Sunday, 4 July 2010

Oh Yeah, I Forgot That Was Great - No. 4: Batman: The Movie (1966)

"Some days, you just can't get rid of a bomb."

And some days, you suddenly realise that you've liked a film at different stages in your life for entirely different reasons. When I was a wee, hirsute nipper, I dearly loved this film with no trace of irony whatsoever. It was bright, it was exciting, it had fightings, it had gadgets and I watched it many times. Oddly enough, I was obsessed with the penguin. I dearly wanted an umbrella that turned into a gun and shot out gas and became a helicopter - this was the ultimate gadget as far as I was concerned.

As I grew older, I began to realise that this was, in fact, one of the finest comedy films ever. Even when I started reading Batman comics and wanted my Batman films to be all dark and grim and gritty (Batman And Robin, don't let the door hit you in the arse on the way out). my affection for this film never wavered.

Why is it so good? Oh, many reasons. One of the the chief ones has to the man playing Batman himself, Mr Adam West. His delivery is perfect - serious enough for kids to accept him in the role but with enough of a smirk lurking at the corners of his eyes for the adults to know that he's in on the joke. It's a masterpiece of using deadpan delivery to comic effect and is the definitive comedy superhero (with Patrick Warburton's The Tick coming a close second - although there is a hint of him channelling a bit of West).

Secondly, it knows that it has a low budget to realise a lot of the effects and makes a virtue of them. The scene in which Batman battles an obviously foam shark whilst dangling from a helicopter always raises a smile (particularly when the ultimate solution to his predicament is Shark Repellent Spray).

Lastly, it's just very funny. Some great moments of comedy timing, chief among them being this sequence (a sequence that is so iconic, it's referenced by Wallace And Gromit more than 40 years later):-

It's a cracking film no matter what age you are and definitely one that's fun for all the family. If you haven't seen it before and like your comedy daftly deadpan and campily serious then give it a go.

"They may be drinkers, Robin, but they're still human beings."

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