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Batman: The Movie (1966)

December 13th, 2011 Leave a comment Go to comments

The year was 1966 and the Batman television series was running strong. Twice a week we (or in some cases, our parents) were treated to Burt Ward backing up Adam West with both his boyish charms and his quotable, “holyisms.” Someone decided however that corny fight scenes and facepalm worthy dialogue weren’t enough so they made a movie. Did the movie hold “Bat-water?” Hold on to your utility belts…we’re about to go for a ride.

The Bat-Zooka…one of the movie’s redeeming qualities.

First off, you’d figure with an all-star cast the movie ought to be good, right? Turns out, no. The Penguin, The Riddler, The Joker, and Catwoman combine their wisdom and resources to try to perform the ultimate evil act…to turn the United World Security Council into powder. Yes, four great criminal masterminds want to turn a few people into dehydrated dust so that they can take over the world. With me so far?

I’m not sure which one I feel sorry for.

While capturing Commodore Schmidlapp (and the dehydrator that makes the above plot possible) on his real yacht, the evil doers lure Batman and Robin to a fake yacht that is being projected holographically by a buoy / bell-boy floating in the water nearby. The Dynamic Duo approach the fake yacht on their Bat-Copter and Batman starts to descend on the attached ladder. When they get close the yacht disappears and Robin overshoots, plunging Batman ladder first into the water. Robin pulls up bringing Batman with him, but not before a shark could attach itself to Batman’s leg. You’d figure, shark…human leg…Batman’s screwed right? Nope. Robin puts the Bat-Copter on autopilot and descends the ladder with a Bat-Shark Repellent Spray that makes the shark release its hold and explode once it hits the water. Batman’s leg comes out of the whole thing unscathed, must have been the tights.

Fact, sharks don’t have teeth.

From there on it is just a mess. For some reason, The Riddler happily launches missiles into the air that spell out riddles for the Caped Crusaders to solve. They have missiles aboard their penguin-like submarine but would rather dehydrate the council rather than blow them up? Ok…makes sense. Weapons of mass destruction are apparently no match for a proton-pack like device that dehydrates you.

If Egon were dead, he’d be rolling over in his grave.

The way the Dynamic Duo figures out who is running the show is hilarious. They’re back at Commissioner Gordon’s office recounting events, using their “wisdom” and “deduction skills” to figure out who the masterminds are. I can’t describe it…you’ll just have to read the excerpt.

Gordon: Could be any one of them, but which one? W— which ones?

Batman: Pretty fishy what happened to me on that ladder.

Gordon: You mean, where there’s a fish, there could be a Penguin.

Robin: But wait! It happened at sea! See? “C” for Catwoman!

Batman: Yet… an exploding shark was pulling my leg!

Gordon: The Joker!

O’Hara: [It] all adds up to a sinister riddle. Riddle-er. Riddler?

Gordon: Oh! A thought strikes me! So dreadful I scarcely dare give it utterance.

Batman: The four of them. Their forces combined

Robin: Holy nightmare!

This scene definitely qualified for a Picard facepalm.

At one point in the movie Batman discovers a bomb and has to dispose of it. Not a C4-like bomb mind you, but an Acme Wile E. Coyote-like bomb. We are treated to Batman comically running around the pier for a half hour trying to dispose of it, even commenting on the situation with “Some days you just can’t get rid of a bomb.”

Pretty much.

When The Penguin manages to infiltrate the Bat-Cave with five already dehyrdated henchmen, he uses water to rehydrate them and make them appear to subdue Batman and Robin. Little did he know, The Penguin accidentally used “Heavy Water Contaminated With Radioactive Waste” and this caused the henchmen to disperse into anti-matter upon being touched.

They may as well be wearing red shirts.

The villains actually succeed in turning the council into dust, but of course, the situation was comical at best. When you see four of the world’s worst criminals come in to the room you’d think you’d run, scream, or something? Nope, the council continues to argue, totally oblivious to the fact that one by one they are being turned to dust. The last guy to get dehydrated continues arguing as if nothing was happening. These people were supposedly man’s best hope at world peace and they apparently had the mental capacity of a turnip. The criminals probably did everyone a favor.

Geico, saving you fifteen percent or more on car insurance.

The end of the movie involves a fist fight aboard the submarine after Robin gets it to surface with Bat-Charges fired out of a cool looking Bat-Zooka. Batman and Robin manage to knock the horde of criminals into the water but somehow Catwoman pushes them both in. The Dynamic Duo and the criminals all splash around in the water yelling at each other for a while, somehow forgetting that they are mortal enemies and should be trying to drown each other. After Batman and Robin manage to take charge of the situation they “rescue” the council in dust form. Commodore Schmidlapp sneezes and dust flies everywhere, but luckily Batman pieces everyone back together with a Bat-Filter and they rehydrate, oblivious to even being gone and continue arguing. As a result of the mixing, they now speak each other’s languages and ergo, world peace is possible. I guess translators weren’t around back in the sixties? At any rate, Batman announces they should make an inconspicuous exit, by climbing out the window.

Blue, green, red, and bright yellow…yeah, no one is going to notice.

If you’re a big Batman buff and want a piece of history no matter how poorly it aged, then you should probably pick it up on DVD. Amazon has them used for about ten bucks, if you have nothing better to spend that money on.

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