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The LEGO Batman Movie Creating the Batcave



LGB-TRL-BC-0004Directed by Chris McKay, The LEGO Batman Movie features a bright parade of action sequences, self-reflexive humour, and just enough darkness to round out the dichotomy known as the Batman legend himself. Although the sparkling film can boast the high end talent of magnetic personalities such as Will Arnett, Michael Cera, Rosario Dawson, Ralph Fiennes and Zack Galifinakis, just to name a few, one of the stand out pieces of the entire production is the Batcave itself.

In a sense, this version of the Batcave essentially becomes its own character in the film. The strategy in designing this incarnation of the Batcave was to make an immediate, captivating impression on the audience. The production team sought to create a space that was off the charts in terms of scale and technology – and to have a little fun with parody when it came to their super subject matter. Depth, width, and breadth seem surreally infinite upon first viewing. In fact, if the movie set were to be built in actual LEGO bricks, the entire Batcave would be 299.2 feet long – positively mammoth compared to its tiny owner. The Batcave is also full of technological contradictions, with cutting edge machinery surrounded by natural rock.

Production designer, Grant Freckelton, related, “Our Batman is a character whose bombastic personality and success as a billionaire super hero masks a fundamentally sad and lonely human. To quote Alfred in our movie, ‘Batman, lives on an island both figuratively and literally.’ A lot of our production design on The LEGO Batman Movie was driven by contrasting pathos with parody, homage with humour, all while making a film that appeared huge in scope, though rendered on a small scale. Our approach to designing the Batcave was no different. We wanted to make a Batcave that appeared ludicrously huge, because on one level, it drew attention to the absurdity of the whole Batman myth. We wanted people to ask themselves ‘How on Earth does one guy and his butler make all of this stuff?’ On another level, it allowed us to frame the tiny figure of Batman against the dark, massive, technology fuelled world he had created for himself.”

The Lego Batman MovieFreckelton added, “Various sections of the Batcave were created using modular elements and platforms designed with no clear walkways linking them together. Batman could easily navigate his way between these high tech ‘bat islands,’ while mere mortals would be forced to ride on Bat ‘puter controlled robotic platforms. The colour palette mixed cold, uninviting blues and cyans, with aggressive reds, thrown into relief by using yellow trim lighting. Although plastic bricks were our medium, we tended to use bricks with a metallic coating to create the impression of a dehumanised environment. We offset the brooding Batmaniness of the cave with a splash of humour throughout. There were references to Batman lore, silly signage or absurdly specific bat vehicles. Hidden in our Batcave are Bat-taxis, Bat-tow trucks and even a Bat-pirate ship.”

And despite the movie’s many obvious attractions for every generation, seeing the craftsmanship that went into building this certain iteration of the Batcave itself is worth the ticket price alone.

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