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post #1 of 6 Old 05-29-2019, 01:03 PM - Thread Starter
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Batman Forever and Batman & Robin Ultra HD Blu-ray Review



Long Live the Bat. Warner Brothers Home Entertainment Celebrates the 80th Anniversary of DC’s Popular Super Hero Batman with the Ultra HD Blu-ray releases of Batman, Batman Returns, Batman Forever and Batman & Robin. Check out Ralph Potts’ Ultra HD Blu-ray review of Batman Forever and Batman & Robin.



The Review at a Glance:
(max score: 5 )

Film:

Extras:

Audio/UHD Video total rating:
( Max score: 100 )

96



Details:

Studio and Year: Warner – 1995, 1997
MPAA Rating: PG-13
Feature running time: 121/124 minutes
Genre: Fantasy/Action

Disc Format: BD-100
Encoding: HEVC
Video Aspect: 1.85:1
Resolution: 2160p/24

Audio Format(s): English Dolby Atmos/TrueHD 7.1, French/Spanish Dolby Digital 5.1
Subtitles: English SDH, Spanish, French
Starring: Val Kilmer, Tommy Lee Jones, Jim Carrey, Nicole Kidman, Michael Gough, Pat Hingle, George Clooney, Chris O’Donnell, Arnold Schwarzenegger, Uma Thurman, Alicia Silverstone, Elle MacPherson
Directed by: Joel Schumacher
Music by: Elliott Goldenthal
Written by: Lee Batchler, Janet Scott Batchler, Akiva Goldsman
Region Code: A


Release Date: June 4, 2019


"In a Chaotic Time, Justice Wears a Mask"


Synopsis:

Batman Forever: “Batman must battle former district attorney Harvey Dent, who is now Two-Face and Edward Nygma, The Riddler with help from an amorous psychologist and a young circus acrobat who becomes his sidekick, Robin.” – Warner Brothers Home Entertainment

Batman & Robin: Batman and Robin try to keep their relationship together even as they must stop Mr. Freeze and Poison Ivy from freezing Gotham City.” – Warner Brothers Home Entertainment


My Take:

Batman Forever: Batman (Val Kilmer) faces off against two foes: the schizophrenic, horribly scarred former District Attorney Harvey Dent, aka Two-Face (Tommy Lee Jones), and the Riddler (Jim Carrey), a disgruntled ex-Wayne Enterprises inventor seeking revenge against his former employer by unleashing his brain-sucking weapon on Gotham City's residents. As the caped crusader also deals with tortured memories of his parents' murder, he has a new romance, with psychologist Chase Meridian (Nicole Kidman).

Batman & Robin: Batman & Robin is the sequel to 1995’s Batman Forever and is the fourth and final installment of Warner Brothers initial Batman film series. Set two years after the defeat of Two-Face and the Riddler, Batman and his new sidekick, Robin, become defenders of Gotham. They must thwart the villainous Mr. Freeze, contend with the wiley ways of the seductive Poison Ivy and, break in a third addition to the team, Batgirl.

Prior the 1989’s Batman our onscreen reference for Batman was that of Adam West. That isn’t to take anything away from him, the TV series or his place in our hearts. However, that seemed a far cry from the caped crusader as depicted in the DC world that many were fans of. When Tim Burton’s Batman debuted in theaters in 1989 I was there to see what it was all about. I had serious reservations about the choice to cast Michael Keaton in the lead role.

So, while I really enjoyed Tim Burton’s vision, the handling of the character’s depiction, from that of cheesy and comedic, to one of themes that would introduce us to the Dark Knight, there was still an air of campiness that reminded me of the old TV series. Batman and Batman Returns with Tim Burton at the helm and Michael Keaton in the title role do a decent job of providing us with a vision of the Dark Knight that worked.

Batman Forever and Batman & Robin, not so much. With Joel Schumacher now handling the directing duties and Keaton being replaced by Val Kilmer and then George Clooney, the thematic essence of the series changed. Of the two I find Batman Forever to be more tolerable although villains Two-Face and Riddler, played by Jim Carrey and Tommy Lee Jones are pretty annoying. Nicole Kidman’s Chase Meridian helps ease the pain though. Robin’s introduction and storyline is hit or miss which isn’t helped by Chris O’Donnell’s portrayal. All in all Batman Forever is sort of fun but, most definitely losses the momentum started by the first two films.

Batman & Robin is just downright silly and is the poorest film in the collection. The addition of George Clooney as Batman does nothing to help matters and the villains, Mr. Freeze and Poison Ivy are laughable. The script harkens back to the TV series in terms of its oafish portrayal of the iconic characters. Being the newest film in the series the effects and production elements are decent though. My kids loved watching this one when they were little, finding it to be funny and entertaining on an elementary level. I would have to agree that despite how bad it is there is something oddly fun about it. I am so very pleased that Warner Brothers has seen fit to bring them to Ultra HD video with the care that they deserve. Read on to see the results.

The four films in the Batman Collection will be available as 4K UHD singles on June 4 and will also be available as a four-film collection on September 17. The 4K UHD singles and the four-film collection available in September will also include remastered Blu-ray discs of the films.



Replay Value:

Parental Guide:

The rating is for action violence and thematic material.


AUDIO/VIDEO - By The Numbers:
REFERENCE = 92-100/EXCELLENT = 83-91/GOOD = 74-82/AVERAGE = 65-73/BELOW AVERAGE = under 65

**My audio/video ratings are based upon a comparative made against other high definition media/blu-ray disc.**


UHD Presentation: 96
(Each rating is worth 4 points with a max of 5 per category)


  • HDR: Dark Highlights:
  • HDR: Bright Highlights:
  • HDR: Expanded Color:
  • Resolution:
  • Visual Impact:



Dolby Atmos Rating: 96
(Each rating is worth 4 points with a max of 5 per category)


  • Level of immersion:
  • Soundstage integration:
  • Audio object placement:
  • Effectiveness of Atmos platform:
  • Entertainment factor:



Batman Forever and Batman & Robin comes to Ultra HD Blu-ray from Warner Brothers Home Entertainment featuring 2160pHEVC encoded video and lossless Dolby Atmos/TrueHD 7.1 channel sound.

According to the press documentation Warner remastered Batman, Batman Returns, Batman Forever and Batman & Robin from the original 35mm film elements. Each presentation in Ultra HD is derived from the 4K Digital Intermediate.

It's important to note that the ultimate goal for any release on home video is to present a film in the highest possible quality based upon its original elements. Batman Forever and Batman & Robin have an aesthetic that incorporates film grain and the use of optics that may not result in the type of high gloss, tack-like sharpness of a film shot using digital cameras. This isn't a problem and shouldn't be seen as such.

Much like the first two films in the series, the benefit, from not only the restoration, but the Ultra HD treatment, is blatantly obvious. From a cinematic perspective, these films were shot with a specific visual aesthetic in mind, and that comes through in each presentation. These easily best the original 1080p versions, offering imagery that lifts the vail.

I wouldn’t describe Batman Forever as overtly colorful, however, there are elements, where the palate of autumn-based hues, sepia tones and variants of blue/red/green benefited from UHD's wider color gamut, appearing slightly warmer and pleasing to the eye. The scene at the circus is the film’s highlight in terms of WCG. Batman & Robin’s color rich imagery gets a boost, delivering eye catching delineation that emboldens depth. Resolution gets a noticeable upgrade across the board as well. Close-ups and mid-level shots offer improved refinement and deeper resolvable texture on surfaces and physical features when compared to the Blu-ray.

The addition of high dynamic range added a pleasing visual element that enriched both natural and artificial light. I also felt that the plethora of dark/low-level sequences benefited from the application of HDR which emboldened their blacks and shadow delineation, which were rendered with excellent dimension, especially when coupled with brighter visual elements. Specular highlights abound in each presentation. The street chase where Two-Face and his minions try to take out Batman in the Batmobile is a great example, while the entire opening sequence in Batman & Robin where they tangle with Mr. Freeze is pure UHD eye candy.

Without a doubt the Ultra HD renderings reinvigorate each of these films, making for a marked improvement that is easily worth purchase consideration for fans.






Dolby Atmos:

In listening to the Dolby Atmos soundtracks, across the board, I was pleased with how active each mix is. The use of overhead sound objects elevates proportional correlation. When compared to the 5.1 channel mixes, the immersive sound offers a noticeable improvement by opening up the soundstage, elevating the perception of low-level detail. During the various encounters/action/interior/exterior venues featured in each film, the tracks brim with atmospherics, off screen cues and discrete sound effects that when applied using the freedom of object-based placement adds an enriching layer to the film’s soundtrack. This is noticeable right from the beginning, with noteworthy examples being found throughout.

When called for the Dolby Atmos mixes took a subtle or more active approach, and conveyed the spirit and overall feel of the original soundtracks while adding a complimentary element. Being the two newer films in the series I found that these tracks were a bit more involving than the first two. I thoroughly enjoyed each presentation.


For those not familiar with the details regarding Ultra HD Blu-ray you can refer to my article that includes some pertinent data on the subject. Here is the link:

Ultra HD Blu-ray Has Come to AVS Forum Blu-ray Reviews

Blu-ray Video:


Video: 100
(Each rating is worth 4 points with a max of 5 per category)


  • Resolution/Clarity:
  • Black Level/Shadow Detail:
  • Color Reproduction:
  • Fleshtones:
  • Compression:



Audio: 94
(Each rating is worth 4 points with a max of 5 per category)

  • Dynamics:
  • Low frequency effects:
  • Surround Sound presentation:
  • Clarity/Detail:
  • Dialog Reproduction:
  • DSU/DTS Neural:X Rating * (non-rated element): NA


Batman Forever and Batman & Robin comes to Blu-ray Disc from Warner Brothers Home Entertainment featuring 1080p AVC encoded video and lossless Dolby Atmos/TrueHD 7.1 channel sound.

The Batman collection recently underwent an extensive 4K digital restoration/remastering and the results are superb. Much like the first two films video restoration on Blu-ray the stylized aesthetic and color schemes are depicted with vivid textures that appear rich without over emphasis. Images are noticeably detailed and sharp which draws out plenty of delineation and texture within clothing, physical features, and objects onscreen. Long range visuals are resolved with above average clarity and depth which highlights the film’s effects shots and dark cinematography. Contrast is spot on and blacks exhibit excellent dynamic range and pop nicely when onscreen with mixed content. Dark sequences have appreciable dimension and sufficient shadow detail that combine with the video’s higher resolution to enhance depth perception. Contrast and brightness are balanced well which enlivens bright scenes and colors while maintaining a discerning level of visibility during low level segments.

The video has an undisturbed grain structure that occasionally takes on more emphasis but I never found it bothersome. Having seen Batman Forever and Batman & Robin on home video first on DVD, then Blu-ray, I am pleased to report that this represents their finest video reproduction to date. Warner Brothers has done a wonderful job and, I am appreciative of their efforts.

This Lossless Dolby TrueHD 7.1 (Atmos core) surround mixes accent the video presentations and make regular use of the entire system to drive each film thematic elements. These are well-balanced and active soundtracks that features solid dynamic range and enriching bass response. The surround channels are actively engaged with a blend of discretely placed sounds and spatial ambience that combine with the high level of sonic detail present in the recording to make for an involving and fun surround experience.

Dialog is reproduced with excellent prioritization and clarity through the center channel. The seamless integration of the front and rear channels creates a stable and well-proportioned listening environment. These new surround mixes do a great job of maintaining the essence of the original soundtracks while adding a bit of polish that should put a smile on the faces of home theater enthusiasts.

I really appreciated the fact that the updated Atmos mixes made their way on to the Blu-ray versions as well. Kudos to Warner Brothers for that!



Bonus Features:
  • Disc 1: Batman Forever Ultra HD Blu-ray
  • Disc 2: Batman Forever Blu-ray (Remastered)
  • Disc 1: Batman & Robin Ultra HD Blu-ray
  • Disc 2: Batman & Robin Blu-ray (Remastered)
  • Legacy Bonus Material Batman Forever
  • Legacy Bonus Material Batman & Robin
  • Digital Copy Batman Forever
  • Digital Copy Batman & Robin



Final Thoughts:

Batman Forever and Batman & Robin are the final two installments in the original Batman Film Collection and while they don’t have the appeal of the first two films, there is a bit of nostalgic fun about them. In celebration of the 80th anniversary of the Super Hero created by Bob Kane and Bill Finger Warner Brothers Home Entertainment has remastered them for release on 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray. The results on both standard Blu-ray and Ultra HD Blu-ray are terrific, delivering faithful and rewarding video quality that is sure to please discerning enthusiasts. Additionally, each film includes updated lossless surround mixes which incorporate Dolby Atmos immersive sound that adds an enriching and complimentary element to each presentation. These Ultra HD Combo Packs from Warner Brothers Home Entertaining come highly recommended for fans.
















Ralph Potts
AVS Forum Blu-ray Reviews


Reference Review System:

JVC DLA-RS500 3D/4K Ready High Definition Front Projector
(Calibrated with Calman 5 & C6-HDR Meter from Spectracal)
Stewart Filmscreen - Studiotek 130 G3 100” 16x9 Screen
Carada Masquerade Electronic Horizontal Masking System
Marantz AV7704 Audio/Video Processor
Emotiva XPA-7 Gen 3 Seven Channel Amplifier
Emotiva XPA-11 Gen 3 Amplifier
Panasonic DP-UB820 Ultra HD Blu-ray Player
System Controller: Apple iPad/iRule Pro HD Universal Remote Control
Canton "Ergo" and Canton In-Ceiling Series Speakers
SVS Ultra Surrounds (Gloss Finish in Bipolar Configuration)
Dual SVS PC4000 Cylinder Subwoofers
Panamax M5400-PM Power Conditioner/Surge Protector
Wireworld, Better Cables (Silver Serpent) - Audio/Video/Speaker Cabling
AC Infinity Aircom T8 Component Cooling Systems

Ralph C. Potts
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post #2 of 6 Old 05-30-2019, 05:44 AM
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Darn it, Ralph! Looks like I'm ordering the full 4-movie set after all. My eyes need some candy!

I haven't seen Batman Forever since the theater - it was that bland/forgettable to me. Batman and Robin, on the other hand, at least has entertainment value even if it is ridiculous - and it's a bit of a guilty pleasure. I still quote Awnuld's Mr. Freeze on the regular whenever it gets cold outside (Minnesota gets pretty effing cold).

"Always winterize your pipes!"
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post #3 of 6 Old 05-31-2019, 07:12 PM
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Thanks for the review Ralph. I think in these films the villains were paired wrong, Mr. Freeze would have worked better with Two Face and The Riddler and Poison Ivy would have been pure evil together. I put in my pre-order for the 4 disc set.
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post #4 of 6 Old 06-02-2019, 04:50 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by nathanddrews View Post
Darn it, Ralph! Looks like I'm ordering the full 4-movie set after all. My eyes need some candy!

I haven't seen Batman Forever since the theater - it was that bland/forgettable to me. Batman and Robin, on the other hand, at least has entertainment value even if it is ridiculous - and it's a bit of a guilty pleasure. I still quote Awnuld's Mr. Freeze on the regular whenever it gets cold outside (Minnesota gets pretty effing cold).

"Always winterize your pipes!"
And if you're having a party in the winter, don't forget about any extra beer you're storing on the back porch. (I grew in Wisconsin, and like Minnesota it got ______ _____ cold ).
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post #5 of 6 Old 06-04-2019, 05:57 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by tenthplanet View Post
And if you're having a party in the winter, don't forget about any extra beer you're storing on the back porch. (I grew in Wisconsin, and like Minnesota it got ______ _____ cold ).
Nothing quite like a box of exploded cans frozen to your porch... LOL
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post #6 of 6 Old 06-06-2019, 04:07 PM
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I have a friend who watches movies in the cinema an average of about once a week. That's a lot of movies.

Batman & Robin is the only movie he's ever walked out on.
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