July 5, 2008 Comic book hero Batman has been with us for 70 years next year, becoming one of the most popular fictional characters of all time, spawning newspaper syndicated comic strips, books, radio dramas, numerous television series, merchandise of every form and several feature films. Along the way, Batman became more technologically savvy, adding a scifi element with alter-ego Bruce Wayne (played by such luminaries as Michael Keaton, Val Kilmer, George Clooney and most recently Christian Bale ) using wonderous gadgets such as the bat-car, bat-computer, bat-cave, bat-signal, bat-radar, bat-camera and bat-cycle to fight an array of adversaries such as the Joker, Catwoman, the Penguin, Two-Face, the Riddler, and Scarecrow. With the latest celluloid interpretation of the Batman character set for global release next week (The Dark Knight), we’re about to see another interpretation of the Bat-cycle – the Batpod.
The Batpod is quite unconventional compared to existing motorcycles and anything that has been before it, being steered by shoulder, with the hands-free approach enabling the hero to deploy the bike’s grappling hooks, cannons, and machine guns.
The engines are located in the hubs of the 20 inch wheels and it looks like it would be most interesting to ride – that job goes to stuntman Jean-Pierre Goy who filled in for actor Christian Bale during filming.
At the British Formula One Grand Prix this weekend, Warner Bros teamed up with Panasonic Toyota Racing with the F1 team’s TF108s, transporters and motorhomes adopting a new look with Dark Knight artwork.
The actual Batmobile and Bat-Pod are also on show for the Silverstone event and on Thursday evening the Batmobile actually took to the track alongside the TF108. The pictures show Toyota drivers Jarno Trulli and Timo Glock with the beasties.
The Batmobile is around 3m at its widest point, 4.5m long and 1.5m high. It runs on unleaded fuel and weighs 2.5 tons. The vehicle has six wheels - two in the front, outfitted with sprint car race tyres, and four at the back, which utilise monster truck tyres. The Batmobile has no front axle. The absence of a front axle enables the Batmobile to make extremely tight turns. It can jump 1.2m to 1.8m and has jumped a distance of 18m.
The Dark Knight is the creation of Warner Bros. Pictures, in association with Legendary Pictures, a Syncopy Production, a Christopher Nolan film and stars Christian Bale, Michael Caine, the late Heath Ledger, Gary Oldman, Aaron Eckhart, Maggie Gyllenhaal and Morgan Freeman. Nolan directed the film from a screenplay written by Jonathan Nolan and Christopher Nolan, story by Christopher Nolan & David S. Goyer. Charles Roven, Emma Thomas and Christopher Nolan are the producers, with Benjamin Melniker, Michael E. Uslan, Kevin De La Noy and Thomas Tull serving as executive producers. The Dark Knight is based upon characters created by Bob Kane and appearing in comic books published by DC Comics.
The Dark Knight will be distributed worldwide in theatres and IMAX by Warner Bros. Pictures, a Warner Bros. Entertainment Company.