Batman & Robin UHD Review

How to destroy a franchise 3.5 Stars

In honor of the caped crusader’s 80th birthday, Warner has released 1997’s Batman & Robin on 4K UHD Blu-ray, struck from a new 4K transfer and Dolby Atmos remix.

Batman & Robin (1997)
Released: 20 Jun 1997
Rated: PG-13
Runtime: 125 min
Director: Joel Schumacher
Genre: Action, Sci-Fi
Cast: Arnold Schwarzenegger, George Clooney, Chris O'Donnell, Uma Thurman
Writer(s): Bob Kane (Batman characters), Akiva Goldsman
Plot: Batman and Robin try to keep their relationship together even as they must stop Mr. Freeze and Poison Ivy from freezing Gotham City.
IMDB rating: 3.7
MetaScore: 28

Disc Information
Studio: Warner Brothers
Distributed By: N/A
Video Resolution: 2160p HEVC w/HDR
Aspect Ratio: 1.85:1
Audio: Dolby Atmos, English 5.1 DD, English 7.1 Dolby TrueHD, Spanish 5.1 DD, French 5.1 DD, Other
Subtitles: English SDH, Spanish, French, Other
Rating: PG-13
Run Time: 2 Hr. 4 Min.
Package Includes: UHD, Blu-ray, Digital Copy
Case Type: 2-disc UHD eco keepcase with slipcover
Disc Type: UHD
Region: All
Release Date: 06/04/2019
MSRP: $41.99

The Production: 2/5

Matt Hough reviewed Batman & Robin as part of Warner’s 2009 Blu-ray box set Batman: The Motion Picture Anthology:

Batman (George Clooney) has both of his arms full of trouble in this fourth installment. Mr. Freeze (Arnold Schwarzenegger) is on a murderous rampage to steal all of Gotham’s diamonds in order to keep himself and his cryogenically frozen wife alive. The evil Poison Ivy (Uma Thurman) wants to wipe out all human life to leave the Earth free for her plants. Faithful butler Alfred (Michael Gough) is dying from McGregor Syndrome, and his niece (Alicia Silverstone) invades the household after getting booted out of school. Finally, Robin (Chris O’Donnell) is smarting from constantly taking orders and not being respected as an equal member of the crime-fighting team. Can tempers cool and feelings get soothed so Gotham can sleep easy once more?

Joel Schumacher’s second go-round with the franchise is a bigger messy tangle than his first attempt with an unnecessarily overcrowded cast of characters, pointless scenes which have no place in the story (a street race with motorcycles is the nadir for the franchise), and atrocious acting from Silverstone (who’s simply terrible) and Schwarzenegger (who struggles to wrap his Austrian accent around the endless lame quips and double entendres he’s saddled with). There’s the germ of a good idea here: the rivalry and superhero envy between Robin and Batman and the near-dissolution of their partnership by the clever, alluring Poison Ivy. I’m convinced if screenwriter Akiva Goldsman had stuck with just that and left out Mr. Freeze, Batgirl, and sick Alfred, the film would have had a chance to be a much bigger hit and surely a better film.

Video: 5/5

3D Rating: NA

Joel Schumacher’s vision of Gotham City is much more colorful than Tim Burton’s, and once again it is those vivid color schemes against a mostly black background that make Warner’s new 4K transfer with HDR10 really stand out. Detail is excellent, from the speckled make-up design in Mr. Freeze to the even more obvious early CGI effects. Much of that also translates to the included Blu-ray disc, which was struck from the same 4K transfer (but downscaled, obviously, to 1080p and no HDR), which at press time is only available in this 2-disc set.

Audio: 5/5

Warner’s new Dolby Atmos mix (which is the default track, for a change) is a delight, sound cues are more discretely placed and sounds move seamlessly from one end of the room to another. LFE is strong, with Elliot Goldenthal’s Elfman-esque score receiving a nice low-end boost as well as explosions and crashes. Heights are used sparingly, more to provide a sense of immersion than any noticeable discrete effects. I wouldn’t say it is a demo-worthy track, but it is an improvement over the original (and included) 5.1 mix.

Special Features: 4/5

Although no new special features have been created for this release, it does include all of the features included on the previous Blu-ray release. The UHD disc contains only the audio commentary as a bonus feature, everything else can be found on the included Blu-ray in standard definition.

Audio Commentary by Director Joel Schumacher

Shadows of the Bat: The Cinematic Saga of the Dark Knight Pt. 6 – Batman Unbound (480i; 27:04)

Batman & Robin: The Heroes (480i; 9:22): Includes Batman, Robin and Batgirl.

Batman & Robin: The Villains (480i; 8:10): Includes Mr. Freeze, Poison Ivy and Bane.

Beyond Batman (480i; 50:49): Includes 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, and Freeze Frame: The Visual Effects of Batman & Robin.

Deleted Scene (480i; 0:47): Alfred’s Lost Love.

Music Videos (480i; 14:16): Includes The End is the Beginning is the End by The Smashing Pumpkins, Look Into My Eyes by Bone Thugs-N-Harmony and Foolish Games by Jewel.

Theatrical Trailer (480i; 2:29)

Digital Copy: An insert contains a code to redeem a digital copy (in UHD where available) on Movies Anywhere.

Overall: 3.5/5

If you are a fan of this film, then this is a must-have upgrade whether you have upgraded to 4K or not.

Published by

Todd Erwin

editor,member

3 Comments

  1. Osato

    Thanks Todd! I will pick up the four film set later this year. Can’t wait to pick these up!!!

    Same. I will end up feeling "less bad" about having this turkey if I can say "hey, it's part of the box set." I won't defend the movie (much), but the extreme hyperbolic vitriol thrown at Schumacher is uncalled for, in my opinion. It's a movie and lots of voices take part in the decision making process. He is the director, but even he has people to answer to. Everyone has to take some of the blame.

    Still, with the color palette used in the movie, this should look fantastic.

  2. Jason_V

    Same. I will end up feeling "less bad" about having this turkey if I can say "hey, it's part of the box set." I won't defend the movie (much), but the extreme hyperbolic vitriol thrown at Schumacher is uncalled for, in my opinion. It's a movie and lots of voices take part in the decision making process. He is the director, but even he has people to answer to. Everyone has to take some of the blame.

    Still, with the color palette used in the movie, this should look fantastic.

    Agreed. This movie should’ve been edited to around 2 hours.
    I still enjoying having it on and watch it at least once a year.

    I think the sets and design are great.
    I liked Alicia as Batgirl as well. Uma was over the top but again it worked for me overall.

    The story of Bruce and Alfred offered a lot to the film. So not great but still some good elements to this film.

    Oh and Arnold doesn’t bother me at all. The Victor Friese storyline is great. It was done much better in subzero. But I like Arnold’s portrayal as well. Plus we get to see Nora played by Vandela!

    Also another point for including Elle McPherson as Bruce’s girlfriend.

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