Return To The Batcave – The Misadventures Of Adam & Burt
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
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
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