Showing 1 - 6 of 6 posts found matching keyword: dark knight
Thursday 11 December 2008
At long last, I've seen it.
As promised, the producers didn't get a cent out of me, as I watched The Dark Knight when my brother rented it to watch with his girl.
And as much as I'd like to say that it was the worst movie I've ever seen, I can't. Which is not the same as saying that it was good. It wasn't. I won't ever watch it again unless I'm in traction and have weeks of laying immobile in bed to kill. In fact, it was only made watchable the first time through by the magnetic performances of Heath Ledger ("if you've got to go, go with a smile") and Aaron Echkart. (Two-Face was fucking awesome! Two thumbs up, so to speak.)
But Batman sucked. Regarding the disparity of respect shown by director/screenwriter/all-around-terrible-filmmaker Christopher Nolan for the principle three characters, note specifically that in the scene following the energetic and dangerous Joker's dramatic first meeting with Gotham's hoods, Batman appears as a short, stiff midget in his first group meeting with the more heroic Harvey Dent and Captain Gordon. >sigh<. Couldn't someone have at least gotten Bale a box to stand on? One of the first rules of cinema is that heroes are tall, not hunchbacks wearing Phantom-of-the-Opera cloaks with the mobility of Frankenstein.
Once again, Batman is squeezed into a suit that makes his chin look like toothpaste oozing from the mouth of an extraterrestrial. He is involved in choppy fight scenes where the action is merely suggested between camera blurs. And, capital of sins, he performs with almost no moral responsibility. Refusing to unmask and letting someone else take the fall in an attempt to continue the mission is one thing, but firing missiles into the cars of civilians with no concern for property damage or the possibility of collateral damage -- such as the two children specifically shown witnessing the event -- is another thing altogether. For all of Hollywood's attempts to place superheroes in a "gritty," real-world scenario, I'm quite sure that the citizens of a real-world city would would not tolerate a vigilante who spread such a wide-swath of destruction as Batman has in two films. (And no, "but the Joker was doing it, too" is NOT a valid argument against this complaint.)
And that doesn't even begin to cover the terrible technology Batman uses. I'm just going to gloss over the suit here other than to mention that a Bat-Suit with no Bat-Symbol is pretty darn pointless, if you ask me. Sure, it was there, but a matte black symbol on a matte-black suit is about the worst branding ever. If I were a crook, I'd aim for the mouth, as it's the most visible target on his entire suit.
In addition, he's got a motorcycle hidden in a murderous ATV (don't think I'm going to let the assassination of that garbage truck driver pass without a mention) that requires a 60-second mechanical release reconfiguration in the event of a "damage catastrophic" situation. (It may be stupid, but at least it's slow!) And then his little motorcycle-thing doesn't have any equipment to deal with the scenario of a human standing in the street in front of it. Really? Batman, if you're inclined to play high-speed games of chicken with pedestrians, I recommend that in addition to engineering for such commonplace events as flipping tractor trailers or driving up walls, you spend some time on what to do in the far-fetched scenario of children crossing the street.
But the secret failure of this movie is that its two principle characters don't follow their own stated principle philosophies. The Joker, who claims to the world to be an agent of Chaos, doesn't just opportunistically out-think, but seriously out-plans every other character in the film, including the stupidest police force outside of Keystone (which is coincidentally the home city of the Flash who is actually capable of being everywhere at once: Batman's most grievous limitation in this film). And don't think for a minute that I didn't notice that the film borrows heavily from Alan Moore's brilliant The Killing Joke comic while managing to twist events to provide exactly the opposite philosophy with which the comic concluded. In comics, the Joker loses, failing to corrupt James Gordon. In the movies he succeeds in throwing the city into chaos, turning the citizens against themselves and their heroes, corrupting the police force, corrupting Harvey Dent, corrupting Batman, and proving that in the end, it does take just one bad day. I'd call that a win. (But I guess he still doesn't get Gordon, who fakes his death to save his family only to have his family come into jeopardy anyway. Now that's irony! And a pointless way to add another 10 minutes to an already too-long film.)
Meanwhile, the Batman, who vows never to break his "one rule" of never taking a human life, kills Two-Face. Although, in his defense, Newtonian physics don't seem to consistantly apply to Gotham City, where it's demonstrated that a human body falling 3-stories will generate only enough force to sprain the ankle of an adult human, and no fall from any height apparently harms Batman or damsels in distress, as he clearly follows the advice presented in The Batman Handbook, "Chapter 3: How to Jump Out of a Tall Building" [ISBN1-59474-023-2]. So maybe Batman didn't realize that a six-story fall would be fatal to most people when he throws Two-Face off that building. And heck, taking credit for killing a few guys only gives you better street cred, right? I swear, the ending is just plain retarded: make the world a better place by letting well-funded vigilante DA killers loose on the streets? Only in Hollywood does that make sense.
Lest you think that these two were the only culprits of idiocy in a movie filled with ugly bullshit (and I'm not specifically referring to Maggie Gyllenhaal, who, while being a decent-enough actress trapped in the part of a whining, hypocritical bitch, is about as attractive as Eleanor Roosevelt -- I swear the only actual joke that the Joker tells in the movie is when he calls her character "truly beautiful"), I refer you to the blackmail scene in which a Wayne-employed accountant tries to squeeze Lucious Fox for $10 million under threat of revealing Wayne Enterprises association with the Batman. Having uncovered only a direct link between Wayne Enterprises technology and the Batman, the blackmailer doesn't have any evidence to suggest that Bruce Wayne is the Batman until Fox directly tells him so. Damn, Lucious, for a guy who has a problem with Batman using your technology for what you designed your technology to be used for, you sure don't have a problem with spilling his secrets, do you?
As our DVD drew to a close after nearly 3 long hours, we were treated to a disclaimer note that proclaimed that Warner Brothers does not support cigarette use. Since no major character in the film smokes (even Gordon, long presented as a pipe smoker in the comics, goes without), we could only assume that the filmmakers were warning us not to take up a 10-pack a day habit in hopes of emulating the Batman's voice. (To say that the voice is gravelly would be to do a grave disservice to rock quarries everywhere.) Well, Warner Brothers, I accept your disclaimer, and you have my word that I will never intentionally emulate anything I've seen in this movie.
Monday 21 July 2008
My friend Mike tells me that I would enjoy The Dark Knight. And if Mike says so, maybe it's true. He's usually right about what I will and will not enjoy. I don't know how he does it, but he knows. I guess our shared obsession with the minutia of DC Comics mythology and continuity makes us something of kindred spirits. (And may go a long way towards explaining why we're both single.)
He was absolutely right about Dr. Horrible's Sing-Along Blog. I'd never previously cared for Joss Wheden's work. Mike insists that I've just never gotten on-board his series at accessible points. (I swear I tried to watch Buffy the Vampire Slayer, but it seems that I always caught the same episodes.) But Dr. Horrible is right in ALL the right ways. Ahhh, the sweet-sweet goodness of the singing super-villain and the Evil League of Evil.
So if Mike says see The Dark Knight, I think I might have to. How can a man who proudly carries his own superhuman registration card in his wallet (for two decades!) be wrong?
Friday 18 July 2008
As I type this, though it is still technically "Opening Day" for the The Dark Knight, the film has already grossed over 18.5 million dollars and is steamrolling its way to the record books. [Update 07/19: It's now officially made $66.4 million, an opening day record. Update 07/20: The weekened still isn't quite over, and it's up to $155.4 million, breaking the all-time opening weekend record set... last year. Who says the economy is in the toilet?] And I still haven't seen it.
There was a time when I would have been first in line for this sort of thing. In fact, I stood in line for Batman in '89 in the opening day crowd while wearing Batman Chucks, a Batman T-shirt, and a Batman baseball cap studded with Batman pins. While I still have all of that stuff, I'm not about to trot it out for a movie anymore.
Am I getting old? Probably. But it's not the years, it's the mileage. More often than not, movies simply aren't providing me with anything worth watching. Should I pay $12 to be bored for two-and-a-half hours? And if experience is defined as "practical knowledge derived through observation" (which it is), I'm sure I picked up a thing or two while suffering through the utterly wretched Batman Begins three years ago.
The many favorable reviews of this latest Batman film laud the moral and philosophical aspects of the story's representation of the Joker and Two-Face as warped reflections of Batman's driven dual-identity. Been there, done that. I distinctly recall having this conversation with friends in high school. And that was most of a decade following the publication of Miller's The Dark Knight Returns, which covered this territory while, unlike Christopher Nolan's movies, actually showing us Batman landing punches on his enemies as he managed NOT to kill cops or any other good guys for that matter.
Since I'm on the subject, a few more movie-related gripes:
- You want to explore someone's psyche? The Joker smiles not because he is physically deformed, but be cause he's just crazy enough to think that the sick things he does are funny.
- How can anyone fight crime while squeezed inside a suit like toothpaste in a tube? If Bale is method acting, apparently he's trying to portray a sardine.
- Can we please just stop calling him "Harvey Two-Face"? They're not called "Edward Riddler," "Oswald Penguin," or "Selina Catwoman" (you win this round, Victor Fries!), so let's just let Batman Forever fade away already, okay?
- Scarecrow, Joker, Two-Face all in one movie? Is Batman even in this thing? I guess that's why it's nearly 3 hours long: no direction.
- Batpod? Seriously? If you're just going to feature stupid vehicles, let's see some Whirly Bats.
But even I have to admit that there is good news. There is no Katie Holmes in this movie.
Friday 11 July 2008
The Dark Knight opens next week, and not a minute too soon. The light at the end of the tunnel is finally visible: in the near future, I'll no longer be bombarded by The Dark Knight advertising. Maybe not tomorrow, and maybe not next week, but soon. Mercifully soon.
No, I will not be watching the movie. (In case you are one of the 6 people who read this blog and were somehow unaware: Batman Begins sucked. I will be giving no more money to Christopher Nolan.) Yet I have to wonder how all this advertising and branded product placement (peanut butter cups, microwave popcorn, breakfast cereal, pizza, race cars, cable television, etc.) is supposed to encourage my desire. I remember that Batman advertising was a hysteria back in the late-80s/early-90s as well. But even then: did commercials of Alfred drinking Diet Coke actually help sales of either product?
Now, if you'll excuse me, I've got to head over to eBay to grab a pair of those limited edition Nike Marty McFly Hyperdunks.
Wednesday 2 July 2008
Just in time for the July release of the latest sure-to-be-schlock Batman movie, The Dark Knight, Batman has killed again. But it wasn't some policeman or stunt driver this time. This past Saturday, the Batman: The Ride roller coaster at Six Flags Over Georgia decapitated a 17-year old boy.
Sure, the boy had jumped some fences to enter an unauthorized area around the coaster, but isn't that what Batman would do? The boy was only trying to protect his property, after all, and Batman is all about defending one's territory and goods. And what was the boy in search of? That's right: his cap, which as we all know is the key to any teenaged Southern boy's identity.
Six Flags, you've done it again. Like every great super villain, you attack your heroic nemesis where it hurts the most: their reputation. Last year you rip the feet off of a girl on a Superman: Tower of Power ride, this year, you tear the head off a boy with a Batman ride. (This is actually the second reported fatality for this ride. In 2002, it killed a ride operator.) And these aren't the only instances. Six Flags Darien Lake's Superman: Ride of Steel nearly killed a rider in 1999, a manslaughter successfully perpetrated five years later by the identical ride at another park when Superman: Ride of Steel at Six Flag New England killed a rider in 2004.
So be careful out there, people. If a dancing centenarian or screaming Asian arrives on your doorstep with a can of Coke offering a Six Flags admission discount, it's probably a trap.
Sunday 15 July 2007
I made the mistake of looking for info on the next Batman movie on the internet. I don't know why I did it. It was like some sort of compulsion. And what did I discover? People are excited about the Bat-cycle. Don't ask me why; I completely don't understand it. Maybe Bruce can't afford fuel for that police-killing, gas-guzzling Bat-Hummer any more. Good riddance
I tried to watch the last movie on TV the other day, and I simply couldn't do it. It's even worse on a small screen than it was in the theater. I swear, you don't see a single punch land on anyone during the movie. If I'm supposed to imagine what happens between the cuts in a fight scene, why don't I just go buy another Batman comic book? It's a lot cheaper than a movie ticket, and the acting's less wooden. (I'm talking to you, Katie Holmes.)