Batman Forever…the Schumacher Cut?
With the success of the movement that made Zack Snyder’s Justice League a reality, some fans see future possibilities. The latest centers on the 1995 film that changed the direction from Tim Burton’s Batman and Batman Returns. This interest is fueled by its screenwriter, Akiva Goldman, who went on record regarding a director’s cut by the the late Joel Schumacher. “[Batman Forever] still has a renaissance coming. I really am interested to see whether the original cut [comes out] because I got to see it, recently, the very [first one] which was Preview Cut: One. It was really dark, it was a pretty psychological exploration of guilt and shame.”
Does that sound like the film that was advertised by McDonald’s collectors cups?
Batman Forever Director’s Cut – What Are the Differences?
As fans remember, Batman Forever was Warner Bros.’ attempt to course correct when Tim Burton’s sequel Batman Returns was seen as too dark and – no pun intended – too Gothic. While Burton remained on as producer, Schumacher took the reins as director. With Michael Keaton deciding not to reprise the title role, actor Val Kilmer had been brought in as the new Bruce Wayne. He was also to be joined by Chris O’Donnell as Dick Grayson aka Robin, making O’Donnell the third actor to portray the character on the big screen. Like Batman Returns, the Dark Knight would be pitted against two of his rogues, Two-Face and The Riddler, the latter played by Jim Carrey. Although Harvey Dent had been established in Burton’s first Batman film, Billy Dee Williams was replaced by Tommy Lee Jones, complete with a flashback through past TV footage to reveal his transformation into Two-Face. The cast was then filled out with the gorgeous Nicole Kidman as love interest Chase Meridian, Drew Barrymore as henchwoman Sugar, and Debi Mazar as henchwoman Spice. The only returning cast members from the first two films were Michael Gough and Pat Hingle as Alfed Pennyworth and Commissioner Gordon, respectively. The dark greys and morbid feel was replaced with more color, campy humor, and a more outlandish looking Batmobile. Although the psychological damage of Bruce Wayne’s trauma was paralleled by Dick Grayson recently losing his parents, the lighter tone watered things down to the point only got the box office gross but not the critical acclaim. Currently it holds a 39% rating on Rotten Tomatoes. Some think of it as a true comic book film come to life with its exaggerated elements of color, overacting and the maddening design of Gotham City.
However, then there is the cut Goldman describes, and can be backed up by an earlier confirmation by podcaster Marc Bernardin. Further, he confirms that he has seen this film that resides in the Warner Bros. vault. “I think that it went much deeper into his childhood psychosis and his mental blocks and that it was a more serious, darker version of that movie that was one of the first assemblies that Joel filed with the studio and they eventually cut it down because they were like ‘it’s too dark for kids. We gotta sell these Happy Meals, so let’s not invest ourselves in the trauma of childhood murder. We’ve got Jim Carrey, let him do some [s**t).'”
So, Happy Meals and Collectors Cups did in that psychological edge?
Both on DVD release and Youtube ripped footage, deleted scenes reveal what would have been and confirm that darkness Warner Bros. edited out. Provided below is one of those very deleted scenes, which speaks for itself. The context behind it is greater damage done by Two-Face’s bullet that grazes Bruce Wayne’s head. Bruce develops partial amnesia that causes him to forget his dual identity as Batman. To jog his memory, Alfred takes him down to “a cave beneath [the] Batcave” where he encountered the bat. The rest can be seen in the provided video below.
So the question is, with a spotlight shone on the Schumacher Cut, does the Batman franchise have a potential renaissance on the horizon? Will a movement that became as powerful and consistent as #theSnyderCut, or as successful?
Stay tuned. Same Bat-Time, same Bat-Channel. Happy Meals not included.