Advertisements

Tag Archive: Batman and Robin


It’s a twofold celebration:  It’s not only the 80th anniversary of the first appearance of Batman, it’s also the 30th anniversary of director Tim Burton’s visionary film, 1989’s Batman, starring Michael Keaton, Jack Nicholson, and Kim Basinger.  On this year’s Free Comic Book Day, May 4, Fathom Events has pulled together the first of the four original Warner Brothers Batman movies: Burton’s Batman and Batman Returns, and Joel Schumacher’s Batman Forever and Batman and Robin.  The four Bat-films will screen over four days as part of Fathom Events’ Batman 80th anniversary marathon.

My sister and I saw Batman on its opening night in June 1989, and stayed in our seats to watch it again.  The crowd erupted at every scene that revealed something iconic from the comics, but nothing compared to the ovation with the first appearance of the new Batmobile.  The excitement makes sense–audiences hadn’t been dazzled with superheroes on the screen in this way since Christopher Reeve appeared in 1977’s Superman, more than a decade before.  On the heels of Frank Miller’s success with the surprisingly dark and gritty four-issue mini-series The Dark Knight Returns in 1986, it was still a surprise when audiences got their first glimpses at Burton’s similarly dark, Gothic vision for the film.  His choice of then comedic actor Michael Keaton for Bruce Wayne and Batman drew the same kind of ire as any outside-the-box announcement today.  But Keaton was trying to show he had a different side, as demonstrated by his recent dark and outrageous role in Beetlejuice followed by his dramatic film Clean and Sober.  As for Jack Nicholson, everyone just wanted to seem him play the role his smile was made for, as the crazed, maniacal, murderous jokester The Joker.

So if you missed them the first time, you get Danny Elfman′s defining theme, plus Michael Keaton, Val Kilmer, and George Clooney as Batman, Alicia Silverstone as Batgirl, Chris O’Donnell as Robin, plus an arsenal of villains: Jack Nicholson as The Joker plus Michelle Pfeiffer as Catwoman, Danny DeVito as The Penguin, Jim Carrey as The Riddler, Tommy Lee Jones as Two-Face, Uma Thurman as Poison Ivy, and Arnold Schwarzenegger as Mr. Freeze.  And all four movies have in common Michael Gough as Alfred and Pat Hingle as Commissioner Gordon.

Continue reading

Advertisements

As with Peter Jackson and The Lord of the Rings/The Hobbit franchise, George Lucas and Lucasfilm have rarely let screen-used props and costumes out of their own personal or corporate collections.  From time to time costume components retained by production staff members or third-party contributors to the productions have surfaced at private auction, mainly parts of costumes including Darth Vader and Stormtrooper helmets, various weapons including like blasters and lightsabers, and model ship filming miniatures.  But never before has an entire Star Wars character found its way to auction, and one of the most iconic pieces in the history of film at that.  So when a beautiful, full-sized R2-D2 hit the auction block yesterday, deep-pocket bidders took notice.  In an exciting back and forth of increasing bids in $100,000 increments, it seemed the bids for R2-D2 wouldn’t end.  In less than 3 minutes the hammer stopped at $2.3 million for a total sale price (after factoring a 20% buyer’s fee) of $2.76 million.  This was not only the first private Star Wars sale to eclipse seven figures, it is the highest known price paid in public auction for a piece of Star Wars film history (a Panavision movie camera used by Lucas to film the original Star Wars sold previously for $625,000, the filming miniature model of the Rebel Blockade Runner spaceship from the opening scene of the original Star Wars sold for $465,000, and a miniature filming model of a TIE Fighter sold for more than $400,000).

Like many props in the film industry, this R2-D2, made of aluminum, steel, and fiberglass parts, was pieced together from many parts that had been used, retired, and refurbished throughout the Star Wars films.  According to auction house Profiles in History, who handled the sale yesterday at its offices in Calabasas, California, the anonymous seller sourced the many robotic components together over several years.  And, indeed, Profiles in History has demonstrated via photographic evidence the R2-D2 can be screen-matched via its individual components to screen use in each film of the original trilogy (1977-1983) and the first two prequel films (1999-2002).  After several weeks of publicity for the auction, the ownership of the restored R2 unit and its sale at this auction was not disputed, and so the bidding got underway at approximately noon Pacific time yesterday.

Profiles in History staff taking phone bids during the auction said there was no time to celebrate the success of the R2-D2 during the auction–even after three days of the auction more than 500 lots remained to be bid on following the landmark sale of the droid.  The sale of the R2-D2 prop came only a day after Profiles in History sold the famous floor John Travolta danced on in the climax of Saturday Night Fever for $1.2 million.  A golden prop foot of R2’s pal C-3PO went unsold at the auction, but in December 2008 Profiles in History sold a golden prop head of C-3PO, worn by actor Anthony Daniels, for $120,000.

Continue reading

Batman Night of the Owls hardcover cover

As someone who bailed a few issues into Scott Snyder and Greg Capullo’s Batman: The Court of Owls story arc in the monthly Batman comic book which spanned the bulk of the first year of the New 52, I found that I really enjoyed the crossover follow-on story as compiled in the late February hardcover release, Batman: Night of the Owls.  While you are either left scratching your head or enjoying the ride as the Batman “Death of the Family” story arc wrapped last week with Batman Issue #17, this new trade edition is one way to check out some other New 52 titles you might not otherwise try.  And it’s fun watching how several writers can make a crossover take place in one night over 14 issues.

It’s the first crossover of the New 52.  Batman: Night of the Owls collects 360 pages, including Batman Issues #8-9, plus the tie-ins from Batman Annual #1, Nightwing Issues #8-9, and Issue #9 of All-Star Western, Batgirl, Batman and Robin, Batman: The Dark Knight, Batwing, Birds of Prey, Catwoman, Detective Comics and Red Hood and the Outlaws.

Continue reading

AMC Theaters’ newest marathon event is tonight, the Dark Knight Trilogy Marathon, and with more than 60,000 advance ticket sales it has already become the biggest selling marathon movie event to date.  Starting at 6 p.m. and culminating with the premiere of The Dark Knight Rises at midnight, tonight is sure to be a big night for Batman fans.

Until then, for your viewing pleasure and to get you psyched for Batman night, here is a gallery of all of the Batman cars–the Batmobiles–that have appeared on-screen, from the TV series in the 1960s to today’s bulky offroad vehicle, featured on the lawn between the Hilton Bayfront Hotel and the San Diego Convention Center last weekend as part of the Comic-Con festivities.  The photos I took this weekend don’t do justice to these big, sleek, bad Bat-cars.

First off, above is the original 1955 modified Lincoln that became the Batmobile driven by Adam West in the original Batman TV series.

My favorite of them all and the best looking in person–Michael Keaton’s Batmobile from the 1989 Batman and Batman Returns movies.

Val Kilmer’s Batmobile from Batman Forever.

George Cooney’s Batmobile from Batman and Robin.

Christian Bale’s Batmobile “The Tumbler” from Batman Begins and The Dark Knight.

Christian Bale’s Batmobile from the new film The Dark Knight Rises.

Christian Bale’s Batcycle from the new film The Dark Knight Rises, on display in the Comic-Con exhibit hall at the Warner Brothers booth.  The cycle is a separating feature of the Tumbler.

Details for tonight’s movie event across the country:

C.J. Bunce
Editor
borg.com

Review by C.J. Bunce

If we didn’t have Batman #1 and Detective Comics #1, there would be a fair amount to rave about with Batman: Dark Knight #1, another DC Comics “New 52” title, written by Paul Jenkins with pencils by David Finch (interestingly the artist on this book has top cover billing over the writer, which I don’t recall seeing before).

First of all, the art is great and the Batman narration is as good as the other two main Bat-titles.  Note: I won’t be buying or reviewing a fourth title, Batman and Robin, since Frank Miller’s All-Star Batman and Robin series may have forever scarred me and averted me from a title focused only on that duo.

Here, Batman is again on his way to foil a breakout at Arkham Asylum.  But wait a second, isn’t that the plot of Batman #1? Didn’t these writers coordinate that kind of glaring oddity?  It could have been useful and interesting had they shown two sides of the same event, but the writer shows us no indication here of that happening.

A new twist is an internal affairs detective who is pretty savvy to Bruce Wayne’s support of Batman, including getting too close for comfort to a likely background relationship between Bruce and Commissioner Gordon.

Despite some nice splash pages, good inks by Richard Friend and good color work by Alex Sinclair, this issue does not offer anything not available in another title.  It begs the question: Why not just give readers a weekly Batman comic that fuses 2-4 of these series together?  Soon we will be seeing more story elements tripping over each other, such as the fact that a presumably new “love interest” is introduced here (Jai Hudson) and yet we see Batman “linked up” with Catwoman Selina Kyle in the Catwoman series.  Continuity is just lost out the window.

If you have to pick just one Batman title to go forward with, you’ll be hard pressed to keep this as your keeper of the bunch.  For me, Batman is the series I plan to follow going forward.  Keep in mind that Batman is the busiest guy in the DCU right now, also appearing in Justice League, Catwoman, Batwoman.  Not to mention other Bat-zines like Batwing and cameos in every other book.  Can you have too much of a good thing?  I think we’re going to find out.

Here is some nice pencil work by Finch:

Ultimately Dark Knight may be one of the victims of trying something as ambitious as releasing 52 new series at once.  It makes you wonder if the writers and artists realize how much they really are competing against each other for consumers’ dollars.  It is unfortunate because even having a nice piece of work such as this result may not keep you in the running when you’re in the leagues with other equally good creators.