Saturday, December 24, 2011

Clash of the Titans (1981) (Movie Review)

        Every Kid has that movie experience that’s beyond comparison to anything else they’ve ever seen before, an epic adventure film that’s only a big budget B movie and no masterpiece like “Gone with the Wind” or “Casablanca”, but in our minds it's an A+ masterpiece that goes above and beyond standard B movies. For some people it’s “Star Wars”, and for others it’s “Raiders of the Lost Arch” but for me, one of my favorite movies that I often consider a classic is the 1981 adventure masterpiece “Clash of the Titans”. There are plenty of great movies just like this including “Jason and the Argonauts” and the Sinbad Trilogy, but "Clash of the Titans" came to me first, and had a huge impact on my youth. This is the classy Greek adventure that captured my imagination, brought me into a mythical world, and got me fascinated about Greek Mythology. I became such a nerd on the subject that I had to get my hands on every novel on Greek Mythology I could find. Seriously, if a movie makes a child want to read, then you know it’s doing something good. The film first grabbed my interest with the poster alone, it’s awesome, with hand drawn illustrations and none of that photo shop stuff that’s used all the time today. With that lousy 2010 “Clash of the Titans” remake out, and the sequel "Wrath of the Titans" on its way, lots of people may forget about the original, so it’s my job to make sure that one of my favorite adventure movies doesn’t become a forgotten gem.

         We begin on Mount Olympus, were we learn that Zeus had once traveled to Earth in human form and fell in love with a woman, which led to the birth of our lead hero Perceus. As a boy, he and his mother were cast out at sea, but Zeus protected them, and watched over them knowing that his son would have a great destiny to fulfill. One of the Goddesses named Thetis (played by Maggie Smith, who you might recognize as Professor McGonagall from the Harry Potter series) is jealous of Perceus and puts him to the test by transporting him to the kingdom of Joppa. He soon falls in love with the Princes named Andromeda, and he learns that the Kingdome is under a curse. So he bravely embarks on one adventure after another to save the kingdom and the Princes from the evil that threatens it. Well, that’s the clip note version, the story goes a lot deeper but I won’t spoil too much. Zeus is played by Laurence Olivier, who is outstanding in the role, it’s one of those perfect and unforgettable casting performances were I don't even see an actor. It's kind of like with Ian McKellen as Gandalf from “The Lord of the Rings” movies or Richard Harris as Dumbledore from the Harry Potter Series. Olympus itself is stunning to look at, there’s a room full of wooden sculptures representing every living person on the planet. Then there’s Zeus’s throne with a big shining blue light behind it, and golden animal statues on either side.                     
       The films incredibly rich in the visual department, and it fully allows you to submerse yourself into the time and culture. Every shot has rich landscape, temples, statues and sculpture. You begin to feel like you’ve been transported to ancient Greece. It's actually on par with films like “Star Wars” or “Avatar” where I feel I’ve completely left my world behind. The costumes are all great and the musical score is unforgettable. The music track may not be as awesome as the music from “Pirates of the Carrabin” or as classic as the Indiana Jones score but this one has such a memorable melody that I’ve always considered it a classic movie score in it's own right. 
The films worth watching just for all its memorable moments. There’s a scene when the statue of Thetis comes to life with a dooming message for the Princes Andromeda. There’s the part when Perceus consults with the three blind witch’s. Then there’s the scene when our heroes have to cross a poisonous river, with the driver of the boat being a skeleton in a black cloak. There’s also a dream sequences when Andromeda’s sprit is taken away in a cage, and it's all the memorable moments like these that make a movie feel so timeless.

       The characters may not be the most complex ever put to screen, but their still the classic archetypes that I know and love so well. Perceus is the noble hero we cheer for every step of the way, and actor Harry Hamlin dose a fantastic job bringing his image to life. He remains calm but you can always feel his emotions through the tones of his voice. Princes Andromeda is a fantastic damsel in distress character, and personally one of my favorite movie princess of all time. She’s just so innocent and pure that despite being a stereotype, she’s still very lovable, cute, and obviously quiet attractive. The same can be said for her relation with Perceus, while there not 100% believable, they at least look great together and do share some good chemistry, which is just enough to help you care. Finally there’s the classic wise old mentor character named Ammon played by the always terrific Burgess Meredith. Now if you’ve seen any of the "Rocky" movies, you should know just how awesome Burgess Meredith is in the role of the old mentor character.

       Things aren’t going to be easy for our hero, so Zeus and the God’s bless him with special gifts, in other words, magical weapons. There’s an indestructible sword that can slice through anything, whether it be marble or rock. 
Next is his shield which allows him to speak with his father Zeus. Also, he has a helmet that can turn him invisible, much like Harry Potters invisibility cloak. There’s this golden robotic owl named Bubo, which can be annoying at times, but he's very useful to our hero's and he eventually becomes a memorable mascot just like how R2-D2 is to "Star Wars". Finally, there’s the winged horse named Pegasus who makes traveling a lot easier. I remember when Disney’s “Hercules” came out, I always had to let my friends know that Pegasus was Perceus accomplice before Hercules.

      The villains are also very memorable, and monstrous. Calibos is the primary antagonist and mortal enemy to Perceus. He was once a handsome man who was suppose to marry Princess Andromeda but for his cruelty, Zeus struck him down and deformed him. Now he’s a half man half monster that’s out for vengeance against Perceus who ruined his plans to control the kingdom and for taking Andromeda. There’s actually a lot of development that goes into his character and he makes for such a fun enemy to mingle with the hero’s. One of the biggest highlights of the film is the Gorgon Medusa, a half woman half serpent with snakes for hair and the ability to turn people to stone when they look into her eyes. Before I had even seen the movie, I was fascinated with the Greek character Medusa and it was such a treat to see such a frightening and menacing portrayal of her on film. I love how sinister they made her look and her introduction scene was done so well. It actually terrified me as a kid, there’s a strong atmosphere, music building up, great lighting, shadows and it’s such a closterfobic location that to this day, this scene still keeps me on the edge of my seat. The following shot of Perceus holding up her head is one of the most triumphant and unforgettable moments to be viewed in a film.
       The real show stoppers are the charmingly archaic stop-motion animation techniques of Ray Harryhausen. He is the master of Stop-Motion monsters and personally, I think this film was his greatest accomplishment. People today seem to prefer CG effects, and to be fare CG makes creatures look far more realistic but I’m one of the phew people today that still love stop-motion animation. There so awesome to look at because they come from an age before computers and it’s really impressive to see how they brought all these different creatures to life. 

There’s a bit of mystery to this craft, it still makes me wonder how they did most of this but with CG you know it was all done in a computer. The remaining monsters in this film are all pretty awesome, there’s a massive vulture, giant killer Scorpions and a two headed wolf. 

      But best of all, this movie features one of the greatest giant movie monsters of all time, the ancient sea monster known as the Kracan. It is so firkin cool, I never get tired of seeing this. All of Ray Harryhausen’s monsters are fun to watch but the Kracan was brought up on a grand scale, with a fool orchestra boasting its size. It’s certainly a youneek design, with an eagle head and four arms. Certainly not the original Kracan design of Greek mythology but who cares, this was such a spectacle to see as a kid that it’s still far more impressive then both CG Kracan’s seen in “Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man’s Chest” and the 2010 “Clash of the Titans” remake. 

     The last highlight to mention is at the closing of the film. We get a look at the star constellations that were named after these characters by the Greeks mixed with an amazing narration from Zeus, it’s so subtle and it leaves me with chills every time. Final words, this film isn’t deep or enlightening and it’s a goofy, old-school sword-and-sandal epic at best but it’s done so well. If you’re someone who loves Greek Mythology or are very young and want a good adventure flick, then this is a film I highly recommend. But if you’re someone who doesn’t appreciate the art and enjoyment of stop-motion photography then you’re probably better off with recent adventure films (not including the remake because that was such a wasted opportunity). Usually films like this just get 4 stars or 3 ½ stars but for my own personal nostalgia, I give the original 1981 “Clash of the Titans” 5 stars, I loved it when I was a kid and it’s still one of my favorites. 
                                                      The End

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

A Christmas Carol and It’s many different film renditions

    The novel “A Christmas Carol” by Charles Dickens is one of the most beloved holiday story’s of all time. It’s the timeless tale of someone who just couldn’t get into the heart of the holiday and then embarks on magical journey through the past, present and future to discover the true meaning and joy of the holiday and in the end, becomes a better man. It’s such a thoughtful and unforgettable story, so great it just can’t be left alone. This is a story that has been given new life countless times on film, each carrying a stamp of what made the original novel so great and more often than not, an outstanding performance from a great actor playing Mr. Scrooge. I honestly don’t know exactly how many times it’s been remade and I’m not going to force myself to see every single variation of this story but I have seen a lot (8 to be exact), so in order from youngest to newest, let’s take a look at the different versions of “A Christmas Carol” I’ve seen. P.S. I’m not including satire films like “Blackadders Christmas Carol” or the 1988 movie “Scrooged” staring Bill Murray.   
“A Christmas Carol (Scrooge)” 1951 (Alistair Sims as Scrooge) 
 Lets begin by looking at the classic 1951 film starring Alistair Sims. It wasn’t the very first version of the Dickens classic to grace the silver screen but it’s often regarded as the original classic. Well, this version is far from being my personal favorite but I can understand why it's considered a classic. From a technical point of view, this was quite impressive for its time and Alistair Sims is just chillingly good as Mr. Scrooge. This is also the version that seemed to follow the novel the closest, there are literally dozens of things in this version that aren’t featured in any other. If you want to see the version that’s regarded as the original classic then check it out but there’s still other renditions I’d recommend over this one.    
Scrooge” 1970 (Albert Finney as Scrooge)  
 Boy oh boy, I’m really not sure how I feel about this one. There are so many things in this version that I love and at the same time so many things I can’t stand, making this feel very unbalanced. It was the first time seeing an actual musical version of this story (not including the moppets version), but the songs are mostly boring and forgettable, it’s not until the ending that the music really lifts your holiday spirit. There’s also some really over the top sequences including this part at the end where Scrooge actually goes to hell and becomes the Devils slave and it’s moments like this that feel so unnecessary and mean spirited. But in the end it dose still leave you with the same joyful feel you get from this timeless tale. Not one of the best but good all the same.   
Mickey’s Christmas Carol” 1983 (Scrooge McDuck as Scrooge) 
 This was one of the very first film adaption’s that introduced me to this incredible story at a young age, and it’s such a proper introduction. It gives kids a fresh perspective of the characters and allows us to fully appreciate seeing them in latter live action renditions. I especially love how this special is only 30 minutes long and it can still pull out a really powerful and emotional response, that’s no small accomplishment. Bottom line, if you have kids that have never even heard of “A Christmas Carol”, this is the best version to introduce them to it.
A Christmas Carol” 1984 (George C. Scott as Scrooge)
 This version is commonly regarded as the most beloved version of all. Again, it’s not my absolute favorite but it is still one of the best. There are a lot of elements in this version that really make it stand out, most especially George C. Scott, who’s just as incredible as ever, his grouchy voice just fits the character so well.      
The Muppet Christmas Carol” 1992 (Michael Caine as Scrooge) 
 While this was the very first version of the Dickens classic I had ever seen, it doesn’t stand as strong as “Mickey’s Christmas Carol”. Admittedly, a lot of that has to do with me loving Mickey Mouse and company far and above Kermit the Frog and the Muppets, but regardless it still feels like a holiday classic. What stands out the most is Michael Caine as Scrooge, his performance isn’t quite as stirring as some of the others but he certainly looks and feels the most like the genuine article. Whenever I read the story, the first image of Scrooge that always comes to mind first is Michael Caine.        
A Christmas Carol” 1999 (Patrick Stewart as Scrooge) 
 Personally, this version is hands down my absolute favorite version by far. This was the first film rendition I saw that didn’t feature cartoon characters or puppets and it’s the version that really made me see how genuine, wholesome and timeless this story really is and it’s the one that I find myself watching every year. What really holds it up is Patrick Stewart as Scrooge. He’s always been one of my all time favorite actors and this still stands as my favorite portrayal of the character. He’s so gloomy and repressing all emotion that it goes beyond just a solid performance, you really believe that it’s the actual Mr. Scrooge on screen and that’s the power of Patrick Stewart in a nutshell. If your lost in a sea of different Christmas Carol adaptions and don’t know which one to start with, this 1999 version is the one that I’d recommend above all the others.           
A Christmas Carol” 2004 (Kelsey Grammer as Scrooge) 
 Of all the actual musical renditions of the Dickens classic, this one seems to have the most memorable and touching musical numbers. Kelsey Grammer also gives his usual good performance but nothing stunning. Personally, I’d recommend this versions soundtrack alone over the actual film rendition because it’s just an okay version.     
A Christmas Carol” 2010 (Jim Carry as Scrooge) 
 This is easily my second favorite version of “A Christmas Carol”, I love the beautiful animation, I love it’s atmosphere, I love Robert Zemeckis’s talented and artsy direction, I love all the beautiful holiday music (most notably the song, “God Bless us Everyone” performed by Andrea Bocelli) finally, I love how well Jim Carry stays in character and gives a genuinely good performance. He’s another one of my favorite actors but he’s usually just himself having fun, but in the case of this film, he’s really giving his all to make this performance as genuine as he can. It’s just a wonderful modern adaption of this timeless tale that the whole family can enjoy.
     Final words, it really doesn’t matter which version you see because it’s still the same outstanding holiday story that everyone should experience again on Christmas.
            And God Bless Us, Everyone!       

Saturday, December 17, 2011

A Christmas Story (1983) (Movie Review)

      No holiday season is complete without Christmas specials, in fact viewing them is as big a tradition as opening presents, and there’s no shortage of Christmas specials out there to select from. Even the lousy ones can add some flavor to the season, but naturally it’s the classics like “It’s a Wonderful Life” and “A Christmas Carol” that you can expect to turn up every year. My personal favorite Christmas special of all time by far is the 1983 comedy classic, “A Christmas Story”. This for me is the Christmas movie that just seems to have everything, heart, innocence, nostalgia, great characters and a lot of hummer. Don’t take my word for it, this film shows up at number one on just about every Christmas list I’ve ever seen. But why is that, what is it that makes this such a treasured Christmas gem for everyone? Let’s find out ... 

     It was based on two novels, the first book titled “In God we Trust, All Others Pay Cash”, but the real predecessor is “Red Rider Nails the Hammond Kid”. Both of them were authored by Jean Shepherd, who actually provides the narration in this film (as well as a little cameo as that guy in line saying “The line ends here, it begins there”.). These two stories were the bases for the film, while the task of directing was supplied by none other than Bob Clark. Previously, he directed a Christmas horror movie titled “Black Christmas”, so it’s no wonder he infuses this family film with a little bit of an edge, and no shortage of dark comedy. The film takes the axe to the common three act structure, and highlights the various experiences of one boy during the Christmas season. It doesn’t get any simpler than that, as the whole movie is basically the life and times of this boy spending Christmas with his family, the goofy situations he gets into, and truthfully, that’s all you really need to have a good film. “A Christmas Story” was one of the first films that proved to me the magic of simply showing someone live their life at a certain time is almost more compelling than a laid-out story with a proper three act structure. Life is interesting, life is fool of conflicts, drama, comedy and genuineness. The thread that holds it all together is that our lead character named Ralphie is obsessed with getting a “Red Ryder BB Gun”, and he’s got several schemes in the works on how he’ll obtain it.     

     I really like Ralphie, as he doesn’t feel like a generic kid character, in fact he almost represents how most little kids are around Christmas, which is self-centered, impulsive, but also genuine, innocent and loving. All the emotions, dreams and actions seen in this character are brought to life very well by young actor Peter Billingsley. Interestingly, he would go on to be the executive producer of smash superhero blockbusters like “Iron Man”, and try his own hand contributing to another Christmas comedy titled “Four Christmases”. I especially love all his silly daydream sequences, which I think every kid fantasized about when in certain situations like getting in trouble with parents and so forth. Joining him are his brother Randy and occasionally his two best friends Flick and Schwartz. My absolute favorite characters who in my opinion completely steel the film are the two parents played by Melinda Dillon and Darren McGavin. These two goofs crack me up every time their on screen, and they both seem to be this serial combination of a dysfunctional, yet still loving couple. Actually, the family is very wholesome in just how real they feel. They have their heated moments with one another, but the love and feelings still remain regardless. Enter Scut Farkus, a yellow eyed bully character who likewise owns every scene he’s in. Despite being a one-note bully, he’s an unformattable addition to the film, as he’s all for show, and has no real guts of his own. One little detail that always stuck out is that Scut Farkus sinister theme music is lifted right from Disney’s “Peter and the Wolf” cartoon. Seriously, watch that short and tell me it’s not the wolfs exact music score, and heck, even Scut Farkus introduction scene mirrors how the wolf was introduced in that short. 

    I must admit, this is a hard film to do justice in a single review, because there are things to talk about in every seen, and countless individual highlights. There’s the decoder ring, the pink bunny costume, the soap punishment, and the kid getting dared to stick his tong to a flag pole (which is something I’ve always been curious about but never dared to try it myself). 

I’ll always remember that cranky mall Santa Clause. I was actually one of those kids who was terrified to go see Santa, so seeing that hilarious, wide-angle lens shot of him going “HO-ho-ho!” was simply the stuff of nightmares. The whole scene with the mall Santa is just comedy gold, and the Santa himself might just be my favorite off-beat variation of the character I’ve ever seen. Then there’s that goofy leg lamp, and personally, if I could own any one prop from a film, I’d want that lamp. I’d gladly put that thing in my living room, and read by it while all lit up. However, the funniest scene for me has always been the part with the Chinese Turkey, (it’s actually a duck). That scene was so funny I was still laughing at it when the credits were rolling, and it still cracks me up to this day. Of course, there’s no shortage of quotable lines, like (Dad) “FRA-GI-LIE, it must be Italian?” (Mom responds) “No, I think that says Fragile”, and the always classic quote “You’ll Shoot Your Eye Out!”. I’ll admit, this film isn’t quite as funny as something along the lines of “National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation”, but it has so much more going for it than just the comedy.   

     Watching “A Christmas Story” from beginning to end is like reliving a dream, or a memory. Even though it takes place in the 1940’s, this is a childhood that a lot of people can identify with. Some may argue that this film represents child hood more than the actual holiday, but one of the biggest attributes of Christmas is memories, and that’s what this film is. Everything is told through narration from the point of view of Ralphie as an adult reflecting back on his youth and sharing with us his experiences during this cherished time of his life. This is the magic that I’ve never experienced in any other Christmas film, as it speaks to me as an adult, while also taking me back to that time when Christmas was a magical thing to experience with friends and family. It goes even further comparing who we were then, too who we are now, and who we will be in the future. Just like the narrator, I too plan to share my holiday experiences with my close family. There’re also many genuine and subtle moments in this film that are just as memorable as all the comedy, like the kids pressing their faces against the window of a toy store, or Ralphie waking up to a beautiful snowy morning. Perhaps my favorite little holiday moment of all is when the father and wife sit by the lit up Christmas tree, while watching the snow fall, and with soft Christmas music playing in the background. That to me is just Christmas is its most true form. 
    That’s what makes this film such a timeless holiday gem for me, it’s both warmly nostalgic and darkly humorous, giving you a splendid blend of every wonderful feeling you could have while watching a Christmas movie. It’s for these reasons and more that I look at this movie as the greatest Christmas special of all time. While the amount of praise and marketing for this film may be a bit overboard, I still can’t say that I love any other holiday film more then this one.

I give “A Christmas Story” a perfect 5 stars out of 5.

       And Merry Christmas!   

Friday, December 9, 2011

Mr. Freeze: One of the greatest comic book villains that no one ever notices

     (Characters words) “This is how I’ll always remember you, surrounded by winter, forever young, forever beautiful. Rest well my love, the monster who took you from me will soon learn that revenge is a served cold”. When a villain makes a first appearance saying something as sensational as that, then you know right away that he’s going to be awesome. When it comes to famous comic book villains there’s plenty of great one’s like the Joker, Doctor Octopus, Lex Luthor, Venom, Dr. Doom and my personal favorite, Magneto. But why doesn’t anyone ever acknowledge Mr. Freeze? He’s cold-hearted, and is forever trapped inside a suit that keeps his body temperature below freezing, surprisingly having a gun that freezes things makes him come off as a cool gun-slinger. I honestly think he’s the greatest of Batman’s enemies, not just because he looks cool and has a nifty gun but because he’s the most complex, sophisticated and tragic. So why does Mr. Freeze always get the shaft, well let’s take a look it his media legacy and see if we can find an answer.  
      As always it’s best to start at the beginning and it’s clear that he wasn’t that complex at first. The 1960’s animated TV show referred to him as “An Ice cream man from Mars” which isn’t the least bit intimidating. In the 1960s live action Batman television series, Mr. Freeze was played by three different actors, George Sanders, Otto Preminger and Eli Wallach. All three looked pretty silly but then again it was 60’s television and George Sanders at least gives his usual classy performance. The George Sanders version wore the classic refrigerated suit while the Otto Preminger and Eli Wallach versions wore a "Freeze Collar" around their neck. Despite not being that intimidating, I was still plenty disappointed that Mr. Freeze wasn’t in the 1966 film “Batman The Movie”, I mean that was the biggest collection of Batman villains on film and it would have been the perfect (and only appropriate)opportunity to see him amongst all the other classic villains. Anyway, this version of Mr. Freeze is nothing spectacular but it’s worth mentioning simply on the grounds of this being the first time the character appears in live action.
      Then there was the 90’s animated Batman show which recreated the character and is responsible for creating his tragic back story about his frozen wife. This is where I really found the character the most interesting, tragic and whenever I think of Mr. Freeze, the first image that always comes to mind is him in this TV show. His appearance in the series was designed by “Hellboy” creator Mike Mignola and holly cow is it an awesome design, it’s not over the top and is given just the right touch of both subtlety and menace. Another big highlight is voice actor Michael Ansara. His voice is so firkin awesome and his performance is so genuine and effective. I especially love how he delivers these awesome lines, there just so cryptic and tragic all at once. (Batman) “To satisfy your vengeance, you would take away innocent lives?” (Mr. Freeze) “Think of it Batman, to never again walk on a summers day with a hot wind in your face and a warm hand to hold, oh yes, I would kill for that”. He also gets away with saying other really sinister lines like "The cold eyes of vengeance are upon you," and "Prepare for the icy touch of death."
       His introduction episode titled “Heart of Ice” is often regarded as one of the best episodes of the series and even won an Emmy Award for Outstanding Writing in an Animated Program. By TV show standards, it’s a really dark and complex back story with a relatively emotional tone. Actually, comparing Mr. Freezes unfortunate background with Bruce Wayne’s makes it look like Batman got it easy. His parents are dead, Bruce can morn them and move on, but Mr. Freeze isn’t so lucky. His wife isn’t dead, she’s stuck in a form of limbo where the possibility of life is still there but Freeze loses his chance to save her every time. He can neither morn her death or save her life and the one thing that makes his heart so cold isn’t hatred or greed, its hope! This back story was so good that just about every variation of the character uses it. The imagery is great, it’s the kind of serial imagery fans love to see in Batman stories. The music is also very effective and really gives life to the episodes surreal atmosphere. It’s just a very solid episode, here Freeze is more than just an awesome villain with a cool gun, he’s a tragic character write out of a Shakespeare drama. The dialog is so sophisticated that the episode is practically righting itself and the final spoken words from Freeze really get you to sympathize with the character. I failed you, I wish there were another way for me to say it......but I cannot. I can only beg your forgiveness and pray you hear me somehow, someplace, where a warm hand waits for mine”. Freeze would be seen in latter episodes like “Deep Freeze” which continued his story very well. 
       A latter episode titled “Cold Comfort” completely changed him, he’s no longer a frozen victim in a refrigeration suit, now his mutation has destroyed most of his body and all that’s left is his head that movies around on manacle spider legs. How on earth did Mr. Freeze get reduced to this, the character was just fine before but now he’s become Dr. Loveless from “Wild, Wild West”. He’s still plenty intimidating but he just seems to have lost the same sophisticated evil that was present in his earlier appearances. This story arch continued in the fallowing TV show “Batman Beyond” where he also gets a new suit and design. The story may not be that impressive but it’s still plenty entertaining and it’s great that Michael Ansara continued to do the voice work. There would be different portrayals of the character in future shows like “Batman the Brave and the Bold” and “Young Justice” but one that really stands out is his portrayal in the 2004 TV show “The Batman”. Now he’s voiced by Clancy Brown and is extremely menacing. Sure there’s no longer anything dark or tragic about him and his design looks fare more monstrous then classic but he’s still pretty awesome and had many episodes in the shows run.
       In 1998 there was the animated direct to video movie titled “Batman and Mr. Freeze: Subzero”. This is definitely the best thing to happen to the character sense his first “Heart of Ice” episode and the story takes place during the animated Batman TV series before the events of the “Cold Comfort” episode. Once again he’s a menacing villain but he still has a certain sense of honor and dignity to him. In the end he becomes a better man and one that Batman feels sympathy for, which is great because it’s not often that a hero and villain can come to a respected understanding. While the film did a good job with Mr. Freezes character, the story is still nothing special and Batman is hardly in it, in fact he doesn’t even see Freeze till the very end of the film where they have a very brief fight. They got the internal conflicts down just fine but I would still like a good external conflict with Batman involved.   
          Mr. Freeze makes a small cameo in the animated DVD movie “Superman/Batman: Public Enemies”. He's seen with the other cold warriors like Icicle II, Killer Frost, and Captain Cold when they are among many other villains trying to claim the bounty on Superman and Batman. After a brief fight with Batman, they are all defeated by Superman's heat vision. It may not have been that big but it was still nice to see him in another animated Batman movie.
       Now of cores I need to mention Arnold Schwarzenegger’s portrayal of Mr. Freeze in the 1997 theatrical movie “Batman and Robin”. First of all, it’s such an odd casting choice, personally I think that Tom Hardy or Patrick Stewart would have been the perfect actors to bring the character to life. To be fare, this film does keep the tragic back story of his frozen wife and there is one or two note worthy moments, especially his change of heart scene at the end. But they just weren’t enough to excuse everything else, like his non-stop puns and dancing around to a sing-along tape of “I’m Mr. White Christmas, I’m Mr. Snow”. The costume is also a bit over the top, it’s actually a cool design on paper but in the film he looks a lot like a big glowing action figure, there’s just nothing subtle about it. He even has his own signature battle vehicle that looks like it belongs in an old adventure serial. I know it’s hard to take a guy in a freezing suit seriously but this is the big reason that Mr. Freeze constantly get’s the shaft. It was his first and to date, only theatrical movie appearance and it turned out to be a huge disappointment to fans and now no-one feels safe using him in another motion picture. 
      I understand that this portrayal was a fluke but that doesn’t mean the character should be completely abandoned. The best villains are those born of tragedy, similar to the way Batman was born from horrific events and there’s so much potential for this character to have a truly sophisticated, dramatic and intense appearance in a theatrical Batman film. Any character (fact or fiction) deserves a second chance and I really hope writers of future Batman movies will allow Mr. Freeze to make a proper comeback in a motion picture film. But for now, it seems that the character will literally be put on ice.  
"It would move me to tears......if I still had tears to shed."
                                                                                                           The End