Batman & Mr. Freeze: SubZero
|Batman & Mr. Freeze: SubZero|
|Directed by||Boyd Kirkland|
|Produced by||Boyd Kirkland
|Written by||Boyd Kirkland
by Bob Kane
Mary Kay Bergman
Efrem Zimbalist, Jr.
|Music by||Michael McCuistion|
|Edited by||Al Breitenbach|
|Distributed by||Warner Home Video|
Batman & Mr. Freeze: SubZero is a 1998 direct-to-video animated feature film, the second based on Batman: The Animated Series, serving as a stand-alone sequel to Batman: Mask of the Phantasm. It won the Annie Award for Best Home Video Animation, and was produced by Warner Bros. Animation.
The film was delayed for a while due to the negative critical reaction to Batman & Robin, a live-action film that also featured Mr. Freeze as an antagonist. Nevertheless, SubZero received a strong positive response from critics, faring much better than Batman & Robin.
The movie is the second of a trilogy of animated movies based on Batman: The Animated Series, preceded by Batman: Mask of the Phantasm and followed by Batman: Mystery of the Batwoman.
Since his last encounter against Batman, Mr. Freeze has found a home in the Arctic and started a family (of sorts) with the still cryogenically-encased Nora, an Inuit boy named Kunac, and two pet polar bears, Hotchka and Shaka. Nora's condition begins to rapidly deteriorate due to a submarine accidentally emerging from underwater directly underneath them, shattering her containment vessel. Freeze returns to Gotham City with his companions. He enlists the help of Dr. Gregory Belson to find a cure. Belson determines that Nora needs an organ transplant, but due to her rare blood type there are no suitable donors available.
Freeze declares that they will use a live donor, even if it means the donor will die in the process. Belson is at first reluctant to kill an innocent girl, but Freeze bribes him with a gold nugget and even more gold from an entire vein in the Arctic that will put an end to Belson's financial problems. Barbara Gordon (Batgirl) is a perfect match, and Freeze learns from her roommate that she is at a restaurant with her boyfriend, Dick Grayson (Robin). Freeze attacks the restaurant and kidnaps Barbara, taking her to an abandoned oil rig where he and Belson are hiding. Freeze and Belson explain the situation to Barbara, who claims that she is willing to help Nora for the "blood transfusion", but not at the oil rig, prompting Freeze to keep Barbara imprisoned. When the time for the operation comes, Barbara realizes that they are lying when they say she will need to be put under for a mere transfusion. She escapes with the help of Kunac. Belson gives pursuit and almost catches her, before the arrival of Batman and Robin.
Freeze follows, and in the ensuing confrontation, Belson accidentally shoots one of the fuel tanks and starts a rapidly spreading fire as Freeze traps Batman and Robin. Freeze insists that Belson perform the operation, despite the oil rig blazing and ready to explode, but Belson betrays Freeze and attempts to escape alone, only to be killed by falling wreckage. Freeze's leg is broken, but he tells Batman to save Nora and Kunac first, along with Barbara. Nora, Kunac and Barbara are taken to safety in the Batwing with the help of Robin, but Batman fails to save the weakened Freeze in time, as the platform collapses beneath them, hitting him in the shoulder, and sending Freeze plummeting into the ocean below.
Batman manages to get aboard the Batwing just before the oil rig finally explodes, but Freeze escapes just in time, holding onto the swimming Hotchka and Shaka. Freeze then returns with his polar bears to the Arctic to resume his life alone, having frozen his leg in an ice cast. He sees on a television in a research station that Nora has been revived after an organ transplant operation funded by Wayne Enterprises, moving him to tears of joy. Then he walks away, limping with a wooden stick for support, with his two polar bears as the screen fades.
- Kevin Conroy as Bruce Wayne / Batman
- Michael Ansara as Dr. Victor Fries / Mr. Freeze
- Loren Lester as Dick Grayson / Robin
- Mary Kay Bergman as Barbara Gordon / Batgirl
- Rahi Azizi as Kunac
- Robert Costanzo as Detective Harvey Bullock
- Mari Devon as Summer Gleeson
- George Dzundza as Dr. Gregory Belson
- Bob Hastings as Commissioner Jim Gordon
- Marilu Henner as Veronica Vreeland
- Dean Jones as Dean Arbagast
- Liane Schirmer as Lieutenant Renee Montoya
- Frank Welker as Hotchka and Shaka (uncredited)
- Efrem Zimbalist, Jr. as Alfred Pennyworth
SubZero was well received by critics. Based on ten reviews collected on Rotten Tomatoes, Batman & Mr. Freeze: SubZero received a positive "Fresh" score with an average of a 90% approval rating and a 7.0/10 on IMDB; it was the highest rated direct-to-video Batman film of all time until Batman: Under the Red Hood took over the title with a 100% approval rating and a 7.8/10 on IMDB.
TV Guide praised the film for its storyline, declaring it far superior to Joel Schumacher's Batman Forever and Batman & Robin, calling it "more enjoyable — and far less campy — than Joel Schumacher's first two live action Batman movies." In addition, the magazine stated that "Though clearly aimed at kids, there's also plenty to keep adult viewers entertained, not the least of which are the amusingly curvaceous drawings of several dishy dames and the exaggerated muscularity of Batman & Robin."
Roger Ebert selected the film as his video pick of the week and thought the film was superior to Batman & Robin.
At the 26th Annual Annie Awards, SubZero took home an award for the "Best Animated Home Entertainment Production" of 1998. The film was also nominated for a Golden Reel Award in 1999 for "Best Sound Editing - Direct to Video", but lost to Young Hercules.
- James Raven (May 1997). SubZero (Paperback). Novelization of the film. Little, Brown and Company. ISBN 978-0-316-17696-5.
- Batman & Mr. Freeze: SubZero at the Internet Movie Database
- Batman & Mr. Freeze: SubZero at AllMovie
- Batman & Mr. Freeze: SubZero at Rotten Tomatoes
- Batman & Mr. Freeze: SubZero @ BYTB: Batman Yesterday, Today and Beyond