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in the continuation of warner brother's franchise , joel schumacher has successfully killed this cash cow .
what makes this film such a grand disappointment is the tremendous line up of talented people involved with the film .
avika goldsman's screenplay is such a cluttered mess that there is no suspense built from one scene to another .
this coming on the heals of such a marvelously written project as " the client " is such a shock that it gives rise to thoughts that the latter film was a fluke .
situations are developed and executed with no thought of reason other that to get the characters from one point to another .
this is most glaringly brought to point by the appearance of alicia silverstone's batgirl , who just happens to be alfred's niece .
the story of dr . victor freeze is told almost completely in dialogue as an afterthought .
while working on a cure for a tragic decease contracted by his wife , dr . freeze is injured during a cryogenic procedure , and becomes a man who can only survive in a sub zero environment .
now of course he has become a terrorist intent on turning the world into a frozen planet where only he can live .
now the logic of that little sub-plot escapes me .
if mr . freeze wanted to find a cure for his wife and bring her back from the brink of death , why would he want to have her live in a world with no warmth .
this is indeed a cold hearted man .
the development of poison ivy is no less contradictory .
she wants to breed a form of plant life that can defend itself like an animal .
she joins with mr . freeze in his plan to start a new ice age , destroying all animal life , therefore giving her plant creations no reason to have the defense mechanism she had been trying to breed into them .
the characters have no logic .
batman of course is no longer the dark knight of the earlier films .
now that he has an adoptive son in burt ward / robin , bruce wayne is trying to be a father figure , constantly spouting out homilies about family and relationships , while at the same time not really having any .
george clooney tries in vain to keep from rolling his eyes while reciting the dialogue given him .
to say that his performance is workman-like is to be generous .
his best performances are still on " e . r . " .
bruce wayne has the most unromantic evening with his girlfriend ( played by elle macpherson ) , that it brings into question bruce's latent homosexuality .
there is no spark and no passion ( as there was for nicole kidman's psychologist in " batman forever " ) between bruce and anyone other than alfred .
and even that relationship is very reserved .
robin comes off less charismatic that in the last film in the series .
now he's just a spoiled kid .
in " batman forever " , burt ward wanted to be batman's partner and friend .
now , robin is suffering from ego deficiency .
robin's attraction for poison ivy is not believable , except for a boy around the age of 15 .
his later flirtation with batgirl smacks of incest , even though they are not related in a traditional sense .
chris o'donnell , once considered a rising star , successfully burns up on reentry with this performance .
his robin needs nothing more than a good spanking .
the less said about alicia silverstone's performance the better .
this talented young actress reads her lines with all the aplomb of a dubbing actor for a godzilla film .
she was cast strictly for her commercial value and she knew it .
this brings us to the villains .
arnold scharzenegger walks through his part with all the concern of someone waiting for payday .
the most rediculous scene is during mr . freeze's imprisonment .
the guards are at least a foot taller that arnold and yet fall at his hand in one of the most unbelievable fights scenes caught on film .
it's almost as ludicrous as seeing michael jackson as a gang member .
umu thurman struts and coos her way through her part , showing a growing discomfort with her sex symbol status .
her poison ivy has all the come hither sex appeal of may west in " sextette " ( 1978 ) .
the only performances worthy of notice are pat hingle and michael gough .
these two seasoned veterans carry their scenes with a dignity sorely lacking from the rest of the film .
without going through the intricacies of the plot , there is one question that always comes to mind with this series ( except for the first " batman " ) , and that is how do these super villains manage to hire so many thugs only to abandon them at the final reel .
mr . freeze is introduced with a team of hockey playing hoodlums that seem to have stepped out of an old kiss music video .
every villain ( even the minor ones ) have to have a look , no one can be an individual with day glow paint on their face or some sort of elaborate costume .
with this film , warner brothers has succeeded in retrograding the series back to it's tv incarnation .
the only thing missing from the action scenes are the superimposed titles detailing the pows ! ,
gwaaaa's , and clang's associated with the old series .
you almost wonder if william dozier , producer of the tv series is collecting royalties from this film .
the special effects ( by john dykstra ) and production design ( by barbara ling ) are the primary stars of this film .
and it is a case of extravagance in the pursuit of nothing .
every set , from ivy's lair , the batcave , to freeze's hideout is set with enough neon and fiberglass to keep the epa in paperwork for years to come .
there is no one realistic set or set piece in the film .
everything is set for maximum exposure .
the special effects have that strange cartoon look that most rushed cgi effects have .
there are homage thrown in by dykstra and his team to gene warren and his work on " the time machine " ( the growing plant scene ) but these scenes are so wroth with glaring color and art that they are almost obscured .
joel schumacher has directed the film with no flair .
camera angles are poorly chosen rehashing set ups from the old tv series .
master shots pepper the action scenes , destroying any flow of kinetic quality they may have had .
mr . schumacher is a good director .
one just has to look back on the films " the lost boys " , " cousins " ( an underrated film ) and " the client " to know that .
but " batman and robin " comes off as a mated made for tv movie .
the film has no style of individuality .
it is the cinematic equivalent to jell-o , pretty to look at , but empty .
it is unfortunate that this film , even with it's surprisingly strong box office has succeeded in doing what warner's thought tim burton would do with the franchise .
kill it .
joel schumacher's " batman & robin " is loud , colorful , action packed , and ultimately . .
boring .
stars .