Thursday, July 31, 2014

75th Anniversary Batman exhibit on Warner Bros. VIP Studio Tour...

To mark the 75th Anniversary of DC Comics iconic Caped Crusader, Warner Bros. Studios are throwing open the doors of the Batcave to give VIP Studio Tour visitors a glimpse at original film costumes and props from seven Batman movies at their newly transformed studio museum in Burbank, California.

Batman costume and weapon props from The Dark Knight Rises
The whole ground floor now houses the iconic costumes from Christopher Nolan's Dark Knight trilogy, plus Tim Burton's 1989 and 1992 movies which kickstarted the Bat-franchise on the big screen and even outfits from Joel Schumacher's 1995 and 1997 movies which nearly killed the movie franchise.

Original Batman, Vicki Vale and Joker costumes from 1989's Batman
Original 1989 Batman movie costumes
I have to say the moment I stepped foot through the museum doors I was in comic geek heaven, as I've been fortunate to see movie costumes from the recent Batman movies on display over the years, but to see all of these original costumes in one place was really overwhelming and thrilling at the same time.

Even better the costumes are not hidden behind reflective cases, so you can really have a close look, and you can even taken photos without flashes to preserve the memories.

I remember queueing up outside the cinema for a second time to watch Tim Burton's 1989 Batman and loving seeing the Bat-sign everywhere you looked. Not only was it a joy to see Michael Keaton's Bat-suit (not many of the screen-used versions survived because of the latex material it was made from) and Kim Basinger's 'Vicki Vale' outfit, but seeing Jack Nicholson's crazy 'Joker' costume and his waxwork face really brought back his scene-stealing performance.

Original Penguin costume and props from 1992's Batman Returns
Original 1992 Batman Returns movie costumes props
In the 1992 sequel, Batman Returns, Tim Burton really unleashed even more of his unique style on Gotham City and introduced the world to his take on the villainous 'Oswald Cobblepot' aka 'The Penguin', played with relish by Danny DeVito and the conflicted 'Catwoman' played by the sexy Michelle Pfeiffer. Be sure to stay tuned in the days to come for closer looks at each of their fantastic costumes.

Original Two-Face, Riddler, Batman and Robin costumes 
from 1995's Batman Forever
Original 1995 Batman Forever movie costumes
In 1995 Joel Schumacher took over the reigns of the Batman film franchise to mixed reviews, casting Val Kilmer as the titular hero and introducing his infamous Boy Wonder sidekick, 'Robin', played by Chris O'Donnell.

In this movie the Dynamic Duo faced twice the trouble in the form of Tommy Lee Jones as 'Harvey Dent' aka 'Two-Face' and Jim Carrey as 'The Riddler'.

At the same time Gotham City went from an atmospheric, dark and brooding environment to a DaGlo, neon fantasyland, which certainly harkened back to the more campy 1960's Batman TV show. You can even see the seismic shift in costume design when you compare the film exhibits, from very gothic and based in some kind of reality to a total comic book style.

Robin, Batman, Batgirl, Poison Ivy and Mr. Freeze costumes 
from 1997's Batman & Robin
Original 1997 Batman and Robin movie costumes
Even though 1997's even campier Batman & Robin nearly sounded the death knell for the film franchise (apparently the nipples on George Clooney's Bat-suit was a design choice too far), this was one of my favourite costume displays from the entire exhibit.

To be honest, I think that's mainly because of the fantastical illuminated design of Arnold Schwarzenegger's 'Mr. Freeze' cryo-suit, which only he could wear, although Uma Thurman's 'Poison Ivy' costume is pretty detailed when you see it up close.

And even though the similar hero 'Bat' costumes became a tangle of pecs and six-pack muscles, it's still pretty cool to get a glimpse of them, including Alicia Silverstone's 'Batgirl' suit (and I would gladly love to own each and every one of them).

Original movie costumes and props from 2005's Batman Begins
Batman Begins movie costumes props
The release of Batman Begins in 2005 saw Christopher Nolan reboot the DC Comics character as a much darker crime-fighter, introducing the husky tones of Christian Bale as Batman and his alter ego 'Bruce Wayne' and retelling his origin story.

The movie pitted Batman against Cillian Murphy's Scarecrow and Liam Neeson's 'Ra's Al Ghul', the leader of the League of Shadows, who had trained Bruce Wayne in the arts of stealth and fighting.

Original costumes and props from 2008's The Dark Knight
Original 2008 Dark Knight movie costumes props
In the 2008 sequel, The Dark Knight, cinema goers were reintroduced to two villains from Batman's rogues gallery. Heath Ledger gave an Oscar-winning performance as 'The Joker', putting a much more sinister spin on there hero's arch-nemesis (although the actor tragically died before the movie was released), whilst Aaron Eckhart brought 'Harvey Dent/Two-Face' to life on the big screen for a second time.

The Batman and Joker costumes from The Dark Knight were two of the first authentic movie costumes I ever saw on display when I moved to L.A. over six years ago, so it was great to see them out from behind their display cases this time around (along with The Joker's creepy nurse outfit, Aaron Eckhart's Two-Face costume and Maggie Gyllenhaal's 'Rachel Dawes' evening gown and a selection of fantastic screen-used props from the movie).

Original costumes and props from The Dark Knight Rises
2012 Dark Knight Rises movie costumes
The Dark Knight Rises in 2012 brought Christopher Nolan's blockbuster trilogy to a close and introduced the world to Tom Hardy's fierce terrorist, 'Bane' (a vast improvement on his Batman & Robin counterpart), Anne Hathaway's 'Catwoman' (a worthy successor to the kitten heels) and Marion Cotillard as the vengeful 'Miranda Tate/Talia al Ghul'.

Again I was fortunate to see three of the original costumes from The Dark Knight Rises over the film's opening weekend at ArcLight Hollywood cinema, but seeing them again out of their protective cases and more of the film's wardrobe besides was a real treat. I really have turned into a movie costume addict.

The many cowls of Batman
Batman movie mask cowls
Christian Bale Dark Knight Rises Batman cowl
These amazing comic book movie costumes and props were photographed on July 29, 2014 and if you're a Batman, or even a superhero fan, and you get the opportunity to check out the exhibit at the Warner Bros. Studio Tour Museum which houses 25 years of cinematic Batman history, it's worth every penny and the items are fantastically presented.

And if you're looking for Halloween costume inspiration this year, this is the place to go with some classic and modern looks to provide plenty of ideas.

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