Friday, September 18, 2020

Merchandise Review: Deluxe Martial Arts Robin figure from Kenner

Back to the Kenner reviews. This time we're looking at one of the Deluxe figures - the only Deluxe Robin figure - Martial Arts Robin. I guess this is to tie into the deleted scene where Robin practices martial arts on a wooden dummy with Two-Face's face taped to it.

It's an odd experiment from Kenner to see if there was a market for super posable figures. For me it's a miss - it's a really wobbly figure and nothing much about it feels Deluxe.

Friday, September 11, 2020

Magazine Article: Empire July 1995 Issue 74

Recently picked up this copy of Empire - a magazine I remember collecting for a few years as a teenager in the late 90s. It's one of the best UK film magazines ever. Even handed reviews, insightful interviews and great columnists like Kim Newman.

One of the really funny things I noticed flicking through it was how many adverts there are for cigarettes in it!

Anyway, lots of good stuff in here. Joel Schumacher once again is interviewed and we get a concrete quote that he chased Robin Williams for "about a year" to play the Riddler and he was interested but kept putting off signing on.

Oh the film is given a three star review.

Friday, September 4, 2020

Batman Forever Merchandise Review - Manta Ray Batman figure from Kenner

It wouldn't be a Batman toyline without an aquatic figure and here's the Batman Forever one - Manta Ray Batman. It's a really nicely sculpted figure with a little action feature where a mask pops up over his face. He also comes with a sort of ride on submersible that - of course - fires a harpoon. All in all this is a great figure.

Friday, August 28, 2020

Magazine Article: Cinefex Issue 63 (Part 3)

And now for the final part of the Cinefex article.

A rooftop POV of the Dark Knight leaping to a bridge far below featured a digital matte painting rendered in exaggerated perspective by Bob Scifo of WBIT. A digital Batman and cape, along with fog and smoke effects, were then composited into the background plate by PDI.  

At Two-Face's hideaway, girlfriend Sugar (Drew Barrymore) experiences the Riddler's latest device for stealing cerebral energy. Computer generated beams, consisting of a core of animated particles, were created by CIS and tracked into the live-action shot, along with a floating TV screen which was color-balanced digitally.  

The Riddler treats Two-Face to a jolt of stolen brain energy.

Matte artist Syd Dutton and cameraman Mark Sawicki of Illusion Arts prepare to shoot one of the matte paintings created for the film. The scene — an establishing shot of the Gotham Hippodrome where Batman first encounters Robin performing in a circus act — was enhanced by three-dimensional miniature statuary positioned in the foreground for added depth.  

Modelmaker Smokey Stover of Grant McCune Design completes work on a sixth-scale batwing used in a climactic battle scene. Built by Stover and Edward Lawton, the versatile plane was rigged to jettison its wings and convert conveniently into a batsub upon submerging in water.

A twelfth-scale batwing hangs on a miniature section of the batcave wall.

For an establishing shot of the Riddler's Claw Island lair, a miniature set was built and filmed motion control. Digital artists at CIS enhanced and composited the multiple passes required for the shot, combining elements such as lights, foreground and background smoke, layered laser effects and a synthetic sky.  

With his cape deployed like a parachute, Batman plummets six hundred feet in a breathtaking dive from the rooftop of a Gotham hotel. PDI accomplished the action digitally with a computer generated superhero and cape animated utilizing high-resolution motion capture data from a performing gymnast. The computer generated stuntman was then composited into free-fall background footage created digitally by WBIT.

Modelmakers add finishing touches to the ten-foot-tall Claw Island lair, setting for a climactic confrontation between Batman and his nemeses. The miniature set included welded steel columns representing an abandoned factory and a giant brain wave collector fashioned from a pyrex glass cone. Incoming energy waves captured by the collector would be realized through digitally enhanced laser effects designed and shot by Boyd Shermis and his team, then composited by CIS.  

Engineered at MetroLight Studios, the bat signal was given a dimensional look by distorting the digital cloud image onto which the computer generated signal was projected to create a slight rippling effect. Lead technical director Tomas Rosenfeldt, technical supervisor Jerry Weil and supervising producer John Folimer survey the results.

A miniature constructed by Grant McCune Design was used for an establishing shot of the Arkham Asylum, where the Riddler is at last fittingly consigned.

Friday, August 21, 2020

Batman Forever Merchandise Review - Hat and Scarf set from M&S

Apologies, in a silly mood this week. Here's my in-depth review of the M&S Hat and Scarf set. An indispensable piece of Batman Forever merchandise. After two and half years of doing this website I need to blow off some steam now and then. Normal (?) reviews will continue in a fortnight ;)