September 17, 2007
Batman Forever: The Red Book Edition is a fanedit I've been pursuing since late 2016, mainly due to its popularity with fans of Batman lore and especially the Burton/Schumacher films. Now, thanks to Masirimso17, I was finally able to watch it in January of last year, and I can certainly say — this cut lives up to its promise for me.
First off, the A/V quality isn't perfect, of course. It's ripped from a DVD source, so that makes sense. Everything else, on the other hand, makes this worthy of repeat viewings.
The editing, in terms of visuals and audio, is damn near seamless. There are certain bits that can come off as slightly jarring, but overall, Scaperat really has outdone himself with this cut. Most of Two-Face's laughs and jokes have been cut in order to bring him in line with his characterization from the comics, and it works beautifully.
The Riddler, however, remains almost completely untouched, and this is due to Scaperat being a huge Jim Carrey fan. I honestly can't blame him, since I really like Carrey's performance myself. As he said himself, "Jim Carrey is a comedic god."
The colour correction, while imperfect, brings a unique look to the film with its muted and noir-esque nature. It helps to highlight significant plot points in the film, such as the criminally underappreciated 'red book' subplot.
The deleted scenes have been restored to their rightful places, obviously, and they blend in perfectly. They contribute to darkening the tone of the film and character development, particularly Bruce's dilemma on becoming Batman and the guilt he expresses over his parents' death.
Unlike many other Batman Forever fan edits which tend to replace Elliot Goldenthal's score with Danny Elfman's epic soundtrack from the Burton films, this cut actually adds more of his work, specifically from Alien 3 and Final Fantasy: The Spirits Within. And their inclusion actually succeeds in emphasizing intensity and reflecting the mood of certain scenes.
One thing to keep in mind, this cut sticks with the altered timeline as presented in the theatrical cut, but the changes and additions made are a major contributing factor to making it work. Plus, Chase's clearly-redubbed line "Last night at the bank..." fits pretty well here.
On a personal note, I consider Batman Forever to be an underrated gem hidden beneath the earth, and one that has recently been overlooked by Warner Bros. and DC Entertainment. Director Joel Schumacher has expressed his interest in piecing together a director's cut in the near future, but due to the film's drop in popularity, it seems unlikely that we may ever get to see his vision come full circle.
But we can always keep on trying to convince Warner Bros. to let him shine in the spotlight. In the meantime, this cut has succeeded in being a darker version of a 19-year-old movie that was affected by the underwhelming performance of Batman Returns. A highly recommendable fan edit, and well-enough worthy of completing your Batman movie marathon!