This Edit is a great successor to Batman Forever Redbook addition, and I do believe that it's the best version of Batman & Robin that could exist, but unfortunately that still isn't a very good movie. I don't think there's much value to be gained from it except for seeing how different it is to the original.
The black and white recolour works well, and I think it was a great choice, but it's still clear in many places that the film wasn't meant for black and white and it did look a little crummy at times.
I was pleasantly surprised by how well the Arkham music fit in many parts of the film, and I think that that alone made for a great improvement of the tone, but there were one or two places where it didn't quite fit, hence the 9/10 on Audio.
None of the cuts were missed at all, I think every change is for the better, and the seamlessness of the edit was top-notch, but a good movie can't be made from thin air, and this edit is sadly dragged down by the lacklustre original.
Overall, I'd recommend this edit due to how infamous the original movie is just to see how this one's better, but unlike Redbook I don't think this edit would be worthwhile to anyone unfamiliar with the original, unless you just want to put something on for your kids for a while.
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,
i loved this movie as a kid when it was released back in the 90's. definitely hasn't aged well, and i get the hatred for it over the years. In saying that, this was an interesting and new point of view. i like the B&W esthetic to it, the different scores i enjoyed too (the arkham city score especially) the editing was well done, getting rid of the filler and cheesy dialogue especially mr. freeze's ice puns and bane too. and the most important thing... NO BAT CREDIT CARD!!! hahaha
really the only thing i found hard to process was the beginning credits, maybe another watch will change that for me.
but all in all fantastic job on this!