Thursday, July 17, 2008

Assembling the dream Bat-cast

Everything's coming up Batty this week, as we mentioned on Monday, and in honor of "The Dark Knight" releasing in theaters this weekend, and the "Batman: Gotham Knight" DVD et. al, we felt another post was in order. This time, we're having a little fun with the art of the hypothesis.

The MTV Movies Blog presents its Batman "Dream Team" and invites you to weigh in with yours, as well. The idea is to choose the best actor or version of each character from the various Bat-incarnations over the decades.

Batman: Ooooohhhhhhh ... tough, tough, tough. We have to split this one. The truest interpretation of the Bat, we believe, is in "Batman: The Animated Series," as voiced by Kevin Conroy (Bart Fallmont of our beloved "Dynasty" -- but that's certainly not the reason!). Hard, edgy, driven, solid, unstoppable. We'll always love Frank Miller's darker interpretation, too. But as far as the Batman we've enjoyed the most on screen, we can't help but defer to Michael Keaton's portrayal. We love talent in unexpected places, and Keaton was all about that in 1989. MTV has a point in that he made Batman real and accessible to the "everyguy."

Joker: Cesar Romero. Sorry, Jack -- you were too inaccessible, too Hollywood A-list, too snobby or weird or ... something. (Probably too Jack Nicholson -- that's what it was.) Mark Hamill rocked out hard, but Romero ... he set the standard.

Pengie: Danny DeVito in "Batman Returns" was waaaaayyyyy too dark, too creepy. This character is funner, ebullient! The Penguin of the newer "The Batman" animated series is intriguing, but we have to say Paul Williams' portrayal in "B:TAS."

Two-Face: We only saw him for a moment, it seemed, but we really wanted to see him more. Billy Dee Williams, our own Brady Lloyd of "Dynasty" stepped into the role in the 1989 "Batman" film, and oh, if we only could have seen where that would have gone! Besides adding some needed color to the mix, this casting choice really reflected the suavo quality of "Handsome Harvey."

Catwoman: We're partial to Adrienne Barbeau's voicing of Selina Kyle in "Batman: The Animated Series." This version gave some good screen time to the relationship between Catwoman and Batman, particularly Batman's attraction to her (soooo many sparks on the rooftop, so little time) and his concern for her welfare. He really wanted to steer her away from her life of crime; you see that in "B:TAS" more than anywhere else.

Riddler: The gentlemanly Edward Nygma as voiced by John Glover on "B:TAS." What Jim Carrey didn't get was that Riddler wasn't just a hyena; he had a certain amount of refinement, too. Glover's Nygma was intelligent (a genius, really) and well-spoken. Even Frank Gorshin reflected some of that decades earlier.

Alfred: Either Alan Napier of the 1960s "Batman" or Efrem Zimbalist Jr. of "B:TAS" is fine.

Commissioner Gordon: While we love the fatherly Commish of "B:TAS" (especially in the world-stopper episode "Over the Edge"), we are absolutely enamored beyond belief with Gary Oldman's surprising portrayal in "Batman Begins." Something about the apprehension ... the drive, the studiousness ... the conviction ... the weariness ... the glasses ... We just wanna hug him and squeeze him and call him James!

Robin: Let's not even include the character, actually. He drags the Bat down. But if you must have him, we kinda like the kid, Tim Drake, from "The New Batman Adventures," as voiced by Mathew Valencia.

Batgirl: We saved the best for last. Yvonne Craig? Delightful -- and a dancer, no less! And whoever that cheesy blond chick was in the 1997's "Batman & Robin," we won't even mention her. She was irrelevant; wrong character, wrong hair. Everyone knows Batgirl is not blond. The best? The truest? It's gotta be the idealistic, out-to-conquer-crime-and-happy-to-do, Batman-idolizing, yet so-smart and so-on-it, thoroughly flame-tressed Barbara Gordon as voiced by our former "Prairie"-girl, Melissa Gilbert, on "B:TAS." With gymnastics in her repertoire and developing romances with Nightwing, then Batman himself, this incarnation of Batgirl truly hit all the high notes.

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