|Batman & Mr. Freeze: SubZero|
|Directed By||Boyd Kirkland|
|Produced By|| Benjamin Melniker|
|Written By|| Randy Rogel|
|Starring|| Kevin Conroy|
Mary Kay Bergman
Efrem Zimbalist Jr.
|Music By|| Michael McCuistion|
Danny Elfman (Theme)
|Editing By||Al Breitenbach|
Warner Bros. Animation
Dong Yang Animation Co., LTD.
Koko Enterprise Co., LTD.
|Distributed By||Warner Home Video|
|Running Time||67 minutes|
Batman & Mr. Freeze: SubZero is a 1998 direct-to-video animated feature film based on Batman: The Animated Series. It serves as a sequel to both the episode "Deep Freeze" and the feature film Batman: Mask of the Phantasm. It won the Annie Award for Best Home Video Animation. It was produced by Warner Bros. Animation.
The film was delayed periodically due to the universally negative critical reaction to Batman and Robin, a live-action film that also featured Mr. Freeze as the primary antagonist. Nevertheless, SubZero received a strong positive response from critics, faring much better than Batman & Robin.
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. As Fries quietly speaks to Nora's sleeping form on the fifteenthth anniversary of their first meeting, a submarine crashes through the ground on which they stand, causing a brief quake. Nora's container is shattered, and in retribution, Fries dons his Mr. Freeze suit and freezes the entire crew of the submarine.
A fortnight later, just after foiling a robbery as Batman and Robin, Bruce Wayne and Dick Grayson attend a friend's party. As Bruce and Dick flirt with Veronica Vreeland and Barbara Gordon respectively, a disgruntled guest, Dr. Gregory Belson, argues with his stockbroker, Dean Arbagast, about his house's impending foreclosure, and angrily storms out. However, on his way home, he is ambushed and caught by Mr. Freeze, once his old colleague, who abducts him. Meanwhile, Dick begins to reveal his feelings for Barbara by inviting her to spend the weekend with him by the coast, which she accepts. On their way home, Bruce and Alfred come across Belson's wrecked car.
Elsewhere, Belson analyses Nora's blood and concludes that her disease has relapsed: she will die in two weeks, and there is nothing Belson can do to save her, unless the price is right. Freeze offers him a piece of gold, and Belson agrees to check the hospital files for a suitable organ donor to save Nora. The only ones available are live donors, and Freeze bribes a skeptical Belson with an offer of a large sample of gold in exchange for performing the operation illegally. Belson checks and list and comes across the perfect donor: Barbara Gordon. Belson calls Barbara at her University room, but her room mate answers and tells him that she and Dick are at a restaurant and won't return until Monday. Freeze finds Barbara at the restaurant and kidnaps her, despite Dick and the police's efforts to stop him. Commissioner Gordon, particularly angered at his daughter's abduction, investigates and learns that the doctor who phoned Barbara's room mate (Belson didn't give his name) claimed that Barbara was a blood donor. Bruce secretly checks the list of donor's with Barbara's blood group, AB, and notices Nora's name on the list.
Meanwhile, Barbara awakes at Freeze's hideout and attempts to escape, but finds out that she, Freeze and Belson are at an oil rig five miles offshore, meaning there is no way out. Belson explains that they need Barbara as she was the only suitable donor for Nora's "blood transfusion". Barbara agrees to help, but not illegally, and Freeze responds by chaining her in her room. Bruce and Dick ask some questions at GothCorp and learn that Freeze was once a colleague of Belson. Remembering Belson's name on the wrecked car after the party, Bruce and Dick realize Freeze has abducted both Barbara and Belson. They search Belson's house for clues and find a message from Arbagast. Using Arbagast's number from the message, Batman and Robin confront Arbagast at his home, just as Belson calls Arbagast, claiming he will have the money to pay his debts. Batman and Robin record the conversation and analyse it in the Batcave, hearing a ship's foghorn in the background and tracking him to the oil rig.
Both Freeze and Belson drag Barbara to the operation room and prepare to sedate her, revealing that the blood transfusion was the cover story. Kunac, whom Freeze had promised no harm would come to Barbara, appears and attempts to stop them, buying Barbara time to run off and hide. As Belson gives chase with a gun, Batman and Robin arrive in the Batwing and knock Belson out. However, a spark from one of Belson's gunshots lands in a puddle of oil from a leaking fuel tank and starts a fire which begins spreading rapidly. Robin's attempt to put the fire out with a house is interrupted by Freeze's polar bears, whom Batman and Robin trick into jumping off the rig (but landing safely in the water). But the fire has spread so far that the oil rig is beginning to collapse. Freeze still insists that Belson perform the operation, but Belson pushes Freeze under some falling debris and makes a run for it, although he himself is crushed by falling debris as he attempts to escape in a speedboat.
Mr. Freeze, however, is still alive, with a broken leg. Batman, Robin and Barbara rescue him. As Robin prepares the Batwing for departure, Batman and Barbara rescue Nora and Kunac from the operation room. At Freeze's request, they take Nora and Kunac to the Batwing first, and Batman goes back for Freeze, now hanging over a ledge for his life. Batman attempts to pull him to safety, but a falling pipe lands on Batman's shoulder, causing him to drop Freeze, who falls into the fiery ocean below. Batman grapples himself to the Batwing and escapes as the oil rig finally explodes and collapses. Unknown to any of them, Freeze has survived, and is swimming to safety with his polar bears.
Sometime later, in the Artic, Freeze stumbles across a small house where the residents are watching the news. Through the window, Freeze watches the report of his apparent death, and to his delight, that of Nora's revival thanks to an organ transplant funded by Wayne Enterprises. Moved to tears, Freeze walks back home with his polar bears.
- 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
- George Dzundza as Dr. Gregory Belson
- Efrem Zimbalist Jr. as Alfred Pennyworth
- Bob Hastings as Commissioner Gordon
- Robert Costanzo as Harvey Bullock
- Marilu Henner as Veronica Vreeland
- Dean Jones as Dean Arbagast
- Mari Devon as Summer Gleeson
- Liane Schirmer as Renee Montoya
- Rahi Azizi as Kunac
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 7.1/10 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 and 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 and 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.