Batman & Mr. Freeze: Sub-Zero
Original Release Date - March 17th, 1998 - Video Release
Mr. Freeze returns to Gotham City to kidnap Barbara Gordon. Batman and
Robin discover that Barbara's disappearance is all part of Mr. Freeze's
plot to help his dying wife. He will do what ever it takes, even if it
means the death of Barbara.
Media by Bird Boy
Reviews by Bird Boy, Robin III
Written by Randy Rogel and Boyd Kirkland
Executive Producers Benjamin Melniker and Michael Uslan
Associate Producer Haven Alexander
Edited by Al Breitenbach
Produced by Boyd Kirkland and Randy Rogel
Directed by Boyd Kirkland
Music by Michael McCuistion
Animation by Koko Enterprise Co., LTD. & Dong Yang Animation
Kevin Conroy as Bruce Wayne / Batman
Michael Ansara as Mr. Freeze
Loren Lester as Dick Grayson / Robin
Efrem Zimbalist Jr. as Alfred
George Dzundza as Dr. Gregory Belson
Robert Costanzo as Detective Bullock
Bob Hastings as Commissioner Gordon
Mary Kay Bergman as Barbara Gordon / Batgirl
Marilu Henner as Veronica Vreeland
Dean Jones as Dean Arbagast
Mari Devon as Summer Gleason
Liane Schirmer as Renee Montoya
Rahi Azizi as Koonak
Lauren Tom as Mariko
Townsend Coleman as Additional Voice
Brian George as Additional Voice
Ed Gilbert as Additional Voice
Carl Lumbly as Additional Voice
Tress MacNeille as Additional Voice
Neil Ross as Additional Voice
Randy Thompson as Additional Voice
Click here for the Sub Zero Media / Pan page.
FREEZE: 15 years today, darling. Did you think I would forget?
How could I? The day we met was the happiest day of my life. A gift for
you. I found it in the snow. Fragile beauty clinging to life in this
frozen wasteland. Like you, Nora.
DICK: Thanks, Alfred. Don't know what we'd do without you.
ALFRED: Frankly, sir, neither do I.
VERONICA: Leaving so soon?
BRUCE: I have to work late tonight.
VERONICA: I've heard that before.
BRUCE: I'll call you tomorrow,' Ronnie, I promise.
VERONICA: I've heard that one too.
BELSON: Nora's blood type is too rare. There aren't any deceased donors
FREEZE: Then we'll have to use a live donor.
BELSON: What?! Are you crazy? They'll die!
FREEZE: I know.
GORDON: Come on people! A guy in a weird suit with two polar bears can't
be too hard to spot! I want my daughter found, and I want her found now!
OFFICER: Don't worry, sir. We're on it.
GORDON: Then why are you still standing here talking to me?!
OFFICER: Come on! Let's move out!
BARBARA: You don't have to chain me up, you creep!
FREEZE: Try to escape again, I'll chain your feet as well.
BARBARA: How can you treat people this way?
FREEZE: It's the way they've always treated me. Nora was the only good
thing in my life and they took her from me. I don't care what I have to
do to get her back!
BATMAN: Let's go!
FREEZE: Take them first. You can come back for me.
Review (by Bird Boy): I remember
first hearing about Batman & Mr. Freeze: Sub Zero for the first
time while walking in Meijer. They had just started playing the Space
Jam VHS release on all the TV monitors and I saw the first trailer
for Sub Zero. I immediately went to my local video rental store
and rented Space Jam; I had no desire in the film itself, I just
wanted to see that trailer again. This being nearly a decade ago puts me
at the age of nine or ten when this first happened.
Then the delays started coming. I’d call up my local Warner Bros. Studio
Store (ask them every time I was there in person) when this movie would
come out. The trailer just said “coming soon” and it was met with more
and more delays. Employees could only tell me that it was continually
delayed (which I found out years later was because of the abomination of
Batman & Robin) and then finally I got a straight answer out of
one of them, months later. “March,” the employee said.
Oddly enough when March of 1998 came, I didn’t care one bit about buying
Sub Zero. The long wait had just simply killed my interest in it
apparently, as when I saw it on VHS in Wal-Mart for the first time I
didn’t want to buy it. I wasn’t sure that it was worth it (seeing as how
it’d be my own money; my parents certainly wouldn’t buy it), so I
waited. My local library finally got a copy of it months later and I sat
down to watch it.
As a kid, the movie was all you could want and more. The twisted villain
taken out in the end by Batman and Robin, saving Batgirl and the evil
villain’s wife—that’s all I paid attention to as a kid. The deeper,
emotional issues that the movie had with Freeze and his wife I wouldn’t
even comprehend or appreciate until a good five or six years later.
Sub Zero picks up where the B:TAS episode “Deep Freeze”
left off. Some may think this an odd place to leave up from, but in
reality it’s the perfect start point. Victor is born anew in the arctic
where he and his wife, Nora, reside. Nora of course is terminally ill
and inside a cryo-tube that has stalled her disease from spreading.
After researches crash into Victor’s humble abode and destroys it (as
well as Nora’s cryo-tube), Victor puts back on the Freeze suit and
Freeze’s them all. Taking Nora and his new surrogate son, Koonak, with
him to Gotham Cith, Freeze enlists the help of Gregory Belson, a
top-level Cryogeneiticist at the Wayne Company.
Oddly enough for a movie that has “Batman” in the title, he is
shockingly absent most of the film. It focuses almost solely on Mr.
Freeze and Barbara Gordon for the whole time; of course, I’ve no problem
with this, but I can see how some fans would be upset. Still, we do get
some cool Batman and Robin moments in the film, especially towards the
end on the exploding oil drilling platform. The whole Batwing approach,
the break out from the frozen crane and the fake out of the polar bears
were all a lot of fun to see, especially with some great animation
backing it up.
In general the story was kind of throw-a-way. It moved the character of
Mr. Freeze and his plight with Nora forward and gave it a happy ending,
something the character desperately needed (and one I think they kind of
screwed up in The New Batman Adventures, no matter how much I
like spider-head Freeze). Throwing Barbara into the mix was great, but I
would’ve liked it better had they given her a different voice actress.
Not to take away anything from the late Mrs. Bergman, but it seems with
these DTVs, they can’t seem to retain the original voice cast (Return
of the Joker withstanding). Perhaps Melissa Gilbert didn’t want to
reprise her roll; in any case, Barbara’s voice actress in Sub Zero
wasn’t bad, per say, just…different. Which I guess you can expect to
hear when you had only previously heard other people voicing Batgirl.
For a direct-to-video feature, however, Sub Zero certainly packed
a powerful punch. There were very few low moments in it and the writing
and directing was top notch. Originally I hadn’t thought much of Sub
Zero after watching it on DVD for the first time in a few years, but
having just re-watched it and realizing just how good of a movie it
was…I felt obligated to at least give the film the longer review it
Enough about the film itself, let’s talk about what makes up the film:
the animation and music. The animation in this film is spectacular, with
the only strange portion being towards the end where we see a far back
shot of Batman running through the exploding oil rig. Something about
the run cycle on his legs looks incredibly strange, which can probably
be attributed to the view. Later in that same portion of the film we’re
given some of the best moments: Freeze hanging over the edge and Batman
coming to save him. The lighting around Freeze and the look on his face
is something you can almost feel yourself. Straining to breathe and with
fire and smoke all around him, Freeze is in the worst environment
possible. When Batman’s unable to save him, we’re met with a nice
explosion behind him and a shot of Batman reaching down—this entire
scene is just gorgeous to look at. Towards the end when Batman is
dangling from the Batplane and his cape wraps around him we’re also
given some more beautiful animation.
The ending to the film was perhaps as perfect as you can get for a Mr.
Freeze ending. Finding out that the wife he loved but couldn’t be with
due to her illness was now cured—and yet he still couldn’t be with her.
She would go on to lead a fulfilling life and Freeze would have to live
alone with his bears in the arctic. I’d personally have loved it if
Freeze was left in that position, but, again, his TNBA appearance
kind of futzed with that. It’s understandable that he’d become a
heartless jerk after losing the wife he’d tried to save (the animated
comics handled this issue pretty well, with Jason Hall giving a great
expansion on what TNBA did to Freeze and Nora’s characters),
but…I don’t know. The happy/sad ending Freeze was given in Sub Zero
was, to me, just a nice way to cap him off.
In the end every animated Bat-fan should check out this film. That’s not
to say that it’s the best of the animated feature length films, but it’s
good in it’s own right and anyone that enjoyed the B:TAS Freeze ventures
will undoubtedly enjoy this ride as well.
Review (Robin III): An excellent
addition to the television series that brings extreme character to the
otherwise cold Mr. Freeze. Some scenes include Freeze telling Batman to
take care of Nora first and then help him afterwards, Freeze's
determination to save Nora by chasing Barbara Gordon down, and the final
scene which is extremely well done and emotional.
The animation this time included Computer Generated Images (CGI) for
most of the vehicle scenes. Most of the time it was evident that the
footage had become CGI and not traditional animation, but it was worth
it. The Batwing sequence was amazing and was better than the Batwing
sequences in Batman and Batman Forever. As for the rest of the
animation, it was not up to par at first, but the costumed characters
(Batman, Robin, Freeze) were extremely well done in the second half of
Even for an hour long film, this is well worth the cash to purchase and
add to your collection. If you haven't already seen it, rent it or buy
it today. You will not be sorry.
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