This edit did the impossible and made Batman & Robin a watchable movie by cutting down the cringe, noise, and neon. Though I missed Elliott Goldenthal's score, the new music chosen was fitting.
Removing Bane, Poison Ivy's origin, and that stupid gorilla suit improved Poison Ivy tremendously, and losing the puns (as much as I love them!) improved Mr. Freeze. However, even with the editing, Alicia Silverstone's Batgirl is barely tolerable and the plot is paper-thin (not the fault of the editor, some things can't be helped!)
Still, to echo the sentiment shared by reviewer mnkykungfu: if you're going to watch Batman & Robin, this is definitely the way to watch it.
Disclaimer: I haven't seen this since I was a child, when the film was always experienced at the hands of the VHS player. I picked up the blu-ray pretty much exclusively to see the edit, so take my comparisons and opinion with a pinch of salt. I am far removed from the source.
Visual quality is variable, but decent overall. Some artifacts can be heard on the audio.
There are moments where it's apparent that the framerate has been dropped in order to slow down/extend a shot, which took me out of the film. The conversion to black and white is a mixed bag as some shots look a bit washed out, like they could maybe have done with having deeper blacks. Scenes with Mr Freeze seem to be the exception; his character was born to be portrayed in B&W!
This is an ambitious project and requires a lot of sound rebuilding to make the rescoring choices work, but it feels like the replacement of sound effects has been on the lighter side. Some scenes feel as though they are missing sounds, such as the absence of breath or grunting during a fight. Dialogue in unscored scenes is also noticeably louder than scenes where audio has been reworked. It works, and not all of the film has been rescored, so this isn't a regular issue. But it took me out of the edit and made parts feel incomplete. As mentioned, there is some artifacting, which may be from the choice of bitrate, but this is also a common side effect when removing music from sound effects; so I'm wondering if that's part of it. These typically fare worse than dialogue when trying to remove music.
On a purely subjective level, I found the music during the motorbike chase to be obnoxious, and think that could have been rescored.
I found the opening credits to be a bit lengthy and not ideal pacing, but the rest generally flows well. I didn't piece together where Bain even was meant to come into the plot, so that was obviously slickly done. Maybe the biggest criticism I could give is that Robin and Batman's rivalry over Ivy felt underdeveloped.
Unfortunately, even with all of MusicEd's changes, it felt apparent to me that Batman and Robin is a film that wants to be campy, and the edit feels at war with this. Personally, I didn't think the music was that fitting; I realise that Ed was going for more of an expressionist look, but I got much more of a noir vibe. For me, this notion jarred with the choice of a modern cinematic soundtrack. I could see the expressionist angle working maybe if this was made into a silent movie (anyone?), which would also allow for more freedom with the narrative.
To be completely honest, while I enjoyed seeing MusicEd's unique take, the film itself came across pretty mediocre. It's been so long since I've seen the original that it's hard to determine whether this is an improvement or not. I can remember offensive elements that are now removed, but is it necessarily a gain to remove these or does it rob an inherently campy film of ironic enjoyment? Whether you're a fan of Schumacker's approach or no, it feels like a homage to the days of Adam West... and it may be that it's better embraced that way. I don't put that forward as a strong opinion, merely as food for thought.
Thank you again, MusicEd, for sharing your work. Sorry I haven't been super positive on this one! I'm always pleased to see ambitious projects like this come out though :)
Original film was not good. As such this was starting from a very low base, but has succeeded in making it enjoyable.
This was achieved by cutting unnecessary character time/lines.
Very much appreciated the switch to B&W, I think the film very much benefited from this.
Thank you for your efforts,
It really is the sub zero "cheese" version. I'd say the majority of the frozen stale cheese within the film is melted away. The intro is exactly how it should have been done originally. The fight scenes look more slick and do not look as goofy. The one liners are mostly gone and the odd one or two which remain are just enough for a Batman film. Oh and Bane who?
The score actually sounds brilliant now. I remember it being extremely off-putting originally. The change of soundtrack improves the film alone. Changing from colour to B&W contrasts well with the ice visuals throughout the film. It makes Mr Freeze's blaster effects (and Mr Freeze himself) look much more deadlier too!
Batgirl and Robin? Well less is more in this case. Even Clooney wasn't great. I'm glad Batgirl's lines were cut short...everyone knows the entire script is awful....the speech is just terrible, but Batgirl suffered the worst in the theatrical release...Did she just not bother because the script was so bad? Whatever the case, it still shows here even with her mostly being cut right down....I never liked the whole racing scene either. Were Batgirl or Robin needed at all?
This edit seems more aimed towards an older audience. The original is strange for that reason as it really didn't seem to know who to capture, it seemed like a kids film, but the actual themes revolving around death, ecology (a very big theme in the 21st Century, was Poison Ivy just an extreme Greta Thunberg?) and sexual lust are quite adult for a kiddy audience, but then it would make sense why they added so much silly goofy humour and cartoonish visuals to hide it.
My conclusion on this "Deep Freeze" edit would be that if you ever wanted to watch Batman & Robin ever again then this would be the one to go for. I do recommend it and I didn't cringe...too much! ;-)
This is the first time since the blu ray came out years ago that I have been able to finish this movie! That is quite an accomplishment if you had any idea how much I really don't like it LOL...
I have seen 2 movies by Music Ed and he does a wonderful job! I really enjoyed is Superman edit and this shows a ton of creativity and work. There were a couple of scenes that looked like they were slowed down so I took a point off for that. The audio was very inspired except for when Poison Ivy tells Freeze they should team up and placed cartoonish music when we cut to Freezes face.
The removal of Bane and most of the silly elements really sells Freeze as a more sympathetic villain and gives the movie some much needed focus. Going black and white is probably the only way to save our eyes from all the neon color the theatrical version had.