Return to the Batcave-The Misadventures of Adam and Burt (2003)

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Released 3-Jun-2005

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Details At A Glance

General Extras
Category Action None
Rating Rated PG
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
Studio
Distributor

Warner Home Video
Starring Adam West
Burt Ward
Jack Brewer
Jason Marsden
Lyle Waggoner
Lee Meriwether
Frank Gorshin
Julie Newmar
Betty White
Amy Acker
Brett Rickaby
Curtis Armstrong
Jim Jansen
Case ?
RPI $19.95 Music Douglas J. Cuomo


Video Audio
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
16x9 Enhancement No
Video Format 576i (PAL)
Original Aspect Ratio 1.78:1 Miscellaneous
Jacket Pictures No
Subtitles English
English for the Hearing Impaired
Smoking Yes
Annoying Product Placement No
Action In or After Credits No

NOTE: The Profanity Filter is ON. Turn it off here.

Plot Synopsis

     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.

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Transfer Quality

Video

     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.

Video Ratings Summary
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Shadow Detail
Colour
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Film-To-Video Artefacts
Film Artefacts
Overall

Audio

     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.

Audio Ratings Summary
Dialogue
Audio Sync
Clicks/Pops/Dropouts
Surround Channel Use
Subwoofer
Overall

Extras

     No extras.

R4 vs R1

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.

Summary

     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.

Ratings (out of 5)

Video
Audio
Extras
Plot
Overall

© Alex Paige (read my bio)
Thursday, October 20, 2005
Review Equipment
DVDDenon DVD-2200 (NTSC/PAL Progessive), using Component output
DisplayPanasonic TX-76PW60. This display device has not been calibrated. This display device is 16x9 capable.
Audio DecoderBuilt in to Amplifier.
AmplificationSony STR-DB940
SpeakersFronts: B&W DM309; Rears: B&W DM303; Centre: B&W LCR3; Subwoofer: B&W ASW300.

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