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Category:    Home > Reviews > Comedy > Superhero > TV > Return To The Batcave (Anchor Bay DVD)

Return To The Batcave – The Misadventures Of Adam & Burt


Picture: B-     Sound: B-     Extras: C-     Film: B



Nostalgia projects are usually lame and awful, but Paul A. Kaufman’s Return To The Batcave (2002) is so funny and amusing that it should have had a wide theatrical release.  With Adam West and Burt Ward on board, it would almost be the ideal time for a Batman revival, but they are obviously too old.  West was not happy when Michael Keaton took his role when he was available, especially since Frank Miller’s Dark Knight Returns had an older Batman, but both are here playing themselves in a 1960-style Batman-like caper.


Reuniting for a showing of the original Batmobile, they are ready to do the usual signings when the lights go out and the legendary car is stolen.  As they go and search for it, they reminisce about their Batman days and this includes a series of flashbacks that loosely reconstruct the rise and fall of the series.  Duane Poole’s script gets why the show worked, its appeal, its fun factor.  Besides a bunch of great facts loaded up in the dialogue, the costumes and sets are nicely recreated.


Frank Gorshin and Julie Newmar themselves also show up, along with welcome cameos by Lee Meriwether as a waitress and Betty White as the archetypical guest star disturbed by one of the many legendary building climb sequences.  Lyle Waggoner, who later was Steve Trevor on the later DC Comics hit TV series Wonder Woman, was originally going to be Batman and some of that test footage is here.  He also makes a cameo.  In the flashback sequences, Jack Brewer is a convincing Adam West and Jason Marsden (no relation we know of to James) is equally convincing as Burt Ward of the time.  The result is always amusing, especially if you like the show.  For those waiting for the actual series to materialize on DVD, this makes for a great stopgap program until those seasons role around.


Another plus is a nicely cast series of unknowns playing the various big stars of the past who played Bat-Villains.  More of this would not have hurt, though the only downside to all this is the reminder that so many of our great character actors from the show are no longer with us.  With that said, Return To The Batcave is a fun feature for those who do not take comic books too seriously.


The anamorphically enhanced 1.78 X 1/16 X 9 image is pretty good, with some good detail and color throughout.  Cinematographer James Glennon has fun with the original show’s camerawork, though do not expect the bright DeLuxe colors throughout the show were known for.  The Dolby Digital 2.0 Stereo has healthy Pro Logic surrounds that puts some current productions to shame.  The only extras are a DVD-ROM feature that allows you access to the script for the film and a nice color booklet inside the DVD case.  Along with the current animated series and maybe a couple of the feature films, any serious Batman collection will not want to be without Return To The Batcave.  It is in the comedy spirit of the 1960s series and that is not as easy to do as it sounds.



-   Nicholas Sheffo


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