Release the director's cut of Batman Forever for its 25th anniversary (or earlier)
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Ladies and gentlemen,
22 years ago, the third installment of the Batman live-action film quadrilogy was released...
Directed by Joel Schumacher (who went on to direct the unanimously panned Batman & Robin (1997)), and made as a campier, lighter version of the franchise as a result of the backlash caused by the bleak tone of Tim Burton's Batman Returns (1992), the film recieved mixed reviews from critics, but went on to gross over $336 million worldwide on its $100 million budget, and became the sixth-highest-grossing film worldwide of 1995.
Now, what was the main gist of criticism?
Executive meddling, at its best.
You see, Schumacher filmed close to 2 hours and 40 minutes of footage for the film. When cut together, it was ultimately darker than the final product; more akin to the Burton Batmans.
That is, before major edits were made.
There was talk of an extended cut of the film being released to DVD for the film's 10th anniversary in 2005. Then all four films were released in special edition boxsets on the same day as the Batman Begins (directed by Christopher Nolan) DVD release, all of which were released as they were in cinemas, though 14 of the 40 minutes of additional footage made it onto the special features for the BF 2-disc DVD.
Had these scenes made it into the film, the film overall would've centered around Bruce Wayne's repressed memories of an aspect of his parents' death that he hadn't faced, which was reading his father's diary (nicknamed, the 'Red Book') on the night of his parents' wake and reading that Bruce insisted his parents go to the theater so he could watch one of his shows, meaning the reason he became Batman was out of the guilt that he killed them.
The original timeline went like this:
- Two-Face's Arkham escape
- Gotham City establishing shot (With alternate news commentary referring to the escape rather than the robbery)
- Wayne Tech tour by Bruce Wayne, Conversation with Nygma, Bat signal in sky, Batman's gearing up
- Two-Face bank robbery, helicopter fight/crash
- The Nygma murder of Stickly, Bruce at Wayne tech surveying the suicide scene
- Bruce visits Chase Meridian at her office, invites her to the charity circus
- Circus event, where Two-Face slaughters the Flying Graysons
- Bruce taking Dick in as a ward and the garage scene
- Batman and Chase's rooftop at the police headquarters rooftop (Chase's line was originally “Last night at the circus, I noticed something about Two-Face”)
The rest of the timeline, aside from the deleted scenes, plays out exactly the same in the theatrical version.
And the deleted scenes?
- The first deleted scene, to start off, would be the infamous "The Bat Must Die" sequence, which plays out just like a Tim Burton film. Gothic, moody, and dark. It featured Rene Auberjonois playing a bigger role as Dr. Burton, which got reduced when this brilliantly choreographed scene was cut from the film. The scene starts off on an establishing shot of Arkham Asylum. Inside, Dr. Burton is walking over to Two-Face's cell to examine Two-Face or something. Inside the cell, he walks over to what he think is Two-Face sitting on a chair, before it turns out to be his psychologist tied up, hanging onto a ceiling fan. He then finds "The BAT MUST DIE" written in blood on the wall. This was originally supposed to be in the film altogether, but the producers came to the conclusion of it being too dark for a family audience (although the film is rated PG-13). Believe me, had this been in the final cut, it would've kicked off after the computer-generated opening credits sequence, or an entirely different Burton-style opening credits sequence would've been made to play immediately after the scene. (Keep in mind a shot from this scene is featured in the U2 music video, with the blood recoloured white)
- After the Wayne Enterprises meeting would've been an extended sequence featuring conversation between Bruce and Alfred as he travels through the tunnel connecting WayneTech and the Batcave. ("I've left Wayne Enterprises en route to the Batcave." "All is ready, sir.")
- There were originally extended moments (including a shot from the U2 music video where Two-Face flips his coin in the helicopter), dialogue, and alternate takes all over the place in the bank robbery/helicopter sequence. ("If the Bat wants to play, we'll play!")
- The helicopter fight between Batman and Two-Face was extended, where they struggle for control of the helicopter. In this version of the scene, Two-Face tells Batman, "You're a killer too, and you know it!" Two-Face then escapes by parachute, after Batman realizes he has locked the steering wheel into position of flying into the Statue of Liberty.
- A scene played out before Nygma arrives at Wayne Manor with his second riddle, where Bruce watches a local Gotham talk show featuring Chase Meridian as a guest.
- Extended shots of the Circus massacre.
- There was extra footage of Nygma becoming the Riddler.
- A scene, originally set to play out before the Riddler/Two-Face team-up scene, featured conversation with Dick and Bruce in the gym of the manor. ("I don't know you but...I'm like you.")
- Afterwards, there was extended conversation between the Riddler and Two-Face in the team-up sequence.
- Then, at the casino robbery, during the "Show me how to punch a guy" scene, where Riddler fails to punch the security guard, the end result was originally darker. Two-Face finishes the guard off with a neck chop, and leaves Riddler to beat him brutally with his cane.
- After the casino robbery, Batman is tricked by Riddler with a robbery signal on a tracking device in the Batmobile. He shows up at the crime scene and winds up at a beauty salon (where a room full of girls laugh at him), after which we cut to see Riddler counting the money in the getaway jalopy. ("A little off the ears, Batman?")
- After Bruce solves the third riddle with Alfred, the construction of NygmaTech on Claw Island was more in-depth. It featured Edward Nygma with a hard hat, visiting the site and the box press conference.
- After which, during the montage when it goes on sale, Sugar and Spice are sat down on the couch (the one where Chase is chained to later in the film) and a philosophical conversation engages as they, Two-Face and Riddler take hits from the box.
- After the montage, there was originally a scene where Bruce and Nygma examine the NygmaTech box.
- Extended moments when Dick confronts Batman in the alleyway.
- Extended shots of Bruce/Dick/Chase at the Ritz Gotham party, including other extended party shots/dialogue as well.
- After a party, there was a scene that centered on Bruce's dilemma. After watching the Batman-bashing GNN news report, he starts to contemplate on continuing as the Dark Knight. This scene also makes reference to the "Two-Face's hate" deleted scene of Batman being a killer, and this scene was to contain footage from the rooftop fight from BR.
- Extended scenes involving the Riddler in his lair, talking to Two-Face while reading the paper.
- The Wayne Manor raid sequence was longer and more violent, featuring Chase and Bruce fighting Two-Face's thugs.
- A LOT of unused footage in the Batcave scene, which made Jim Carrey's performance a whole lot funnier.
- The scene where Chase is chained to the couch from earlier was longer, and ending with Riddler drugging Chase with a green sleeping agent. ("Nap time, gorgeous.")
- Perhaps the most important scene in the entire film is the resolution to the red book subplot. Believe me, if you are unfamiliar with this scene, go watch it for yourself. It's on YouTube. You have to see it to believe it.
- An extended fight sequence on Claw Island between Robin and Two-Face.
And finally, the deleted scene you've all been waiting for...
...the Burton-style ending shot.
This particular shot had Batman and Robin overlooking Gotham City on the rooftop, then they jump off into the camera. The scene was shot over a blue screen. ("Does it ever end, Alfred?" "No, Dr. Meridian. Not in this lifetime.")
Those are all deleted scenes.
So, you're probably all wondering...
"Cam, why are you doing this?"
Well, it's coming up to the film's 25th anniversary, and without my help, the likeliness of the director's cut ever being released will be extremely poor.
So, that's why I need your help to bring Schumacher's original vision to life and make it the true end to Burton's Batman trilogy.
After all, in the words of Lewis Schoenbrun (director of The Amazing Bulk), no one ever sets their sights on making a bad movie.
And besides, Brits see it as the end of a trilogy, right?
So sign up and help me make Batman Forever the way Schumacher intended it to be:
Longer, darker, brutal, and more in line with Batman Returns. :)
With these 26 minutes of extra footage, Forever offers a psychological insight on fear, chaos and childhood trauma. So let me take the time to tell you something:
Without it, the film is nothing. An empty shell of filmmaking genius.
And they say 160 minutes was too long for the mid-90’s. To that, I say... BULLSHIT!
I believe we have the right to achieve access to this long-overdue director’s cut and to withhold it from us for two decades at a time is just SICK!
So far, 32 people have boarded the support train, so unless you sign up, WB will continue to keep this extended cut from us for eons to come.
So join now, to restore Schumacher’s opus!
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