By Eric Campos | July 31, 2003

It was an instant hit when it screened at the San Diego Comic-Con this past weekend and it’s had Batfans all across the net pissing themselves silly over what Kevin Smith has called “Possibly the truest, best Batman movie ever made” and what has brought Alex Ross to cry, “Batman the way I’ve always wanted to see him.” “Batman: Dead End” is an independently produced short by Volkswagen and “Got Milk?” commercial director Sandy Collora. And the question is – does “Dead End” live up to all of the geek hype?
It’s geek eye candy for sure, but what we have here is more of a director’s reel piece for Sandy Collora, rather than an actual film. It’s a commercial made by Sandy Collora to sell Sandy Collora and comic book fans are buying.
After a bulkier Bruce Wayne suits up in his old school gray and black comic book get-up, he finds the Joker, recently escaped from Arkham Asylum, looking very much like Perry Farrell in a straight jacket, white face paint and green hair, creeping about a dark alley. A brief brawl ensues before the two legendary enemies exchange your basic cheesy, but fun, comic book dialogue. The two actors actually sell the whole idea that Batman and the Joker are about to get into each other’s a***s. But then…
An Alien (yes, the one created by H.R. Giger for Ridley Scott’s “Alien”) drops in from out of nowhere, chews on the Joker a little bit, and then turns his attention on Batman…
But then the Predator shows up, dispatches the Alien with his handy laser and then takes on Batman himself.
Not to sound like a complete nerd, but this whole Batman vs. Alien vs. Predator thing doesn’t feel like the idea of a fan who always fantasized about having these characters go at one another in a film. For something like that, horror fans are getting the match-up of the decade with “Freddy vs. Jason.” Instead, it just feels like a guy who had access to a cool Batman outfit, as well as professionally made Alien and Predator costumes. It’s kinda like when you’re a kid and you’re in the sandbox (or mudpit) and you’re with your buddies playing Star Wars with your action figures and the weird neighbor kid, that eternally smells like barf and pronounces “wash” as “warsh,” insists on joining in on the fun, but all he has is He-Man action figures. Despite the fact that the Me-Man figures are a helluva lot bigger than your Star Wars figures, you decide to let him jump in and before long, you’re all having fun – f**k it, you’re kids. But here, you just can’t help but think how the hell Batman got caught up in the Aliens vs. Predators battle.
But then again, this is still just a director’s reel piece. People that Sandy shows this to in order to further his career won’t bitch about the bizarre crossover. In fact, some of them might wind up mysteriously finding themselves believing that Batman joined Ripley and the Marines in “Aliens” on their fateful mission. Yet, with this seven and a half minute piece, Batfans can’t wait to see what Collora could do with a Batman feature. These same people also seem to be forgetting what a perfect pick Tim Pope seemed to be for “The Crow: City of Angels” because he directed The Cure’s creepy music videos. It appeared like a match made in heaven. But look what came of that film – TURD.
All in all, “Batman: Dead End” provides quite a bit of commercial eye candy, but comes off as kinda goofy. It’ll be interesting to see what happens from here. Until then, our pants remain dry.

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