Wednesday, September 30, 2020

Magazine Article: US Weekly July 1995 Issue

Neat little article here revealing the "secrets" of Batman Forever. Nice little bitesize facts about the production. Lots of tiny concept art that on this website already in larger scale. Just click on the Concept Art button on the right.

Most interesting is the costume design painting for Chase's Nygmatech party dress. I haven't seen this anywhere else.










Friday, September 25, 2020

Big Announcement - please watch the video to the very end

Hi everyone, okay but of an unusual video this week. Please stick around to the end - there is some BIG BIG news about the future of this site. I think you'll like it. I know a lot of people have asked me to do this, so I'm going to pull the trigger and do it.

If you can help out with my film project, that would be great. Go to www.murderballadsuk.com We have 30 days to raise £10000 to get the film into production.

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 ;)


Friday, August 14, 2020

Magazine Article: Cinefex Issue 63 (Part 2)

And now for part 2 of the Cinefex article.

Two-Face sets the helicopter, with Batman aboard, on a collision course with Lady Gotham. A large-scale model of the statue is readied for a shot of the fiery crash.  

Effects crew members add last-minute detailing to one of several fiberglass heads built to accommodate multiple takes. Breakaway sections in the cheek were rigged to shatter when struck by the helicopter's spinning rotors. Upon filming, however, the crew discovered that the blades‘ cutting into the head caused the statue to buckle and warp, requiring a digital fix by PDI.

As with the billboard effect, the miniature helicopter is tail-mounted on a rod prior to being pushed into the statue to simulate the collision.




For an establishing fly- through over Gotham and into the headquarters of Wayne Enterprises, Warner Brothers Imaging Technology produced a wholly computer generated three-dimensional cityscape, complete with detailed skyscrapers and statuary.

Wayne Enterprises plant manager Fred Stickley (Ed Begley, Jr.) becomes an unwilling test subject for the Riddler's prototype invention — a television adapter that transforms video images into 3-D holograms while surreptitiously sapping brain waves. For a shot of three-dimensional fish emerging from a television screen, Composite Image Systems digitally extracted the fish from bluescreen tank photography and matted them into space. Color shifts and other surface treatments were added to link the fish with the video environment and simulate the signal beam breaking up.


The batmobile — altered from previous incarnations to include a more streamlined body, with sleek wings running down the canopy and rear fenders — was built full-scale and as a miniature by TFX. To promote the illusion of intense engine firepower, both miniature and life-size versions of the car were equipped with propane burners for spewing flame as the batmobile fires up to maximum power. Modelmaker Paul Ozzimo sculpts the body of a sixth-scale miniature used in several key scenes.  

Crew member David Beasley adds fuel to the model flame-car in preparation for a shot of the vehicle doing a wheelie down an alleyway.



Pursued by Two-Face and his cohorts, Batman escapes by deploying a grappling hook and cable and driving his batmobile straight up the side of a building. The shot was accomplished in miniature using the TFX sixth-scale vehicle on a like-scaled alleyway set built by Grant McCune Design.  

Friday, August 7, 2020

Batman Forever Merchandise Review - Power Beacon Batman figure from Kenner

This week we're looking at Power Beacon Batman - one of several light up figures with a tiny but powerful LED inside. For some reason this wasn't classed as a special "Deluxe" figure. Anyway, given the colourful neon cinematography of the film it makes a nice fit for the action figure line. The only downside is the very bulky cape which hides the AAA battery. This is a definite purchase for me because it's such a fun figure.


Friday, July 31, 2020

Magazine Article: Cinefex Issue 63 (Part 1)

Here's a fantastic article on the effects work and miniatures used in Batman Forever. It gets a little technical but I think you'll find it really interesting regardless. Due to the tiny text size, landscape format and small images I've edited this so that it's easily readable and the images are nice and big.

I'm going to split this up over three posts.





In Batman Forever – Warner Brothers' third instalment in its comic book franchise – the directorial reins were transferred from Tim Burton to Joel Schumacher, who brought a lighter touch to the proceedings . Significant changes included the casting of Val Kilmer – replacing Michael Keaton as the mysterious Caped Crusader – and the introduction of Robin to the series. Also introduced were a new batmobile and a redesigned batcave, erected in a giant Long Beach dome hangar that formerly housed the Spruce Goose.

Adding campy villainy to the production were Jim Carrey as the diabolical Riddler, a techno-nerd turned criminal mastermind, whose chief pleasure is derived from taunting his victims with obscure riddles; and Tommy Lee Jones as Two-Face, former district attorney turned deranged crook whose facial features are hideously acid-scarred on one side while perfectly normal on the other. Appliance for the character was designed by Rick Baker.



Expansive miniature sets, filmed motion control under the supervision of Boyd Shermis and Eric Dust, were combined with computer generated imagery, matte paintings, full-scale set pieces and location footage to create a complex, cosmopolitan Gotham City. Modelmakers working under supervisor Michael Joyce constructed several large set pieces from scratch, as well as pressing into service a number of miniature skyscrapers original built by Stetson Visual Services for The Hudsucker Proxy. The existing miniatures required extensive restoration and detailing to accommodate the retrofit design motif of the film.

A motion control camera moves through the Gotham city set, smoked to create aerial density and lit with splashes of comic book colour.

A nocturnal beauty shot reveals a sampling of the ubiquitous giant statuary incorporated into the cityscape.

A habour statue of Lady Gotham was sculpted, photographed by itself and matted into the cityscape as needed. Modelmaker Pete Gerard installs a rotating searchlight in the statue's torch.

Modelmaker Kento Gebo wires miniature fluorescent lights for the translight surface of a Gotham City sign, one of many incorporated into the miniature environment.

Giant statues carved out of foam were among the surreal elements embellishing the urban landscape of the miniature Gotham set. A sculpting team, headed by Yarek Alfer created most of the massive figures.



Having foiled a bank heist staged by Two-Face primarily to entrap him. Batman finds himself clinging periously to a chain attached to a careening helicopter. As darkness approaches, effects crew members prepare for a night shot in which the helicopter – a model tail-mounted on a rod extending from a linear track – smashes through an eye-shaped billboard.

The billboard miniature made from tempered glass rigged with pyrotechnic charges – shatters moments before impact.

In post-production, Pacific Data Images replaced rotors on the model helicopter with digital alternates that produced a superior motion blur. PDI also incorporated digital neon into the sign and added a computer generated Batman dangling from the chopper and motion-traced to the shot.