I hadn't watched this since the 90s, so mostly I was coming at the film with fresh eyes. I had actually liked it more than Batman Returns, due to hating most everything about the Penguin, preferring Val Kilmer as Bruce Wayne and Batman, and generally liking Jim Carrey. Actually, neither of the films have aged very well, though. But The Red Book Edition attempts to change that.
First, it has to be said that the deleted scenes are 99% amazing (except for one lame line reading by Kilmer: "I'm Batman") and they form a subplot that actually gives a REASON for the main plot of the film. It deepens Bruce's reason for survivor's guilt, justifies having Chase the psychiatrist being a potential lifelong love interest instead of just an old-timey harlot, and gives a more believable reason for Batman to retire than was presented in The Dark Knight Rises. As a serious film that holds up, these scenes MAKE the movie.
Unfortunately, they also highlight how different everything else in the film is. Well, mostly the villains. Schumacher was clearly raised on the old TV show, and the film frequently hearkens back to the improbable inventions and campy over-the-top antics presented there. He doesn't lean into it full bore like he did later in Batman & Robin, though occasional shots and sound effects emphasize the cartoonish aspect of scenes. Mostly it comes in the villains though, and sadly (even with the cuts) Tommy Lee Jones clearly has no idea what he's doing in this film. This Two-Face is a travesty compared to his portrayal in TAS, or even The Dark Knight. And while I was on board with Jim Carrey at the time, he's just horrible now. His hair changes back and forth every other scene, his crotch bulge is distractingly bad, and he's mostly channeling previous wacky characters rather than actually giving us The Riddler. Again, it's a travesty when you know what can be done with the character.
This is undoubtedly a better film than the theatrical release, and the new tone is created with great expertise and attention. Elliot Goldenthal's underappreciated work is the real star of this edit (besides the killer end credit songs), and the visual differences in the deleted scenes worked for me, for the most part. Also, Val Kilmer is given more to work with in this edit, enhancing the best part of the original film. I'd say this is now probably tied with The Dark Knight Rises for my third-favorite live action Batman film.
However, it's still not a great movie. Like TDKR, there are significant problems in this film that cannot be fixed by editing. If you're going to watch it though, this is the version to watch.
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!
Lol, sorry about that, I will start this review by saying that after watching this edit of Batman Forever, it's my opinion that the first 3 Batman movies make one of the best trilogies ever made. Yes I'm pointing at you Dark Knight trilogy (and ignoring Batman & Robin almost completely). I haven't seen Batman Forever in at least 10 years but I'm old enough to have seen the original trilogy in the theaters. Batman One: "you wanna get crazy?? "Let's get Crazy!!". Batman Returns: Pee wee and Simone(?) are the penguins parents/catwoman neon sign says hello there she smashes part of it "Hell Here", Batman Forever: Ace Ventura as the Riddler, Nicole "To Die For" Kidman, and Seal's Kiss from a Rose. Blah blah blah.
So this edit isn't my preferred Batman Forever but I'm really glad it got me to watch this movie again which I became so afraid of after Batman & Robin and which I pretty much forgot existed after THE Dark Knight Trilogy. Holy S Jim Carrey is great in this movie, Tommy Lee Jones is fantastic in my opinion, unpredictable, over the top, major inspiration for the new Joker i'd say. Nicole Kidman has never been hotter . And Val Kilmer is equally great in the role as Michael Keaton and the change is almost not noticeable because the first half hour of the movie he's in the Batsuit.
Reasons why the original is my favorite version: I miss the Bat nipple scene (chase meridian being aggressive), I don't mind the Bat ass (Joel Schumacher is openly gay oh well, he gives us the hottest red head ever here fine by me). I like the idea that Batman and Chase hookup at the end (forever??), I miss the silhouettes at the end. As someone else mentioned I read, I love Trilogy's and if I forget about B&R this is one of the best ever without needing any further altercations in my book, unlike the dark knight trilogy where I was able to see the Begins Dark Cut and that's my preferred version as well as whoever decides to cut out Joseph Dumbass Levitt from the Dark KNight Rises that will be my Preferred EDIT .
This fan edit has been held in high regards for some time now so I was excited to finally sit down and watch it.
From the opening scene I felt like I was watching another movie. Then with the transition to the red Bat logo and then to the Batmobile taking off I thought this is fantastic. However from that point onwards my enthusiasm waned.
Most of the deleted scenes worked great though some could have benefited from more sound design. The newly added Goldenthal cues generally work but I think ultimately his score just isn't right for Batman
What bothered me most about this edit was the colour design. From scene to scene the picture didn't seem very consistent. In some scenes it was very nearly black and white and in others very flat. If I felt this was the editors intention I could except it but I'm not entirely sure it was. I appreciate the flashy neon design that Schumacher created wasn't right for Batman, nevertheless I think I prefer that over a very flat image.
With all that said this is still a very good fan edit. Scaperat could've probably been more brutal with cuts, but most of the truly offensive stuff is gone making this a much more watchable film.
A valiant, albeit flawed, effort to fix a highly problematic film that was tainted by WB studios interference, as usual. The color desaturation gives the film some noir (instead of the original neon/pop) feeling which is more than welcome, and the same goes for the restoration of the deleted scenes back to the film, giving Bruce Wayne a sentimental, psychological journey into his darkest memories and Dr. Chase Meridian a crucial role to play other than being a mere love interest. Unfortunately, the aforementioned deleted scenes were never properly released by the studio and, as a result, the difference in video and audio quality between scenes is more than visible. This is, of course, by no means the editor’s fault, but unfortunately there are also a few more choppy cuts here and there, like when Dick Grayson saves that woman from the hands of a street gang. My main problem, though, not so much with this edit as with the original film, is that no amount of editing could ever salvage the two antagonists. Even the most gifted editor has to work with what he’s been provided, and The Riddler and Two-Face are just too goofy and cartoonish. The Riddler being essentially Jim Carrey I can live with, but Two-Face is still insufferable and out of character, no matter what.
However, despite all its flaws, The Red Book Edition still remains a better viewing experience than the original film, highlighting not only some of its darkest aspects that were butchered in WB’s editing room, but also a stellar performance by Val Kilmer. And justifying, at long last, why Batman is Forever.