Nov 16, 2017
Batman & Robin (1997) (part 5 of 13)
Cut to daylight on the streets of Gotham City, where a red limo rolls into view. A radio report in the background informs us that Bruce Wayne is about to make an appearance at the Gotham Observatory to announce “another legendary contribution to the city!” We then cut to the back seat of the limo and find Pamela Isley slipping on a short brown wig to get back into Plain Chick mode. She tells her chauffeur, who turns out to be Bane, to head to the observatory and “step on it!” Bane growls, “Steppp.” I do believe that he’s a member of this movie’s target audience.
We next see Gotham Observatory, and continuing the tradition of impossible architecture we’ve come to expect from Batman movies, the observatory is actually being held up in the hands of a giant statue [!]. Inside, Bruce is announcing to a group of reporters the donation of a new advanced telescope to the observatory.
He recites a lame story about his father once telling him to follow his own star, blah blah blah, and standing at his side (for not much purpose other than set dressing) is Elle Macpherson in the role of Julie Madison. “With any luck,” Bruce says, “This telescope will give future generations a chance to follow their own stars!” And with any luck, this telescope will give a would-be screenwriter a chance to make up his own deus ex machina.
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At Bruce’s other side is a really old-fashioned gossip reporter, obviously based on Louella Parsons, who goes by the name of “Gossip Gertie”. She calls him “Brucey” and asks, “Is it true this telescope can see all around the globe?” He confirms this, and turns things over to two generic scientists in white lab coats.
They explain that satellites positioned all around the planet can bounce light off each other and reflect it back to Gotham, allowing the telescope to provide a view of the sky from anywhere on earth. Amazing! I guess astronomers will no longer have to wait for the damn earth to spin around on its axis to see things on the other side. What’s that take, a whole 24 hours?
Bruce quips, “Just don’t point it at my bedroom!” Brucey, you’re a single man living alone with a hunky young guy. I wouldn’t be making jokes like this if I were you. Pamela Isley, now in her Plain Chick disguise, slowly creeps into the observatory just as Gossip Gertie is asking the on-topic question of whether or not Bruce and Julie Madison have plans to get married.
Bruce becomes “comically” flustered, literally saying, “Marriage? Uh, marriage? Uh, marriage?” (These are the jokes, people.) Julie eventually bails him out, replying that she and Bruce are “recklessly in love”, whatever that means, and that’s enough for now. I mean, what more could you want? Dangerously in love? Psychotically in love? Homicidally in love?
Suddenly, we see several security guards trying to stop Pamela Isley from approaching Bruce. She calls one of them a “fascist bulldog”, and he replies that if she wants to talk to Bruce Wayne, she needs “an appointment” [?]. Bruce waves off the goons and Isley introduces herself, saying she worked for his “arboreal preservation project in South America.” Bruce recalls the project, but he no longer funds it because of a “conflict of ideologies. Dr. Woodrue was a lunatic!”
Isley then hands him a bound report explaining what Wayne Enterprises can do to “cease all actions that toxify our environment!” She then gives your standard wacko extremist tree-hugging spiel that I’d rather forget about, having gotten the same pitch myself from Equinox multi-level marketers once or twice in my life.
For some reason, all of the gathered reporters are drawn to this idiotic tirade and begin pointing microphones her way. Bruce examines the report and declares that it calls for measures that would ultimately kill “millions of people”. Come again? Are we really expected to believe that Wayne Enterprises is responsible for the lives of millions of people? If so, then why the hell does Bruce even bother fighting crime in the first place? It seems he could do more by getting a good night’s sleep and running his company proficiently than he ever could do as Batman.
Isley calls these millions of deaths “acceptable losses in the battle to save the planet!” (Something tells me she would get along great with Nick Van Owen.) Bruce condescendingly tells her that “People come first,” and hands the report back to her. Isley then turns to the reporters and delivers a pro-plant diatribe, basically promising that plants will rise up and reclaim the earth. In response, the gathered crowd bursts out into raucous laughter. Yeah, I know it’s pretty dumb, but you’d think these professional journalists would at least save the patronizing laughter until after she’s left the room.
Gossip Gertie butts in, telling Isley that “You must be new in town! In Gotham City, Batman and Robin protect us! Even from plants and flowers!” Oh, brother. Where to even start? Batman and Robin “protect us”? Like they’re civil servants or something? Aren’t we basically talking about two disguised vigilantes who work out of a secret cave? Sure, they help the police out from time to time, but clearly they’re not beholden to the law. At the very least, they’re not even obligated to tell anybody before they take off on, say, a six-month vacation. Here’s hoping they’ll start on that vacation the same day that Gossip Gertie becomes the plants’ first victim.
Anyway, this comment prompts more hoots and laughter, so Bruce hands Isley an invitation to meet Batman and Robin [?]. Apparently, they’re going to help auction off a prized diamond to “raise money for our botanical gardens.” She opens the invitation, revealing that it’s for a “Save the Rainforest Costume Ball” with “Special Guests – Batman and Robin”. Are the people of Gotham really buying this? Couldn’t you just put any two chumps in costumes and tell everybody it’s Batman and Robin? I mean, with those suits, the two guys don’t even have to be in shape.
Bruce calls the press conference to a close and Isley wanders off. She puts on her creepy anti-sexy voice and says, “Batman and Robin! Militant arm of the warm-blooded oppressors!” She then promises to do away with the “fur and feathered pests”, and I think the “fur” part refers to George Clooney’s body hair. She says that once she’s gotten rid of them, “Gotham will be mine for the greening!” And this script will be ours for the groaning.
We cut to Mr. Freeze watching his wedding video on the icicle encased TV set, and of course his bride looks joyous and beautiful. (In a subtle casting choice, she’s being played by supermodel Vendela.) And yes, the whole “watching wedding film/video to remind you of happier times” is yet another story device that’s been around since the beginning of time.
Suddenly, Frosty runs in (referring to Freeze as “Chief” for some reason instead of “Boss”) to show him a newspaper headline. Freeze, however, is annoyed by the interruption, so he picks up his Ice Cannon and turns the guy into a Goonsicle. Freeze says, “I hate when people talk during the movie!” Yes, silence is golden, but these jokes are not.
In the video, Fries the bridegroom puts a snowflake-shaped pendant around his new bride’s neck. So, even back then, he had some kind of cold fetish? Whatever. Mr. Freeze tells his wife’s video image that all he needs is “one more diamond” to save her, in case you forgot that in the ten minutes since the last time he explained it. Then he goes over to his frozen thug and examines the newspaper he’s holding. (As he does this, I can’t help but notice that Frosty is wearing a skull-shaped codpiece just like Poofy Hair Guy in Never Too Young to Die! So they really do shop at the same store!)
Strangely, the headline is that “Bruce Wayne Loans Diamonds to Flower Ball”, and it’s at the top of the front page [!!]. Talk about a slow news day! Freeze sees this headline and decides to take the bait. Or rather, in Arnie-Speak: “Veddy niiiyce…”