Batman & Robin – 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray Review

Batman & Robin 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray Cover

Have you ever heard of the phrase, it’s so bad that it’s good? Well, in a way that kind of describes Batman & Robin. The film is so campy and so cheesy that it’s actually quite hilarious. A lot of that has to do with the dialogue and all of the great cheesy one-liners. How many times have you quoted or remembered all of the one-liners in the film? Lines like “what killed the dinosaurs? THE ICE AGE!” or “stay cool, bird boy.” Okay, so most of the great lines come from Mr. Freeze but there’s plenty of bad dialogue to go around.

Unfortunately, not even the amazing one-liners can save the film from what Joel Schumacher did to the franchise. If Batman Forever slightly dipped a toe into the campy television days then Batman & Robin does a cannonball into it. There are just so many examples to choose from too. Examples like Robin busting through a wall, leaving behind a Robin logo on the wall or the musical cues of the Adam West Batman days. Also, let’s not forget the addition of nipples on all of the Batsuits. There are a lot of examples you can choose from as to why Batman & Robin ended up the way it did.

The fact of the matter is that these massive issues get really old, really quickly. Be that as it may, the cast on paper is great. Keyword: On paper. Unfortunately, a majority of the cast is either miscast or gives a performance that’s so unbelievably hammy. Also, the storyline in this film is a grab bag of various plots. Yet the most intriguing storyline comes from the theme of father and son. In other words, the relationship between Alfred and Bruce and Dick and Bruce. These moments provide the film with a sense of warmth that hasn’t been seen in any of the Bat films up to this point. At the same time, Clooney, Gough, and O’Donnell give better performances while acting out this storyline.

Overall, Batman & Robin is an incredibly bad film. So bad that many consider this film to be the film that ultimately killed the Batman franchise. For the most part, they were right. However, if it weren’t for the massive failure of Batman & Robin then we wouldn’t have Christopher Nolan’s gritty and grounded version of Batman. So, in a way, we should be thankful that Batman & Robin actually exists.

Movie Rating: 1.5/5 atoms

Batman & Robin - Arnold Schwarzenegger

Batman & Robin hits Ultra HD Blu-ray (see it on Amazon) with an HDR transfer and a 1.85:1 aspect ratio. Much like all of the other Batman Ultra HD releases, the video transfer for Batman & Robin is amazing. Like the other releases, the brightness is really vibrant and the black levels are a deep black. Also, the HDR is able to showcase Batman & Robin‘s even wider color palette as the colors emanate off the screen. Not to mention, the detail clarity and edge details are sharp and well-defined too. Overall, this is an amazing, amazing video transfer.

Video Rating: 5/5 atoms

Batman & Robin - Alicia Silverstone, George Clooney, and Chris O'Donnell

Batman & Robin hits Ultra HD Blu-ray with a Dolby Atmos and a core 7.1 Dolby TrueHD Master Audio track. This review will reflect Batman & Robin‘s Dolby Atmos track. As good as the Batman Forever mix was, Batman & Robin is a step-down. Sadly, the audio mix isn’t as playful or dynamic as Forever‘s mix was. The biggest disappointment is that there isn’t a lot of overhead effects in this mix. There are plenty of opportunities to display the overhead effects but it just doesn’t come through as cleanly as Forever‘s.

Thankfully, the level of immersion is still there. The dynamic sound effects and the subtle atmospherics completely immerses you within the scene. In addition, the dialogue comes through clearly through the center channel and the subwoofer adds some weight to the action scenes too. Overall, this isn’t as playful of a mix as Forever‘s, but it’s still a great mix nonetheless.

Audio Rating: 4.5/5 atoms

Special Features
Batman & Robin - Uma Thurman

Batman & Robin has Joel Schumacher’s audio commentary on the 4K Blu-ray disc. However, you can find the following special features on the regular Blu-ray disc:

  • Shadows of the Bat: The Cinematic Saga of the Dark Knight Pt. 6 – Batman Unbound
  • Batman & Robin: The Heroes
    • Batman
    • Robin
    • Batwoman
  • Batman & Robin: The Villains
    • Mr. Freezer
    • Poison Ivy
    • Bane
  • Beyond Batman
    • Bigger, Bolder, Brighter: The Production Design of Batman & Robin
    • Maximum Overdrive: The Vehicles of Batman & Robin
    • Dressed to Thrill: The Costumes of Batman & Robin
    • Frozen Freaks and Femme Fatales: The Make-up of Batman & Robin
    • Freeze Frame: The Visual Effects of Batman & Robin
  • Deleted Scene: Alfred’s Lost Love
  • Music Videos
    • “The End is the Beginning is the End” by The Smashing Pumpkins
    • “Look Into My Eyes” by Bone Thugs-N-Harmony
    • “Foolish Games” by Jewel
  • Theatrical Trailer

The special features on the Blu-ray may have nothing but vintage featurettes but the featurettes are all very informative. You just have to get past the fact that you’re watching these featurettes in a 4:3 format.

Much like the other Batman releases, the “Shadows of the Bat” mini-documentary is an insightful featurette Chris O’Donnell, Joel Schumacher, and producer Peter Macgregor-Scott honestly talk about what went wrong with Batman & Robin

Similar to the other releases, “Heroes” and “Villains” breaks down the heroes and villains in Batman & Robin. Once again, “Beyond Batman” is another lengthy inside and informative look at the various aspects of the production. Since the look went out of control in this iteration, seeing these featurettes will give you a sense as to all of the challenges that went into creating this world. With the Alfred deleted scene, it gives a bit of backstory behind the relationship Alfred and his “niece”, Barbara.

Special Features Rating: 4/5 atoms

Overall, Batman & Robin marks the merciful end to Joel Schumacher’s run at Batman. To this very day, Batman & Robin is a prime example of what NOT to do in a superhero film. Yet, if it weren’t for this film, we wouldn’t have the golden age of superhero films that we’re enjoying today. Both the video and audio presentations are great and despite the lack of new special features, the classic featurettes are still fun to watch.

Overall Rating: 4/5 atoms

This Blu-ray was reviewed using a retail/advance copy/unit provided by Warner Bros. Home Entertainment.

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