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Batman Forever 4K UHD Review

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“Batman Forever” is a fun Batman film.

Batman certainly has his hands full in “Batman Forever.” He faces off against Two-Face and his minions, falls for Dr. Chase Meridian, takes in a circus performer orphan (Dick Grayson) who loses his family in an altercation with Two-Face, grapples with his own past, ponders having a partner in Robin, battles a maniacal genius with The Riddler, and must stop an evil plot involving 3D, mind reading, and brain waves.

Back in 1995 when I was but a young boy, “Batman Forever” was my jam. I was (and still am) a huge Batman so I was already hooked by the fact that there was a third Batman film. Add in peak Jim Carrey, Two-Face, more vehicles and gadgets, the addictive soundtrack (seriously, I played this more times than I care to admit), and more explosive action than the previous two installments and you can probably understand why I was so pumped about this movie. Simply put, it hit me at the right age.

Looking at the film now, the viewing experience is certainly different, but the joy remains. After the darkness of the Tim Burton installments, it seems logical to revamp the Batman franchise with a fast-paced and colorful film that harkens back to the original Batman comics (not to mention the 60’s Batman series). Much like Tim Burton, director Joel Schumacher brought a fresh take on the Dark Knight. Yes, the script by Lee Batchler, Akiva Goldsman and Janet Scott Bachler might be a bit too ambitious as it juggles stories involving Batman/Bruce’s romance with Dr. Chase Meridian, Dick Grayson/Robin, The Riddler and Two-Face, but it all comes together well enough in the end.

Now the film gets a lot of flack for the campy humor, one-liners, bat nipples, the cartoon sound FX, and whatever Tommy Lee Jones is doing as Two-Face in this movie (my guess is he’s trying to hold pace with Jim Carrey) and those criticisms hold weight. However, I don’t feel those elements ruin the story at all. Again, the movie moves at such a pace that anything that falls flat is quickly moved past. On top of that, there’s so much to admire here. Elliot Goldenthal’s big and deeply underrated score, Rick Baker’s make-up work, John Dykstra’s visual effects, the interpretation of Gotham City, the easter eggs, the long overdue introduction of Robin, and an underappreciated subplot that delves into the psychology of Batman and Bruce Wayne that provides the character with more depth.

The cast is also largely worthy of praise. Val Kilmer does not get enough love as Batman and he should. He nails the Batman voice, he shines during action scenes, and his tortured and somewhat nerdy Bruce Wayne is fascinating. Nicole Kidman makes an impression as Dr. Chase Meridian as she is not only an intellectual equal, but, as mentioned above, helps Bruce/Batman dive into his mind. Jim Carrey may not deliver The Riddler from the comics, but there’s no denying that he goes all out here in a weird and cartoony fashion. Is it over-the-top? You bet, but you have no idea what he will do next and there’s something special about that. Chris O’Donnell is another actor in the Batman universe that is overlooked and it’s a shame because he crushes it as Robin. He had the monumental task of making an often mocked character come off as layered and hip and he did just that. The rest of the supporting cast also does fine work here such as Drew Barrymore, Michael Gough, Debi Mazar, and Ed Begley Jr. Also keep your eyes peeled for a young Jon Favreau as a background assistant character!

Video/Audio:

Presentation: 1.85:1 2160p. How does it look? Another impressive 4K transfer. The colors and lighting really stand out here.

Audio Track: Dolby Atmos. How does it look? “Batman Forever” was always a loud movie and this dynamic Atmos track services it well.

Extras:
* Blu-ray copy
* Digital copy
* Theatrical trailer
* A solo commentary by Joel Schumacher. While he does state the obvious at times, he does provide some behind-the-scenes information.
* A music video for Seal’s classic song “Kiss From A Rose.”
* 7 deleted scenes
* “Batman Forever: The Heroes”- Spotlights on Batman, Robin and Dr. Chase Meridian.
* “Batman Forever: The Villains”- The Riddler and Two-Face are featured here.
* “Riddle Me This: Why is Batman Forever?”- A vintage 23 minute special hosted by Chris O’Donnell.
* “Shadows Of The Bat: The Cinematic Saga Of The Dark Knight Part 5- Reinventing A Hero”- A 28 minute extra containing interviews, discussions about the film and its style, set footage, the characters and more.
* “Beyond Batman”- A 5 part extra that covers the production design, the stunts, score, visual effects and the costumes.

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June 11, 2019 - Posted by | 4K UHD Review | , , , , , , , , , , , ,

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