I’m a big fan of many Tim Burton directed films. In particular, I like his collaborations with composer Danny Elfman, whom I just learned wrote not only the theme songs to “The Simpsons” and “Tales from the Crypt” but also “Desperate Housewives”. But I digress.
Last night I wanted to watch something light and fun. 1989’s “Batman” grabbed my attention while I perused my DVD collection. Perfect, I thought. Jack Nickolson’s Joker is unforgettable. (Nothing against the late, great Heath Ledger, of course.) And the visuals are stunning.
Alas, I had forgotten Vicki Vale. She probably showed as much dimension in the original 1948 comic book appearance. What a painful character to watch.
Vicki starts out as a strong concept, a prize-winning photo journalist. Yet she never once acts the part besides pulling out a camera once or twice. Throughout the film, which Tim Burton proclaims he mainly considers boring (!), Kim Basinger gets to do little besides shriek, faint, and follow Bruce Wayne around like a puppy. At the end she meekly gets into the car with Alfred as if she has zero interest in championing the world.
I guess she is too busy being some overshadowing dude’s girlfriend now and must attend his needs. To use an eightie’s valley girl euphemism, gag me with a spoon.
Audiences purportedly disliked that Vicki earned a tour of the bat cave. But honestly, what does it matter? It’s not like this namby-pamby smudge upon female characterizations will do anything with this information. This flick shows Ms. Basinger even more mincing than as Elizabeth in “9 1/2 Weeks”.
I have no idea what might have ended up on the cutting room floor, of course. Was some redeeming scene left out with final cuts? Maybe I should write a converse sort of fanfic for myself, just to get the bad taste out of my mouth. Or maybe not. I’ve got more interesting things to do.
If you’ve seen the movie, what did you think of this portrayal?