Thursday, September 22, 2016

Recap: Batman: The Movie Part 3: Wham-O!

In the last Bat-recap….

Riddles in the sky!
East meets West for some "diplomatic relations!"
Bruce Wayne held hostage?
But wait! The wildest is yet to come!

Don’t touch that dial!
The Penguin has apparently outlined a new idea to the other crooks, and they debate the factors complicating their plan.

1: Batman and Robin are still out there, despite all efforts to the contrary.
2: Their plan is time-sensitive, since their submarine can only stay in the Gotham River as long as the tide allows them to.
3: Even though Batman and Robin probably won't show up at their land-based hideout, the cops probably will.

So with few options left, they reluctantly agree to the Penguin's plan. The Penguin tells the Joker to drop one of his "dream pills" into the Commodore's tea. While the Joker goes to slip the Commodore a Mickey and get him to the submarine unawares, Riddler goes to fetch "the five Guinea pigs."

As the labeled Guinea pigs file in, Penguin activates the Commodore's new invention, a "Total Dehydrator."

My God, he's going to hold the oceans for ransom!
Penguin: "An instant whiskey-maker!"
Riddler: "Waiting for us to put it to more universal use."

Okay, so some of you might be wondering how a dehydrator ray would work to make whiskey. Well, one of the main steps in whiskey-making is separating the alcohol from the rest of the watery mix, so I assume this is where the Total Dehydrator would come in. Of course, it's not really an instant whiskey-maker, since the whiskey does need to be aged after that step, but whatever. Now we know why the kidnapped the Commodore. And they're probably keeping him around to prevent him from contacting the police. But as to why they don't just keep him drugged with Joker's dream pills... maybe the United Underworld disapproves of abusing narcotics?

Anyway, he five henchmen are oddly chill as the Penguin drains them each of all their water with a zap, turning them each into small piles of dust.

Sorry, Star Trek. Batman did it two years before "The Omega Glory."
Funnily enough, though, both this film and Star Trek would both use surprisingly small amounts of dust to represent dehydrated human beings. I'll let Dr. McCoy field this one.

Dr. McCoy: "These white crystals, that's what's left of the human body when you take the water away, which makes up 96% of our bodies. Without water, we're all just three or four pounds of chemicals."

As noted by Star Trek reviewer SF Debris, that's a higher percentage of water than you'll find in a watermelon. Needless to say, it's off by more than a few percentage points.

Anyway, with five piles of dust on the floor, Penguin tells Riddler to begin the next stage of their plan at the United World building in one hour while Catwoman gets to work sweeping the dehydrated henchmen up and putting them into vials.

Penguin: "Careful, careful. Waugh, waugh. Every one of them has a mother."

I'm more concerned with what this particular henchman is losing with all that dust missing the vial.
As they sweep, the Batmobile arrives outside Ye Olde Benbow Taverne, where the Dynamic Duo quickly climbs up the rear of the building using their Batrope.

And the amazing special effect known as "turning the camera sideways."
Robin wonders why the locals haven't reported seeing any suspicious criminal activity, and Batman basically responds by calling everyone here an alcoholic.

Batman: "They're used to curious sights which they attribute to alcoholic delusions."
Robin: "Gosh, drink is such a filthy thing, isn't it? I'd rather be dead than unable to trust my own eyes."

Well, then why don't you just kill 'em all, Robin?

The Dynamic Duo peeks inside to plan their next move, but they find the hideout abandoned, save for a big ol' bomb. And so begins the other iconic scene.

Batman shoos Robin away before going inside to try and save Miss Kitka. Again, she's missing, so Batman decides to dispose of the bomb. He plans on dropping it out the window, but the Salvation Army band is bust marching by. So he decides to grab the thing and escape through the non-hideout part of the tavern.

Batman: "Flee for your lives! Into the street!"

And most of them comply.

Batman follows suit, but can't seem to find a place to let the bomb blow. He frantically runs around, but nuns, baby carriages, the Salvation Army, boaters, butane canisters, and even DUCKS show up every time he tries to throw the thing away.

Man, that thing's been about to blow for a while.
Batman: "Some days, you just can't get rid of a bomb!"

And that will be important to remember in four movies' time.

But in the end, he manages to find a safe place for it to detonate.

Robin: "You risked your life to save that riffraff in the bar?"

Wait, Robin actually wanted to let them all die? I was joking when I said that!

Batman: "They may be drinkers, Robin, but they're also human beings. And may be salvaged."

But Batman is upset that they've lost Kitka's location. Luckily for them, the Penguin shows up, perfectly disguised as Commodore Schmidlapp.

It's like I'm looking at twins!
Batman and Robin, somehow, see through the uncanny disguise and quietly wonder to each other "Why?"

Robin: "What's his game, I wonder?"

Obviously, finding that out is going to require creativity, intelligence, and a bit of luck.

Batman: "What's your game, Penguin?"

Or there's always the direct approach.

"Schmidlapp" feigns ignorance, so Batman tells him that they'll be checking his fingerprints using the Batmobile's mobile records. Unfortunately, "Schmidlapp" seems to have coated his fingertips in plastic, claiming that his fingers were repaired with the stuff after he accidentally burned them.

"Schmidlapp" suggests that the Dynamic Duo could take him back to the Batcave to perform a retinal scan, and Batman agrees. So the Caped Crusader quickly whips out a spray canister of Bat-gas to knock him out, thus keeping the Batcave's location a secret.

Once at the Batcave, they revive "Schmidlapp" with the Bat-wake spray, and he begins squawking before realizing he's breaking character. He gets out and marvels at Batman's setup while Robin sets up the retinal scanner. As Robin works, "Schmidlapp" asks for a glass of water and gets pointed to the water dispenser. Once there, he whips out a few vials and fills them up in secret. But in the process, he accidentally sets the drinking water from "Light" to "Heavy."

For those of you who don't know, "heavy water" refers to.. well, water that's slightly heavier than normal. The reason for this is an extra neutron attached to the hydrogen atom in a water molecule. Heavy water contains a greater-than-normal amount of molecules with this extra neutron.

Although it's not radioactive, it isn't really something that should be able to come out of what's clearly labeled as a drinking water dispenser. Not only does it cause sterility when consumed in large amounts, but it will kill you if you keep drinking it.

I mean, yes, it's marked 'DANGER," but... why is that even an option? That's just asking for trouble.
The only reason Batman has it on tap is because he uses it in his nuclear reactor, but that doesn't answer the question of whether the heavy water coming out of the faucet has already been used in the reactor, which would fill it with radioactive isotopes.

Also, Batman has a nuclear reactor. Just want to make sure everybody caught that detail.

But quickly, the Penguin rehydrates his goons, who suddenly materialize outside the vials in a flash of light.

So the point here goes to "The Omega Glory," where simply dousing the dust men in water does not work. To our knowledge, anyway, since they never actually try it in that episode. And really, even if they had saved everybody in that episode by rehydrating them, it would still not be the dumbest thing in "The Omega Glory."

At least "Spock's Brain" is hilarious.
A fight ensues inside the Batcave, but the goons all disappear when hit, even by just a tap.

Batman: "Whoever dehydrated those pirates could not have foreseen their accidental rehydration with the heavy water we use in recharging the atomic pile!"
Robin: "Which naturally left them a highly unstable condition!"


Batman: "The slightest impact was sufficient to instantly reduce them to antimatter."


Robin: "Antimatter? You mean they won't be coming back?"
Batman: "No, Robin. Not in this universe."

Ah. They've been teleported to Earth-3.

Batman: "Let that be an object lesson in the dangers of tampering with the laws of Mother Nature."

I'd also like to point out that the body count of Batman's atomic pile is now up to six, between this and the death of the Riddler's moll, Molly, in the first TV episode.

Seriously, Batman, like, 85% of outsiders who enter the Batcave die.
But Batman tells "Schmidlapp" that, obviously, he's just a poor pawn in the evil plans of the real villains, brainwashed into coming here and rehydrating those thugs. They offer to spray him with more Bat-gas and return him to the city, and he agrees.

Once they've driven to the middle of nowhere, Batman enacts the next stage of his plan.

Batman: "Swallow this pill."

Batman, that's exactly how Speedy got hooked.

Robin takes it and, at Batman's orders, gives "Schmidlapp" some Bat-wake before the Batmobile starts having car trouble. Batman gets out to check the problem, only to get a whiff of knockout gas from the Penguin's umbrella, before the fowl fiend drives off.

The Dynamic Duo is fine, thanks to Batman anti-Penguin-gas pills, and they can now track him to the villains' new hideout by taking the Bat-Cycle to the Bat-Copter. Yes, it seems that Batman has been hiding the Bat-Cycle inside a nearby brush pile for this exact purpose.

And like the Bat-boat, this is just begging for the Joker to come along and siphon the gas and put an exploding whoopee cushion in the seat.
Once at the airport, they separate the sidecar and run to the waiting Bat-Copter.

Fun Fact: Once separated, Burt Ward would veer off in random directions, often injuring himself because they didn't want to put the stuntmen in the out-of-control sidecar.
As they track the Batmobile, the other villains pilot the sub into the Gotham River. Riddler wants to launch some more of his missiles to leave more riddles, but Catwoman insists that Batman must be finished by now. Riddler's not so sure.

Riddler: "He couldn't finish a bag of popcorn!"

But the Joker joins in, saying that if Batman and Robin are alive, then giving out clues is still the last thing they should do. But Riddler goes ahead anyway, since that's basically his raison d'être. The missile starts zooming around, and manages to accidentally hit the tail rotor of the Bat-Copter.

Batman: "Brace yourself, Robin! We're going down! This could be the end!"

Riddler confusedly spots Batman and Robin in the sky as he looks for his missile, to the delight of the other villains, while Riddler stays pensive.

Riddler: "I got them... I got them."

But against all logic, the film pulls the biggest convenience out of its rear end yet.

No, really.
Batman: "I'd say the odds against it would make even the most reckless gambler cringe. True, I did think I'd spotted it out of the corner of my eye...."

But before Batman can continue attempting to justify this deus ex machina, there are two more riddles in the sky to deal with.

Batman: "What goes up white and comes down yellow and white?"
Robin: "An egg!"

Okay, that one makes sense.

Batman: "How do you divide seventeen apples among sixteen people?"
Robin: "Make applesauce!"

Holy crap, two logical riddles in a row. That's... amazing.

Batman: "Apples into applesauce... a unification into one smooth mixture! An egg... nature's perfect container. The container of all our hopes for the future."

Robin: "A unification and a container of hope? United World Organization!"

Aaaaand there goes the logic right down the crapper. It was nice while it lasted.

Batman remembers that there's a special meeting of the security council today, and Robin suggests commandeering a taxi.

Batman: "Not at this time of day. Luckily, we're in tiptop condition. It'll be faster if we run."

Man, Gotham gridlock must be terrible.

Or not.
"Faster," Batman? You might as well run through the streets. There's less traffic.
And so, they run through Gotham as the villains arrive at their destination in the river, next to the UWO building. And once again, a henchman seems to be alarmed by Catwoman's noises.

"Seriously, are you feeling okay? You sound like a dying ca.... I mean, uh...."
As the villains head to the old submarine dock, the Dynamic Duo seems to have actually taken my advice.

Batman, you're telling me that running through the street is faster than driving through the street?
The villains blow up a door and make their way inside inside as the Penguin joins them, using his umbrella's gas to knock out the surprisingly lax security.

Okay, that didn't even reach him.
 I.. just... are there no security measures put in place to prevent a chemical attack?

And as ever, I'm reminded that they couldn't find a non-toxic green gas to use when filming Spider-Man.
Anyway, the Penguin opens up the abandoned elevator to meet up with the other villains, who tell him about the "death" of Batman and Robin.

Penguin: "Now, hold your breath 'til we cross the hall. There are still lingering traces of my finely filtered Penguin gas."

"I'll just breathe the clean, fresh smoke of this cigarette."
Batman and Robin are still running to the UWO headquarters, which is enough to give Robin a stitch in his side. So much for "tiptop condition."

Batman: "Let's hope it's a stitch that saves nine.... the nine members of the United World Security Council!"

And so, the villains infiltrate the meeting between the delegates, who all yell at each other in their own languages. In an amusing touch, if you translate their words, they're all yelling at each other that they need to pursue peace.

But the delegates are so busy squabbling that they notice neither the villains in the room nor the fact that they're each begin dehydrated one by one into piles of dust. With the nine delegates dehydrated, the dust is quickly collected into separate vials.

Batman finally shows up in the UWO lobby, yelling about an emergency and momentarily struggling to find the "Up" button on the elevator controls, since it's in several languages.

They reach the correct floor as the villains try to abscond with the dust, but Catwoman has an ace up her sleeve that lets them make a getaway.

Catwoman: "Miss Kitka dies if you take one more step." 

Interesting tactic.
Batman and Robin find nothing but empty seats in the meeting room, and Batman can't help but marvel at the brilliant way in which the villains kidnapped nine people.

Batman admits that they have only one chance to stop the villains on their own sub, and they quickly head off to the Batboat while the villains get ready to ransom the delegates off for one billion dollars each, which will be delivered to a secret island by the Penguin's trained carrier pigeons. The ransom job is given to the Riddler, which requires an extra instruction.

Joker: "None of your stupid riddles, do you understand? Make those messages plain."

All in all, everything's looking good for the baddies.

Catwoman: "Nothing can stop us now."

And so, the plan is jinxed, and Batman and Robin manage to find the Penguin's sub on their Batboat sonar. But the villains take note of the Batboat on their sonar. So the villains fire homing missiles to take them out. The Dynamic Duo comes out on top by jamming the homing frequency with the Bat-radio (I can only presume that they put fresh batteries since the incident at the buoy), and they retaliate with depth charges to take out the Penguin's torpedoes.

Penguin: "Run silent, run deep."

But despite Penguin name-checking one of the most famous submarine films, Batman and Robin manage to circle around the submarine and launch enough depth charges to force the craft to surface, thanks to Catwoman's paralyzing fear of water.

And so, Batman and Robin come aboard without permission, leading to the big ending fight between the heroes and every scalawag aboard the submarine. And finally, finally, we get the one thing this movie has been missing so far.

Oh, yes. That's the stuff.
An all-out donnybrook ensues in a scene that actually nearly killed one of the stuntmen when he fell in at the wrong angle. As for the only woman fighting... well, it's kind of odd.

I've gone over the issue of Batman punching women before, since he has so many in his rogues gallery. Basically, I'm of the belief that yes, there are times when you might need to forego chivalry.

But this was the 1960's. As such, Batman did not hit girls. Period. That's one of the reasons they came up with Batgirl, who was restricted to kicking villains, but that's a discussion for another time.

My point is this: Catwoman was basically not allowed to participate in this fight. And yet, she has to contribute somehow, right?

She throws her cat, Hecate, at him. Meaning that Batman has to fight off the other villains while holding a cat.

I really hope that that's a fake cat, because otherwise....
Yeah, I guess they thought animal cruelty was preferable to seeing a woman get involved in a fight.
To be fair, though, Catwoman does also push Robin off the edge while Batman sword fights with Penguin. And then she pushes Batman off after said sword fight. So... I guess that's something?

In the end, though, the villains all go overboard and get tied up save for Catwoman, who goes below. Once inside the submarine, she trips for basically no reason, knocking her mask off. So when Batman and Robin head inside to capture her, they find none other than Kitka's face waiting for them.

Batman simply stares off, remembering that special night they had. Don't worry, Batman. Michael Keaton and Christian Bale will also feel the pain of having their galpals wind up as villains.

Robin: "Batman, I..."
Batman: "Say no more, Robin. It could be... compromising."

Batman recovers quickly and has Robin cuff the femme fatale while he calls this in to the Coast Guard. But then... he spies the Nine.

They were once men.
And so, the day would seem to be saved... except that Commodore Schmidlapp (the real one) shows up to demand his tea, tripping in the same place as Catwoman, knocking into Batman, shattering the vials, and also sneezing the powder away for good measure.

Robin: "Holy jumble! Where's the hope of the world now?"

In little time, our heroes are hard at work in the Batcave, fine-tuning the Super Molecular Dust Separator as the world stands tense. Commissioner Gordon, filmed by GC-TV, calls the Batcave to ask about their progress.

Batman: "There's always hope. You should know that, sir."

On the other phone, Green Hornet the President (Van Williams) calls in to ask the Commissioner how Batman's progress is going and wish him the best of luck.

Deep in the Batcave... it's time.

Batman: "I'll activate the computer link. Feed in the various ethnic and national factors."

So.. you have to tell the computer that one guy speaks French, one guy's black, and one guy's wearing a USSR uniform, among other things? That seems like it's just asking for trouble.

But before they begin, Robin asks if maybe they could tweak with the delegates before restoring them.

Batman: "It's not for mortals like us to tamper with the laws of nature."

And as evidence, he brings up the ill-fated Guinea Pigs who disappeared in a puff of anti-matter.

Robin: "Gosh, yes, Batman. When you put it that way...."

And so, the dust is separated, refilling the vials... incorrectly. Though Batman calls it a success, there are different dust amounts for each delegate than what was shown earlier. Could this be... foreshadowing?

The world is informed of the successful separation as Batman and Robin head to the UWO building to rehydrate the delegates, with Gordon and O'Hara among the small audience.

Batman: "A solemn moment, gentlemen."

Oh, yeah, this is serious as all get-out.
With a fancy-schmancy soft-water dispenser hooked up, the dust is watered.

Time passes.

Water trickles.

Suddenly, the delegates materialize... with no sign of the metal equipment that was holding the vials in place, so I can only assume that each delegate has a big metal contraption inside them now.

But that's not the only odd thing. Each delegate is not only speaking the wrong language, but using the wrong stereotypical mannerisms.

Batman: "Who knows, Robin? This strange mixing of minds may be the greatest single service ever performed for humanity."

After you already shot down Robin's idea to do something like this on purpose? Not to mention that this is going to play havoc with the personal identities of those involved. Have their minds been switched? Are these people going to go home to their families merely speaking a different language, or in a different body? And what about their organs and blood? Maybe now they all have the wrong blood type inside them, which would kill them slowly and painfully.

Batman: "Let's go."

Yeah, I'd say you've done enough.

Batman: "But inconspicuously. Through the window."

Oh, yeah, that won't get people's attention.

And so, the movie ends as Batman and Robin climb out the window on their Batropes, leaving the mind-scrambled delegates to the baffled audience.

So finally, it’s time to review. And more importantly, to discuss how this movie helped ruin the DC Extended Universe nearly fifty years before it began.

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