Return to the Batcave(Anchor Bay Entertainment, 5.17.2005)
When the argument of "who's the greatest Batman" picks up at my nearby Hooters, I always declare that there is only one: Mr. Adam West. I'll admit the show was campy and he looked goofy in the tights but I can't deny my TV heritage. Even when he popped up in the Skinamax classic Young Lady Chatterley II, my reaction was "hey, it's Bruce Wayne...with naked women!"
Return to the Batcave is a twist on the rash of backstage TV movies about beloved sitcoms. Instead of a bunch of actors parading around in groovy outfits and wigs, Return to the Batcave provides Adam West and Burt Ward (Robin) one last adventure against their old super nemeses: Julie Newmar (Catwoman) and Frank Gorshin (The Riddler). Adam and Burt attend a charity event where the Batmobile is stolen. Before long, the two actors resume their old detective ways, in order to track down their wheels. The clues relate to their memories of Batmania.
Thankfully, Adam and Burt don't squeeze into their tights to play their flashback selves. Jack Brewer does such a great job playing Adam that he hasn't landed another high profile gig since this TV special aired back in 2003. He's managed to be typecast by playing a typecast actor.
However, the real joy of this film is Julie Newmar being catty one more time. She ruined me as a child with her purrr...fect Catwoman outfit. In addition, the late Frank Gorshin cackles as the Riddler. Perhaps the stunner of the whole movie, though, is Curtis Armstrong, the greatest character actor of his generation. He absolutely nails the fatigue that would come from being Adam West's butler. Overall, this is an extremely well cast piece.
For those of you who enjoy the Dark Knight aspect of Batman, this is the wrong DVD for your collection. It was made for those who grew up watching Adam and Burt using the Batrope to climb up the side of buildings. There's no brooding here, not unless you count those who are angry that the original series still hasn't come out on DVD.
The only bonus is the script as a DVD-ROM feature. It's a shame since this is a project that cries out for behind-the-scenes footage and anecdotes. We really could have used one last glimpse of Gorshin cutting up in front of West and Newmar. -- Joe Corey