robert Roten. All rights reserved.
Reproduced with the permission of the copyright holder.
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Robert Roten can be reached via e-mail at my last name at lariat dot org. [Mailer button: image of letter and envelope]

(If you e-mail me with a question about this or any other movie or review, please mention the name of the movie you are asking the question about, otherwise I may have no way of knowing which film you are referring to)