Return to the Batcave-The Misadventures of Adam and Burt (2003)
|Year Of Production||2003|
|Running Time||86:11 (Case: 91)|
|RSDL / Flipper||No/No||Cast & Crew|
|Start Up||Ads Then Menu|
|Region Coding||4||Directed By||Paul A. Kaufman|
Warner Home Video
|RPI||$19.95||Music||Douglas J. Cuomo|
|Pan & Scan/Full Frame||Full Screen, not known whether Pan & Scan or Full Frame||English Dolby Digital 2.0 (192Kb/s)|
|Widescreen Aspect Ratio||1.29:1|
|Video Format||576i (PAL)|
|Original Aspect Ratio||1.78:1||Miscellaneous|
English for the Hearing Impaired
|Annoying Product Placement||No|
|Action In or After Credits||No|
Return to the Batcave: The Misadventures of Adam and Burt is a sheer delight for anyone who’s a major fan of the 1960s Batman TV series, but viewers unfamiliar with that program probably will not understand this tribute/mockumentary/sequel at all.
The charm of this telemovie is that it very cleverly weaves a series of reconstructions of events in the lives of actors Adam West and Burt Ward (played not by themselves, but by actors) as they work on the Batman series during its production in the 1960s, with an over-the-top plot featuring Adam West and Burt Ward as they are today (played not by actors, but by themselves) who have to go on an outlandish hunt for a stolen batmobile.
So Return to the Batcave offers us both a behind-the-scenes glimpse into what it was supposedly like for Adam and Burt to play Batman and Robin on the hit 1960s series (with much of the events depicted drawn from Burt’s book Boy Wonder: My Life in Tights and Adam’s book Back to the Batcave) and how the success of the series impacted their personal lives, juxtaposed with real-life Adam and Burt reunited under unlikely circumstances and threatened by a mystery villain, apparently one of the actors who played a baddie in the Batman series now gone over the edge!
If this seems like an absolute farrago of nonsense, I sympathise, but for fans of the Batman series it actually makes for a very entertaining telemovie. It’s such a refreshing change from the typical American tribute show of wheeling out stars, ‘reuniting’ them on camera ‘for the first time in years’ (when in reality they’ve been chatting in the green room for the past few hours) and forcing them to sit facing a studio audience while enduring a barrage of clips showcasing their past glories (Happy Days or Dallas or Mary Tyler Moore reunion shows anyone?) With Return to the Batcave we have a gloriously silly plot, we have Adam and Burt hamming it up outrageously, we have all their great catchphrases from the series, and we have the bonus of some reconstructions showing us their time spent making the series. Great stuff, and unreservedly recommended for viewers who fondly remember the original series.
Frank Gorshin (the Riddler) and Julie Newmar (Catwoman) from the original series also appear in cameo roles, playing themselves, as do Lee Meriwether (Catwoman from the 1966 movie version which also starred Adam and Burt) and Lyle Waggoner (the original choice to play Batman before the producers decided on Adam).
As ‘young Adam’ and ‘young Burt’ respectively, Jack Brewer and Jason Marsden successfully recreate the chemistry between the two, but the obvious fact that we all know what Adam and Burt looked like during the series means it’s impossible to ignore that these are two different actors playing the roles. Brewer in particular doesn’t capture Adam West’s arch charm or his suaveness, and Marsden fares a little better in capturing Burt Ward’s gung-ho naivety apparent in his portrayal of Robin.
Despite the passing of the years (and the fact that Burt has piled on the pounds), both West and Ward have retained their deadpan delivery and are as funny to watch together as ever they were.
This is an extremely good quality video transfer with the only issue some mild edge enhancement in places. It is, however, 1.29:1 and not 16x9 enhanced, unlike the Region 1 disc which is in the correct aspect ratio.
There was virtually no grain visible - this really is a beautiful image - with lovely colours; often the primaries are accentuated, which is in keeping with the look of the original Batman TV series.
The audio is straight Dolby 2.0 and is perfectly adequate given the program’s origins as a TV production. No issues were noted with dialogue audibility or syncing.
The music, credited to Douglas Cuomo, is standard TV fare with a dash of tongue in cheek and is perfectly effective. It might have been nice to have had more of Neal Hefti's original Batman TV theme included, but that's nitpicking really.
|Surround Channel Use|
NOTE: To view non-R4 releases, your equipment needs to be multi-zone compatible and usually also NTSC compatible.
This movie is also available in Region 1.
The Region 1 disc issued by Anchor Bay Entertainment features:
Clearly the Region 1 version is to be preferred.
Return to the Batcave: The Misadventures of Adam and Burt is great fun for fans of the original Batman TV series. While the Region 4 disc is perfectly adequate in terms of video and sound, the Region 1 disc is superior.
|DVD||Denon DVD-2200 (NTSC/PAL Progessive), using Component output|
|Display||Panasonic TX-76PW60. This display device has not been calibrated. This display device is 16x9 capable.|
|Audio Decoder||Built in to Amplifier.|
|Speakers||Fronts: B&W DM309; Rears: B&W DM303; Centre: B&W LCR3; Subwoofer: B&W ASW300.|