Tag: Tim Burton

MOVIE REVIEW | ***FLOP WEEK 2*** Mars Attacks! (1996)

In a nutshell, Bored & Dangerous says: “There’s a mean, casualness to the deaths and violence of Mars Attacks! that makes the harmless, dumbness a little hard to swallow.”

Mars 1
“We know they’re extremely advanced technologically, which suggests – very rightfully so – that they’re peaceful. An advanced civilization, by definition, is not barbaric.”

Jack Nicholson, Pierce Brosnan, Sarah Jessica Parker, Annette Benning, Glenn Close, Danny DeVito, Jack Black, Michael J Fox, Martin Short, Natalie Portman, Rod Steiger, Pam Grier… All directed by Tim Burton.  It has to be really, really hard work to take a cast like that, and make a movie that bombs so hard, it’s more famous now for bombing than it is for its enormous, A list cast.  Sure, some of those people weren’t as famous in 1996 as they would become later.  But Nicholson is Nicholson, Brosnan had just taken over as James Bond, and Burton’s Ed Wood had won a couple of Oscars just two years earlier.  So how did so much promise, result in the monumental bombing that was Mars Attacks! ?

Opening on the horrific sight of a herd of cattle, on fire, running down a country road, a flying saucer is also spotted leaving the scene.  When that ship doesn’t make it back to its home planet of Mars, a fleet of hundreds more are dispatched, headed for Earth.  When their approach is uncovered, US president James Dale (Nicholson) alerts the nation, and tries to keep his citizens calm, by saying that he believes the contact is friendly. (more…)

MOVIE REVIEW | ***DUD SEQUEL WEEK*** Batman and Robin (1997)

Batman and Robin (1997)
Few movies in the last couple of decades are the butt of more jokes than this one.  Few movies are more famous for more bad reasons than this one.  And I can’t imagine a single mainstream, family targeted movie that has more plastic nipples and gratuitous ass in tight leather shots than this one.  I made it almost 20 years, but I have now seen Batman and Robin and am now forever unclean.

I’ll start by saying this, every terrible thing you’ve heard about this movie is an understatement.  Director Joel Schumaker somehow took one of the darkest grittiest popular comic characters out there, and turned him into Mardi Gras float.

It’s hard to remember a time when George Clooney wasn’t a showbiz king, nominated for Oscars in acting and or directing categories most years, and making some of the most interesting mainstream movies on offer.  But in 1997, it still looked like he’d made a Caruso sized mistake, quitting ER to pursue a movie career that just wouldn’t take off.  So I guess taking the title roll in a massive budget superhero franchise seemed like a no brainer.  Unfortunately, absolutely everything about Batman and Robin is completely lacking in brains.

Clooney takes up the Bruce Wayne / Batman mantle, vacated by Val Kilmer.  Chris O’Donnell returns as Dick Grayson / Robin and the same old dudes who played Alfred and Commissioner Gordon are still hanging around, all those years after Tim Burton cast them in the 1988 franchise starter.  This time around, Alicia Silverstone arrives as Alfred’s niece who becomes Batgirl, and the bad guy roster is filled by Arnold Schwarzenegger as Mr Freeze and Uma Thurman as Poison Ivy.

There’s a story, I assume, I just never bothered to pay attention to any if it.  Why would I, when there was a perfectly good blank wall above the TV to stare at while I waited for Batman and Robin to end?

I did notice this much, I think Arnie’s dialogue consists entirely of terrible, terrible puns.

Of course, watching this in 2013, I have the hindsight of Christopher Nolan’s Batman trilogy to compare it too.  But if you ignore the Nolan / Christian Bale lead series, even the Burton movies look dark, serious and gritty compared to Schumaker’s bullshit.

Batman and Robin is less like a movie and more like the biggest budget high school musical you’ve ever seen.  Even then, it’s like that musical was still written and directed by the school’s dodgy drama teacher, and they spent all the money on the sets and a designer from the local theme park.

Batman and Robin
Directed By – Joel Schumaker
Written By – Akiva Goldmsith