Holy Camp-Induced Sexual Demons, Batman! For this week’s film, I watched:
That’s right. As a kid, I watched the Live Action Batman show on reruns and bought the VHS to the very first Batman film, Batman: The Movie.
I had no idea how campy this movie (and the show) truly was until I revisited this as an adult. My roommate and I went to Quentin Tarantino’s theater, the New Beverly in Los Angeles for a family-friendly matinee showing of this film. They had a man dressed as the Adam West Batman, and it was awesome!
This movie is (pardon the pun) batshit. Sure, there are moments like the bomb disposal scene or the infamous Shark attack scene (complete with Shark Repellant Bat-Spray), but the film has myriad more than that. For example, after removing the bomb from the Penguin’s henchmen-filled lair and disposing of it, Robin inquires as to why Batman would spare the drunken henchmen.
Batman responds: “They may be drinkers, Robin, but they’re still human beings.
Then, of course, there are these two “deductions.”
See, the bizarre campy moments keep on coming. I know a lot of this was intentional, but in hindsight, it’s amazing that this show (and movie) ever got made at all! Just to think that adults watched this and enjoyed it is surreal to me. I know it was a hit with children, but I’d love to talk to an older citizen who consumed this as an adult.
The film takes four of Batman’s most dastardly rogues and finds them joining forces to once and for all destroy the caped crusader. The Penguin (Burgess Meredith), Catwoman (played here by Lee Meriwether), The Riddler (my favorite, Frank Gorshin), and The Joker (Cesar Romero), concoct contrived and convoluted catastrophes to lure the Bat into his doom.
Their master plan is to dehydrate the World Security Council’s ambassadors and hold the world hostage or something relatively extravagant. Yes, they dehydrate humans into a pile of ash, then reconstitute them with the toilet water left in the device. It’s science, folks.
Adam West and Burt Ward were the original Dynamic Duo and their Batman and Robin had a sense of platonic innocence. When I first watched the ’89 Batman, I marveled at how well they cast Pat Hingle as Commissioner Gordon, as he nearly matched the look and feel of… Wait a minute. They MADE Chief O’Hara for the show, and Pat Hingle was essentially him as Gordon. My mind is blown.
What’s the franchise like?
Hmm, let me think. Whatever happened to that silly man in spandex and a cape? Probably faded away into obscurity. Oh well, that’s too bad. I wish that jerk in Dazed and Confused had a chance to play him…
Where/ when did I first see it?
I begged my Dad to buy this movie from our local supermarket in 1994. They had a small display (a tiny, black rack) near the video rentals. We bought the Big Box version.
How does it hold up?
It was wild to experience this film again. I honestly thought that I would hate it, or that I would be bored at how bad it was, but its cult status is well-deserved. And to that effect, it’s amazingly funny with its tongue firmly in cheek.
A few things to Note: Lee Meriwether only played The Catwoman in this film. In the show, it was played by Julie Newmar and Eartha Kitt.
Penguin. The fact that he thought he could fool Batman and Robin that he was Commodore Schmidlapp was asinine, even if that was part of a streeeeeeetch plan.
Oh come on! Of course the real Joker in this film was–
Burt Ward’s tights.
And THE JOKER! It’s the only time I can use such a category literally.
- If you have the chance, kill the Bat.
- Don’t leave a bomb that big with such a long fuse.
- ANYONE can seemingly solve your impossible riddles with some acid.
Where can you see it?
Check out Batman: The Movie on CanIStream.It?