How Not to Make a Batman Movie: The Team Behind 'Batman & Robin' Trash It

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Warner Bros.

Despite the dark tones of the original Batman comics, it wasn't always intuitive that a film about a man who wears a bat-motif costume and fights bizarre villains with crazy gadgets should be dark and gritty and realistic-y. In fact, the Adam West TV show and feature-length movie of the late '60s were so influential in their campy take on the character that no one really knew what to do with him again cinematically until Tim Burton brought him back in the late '80s. Burton's batman wasn't as serious-minded as Frank Miller's or Alan Moore's reinterpretations in DC Comics, but it wasn't a joke, either. When Joel Schumacher stepped in for Burton after two runs, however, Schumacher was at first, in Batman Forever, a little more coy and then, with the universally loathed Batman & Robin, kitschy, garish, and out-of-control to an extent that still disorients critics.

After all these years, it turns out, no one has more articulately processed the disaster than George Clooney, Chris O'Donnell, and the rest of the gang behind it -- including the director himself. Via Movies.com, this candid, in moments apologetic, almost therapeutic, official making-of featurette for the film is a remarkable act of creative contrition.

Witness:



J.J. Gould is the editor of TheAtlantic.com. More

He has written for The Washington MonthlyThe American ProspectThe Moscow Times, The Chronicle Herald, and The European Journal of Political Theory. Gould was previously an editor at the Journal of Democracy, co-published by the Johns Hopkins University Press and the National Endowment for Democracy, and a lecturer in history and politics at Yale University. He has also worked with McKinsey & Company's New York-based Knowledge Group on global public- and social-sector development and on the economics of carbon-emissions reduction. Gould has a B.A. in history from McGill University in Montreal, an M.Sc. from the London School of Economics, and a Ph.D. in politics from Yale. He is from Nova Scotia.


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