Monday Morning Movie Review: Ponty’s Top Ten Worst Films: #1: Batman & Robin (1997)

After many grueling months, Ponty and I are nearly done with our Top Ten Worst Films lists.  Today marks the end of Ponty’s inglorious run.

I have to applaud Ponty for both conceiving of this “worst of” idea and for his execution.  The man has a talent for unbridled hatred, at least when it comes to bad movies (otherwise, he seems like a lovely, gentle spirit).  The Bible does teach us to hate that which is evil (it’s in one of the Psalms, I promise), and what could be more evil than big budget flicks that waste money producing tripe?  I mean, I guess some gaffers got some work, so that’s good, but, dang!

That said, Ponty’s pick here will be a controversial one for some.  I remember 1997’s “Batman & Robin” somewhat fondly… but I was twelve when it hit theaters.  I remember watching it at home and, in my pubescent boyhood, thinking Poison Ivy was hot (never mind that Uma Thurman looks like an alien).  I also liked Mr. Freeze’s ridiculous ice puns, which I still enjoy saying (“Ice to see you”).

Ah, such innocence.  After reading Ponty’s review, I may have to rewatch the flick after twenty-five years to see if my opinion has matured more than I have myself (I’ve heard that director Joel Schumacher is kind of a freak, which might explain all the nipples on the Bat Suit).  Of course, the point of this list, in part, is to help readers avoid watching bad movies, so would I be violating the implicit spirit of the worst films lists?

Such heady, philosophical conundrums.  Nothing quite like that in Batman & Robin, as I recall.

With that, here is Ponty’s #1 pick, 1997’s Batman & Robin:

Before I get to reviewing this absolute steaming pile of horseshit, I’d like to take the time to point out my dishonourable mentions – the movies that would have made my list had I been able to remember enough to review them. The reason these films didn’t make my list is I didn’t want to watch them again. These are the sort of movie that if you bought them, you’d throw them in the bin rather than take them to the charity shop so you don’t subject some poor soul to the same tragedy that befell you. Without further ado, here they are [normally I link to the Wikipedia entry for each film, but there are so many dishonorable flicks, I’m just going to let you Google them yourselves if you’re interested.  —TPP]:

Community (2012); Wild Wild West (1999); Cowboys & Aliens (2011); House of a 1000 Corpses (2003); Mamma Mia! (2008); the majority of franchise horror sequels; The Green Hornet (2011); Sorority Row (2009); every Richard Curtis film; any film (aside from Scott Pilgrim vs The World, which is awesome) that has vs in the title, such as Alligator vs Sharkzilla or tripe like that; Pride and Prejudice and Zombies (2016); the majority of superhero films in the last few years; The Ninth Gate (1999); Sex Lives of the Potato Men (2004); Bad Boys 1 & 2 (1995 & 2004) and End of Days (1999).

There are many, many more (feel free to add your own under the line) but I could be here all day so on to what I consider to be the worst of the worst.

Have you ever watched a film so bad, it made you cry? So excruciatingly horrible that you can feel your IQ drop in double figures and your brain melting through your nose? Well, this is one of those films. Actually, this IS the film, frankly the most ludicrous, pointless and wasteful piece of shit I’ve ever seen. George Clooney couldn’t save it, Uma Thurman couldn’t save it, hell, not even The Smashing Pumpkins could save it. I’d go as far as saying that movie goers should be retrospectively refunded for this film, with compensation for the years of hurt it caused and rather than its actors lecturing us on social and politically issues, they should be apologising for ever agreeing to star in this excrement. Forever. There is no celluloid crime since moving pictures began more heinous than this.

I’ve always said that it’s unforgiveable when you’ve spent hundreds of millions of pounds/dollars on a film and the final result is pants. There’s no excuse for it at all. If you can afford the writers, the actors, the special effects and the director, you can also afford the time it takes to put out a good offering so it’s only right that films such as this take a pasting from critics and audience alike. The trailer should have been enough to deter me:

I’ll have a go at explaining the flimsy story but it’s pretty formulaic – new villains, new heroes, good guy wins, the end. If I could keep it like that I would – and this film would deserve it – but I shall at least try to give you the basics.

Arnold Schwarzenegger is woefully miscast as a scientist, Dr. Victor Fries (Fries/Freeze – get it?), trying to find a cure for his terminally ill wife. There’s an accident in the lab which renders his body incapable of living in normal temperatures, hence he turns to stealing diamonds which power the suit he needs to survive, and this puts him on Batman’s radar.

Uma Thurman (Dr. Pamela Isley) also becomes Poison Ivy when she’s mutated by the toxins used in a botched attempt to kill her.

Batman’s butler, Alfred, invites his niece, Barbara (Alicia Silverstone) to stay at Wayne Manor during her holidays and she eventually becomes Batgirl, just because, and the annoying Robin (Chris O’Donnell) continues to be more of a hindrance than help as Batman struggles to contain the duel threat of Mr Freeze and Poison Ivy. Oh, and Bane is in it too. Not the hulking Tom Hardy of the Nolan films with a past and a mission but a hulking Frankensteinesque creation that doesn’t really do anything apart from look imposing. Urgh.

Anyway, Poison Ivy seduces Robin, which turns him into a pre-pubescent teenager (wah, Batman, waaah!) but Batgirl comes to the rescue, subduing Ivy and releasing Robin from her spell. They team up with Batman to stop Freeze freezing Gotham and Ivy and Freeze are locked up in Arkham. If you want to know more, check out the plot elsewhere. It’s hurting my head even typing this.

The scriptwriter for this film had a lot of fun with one liners, getting in as many as his stupid and unimaginative little brain could allow. The opening scene sums up all that’s wrong with this script and I’m sorry to say, Schwarzenegger, who has become known for his one liners, can’t even get away with it in this.

I give Next of Ken his dues for putting together some of the worst puns used in this film. Let me know under the line how far you got – I turned it off after the first 3!

Everything about this film seems overly staged and God knows what they thought they were doing with the leather suit arse close ups. I’m sure fleeing victims in the crime ridden infestation that is Gotham don’t stop at the moment they’re rescued to admire the sculpted posteriors of their saviours but this is comic done over comically. It’s just painful to watch.

Flimsy script and direction aside, what I despise the most about this movie is that Joel Schumacher (its director) actually took good actors and made them look bad. If the future careers of Uma Thurman and George Clooney had been decided on the back of this movie, they’d have both been flipping burgers in McDonalds. Thankfully for both, this blip was erased from future job applications and they were able to forge a success with better writers and directors, otherwise they’d have been in the where-are-they-now files.

There is not one single redeeming feature in this movie. Nothing. Not even the end credits made me feel better. The script, the direction, the acting, the pace. All of it was terrible. The only thing that makes me happy is this is the last time I’ll ever have to think of this film.

21 thoughts on “Monday Morning Movie Review: Ponty’s Top Ten Worst Films: #1: Batman & Robin (1997)

  1. Cheers for the intro, mate. I’ll miss them! 🙂

    Looking forward to doing the favourites. Hopefully, Audre and Tina – and maybe more – will join us with their own countdowns.

    Liked by 2 people

  2. Being of the female persuasion may explain why Batman was never a ‘thing’ for me. I did enjoy the weekly television show back in the day but even that wasn’t a ‘gotta watch!’ for me. Not a big fan of Superman either. Hey! If nothing else – I’m consistent!

    Liked by 2 people

  3. Uma Thurman? Yes. Like I said, B&R made good actors look bad.

    I’d put up the link for said scene in KB2 but Gravatar/Wordpress doesn’t always like them. A couple of weeks ago, I wrote a war and peace type comment, I think on one of your pieces on Neo, clicked submit and the whole thing disappeared. Never again!

    Liked by 2 people

    • I am actually working on that! Tomorrow’s post will look back at Ponty’s #10, #9, and #8 picks. I’m also going to create a page that will show both lists in their entireties (once I’ve posted my #1 pick on Monday).

      Like

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