Monday, July 30, 2012

Inside the Bat-Pod
Reinventing the motorcycle....

The more I learn about 
Nathan Crowley, the 
more I think he might 
just be a true genius 

Or possibly insane.... 

First things first. I really admire Chris Nolan's commitment to turn his back on digital Hollywood. 

Quite frankly, I'm so tired of green-screens that the very thought of Green Lantern makes me throw up in the back of my mouth. Just sayin'.

We are here to talk about yet another of Chris Nolan's non-CGI accomplishments - the grappling-hook firing, shape-shifting Bat-Pod.

The Bat-Pod concept was put together by Nolan and Nathan Crowley after scouring a junkyard for parts, as well as raiding a local Home Depot. The design was executed, after many raised eyebrows, by Chris Corbould, Nolan's special effect supervisor.

Of Bruce Wayne's high tech toys - the Tumbler, the new Batwing, and the Bat-Pod - Batman's motorcycle is my least favorite.

Why is that?

Well, two rather silly reasons, actually. 

The Bat-Pod, introduced to us after Batman's Tumbler (detailed here) took a direct hit from an RPG in Dark Knight, doesn't seem very maneuverable. 

I love the Tumbler, and absolutely adore its uniqueness - but let's face it - in real life, the Tumbler wouldn't steer around a corner for shit.

The Bat-Pod takes that lack of turning radius and ups it times ten.

This is, in fact, confirmed by Jean-Pierre Goy - the only stunt driver qualified to ride the Bat-Pod. 

Goy found the 20-inch wide Hoosier tires to be completely unmanageable, and refused to ride regular motorcycles during filming, so he could stay acclimated to the weirdness of the Bat-Pod.

You can see why the Bat-Pod weighs in at 730 lbs.

The other thing that bugs me are those friggin' .50 cal guns on the front of the Bat-Pod. The way they shake when the Batpod is running down the road leads me to believe that Batman couldn't hit the side of a barn with them.

But remember, I see little details that most people don't...mainly 'cause I'm the equivalent of Ruprecht from Dirty Rotten Scoundrels. (look it up)

Despite these niggling details, do I think the Bat-Pod is still awesome?

You bet your ass.

The design team faced a huge challenge. For one thing, they weren't really automotive engineers, yet they were being asked to basically re-invent the motorcycle. Also, the damn thing had to actually work, just like the improbable Tumbler.

I think, all in all, they did a superb job.

Underneath, the Bat-Pod is actually a well disguised water-cooled one-cylinder motorcycle, with the footrests acting as the radiators. 

The exhaust is integrated into the frame, routed around the bike's kevlar and carbon-fiber bodywork. 

How cool is that?

One interesting huge flaw in the Bat-Pod's design turned out to be its most iconic feature. The design team bit their nails for weeks during the build, worried that Batman's trademark cape would get caught in the rear wheel. 

They poured over ideas that turned out to be for naught. 

The Bat-Pod finally got its first test ride, and the cape flowed beautifully in the slipstream, one of Dark Knight's most memorable moments.

The Bat-Pod is taken over by Anne Hathaway in Dark Knight Rises, and she looks terrific riding the custom motorcycle. Bruce Wayne sticks mostly to his new Batwing, which is detailed here.

One fact about the Bat-Pod is glaringly obvious. There is nothing hotter than Catwoman straddling the thing.

Anne Hathaway plus the Bat-Pod? It's like the universe came together and bestowed goodness onto my eyeballs.

But then again, even a blind man would get woodage with that combo package.

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