Tim Burton

Sleepy Hollow

Year: 1999
Directed By: Tim Burton
Written By: Washington Irving (original story), Kevin Yagher and Andrew Kevin Walker

RYAN’S REVIEW

Our next movie lines up perfectly with the season and it will be where we kick off our month of horror movies for Halloween this year. This is a beautifully gloomy if not fantastic movie. It can set the tone for the season but it will never match up against the classics. It’s a spooky movie that looks great, but it doesn’t have that fear factor that the great horror classics utilize.

This is a fantastic Burton movie but I don’t think it’ll even stand up against others such as Beetlejuice or Edward Scissorhands. He got the look right but I find this to be Johnny Depp’s weakest performance among their collaborations. It’s not all Depps fault, the character of Ichabod is far from cool and hardly the type of character to carry a film.

I get that Ichabod Crane is supposed to be this way but the cowardly character does nothing to enhance the film, even with Johnny Depp in the part. He is so pathetically fearful, at one point even leaping away from a spider. He does nothing to evoke love or admiration and that’s a major flaw. You could argue Depp played the part well but it’s the character that is the problem. There’s no level of awesome or badass within him.

I really like Christina Ricci, but I grew up with a crush on her. I’m predisposed to like her whether she is any good or not. She’s not bad in this movie, but she’s no Winona Ryder.

The rest of this cast is full of regular Burton collaborators and they all help to make this movie really feel like Tim Burton. Depp, Christopher Lee, Jeffrey Jones, Burton’s then wife Lisa Marie, and Christopher Walken. With those guys in tow this movie looks awesome on paper. Burton gets to go wild with his spooky crap. Somehow he managed to miss the mark but at least it all looks good. The pumpkins, scarecrows, fog, and headless horseman give it a perfect Halloween vibe.

The headless horseman is awesome, played by Christopher Walken. He looks sadistic with no head and somehow more fierce with one. Even without his iconic voice Walken manages to be awesome. He has no speaking lines in the movie and that is a good thing. I love Walken’s voice but it would have been all wrong for the character he was playing.

I don’t love this movie by any means but I enjoy it. It is really aesthetically pleasing and it feels so perfect for the season. It’s a fun take on an old classic and they don’t pull any punches when it comes to chopping off heads. I remember when this movie was coming out it was a big deal how many people were losing their heads in this one. It’s not the best movie you can watch during this Halloween season but it’s not a bad one either. If you want something that feels right but isn’t going to scare or gore you then this is a perfect movie to watch.

 

Planet of the Apes

Year: 1968
Directed By: Franklin J. Schaffner
Written By: Michael Wilson and Rod Sterling (screenplay) Pierre Boulle (novel)

RYAN’S REVIEW

This is such a powerful movie. It’s coming up on a 60th anniversary in a couple of years and still has the power to blow us away. To maintain iconic status for such a long time is impressive. Despite the greatest effort and all the advancements in special effect they weren’t able to even come close to this film with a remake. Even the new franchise that took its name is simply living off the success of this film. The new Planet of the Apes franchise is really good and we will cover it in time but it still only stands in the shadow of this movie. In the pre-Star Wars era this was the greatest science fiction movie of all time. It came out the same year as the equally inventive Stanley Kubrick film 2001: A Space Odessey but this movie didn’t require an altered state of mind to sit through. That easily gives this movie the edge and even after special effects took hold of the genre this movie still stands tall among everything that came out after.

What made this movie great was that it was bold. It was more than the average movie made simply to entertain because this one sent a message, it had a purpose. This movie both subtly and seriously sent messages about humanity and the problems developing at the time that threatened not only society but the world in general. This movie made strong statements about  racism, animal cruelty, evolution, and the insane doctrine of mutually assured destruction. In the ape society there are clear class differences between chimpanzees, gorillas, and orangutans.  Zira and Cornelius are looked down upon not only for being chimps but also for being proponents of evolution. An idea that threatens the word of the almighty ape creator and the very foundation of ape law which all apes live by. The whole society is built upon the principles of ape law and anything that contradicts it is heavily scrutinized by the powers that be. There is a lot of secrecy within the ape society and the most powerful orangutan, Dr. Zaius, harbors all the information. When Taylor pops up his presence alone has the potential to spawn unwanted questions that can unbalance the entire order of the ape society.

The treatment of humans in this film is no different than the common treatment of animals hunted and kept captive at the time and even now in some cases. The role reversal that has humans on the receiving end of that kind of treatment was a bold statement by this movie in 1968. Seeing apes pose for pictures with smiles and faces of pride while standing over the bodies of dead men and women is both ironic and eerily unnerving.  This movie offers a very interesting look at a society in which humans are truly the lowest form of creature. It’s meant to be humbling I think, as arrogance is such a weakness for man in general. It was ultimately arrogance that even led to the circumstances in which the world has turned upside down when Taylor comes back to it.

Has there ever been a more insane idea than the MAD doctrine? The idea of mutually assured destruction seems so crazy it’s hard to believe that it was ever taken so seriously but it was. It is a lesson in history about the dangers of power and how it can manipulate men. Man finally finds the capability to destroy not only his enemy but everything there is. So in the event the enemy is able to strike first we can at least strike back and make sure we don’t lose. We can’t lose if there is nobody left to win. It’s absolutely frightening to think that the powers that be would ever be so foolish as to play games where the lives of every creature on the planet hung in the balance but they did. The world was a dangerous place when men built super weapons and pointed them at one another. Too often for anybody to be comfortable with there were times when things got so bad there was a man on each side holding his finger just over the button waiting for the GO order. That reality makes the big twist at the end of this movie all the more hard hitting and iconic. When Taylor is faced with the reality of where he is and what had to have happened he damns the men who made it happen. It’s one of the most memorable scenes of all time and Charlton Heston nailed it.

When I was growing up in the 90’s Charlton Heston was an actor of legendary status and even at the youngest of ages I knew him by name and reputation. I had seen this movie at a really young age and I remember so vividly my mom explaining it to me one day. Why the world would have been blown up and all kinds of other questions only a young kid could come up with. Something about those talks and this movie stuck with me from a very young age but the point is that I knew Heston from that part at a young age. As I got older in the mid 90’s I remember always noticing him in movies and how no matter how small the part his name was billed in the early credits. As if his presence alone gave the film another level of credibility. The two films that come to mind immediately are True/Lies and Tombstone. Nevertheless, Charlton Heston was bigger than any part he ever played. His role in this movie was great and he is, as much as so many other reasons, a big part of why this movie is still relevant today. Heston was more than Taylor though. He was Moses, Ben Hur, he was the freaking NRA, he was a lifetime of achievement that everyone took note of.

I have no strong opinions about the ownership of guns and I have no opinion as to the position of Heston as the President of the NRA organization. His “cold dead hands” speech will live on forever but it matters little to me as I don’t take much position in the matter. I was a fan of Michael Moore’s Bowling for Columbine but even with everything I liked about that movie I was always bothered by what Moore did to Charlton Heston. He made the man look bad because he was trying to be a zealous political ass and it was such a disrespectful and shameful thing to do. If I’m not mistaken Heston was in the early stages of Alzheimers at the time. He shouldn’t have been put in that position and Michael Moore should be ashamed of himself, gun ownership is bigger than one man and even an organization as large as the NRA, it was a pointless attack. Moore has got himself in the news again with shameful comments in regard to the recently released American Sniper. Specifically, from what I have been told, he called snipers cowards. I don’t mean to go off on a tangent here but I find that comment so offensive I need to speak my mind on it. Nobody has any business calling any man who serves our country in the armed forces cowards. Aside from that, there is nothing cowardly about a sniper. Snipers are skilled operatives strategically placed as part of all battle plans. As long as there have been ranged weapons there have been soldiers skilled enough at marksmenship to be utilized in key locations by their commanders. To call them cowards is foolish, but for any lazy ass American who has all the freedom in the world at his disposal to say anything negative about the men and women who fight and die for those rights is foolish enough all by itself.

This movie made strides in the capabilities of make up artist and production designers. It was inventive and incredible what they were able to accomplish in 1968 when making a movie set on a planet ruled by walking and talking apes. It’s easy to look back now with all the capabilities that are at the disposal of filmmakers today and think they could do this better now. It’s a fool’s notion and they should never try. I’ll get to the “rebooted” franchise when we reach it in the “R” section of the collection. There is a significant reason why it is apart from this film in the order of the DVDs on our shelf and I’ll cover that when we get to it. We do not own the 2001 remake by Tim Burton, because it sucked mainly. For a long time it was the film that represented to me as a film fan the possibility that anything could be an absolute disappointment.

I thought the 2001 remake of this movie was going to be one of the most awesome movies I had ever seen. I was a big fan of Tim Burton and excited about the darkness he would bring to it. I eagerly kept up with all the news coming out of production and all images of the apes looked incredible. They had a stellar cast all around and even got Charlton Heston himself on board for a cameo. I was so pumped about this movie I forced my family to the theater on the week it was released when we happened to be out of state on a family vacation. I’ll never forget how adamant my step father was against going to a theater while on a beach trip, but on a rainy day I somehow talked them into all of us going. I’ll never forget the complete and utter disappointment I felt after walking out of that theater. So much was wrong and I was all alone in the understanding. The rest of my family just saw a crappy remake but I saw so much more than that. I saw something that could have so easily been the greatest thing ever and couldn’t figure out how the finale product was such a failure in every possible way. How had Tim Burton failed me so? In fact this movie was the beginning of a long anti-Tim Burton period of my life. He has finally won me back around these days but he really let me down in 2001 and for a long time after I shunned him.

My whole point to all of that is that the remake in no way, shape, or form matched up to the original film in any manner. The movie may have looked good but everything about it was wrong and it doesn’t even come close to what was accomplished 33 years before. Some things shouldn’t be touched. Some movies are perfect just the way they are and more often than not the efforts to remake any film do nothing but tarnish the name and reputation of the original.

I have read the book this movie was based on. There were different things in both the original and the remake that came from the book in separate scenarios. Neither is any closer than the other really because both took plenty of liberties with the story to adapt it to the screen. I liked the novel by Pierre Boulle but ultimately it’s hard to like it more than the original version of the story I saw in this film. In the book “Planet of the Apes” the Taylor character, named Ulysses, makes it back to Earth in the end only to find it is now run by apes. The entire story of his travels begins as being read aloud by space travelers who have found the tale floating through space in a glass bottle. At the end of the story the narrators dismiss it as fake because a human could never be capable of such, the readers turn out to be chimps. It’s a good story with an interesting twist, but I think the much different twist at the end of this film is just as good and even more shocking.

We don’t own any of the sequels to this film but it’s a series we would normally have all the films to for appearance purposes if nothing else. I remembered liking Beneath the Planet of the Apes and Escape from Planet of the Apes. The fourth and fifth weren’t bad either as both continued an interesting story. I liked this franchise quite a bit but this one is the best of the bunch and I’m proud to have it as part of our collection.

It is meaningless for me to put my stamp of approval on this movie. It is above me and there is nothing I could ever say that hasn’t been said by the countless others this film influenced. I consider this one of the greatest science fiction films ever made and everyone should see it. This movie will live on as long as film history is still relevant.

AMBER’S REVIEW

Pending, so she says.

NEXT MOVIE: Planet Terror (2007)

Mars Attacks!

Year: 1996
Directed By: Tim Burton
Written By: Jonathan Gems

RYAN’S REVIEW

In 1996 I was 12 years old and spent a lot of time at work with my dad wandering from movie to movie in the theater he worked at.  I spent years doing this in my youth but 1996 specifically sticks out because it was when I first started paying attention to trailers and anticipating movies before they came out.  In 1996 I had my eye on the big summer blockbuster that year, Independence Day. From the moment I first sat in the auditorium and saw that incredible image of the White House being blown up by a flying saucer I don’t know that I had ever wanted to see something so bad in my life.  At 12 years old I don’t think I had ever seen anything quite so devastating on screen and the preview promised what my mind built up to be the most awesome movie ever.  I waited with an anticipation that grew at a rate only a 12 year old’s imagination can keep up with.  When the movie finally came out I was seated in the first row of a crowded theater and my mouth was watering.  Two and a half hours later I walked out of the theater disheartened and depressed.  I had suffered through my first major disappointment from a movie and I will never forget that feeling.  The previews had implied such wide spread destruction and I had imagined battles that would dazzle my eyes and satisfy all my hopes and desires.  What I saw seemed more like a drama than an action movie and I felt like I had already seen all the exciting parts in the previews.  It was a learning experience because at that young age I had to learn to deal with the let down of something I had built up to much in my head.  In 1996 my parent’s divorce was still a recent thing and that is a devastating thing to the life of any child.  My response to the personal turmoil was to hide in movie theaters by myself and forget about what was going on in my life.  I only say that to stress the fact that Independence Day being such a letdown was significant to me and the memory has stayed with me very clearly.  I would have to wait another five months that year before my faith in films was restored, and it was this movie that restored it.

For everything Independence Day lacked this film had in spades.  Nobody was safe from these aliens; they came to take over and they didn’t pull any punches.   This movie may be silly but it gave me everything I had wanted from Independence Day and I loved it. This movie had a better and bigger cast and although it was just a comedy it offered more chaos and battle than I had seen in the first film about an alien invasion.  The President in this movie wasn’t the unlikely hero who went into action but a more realistic air head continually making stupid decisions at the behest of his equally air headed staff. The aliens don’t simply destroy our cities and overwhelmingly remain out of sight but strike fast and hard with manipulation and ruthlessness. I love how the aliens run through town blasting everyone into dust while holding a translator that keeps broadcasting what they are saying, “STOP! We are your friends.” I love the simplicity of the aliens in this film.  They look just as we typically expect aliens to look, little bodies with big heads.  They ride around in flying saucers that are nothing fancy and they use guns that look like toys yet bring us to our knees when they attack.  These aliens have no remorse and laugh at our efforts to be welcoming and forgiving.  These aliens are simple and even humorous to a degree and I think it’s interesting that they still manage to be more threatening than anything we saw in Independence Day. Yeah maybe the aliens in that film looked creepy with their slimy tentacles and telepathic capabilities but we barely see them, and they are just lame next to these guys from the canyons of Mars.

I am a huge fan of Tim Burton but despite the Danny Elfman score I have never felt this movie really felt like a typical Tim Burton film.  The elements are there, the way the flying saucers land specifically being the obvious work of Burton but it still feels different.  The movie is so colorful, and while Burton can be colorful there is usually darkness that goes along with it.  The content of the film notwithstanding this film doesn’t feel dark at all and in fact it might be one of the “brightest” films Burton has ever made.  It doesn’t have that gloom that tends to linger somewhere or the other in all of his films.  Plenty of people he has worked with in the past are on board in the cast of this film but no one he is specifically synonymous with like Johnny Depp or Michael Keaton. This was before he married Helena Bonham Carter and started casting her in all of his films.  If I’m not mistaken, when this movie was made he was married to Lisa Marie, who played the alien in disguise that infiltrated the White House. Nevertheless, while this seems to be against the grain a bit for Burton it still undoubtedly has his stamp on it.  He is a great filmmaker and I have specifically loved many of his movies.  This isn’t even in the conversation of his best films but I think anything he has done does deserve some honorable mention if it was entertaining.  This movie may be silly but it is definitely entertaining and I think it’s worth mentioning when discussing his career.

This movie does have a terrific cast but I tend to think it’s the actor’s names rather than their performances that jump out at you.  With few exceptions, Jack Nicholson was great playing dual roles in the film.  Although his performance as the President is hands down the better of the two and I think it is part of what makes the movie so great.  After the Martians turn Congress to dust Nicholson says he “wants the American people to know they still have 2/3rds of their government left and THAT AIN’T BAD!” Martin Short was quite funny and it was cool seeing a young Natalie Portman with all the talent she has always had. I really liked Rod Steiger and Paul Winfield as the two opposing Generals.  Winfield being the Colin Powell of the two and Steiger playing a more General Turgidson type. Jim Brown showed promise as an actor, like he does whenever given the opportunity.  Otherwise I don’t know that anyone else did anything well enough to really distinguish themselves.  It was great to see so many popular actors all together on screen because it’s always fun the more stars you have in the film.  Also noteworthy is that this was the last film Michael J Fox was in before the news of his condition would eventually be divulged.  He would continue acting on television for several more years but this was his last significant film role.

This movie will never get the credibility it deserves, or at least the credibility it has in my eyes for beating the pants off of Independence Day. Incidentally I have reason to think I’m alone in my criticism of Independence Day because somebody must have liked it.  Not only did it make lots of money at the box office but as we inch closer to 20 years later it has been in discussion for a sequel recently.  There are two versions of the sequel written, one with Will Smith reprising his role and one without.  I’m guessing that it will be lame for obvious reason, and while I have had my ear to the ground I haven’t heard one word about these Martians coming back.  Not that it would be a good idea either, one and done was good enough for this film and anything more would only sully what it was.  If you are with me on this, if you felt the pain of disappointment from that big alien invasion blockbuster, then check this movie out.  It’s better, more satisfying, and on top of everything else it will give you plenty of good laughs.

On a bottom side note I just wanted to mention that this film also offers a great shot of New York featuring the Two Towers of the World Trade Center.  It’s the kind of thing that I never gave any thought to when I watched the movie in 1996, but watching it now could give any American that odd feeling of loss.

AMBER’S REVIEW

This is one of those movies most people can watch over and over. I remember seeing the trailers for this when it first came out. I thought it looked ridiculous. It turns out it was ridiculously funny. There are so many things in the movie that don’t really make sense, but ultimately I think that it made it that much funnier. I used to watch this on Comedy Central all the time when I was younger, but I haven’t seen it in a while. It was really nice to be able to sit down and watch it last night.

marsattacks

This poster couldn’t fit better with the movie. I think it is very, very clear what the film is about and I think it even shows Tim Burton’s style. The wig of the Martian, the cloak of the other Martian. The typography for me is a little cheesy, but at the same time it works because it resembles the font choices of other sci-fi alien invading movies. I think this poster has too much going on, but at least they didn’t try and fit the entire star studded cast into a group. They chose some of them to highlight and then neatly fit the others into boxes across the bottom, which I appreciate. Overall I like this poster and movie.

NEXT MOVIE: Masters of the Universe (1987)….oh yeah, the movie with Dolph Lundgren

Edward Scissorhands

Year: 1990
Directed By: Tim Burton
Written By: Tim Burton and Caroline Thompson

RYAN’S REVIEW

This is such an awesome movie.  When it came out it was a new and interesting fairy tale made in true Tim Burton fashion.  Like many other Burton movies this one is exceptional because there really is no other like it.  This movie is interesting, imaginative, and incredible. With this strange fantasy story Tim Burton manages to give us an insight into how he sees the world and tell us something about ourselves all in one stroke.  This film is about finding out who you are, it’s about love and fear; it’s part Beauty and the Beast, part Frankenstein, and all Tim Burton.

Tim Burton really is one of a kind.  He has such a vision when it comes to blending colors on screen and he has a style that is all his own.  I have never cared much for what I think of as “the creepy Tim Burton crap” but it is part of who he is and it is original.  His originality is what makes him such a great filmmaker and this is one of the best showcases for his talent.  My favorite of his films has got to be Beetle Juicebut this is a really really close second. Johnny Depp is great as the title character and if I’m not mistaken he has referred to this as one of his favorite roles.  He portrays such an innocent being that is victimized by the world and ultimately misunderstood. Winona Ryder is young and beautiful.  Dianne Wiest is honest and good spirited.  However, after Johnny Depp I think the best performance has to go to Alan Arkin.  He plays the father of the Boggs so deftly and naturally that it makes you believe this is a real family and a real story.  I have read that the death of Jim at the end of the film was Tim Burton’s revenge on the jocks who picked on him in high school but I think that revenge came in casting Anthony Michael Hall as the jock instead.  Hall had played dorks and nerds for a long time but was trying to change his image with this role. Who was he kidding though, right?  He did a horrible job and his career continued on a downward spiral because of it.  This was the last film that Vincent Price appeared in and that is another thing that makes it special.  It is sad that the last thing he did on screen was dying though.

Edward is a creature of isolation, in this film we see him adapt and attempt to live a normal life.  Edward does not understand what he is dealing with in society though and he is vulnerable because of his ignorance. The world is cruel, and it isn’t long before the world is trying to exploit Edward in a variety of ways.  When he doesn’t understand what is going on he responds in ways that society doesn’t understand. He isn’t a person, he is the unfinished product of the inventor and it isn’t his fault that he doesn’t understand the world.  He tries to do what he thinks is right but is unequipped and unaware of how to deal with the manipulation and the cruelty of others.  Everywhere he goes people continually fill him with hope by telling him that they know a doctor who can help him but the only people who do help him are the Boggs, and ultimately they fail to understand him as well.  The only one who really knew him was the one he fell for, and she couldn’t help him either. What makes Edward such a great character is that he is so diverse and innocent.  He is someone we can all learn from because in his story we can see aspects of ourselves and our nature.

I have written before about Danny Elfman as a composer, we have reviewed several movies now that he scored. I do like Danny Elfman but in this journey through our movies I have found myself losing respect for him.  He has such a specific sound that I don’t even have to see the credits to know he was involved in a movie now.  While I think he has put together some great musical scores for films I am noticing more and more that all his scores sound the same.  Tim Burton uses him frequently and I think they work really well together.  Elfman’s gloomy sound is perfect for Tim Burton’s purposes.  If you want to know what I am talking about though see Beetle Juice, Darkman, Batman, or Batman Returns

This is a wonderful movie that many love.  It isn’t one you need me to tell you to see but I am always happy to recommend it during a rare time that I find someone who hasn’t seen it.  Great cast, great story, and a great filmmaker at his best.  This movie will make you laugh, make you cry, and make you feel on a deeper level.  It is more than worth your time.

AMBER’S REVIEW

This is one of my favorite movies of all time. I love, love this movie. This was the first film of it’s kind that I had ever seen. I didn’t even know that movies like this existed or could exist. It is a beautifully made movie, with and incredible plot. I love the housing units, the costumes, the hairdos. Everything was thought about and thought about until it was perfect.

I thoroughly enjoy this movie and could watch it over and over. If you haven’t seen it, it is more than worth it to watch it.

NEXT MOVIE: Enemy of the State (1998)

Big Fish

Year: 2003
Directed By: Tim Burton
Written By: Daniel Wallace

RYAN’S REVIEW

This is an interesting movie, to me specifically because I am always trying to convince myself that I like it, I don’t do that very often.  I don’t know if it’s Tim Burton, the cameos by Steve Buscemi or Danny Devito, or the stories but for some reason I have always wanted to like it, but the truth is I just don’t.  I don’t care for Billy Crudup or the insolent son that he portrays, and I have never cared for Albert Finney. Had two different actors been cast in those roles then maybe I would feel differently about the movie.

I do like the Steve Buscemi role, I have always been a really big fan.  The guy they called “kinda funny lookin yah” in Fargo  has made quite a career for himself. Matthew McGrory plays Karl the Giant, you may remember McGrory from another film though.  He was the kid on the porch with a banjo in Deliverance, yeah the one who played dueling banjos with Ronny Cox.  Danny DeVito makes a small but notable appearance in the film.  Ewan McGregor was not bad but I am not a fan. Also worth mentioning is Helena Bonham Carter, she is so fantastic in everything she does.

I won’t tell you this movie isn’t worth your time because I know many people who liked it including Amber.  I think this movie has its moments but overall I think it is a film that should have been much better.

AMBER’S REVIEW

Unlike Ryan, I really like this movie. I feel like we all know this guy that has a story for every occasion. I feel like the man in this movie has bigger than life stories and he can always find a way to turn the tables and start telling a story about himself. I think the stories are all really interesting and also, they usually have some moral. I feel like you can tell what the base of the story is and then the bigger details that he adds in to cushion it.

One of my favorite parts in the whole film was Steve Buscemi’s role. I found it hilarious to see him so happy and upbeat. I really like this movie and it has a lot of interesting twists and turns. It is a beautifully made in true Tim Burton fashion. It is not a film for everyone, but I recommend it.

NEXT MOVIE: The Big Lebowski (1998)

Batman Forever

Year: 1995
Directed By: Joel Schumacher
Written By: Lee Batchler

RYAN’S REVIEW

This is where it all went horribly wrong.  The studio wanted a more family friendly Batman and they made a movie that Adam West must have admired.  I remember when this movie came out and remembered it fondly.  Watching it now I see that it was only cool then because I was only eleven years old.  This movie is ridiculous from beginning to end and I can not vouch for it.

Tim Burton was still on board as a producer but I can’t see much of his influence in the film.  When Warner Bros gave the keys to the Batman franchise to Joel Schumacher they deserved all the embarrassment and failure that he bestowed upon them. Schumacher took the dark Batman that Burton had created and he made it flamboyant, Batman should not be flamboyant. Why didn’t anybody take a step back and ask themselves if it was really a good idea to put nipples on the batsuit?  I have always wanted to know what the hell the studio was thinking, this was one of the worst ideas of all time.  The cast was ridiculous, alot of big names inappropriately cast or out of place.  I guess Jim Carrey was ok as the Riddler but I wouldn’t call him great.  Why did Tommy Lee Jones look so pink and colorful? I don’t really get the casting of Kilmer as Batman, I am a Val Kilmer fan, but as Batman? Who was responsible for that decision.  Chris O’Donnell wasn’t that bad but the circumstances of his character are a little too stupid.  First of all, why would a criminal organization hold up the circus to rob the pockets of the audience? Also, why would the unarmed acrobats think they were qualified to deal with the situation?

I have always said that the 4th Batman film, Batman & Robin was one of the worst movies of all time.  While it is still easily the worst of all the Batman films it does merely follow the footsteps of this movie.  This movie is much worse than I remembered it being and I do not think you should waste you time watching it.

AMBER’S REVIEW

Ugh, I don’t even want to write about this one. It is extremely hard to even sit though this one. Why do we even own it? Ryan said it is so different because they went towards a more family friendly Batman. But come on, crime fighting just isn’t family friendly. Jim Carrey was in his prime of his comedy career at the time of this film, but I thought he was misplaced and was annoying throughout.

Since I am the woman voice on this blog, I also must add that Val Kilmer makes an AWFUL Batman. He is not sexy as Batman, and what is the point if Batman is not a sexy hero? I mean, he only has to be sexy from the nose down really. His lips are all pouty like a woman’s.

This film is just a no-go for me. Anytime you add in Robin I automatically think back to the cheesy Adam West stuff, and I can’t take it seriously. Watch the others, skip this one and Batman and Robin, and then pick it back up Batman Begins.

NEXT MOVIE:  Batman Begins (2005)

Batman Returns

Year: 1992
Directed By: Tim Burton
Written By: Daniel Waters

RYAN’S REVIEW

I was eight years old when this movie was released and it is the first movie I can remember being really excited about before it came out.  I have a very clear memory of a discussion I had with a stranger about how awesome the movie was going to be.  I was shopping with my mom and had to stand alone while her and my sister were in a changing room, and the stranger was some other guy holding a purse, probably about my age now. The habit I have now of keeping up with what movies are being made has been ongoing for probably at least 15 years, this is possibly the movie that started that habit.  So needless to say this movie is special to me, and I think it is a fantastic sequel to the original.

This studio didn’t like this film because they thought they should have made more money with a family friendlier film, but as I said before this is where Warner Brothers is wrong.  Batman is not a family friendly character, he is the Dark Knight, he is a vigilante and criminal. This movie tends to get a little silly at times, Penguin does have an army of real penguins strapped with missiles. It practically is family friendly but very dark all the same and really for the older kids who were in my range of 8 and up.  This movie lived up to and exceeded all my eight year old expectations and I still love it even today.  It is exactly what I say any good sequel should be, a bigger better version of the original. This movie is very different from the first, but the stakes are raised and the consequences greater so it meets the formula.  To go back to my initial point though, as I continue to watch it now I can kinda see the studios point.  The Penguin, as awesome as he was, does tend to be a bit scary.  I don’t remember any, but I wouldn’t be all that surprised if as an 8-year-old I had had any nightmares about the Penguin biting a man’s face off. That is a bit much for the kids, but the studio did go on to get a little carried away with later sequels.

This movie really stepped it up.  There is more action, more stars, and more bad guys.  Michael Keaton was back as Batman and I stand by my opinion that he was the best Batman.  Michelle Pfeiffer is so sexy as Catwoman, she was absolutely perfect.  Danny DeVito was iconic as the Penguin, much more so than Nicholson as the Joker in my opinion.  Christopher Walken is another newcomer that made the sequel great.  Tim Burton may have went a little over the top here and there with this film but it was still great and one of his many fantastic films.  Danny Elfman again deserves special recognition for the score.  What makes it great is that it is similar to the score of the first film but different enough to set it apart.

Tim Burton is a director who deserves special recognition, this movie is part of his legacy.  Any movie fan should see both Tim Burton Batman movies because they are classic.  Burton had a great vision and great actors who did their jobs well.  Anybody who loves to watch movies like we do should watch this movie because it is a great film.  it is worth your time.

AMBER’S REVIEW

I really am a fan of most of Tim Burton’s films, and this one is another one that I truly like. I am not claiming to know very much about the history of Batman, but I love how he introduces new villains in each film. In the beginning of this film, I actually feel sorry for the Penguin. I mean he doesn’t even have a shot from birth. His parents think he is grotesque, they keep him locked up in a cage, and yeah he eats the family pet, but do they even feed him? Okay, I know I am a softy, and it turns out he is a pretty bad guy, but honestly…wasn’t he doomed from the beginning?

If you are young and are reading this, and you have seen the movie, I bet you are surprised to learn that this movie was nominated for two academy awards. Yup, this Batman movie was nominated for Best Effects and Best Makeup. That sort of makes you laugh when you watch it, knowing what was nominated in years to come, but this comic book movie was made before every Tom, Dick and Harry decided making a comic book movie was the “it” thing to do.

I would like to end my review by saying Michele Pfeiffer makes one hell of a hotter Catwoman than Halle Berry, just sayin’.

NEXT MOVIE: Batman Forever (1995)