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We’ve already seen plenty of 75th-anniversary tributes to Batman, but the year isn’t over just yet — and beginning Friday, Mondo takes its turn.
The collectible-art boutique, which in July debuted a series of Batman: The Animated Series 7-inch vinyl records featuring Danny Elfman’s theme, will celebrate the Dark Knight’s milestone with a gallery show in Austin featuring posters and original art from more than 30 artists.
This week has already seen an incredible ancient Mayan-inspired Batman suit and a somewhat-disturbing supercut of all of Thomas and Martha Wayne’s onscreen deaths, so it’s perhaps only fitting that we close it out with something else Dark Knight-related: “Batman Evolution,” an arrangement of the live-action television and movie themes, performed on piano and cello — actually, 100 tracks of cello — by The Piano Guys.
While the music would be satisfying on its own, as you can see below there’s a beautifully shot video that prominently features the appropriate Batmobile for each of the themes (Neal Hefti’s 1966 “Batman Theme,” Danny Elfman’s 1989 “The Batman Theme,” and Hans Zimmer’s 2008 “Like a Dog Chasing Cars”). You may also notice how the cinematography and screen dimensions shift from theme to theme, reflecting each adaptation.
Although we can never be assured that a film or television adaptation of Batman will be any good, there is one safe bet: It will likely include a depiction of the murder of Thomas and Martha Wayne in Crime Alley (slow-motion shot of a broken string of pearls tumbling to the pavement optional, but preferred).
Gotham, which premiered Monday on Fox, was of course no exception, spurring Vulture to compile a supercut of the Waynes dying on screen, from Super Friends and Tim Burton’s Batman to Batman Begins and Batman: Arkham Origins. I imagine this is what Bruce Wayne’s nightmares look like.
If everything had gone as planned, sometime Wednesday a street-legal replica of Batman’s Tumblr from Christopher Nolan’s movie trilogy would be crossing the finish line in Ibiza in a triumphant conclusion to the Gumball 3000.
Unfortunately, those plans went awry before the annual 3,000-mile motor rally even got under way last week in Miami Beach, Florida.
If Hammacher Schlemmer‘s $200,000 licensed, street-legal 1966 Batmobile is a little too cheap, or a little too dated, for your tastes, allow us to this roadworthy replica on the Tumbler from Christopher Nolan’s Dark Knight trilogy. Listed on the James Edition luxury goods website, the vehicle will only set you back … $1 million.
But, hey, it’s worth it: This concept car — it’s “inspired by the movie Batman Begins” — comes equipped with an eight-cylinder LS1 engine, four 44-inch super swamper tires with custom rims, five driver-assist cameras and a stereo with blue tooth, CD/DVD and iPod integration. Plus, it’s a limited edition; there are just five of these in the world.
“When I work for DC, anything I create I get a piece of. Lucius Fox, for example, who was in the last trilogy of Batman movies played by Morgan Freeman, bought my new house. At Marvel, I did see a check off The Wolverine, the current film. But as a rule I don’t any of the ancillary money off of all of the toys and soaps and shampoos and skateboards and God knows what else that features the character.”
— veteran writer and editor Len Wein, who co-created the Batman supporting character Lucius Fox and the wildly popular Wolverine, talking about his compensation for film adaptations during a Television Critics Association panel for the upcoming PBS miniseries Superheroes: A Never-Ending Battle.
According to TheWrap, Wein said that although there have been six movies featuring Wolverine, “esoteric rules” mean that he was only compensated for the most recent one, because it was named for the character. The requirements are so strict that he didn’t receive a check for 2009’s X-Men Origins: Wolverine.
Are you getting excited? New teasers and trailers are being released almost every day now. The countdown to Summer Movie Season is officially on, and the big blockbusters adapting comics are looking promising. Iron Man 3 has an armada of armors flying around; can’t really go wrong there. The Wolverine has ninjas as far as the eye can see. And the bearded and brooding Man of Steel might even end up being good. Throw in a little Kick-Ass 2 and RED 2, sprinkle with R.I.P.D. and 300: Rise of an Empire, and top it off with 2 Guns, and you’ve got yourself one fun summer.
While we still get clunkers, the ratio of good to suck has definitely improved. It used to be that the old chestnut response to a movie adapted from a novel could be more often than not applied to movies adapted from comics: The book was better. And it’s often still true. But there are times when the movies do it better than comics, and while that’s great for the filmmakers and audiences, in a way it’s an indictment on the comics-makers.
Comics offer more boundless creativity than almost any medium. With comics, there’s no studio executive, no creation-by-committee made up of shareholders and board members with less experience creating and telling stories than their companies’ interns. It’s why Tony Stark being an alcoholic doesn’t fly with Disney and was removed from Iron Man 3. Comics can still include collaboration and compromise but they can just as easily be the result of a single voice. Even with the most heavy-handed editorially mandated comics, they’re still created by a fraction of people needed to make a Hollywood movie. Comics are generally more spontaneous, imaginative and clever than most major studio movies. But sometimes, Hollywood gets the jump on comics.
Stan Lee, who knows a thing or two about storytelling, has teamed with the animators at How It Should Have Ended to right a handful of cinematic wrongs, primarily by inserting himself into pivotal moments of films ranging from Star Wars: A New Hope to Inception to Batman Begins.
“Now that I’ve done so many unforgettable cameos, I have become an expert at all kinds of movies,” the 90-year-old creator says in the video posted on his YouTube channel. “One thing, though, that bothers me: So many of the endings of famous movies are wrong.”
But Lee isn’t content to merely alter some memorable scenes; he also imagines himself changing the course of history by ensuring three blockbusters were never made.
For all of the ridicule Christian Bale received for his 2008 tirade on the set of Terminator Salvation, it turns out the Oscar winner is a kindhearted guy, visiting with victims of the shooting at The Dark Knight Rises screening in Aurora, Colorado, and flying the family of a 4-year-old cancer patient to have lunch with him at Disneyland. And now the actor has put a smile on the face of an 8-year-old Batman fan who’s battling leukemia.
Butcher Billy, the Brazilian artist sometimes known as Bily Mariano da Luz, is turning into something of a Robot 6 favorite. His latest project posted at Behance is “Batman: The Nolan X Burton Experiment,” smashing together Tim Burton’s 1989 Batman and Christopher Nolan’s Dark Knight trilogy to sometimes humorous, often illuminating, effect. By placing their differing elements in proximity, these images reveal both what was good and what failed from these two adaptations. (Such as, hey Tim, you cast Lando Calrissian as Harvey Dent, then do absolutely nothing of consequence with the character in either of your films? What was that all about?)
As Bily writes: “But are they really that different? How much of all that is really classic and timeless and how much is pure recycling to modern times? Are those elements cool enough to stand even if taken from their own environments? How those concepts would work if they were mixed into one another?”