Projections - Movie Reviews

Batman Returns

This is the wrong title, it should be called "The Penguin".  Danny DeVito as the Penguin dominates this dark, underground episode which is filled with anti-heros.  DeVito plays his part extraordinarily well as he walks like a penguin and leads the more normal penguins around the sewers of Gotham City during the Christmas season.  With billionaire Max Shreck (Christopher Walken) he plots to overthrow the city's weak mayor (Michael Murphy).  The battle is joined when Selina Kyle, Shreck's harassed lady Friday (Michelle Pfeiffer) sews herself a slinky catsuit and becomes Catwoman.  Batman is drawn into this mix and he brings a sullen cynical attitude to justice for the city.

Tim Burton brings to the screen a nightmare of disjointed characters who frolic around a militant looking set that has obvious limitations despite the enormous special effects budget.  His characters are far more like those from an asylum than a comic page.

The opening scenes as the baby Penguin is dropped into the open sewer by his parents and the musical score are false prophets.  They set expectations which are quickly dashed by a silly, dull and dark film.  Batman is the intertesting character but he is on screen only a short time and Michelle Pfeffer never really cooks with him, as might be expected.  Pfeiffer's outfit may be very sexy but her scenes are so dark that she could have been wearing a sack for all that is visible.

The TV series was a silly view of Batman and this is a sullen Gothic view that is very expensive and well made.  It just isn't any fun and by the time it is half way through it is clear the end will come as a relief.

Batman Returns

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