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S E A R C H    D V D B e a v e r

(aka "Batman: The Movie" )

 

directed by Leslie H. Martinson
USA 19
66

 

Once I got over my initial disappointment of finding this was not the Tim Burton movie of 1989, I settled into one of those rare TV-movie movies that seemed simply little more than the TV show writ large. I remember seeing Davy Crockett, King of the Wild Frontier in the theatre in 1955 and felt a reaction of mixed disappointment and awe. Disappointment because it was merely three TV episodes from the Disneyland series stitched together, but awe because the show, a favorite of mine as a kid, had made it to the big screen – like my father had just been promoted to vice-president of the company.

Batman The Movie was different in that the screenplay was new, but much the same in that it might well have been little more than an expanded TV episode. The short-lived TV show had, by this time in 1967, already been on the air for one season (the show ran from January, 1966 - March, 1968). I reveled in Batman's fuzzy, non-linear logic as he and Robin sorted out the clues. And today, I appreciate all the more Adam West's way of reading a line with his characteristic luftpause before every revelation. In the movie, the Dynamic Duo faces not just one, but four of their regular nemeses: Joker, Riddler, Penguin and, Catwoman. Though many were disappointed not to see Julie Newmar in the role, Lee Meriwether did a good job at conveying the sex appeal, if not all of the lithe, feline physicality that Newmar was so good at.

The difficulty for screenwriter Lorenzo Semple, Jr. (who went on to co-write Papillon, The Parallax View, and adapt the novel that would become Three Days of the Condor and the 1976 King Kong, whose dialogue – and John Barry's music - was the best thing about this strange movie) and director Leslie Martinson (TV dramas and comedies and more TV dramas and comedies throughout the 1950s, 60s, 70s and 80s) is that the kind of satire that was the stuff of the TV series does not stand up to continued repetition before it gets old: a 105 minute movie is just to much of a good thing – assuming you like that sort of thing in the first place (which I did, and do.) Just as important is that the movie, in trying to give a place to all the major supervillians gave short shrift to all – all, but Catwoman. Penguin (Burgess Meredith), at least, finds his way into the Batcave, but poor Riddler (Frank Gorshin )and Joker (Cesar Romero) have little to do but provide comic relief to comic relief. A serious waste of talent.

Leonard Norwitz for DVDBeaver

Posters

Theatrical Release: July 30th, 1966

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Comparison:

20th Century Fox (Special Edition) - Region 1 - NTSC vs. 20th Century Fox Blu-ray Region A

(20th Century Fox (Special Edition) - Region 1 - NTSC - LEFT vs. 20th Century Fox Blu-ray Region A - RIGHT)

Box Covers

 

 

 

Distribution

20th Century Fox (Special Edition)

Region 1 - NTSC

20th Century Fox Blu-ray
Region A
Runtime 1:44:48 1:44:53
Video

1.78:1 Original Aspect Ratio

16X9 enhanced
Average Bitrate: 5.74 mb/s
NTSC 720x480 29.97 f/s

1.78:1 Aspect Ratio

16X9 enhanced
Average Bitrate: 32-38 mb/s
 

Audio English (Dolby Digital 2.0), English (mono), DUB: French (mono)

English (DTS HD 5.1), English (mono), DUB: French (mono)

Subtitles English, Spanish, none English, French, Spanish, Chinese (Traditional and Simplified), none
Features Release Information:
Studio: 20th Century Fox

Aspect Ratio:
Widescreen anamorphic - 1.78:1

Edition Details:
• Commentary by Actors Adam West & Burt Ward
• Batman Featurette (16:45)  from 2001 SD
• The Batmobile Revealed (5:47)
• Batman on Location: Mapping the Movie
• From the Vaults of Adam West
• Spanish Trailer
• Galleries


DVD Release Date: July 1st, 2008
Keep case

Chapters 32
 

Release Information:
Studio: 20th Century Fox

Aspect Ratio:
Widescreen anamorphic - 1.78:1

Edition Details:
• Commentary by Actors Adam West & Burt Ward
• Commentary by Screenwriter Lorenzo Semple, Jr.
• Nelson Riddle Isolated Score Track
• Documentary Batman: A Dynamic Legacy (28:30)
• Caped Crusaders: A Heroes Tribute (12:30)
• Gotham City´s Most Wanted (15:45)
• Batman Featurette (16:45)  from 2001 SD
• The Batmobile Revealed (5:47)
• Batmobile Interactive Tour
• Batman on Location: Mapping the Movie
• The Holy Trivia Track, Batman! (popup windows)
• Spanish Trailer
• Galleries
 

DVD Release Date: July 1st, 2008
Standard Blu-ray case

Chapters 32

 

Comments

NOTE: NOTE: The Blu-ray captures were ripped directly from the Blu-ray disc. We've linked 2 of the images to see full 1920 X 1080 resolution.

It's interesting to note the differences, but it's plain to see the improvement (even with a 5X bitrate) isn't extravagant. Skin tones are superior (as are all colors) - there is less noise, it's expectantly smoother - you even get a shade more information in the frame in this Blu-ray... but frankly the upgrade, solely for the image, is not endorsed - especially considering the price differential. These still captures don't tell the whole story but we believe it indicates enough and supports what I also see on my system. The SD has had a bit of boosting but detail shows no obvious winner. 

The other upgrades come from the DTS-HD 5.1 audio and it has a few selected moments but overall I couldn't say I noticed enough sequences of vast improvement over the SD to warrant a Blu-ray purchase. NOTE: No doubt it is an improvement, just taking into account all factors I wasn't overly appreciative of the 5.1 bump (I'm a mono guy at heart).

Supplements - again in favor of the BRD (with more - see listing above) but I'm still wading through them. I enjoyed the West-Ward commentary and even the more tech-based one with Semple. I'm not particularly into the gimmicky Holy Trivia track pop-up stuff etc. The BRD featurettes are in HD and to this point I am enjoying... but its becoming a chore. Don't get me wrong, I liked the old Batman TV series as much as anyone - I just feel that so much attention put into this package isn't warranted when there are so many great films, Fox films!, not yet on SD-DVD or Blu-ray. Okay, I'll get off my soapbox.

Leonard Norwitz states: '

Image/Audio/Extras:
'The movie, for better or worse, has much the same look as the TV series – only a little wider. Those same flatly lit interiors with its garish colors are certainly better displayed on modern TV sets than those of yesteryear, and the image is more highly resolved on Blu-ray than the existing SD DVD, but not enough to warrant an upgrade. Curiously, front projection is the better medium to see these improvements, but I think is less appropriate for the movie itself, which, I feel (in an uncharacteristic nod to the other team) is best watched on LCD or Plasma.

The audio has been bumped to DTS HD MA, but this results only in a modest improvement in dynamics and clarity – again, not really worth the upgrade. The isolated film score is offered in HD MA, but it would take someone of stronger stuff than I'm made of to want to go there for very long. The Extras are the pretty much the same as on the SD, and none of them are in HD. So, the bottom line is that the Blu-ray is worth a purchase only if you don't already own the SD. My personal preference for watching the movie is with the commentary by Smith and Ward, who are often funnier than they are on screen.

Recommendation:
I feel that the show's (and the movie's) relentless camp approach to parody works best in small doses, and the movie's fight sequences go on far too long. All the same, I found it a real kick in the pants. – "Kapow!" Rent it first.'

Gary says: I certainly don't want this comparison to appear to be a slight on Blu-ray. We can see immense value and differences in 1080P resolution, as one example, The Searchers (compared HERE). Batman: the Movie doesn't seem to support a Blu-ray purchase excepting in the rare circumstance that you are a die-hard fan with money to burn. The SD is less than $10 and has the WW commentary (and cool menus!) - where the Blu-ray is $26.95 with a superior image (marginal to most) and a few more bell and whistles.

We most assuredly lean to the SD for value.

NOTE: This is an early comparison using the Blu-ray images - we hope to utilize this more often in the future and expect Blu-ray to identify immense improvement (as in the Life of Brian comparison HERE). But this time, for us, it didn't.

 - Gary Tooze

 



DVD Menus
(
20th Century Fox (Special Edition) - Region 1 - NTSC - LEFT vs. 20th Century Fox Blu-ray Region A - RIGHT)
 

 

 


 

Screen Captures

(20th Century Fox (Special Edition) - Region 1 - NTSC - TOP vs. 20th Century Fox Blu-ray Region A - BOTTOM) 


(20th Century Fox (Special Edition) - Region 1 - NTSC - TOP vs. 20th Century Fox Blu-ray Region A - BOTTOM)

 

 


(20th Century Fox (Special Edition) - Region 1 - NTSC - TOP vs. 20th Century Fox Blu-ray Region A - BOTTOM)

CLICK ON THIS BLU-RAY CAPTURE TO SEE FULL 1920 X 1080 RESOLUTION!

 

 


(20th Century Fox (Special Edition) - Region 1 - NTSC - TOP vs. 20th Century Fox Blu-ray Region A - BOTTOM)

 

 


(20th Century Fox (Special Edition) - Region 1 - NTSC - TOP vs. 20th Century Fox Blu-ray Region A - BOTTOM)

 

 


(20th Century Fox (Special Edition) - Region 1 - NTSC - TOP vs. 20th Century Fox Blu-ray Region A - BOTTOM)

CLICK ON THIS BLU-RAY CAPTURE TO SEE FULL 1920 X 1080 RESOLUTION!

 


(20th Century Fox (Special Edition) - Region 1 - NTSC - TOP vs. 20th Century Fox Blu-ray Region A - BOTTOM)

 


(20th Century Fox (Special Edition) - Region 1 - NTSC - TOP vs. 20th Century Fox Blu-ray Region A - BOTTOM)

 

 


 

Report Card:

 

Image:

Blu-ray (mostly colors)

Sound:

Blu-ray

Extras: Blu-ray
Menu: SD

 
 Box Covers

 

 

 

 

Distribution

20th Century Fox (Special Edition)

Region 1 - NTSC

20th Century Fox Blu-ray
Region A

 


 





 

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