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RETURN TO THE BATCAVE
The Misadventures of Adam and Burt

Review by Michael Jacobson

Stars:  Adam West, Burt Ward, Frank Gorshin, Julie Newmar, Lee Meriwether, Lyle Waggoner, Jack Brewer, Jason Mardsen
Director:  Paul A. Kaufman
Audio:  Dolby Stereo
Video:  Anamorphic Widescreen 1.77:1
Studio:  Anchor Bay
Features:  DVD ROM Screenplay
Length:  90 Minutes
Release Date:  May 17, 2005

"This looks like a job for...actors!"

Film ***1/2

Batman was something in its heyday...as a kid, I loved the show because of the action, the heroics, and the pizzazz.  When I got older and rediscovered it, I loved it even more, because I never realized in my youth how campy it was!  Getting the tongue-in-cheek humor and frequent innuendos was definitely more fun than being wowed by "POW!" "WHAM!" and "BIFF!".

And some 35 years later, the spirit of that show got revived in a made for TV movie that Batman himself would have described as "diabolically clever".  Return to the Batcave: The Misadventures of Adam and Burt proved there was still a lot of life in that show's premise...and also demonstrated how much fun it could be to return to "camp".

It stars Adam West and Burt Ward as...well, Adam West and Burt Ward.  As it starts, both TV legends are invited to a charity car show featuring the original Batmobile.  Yet some former nemesis has taken the opportunity to settle an old score, by stealing the car right from under the caped crusaders' noses!

Determined to get the car back in time for the orphans to arrive, Adam and Burt decide to take matters into their own hands...and relive a few memories in the process!  As their mystery unfolds, we frequently flash back to the show, where Jack Brewer and Jason Mardsen play the younger dynamic duo, and we learn how the show got off the ground, became a hit, and changed the young actors' lives forever!

West and Ward, who have always been good sports about kidding themselves and their most famous roles, seem to be having the time of their lives back in action.  They even get a big fight scene complete with words flying at you from the screen...great stuff!  Not to mention a narrator to lead our heroes into the commercials...where IS that voice coming from, and why does he sound so damned familiar?

This movie is genius, pure and simple...it would have been easy just to make a "True Hollywood Story" movie about the television show and leave it at that, but concocting a whole new Bat-mystery in modern time to go along with it?  Brilliant.  The fun never stops...there are even a few classic guest stars appearing to mix it up with the crusaders, including the still beautiful Julie Newmar and Lee Meriwether, as well as the sadly recently-deceased Frank Gorshin.

I chuckled like the Joker from start to finish.  I don't know who enjoyed the trip down memory lane more, me or Adam and Burt, but one thing's for sure...I'll be returning to THIS Batcave time and time again!

BONUS TRIVIA:  Lyle Waggoner originally tested for the role of Batman, and some of those actual screen tests appear in the movie!

Video ***1/2

For a made for TV movie, this is a most impressive anamorphic transfer.  Leave it to Anchor Bay...they always manage to roll out the red carpet for cult favorites, or cult favorites in the making.  The colors are rich and vibrant, and detail level is strong throughout.  Only a bit of grain in a couple of darker settings and a slight touch of bleeding reds here and there keep it from a perfect score, but still, the overall effect will be better thank you expect.

Audio **1/2

The box says 5.1, but the audio is actually a nice stereo mix.  Dialogue is clean and clear throughout, and the bits of action and music add a little dynamic punch. 

Features 1/2*

Holy waste of space, Batman...just a DVD ROM screenplay!

Summary:

Return to the Batcave is a perfect tribute to, reflection on, and reliving of a television classic.  Adam West and Burt Ward still do camp like no other...you'll have a blast sharing both their memories and their new misadventures on this DVD.

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