Wednesday, August 6, 2008

Christopher Nolan: The Dark Knight

One down, eight to go ... :-)

I saw this movie yesterday. Worth seeing? SO worth seeing!! :-) Although I must confess perhaps not quite as good as I'd hoped - and believed, after reading all the completely stellar review this movie's gotten here and everywhere else. In this country it's been getting six out of six pretty much everywhere. IMO that's taking it too far, I'd say five out of six ... and reserve the six for Batman Begins. But isn't that how it always happens, it's hard to top the first in a series, because starting with the second movie/book/whatever, you've lost the originality, no matter what you try. (Andy & Larry, I'm looking at you ...)

What wasn't so good about it - well, it was kind of too long. A little too much action - that's speaking to taste, but I also felt that some of the action was rather unnecessary (like the fight scene with Batman and the SWAT team, this could have been cut down a lot) and trilltrall who has rather a different taste in these things felt the same way. If I may be excused a little pomposity, the dramatic arc was uneven (chaotic was the word that came to mind considering the Joker's antics ;-), kind of stuttery ... this can work if done well but KAS and I didn't feel it really worked in this case. And there were some things that were annoying just because they didn't really make sense. How come Dent still managed to talk perfectly even with half of his lips and part of his cheek gone, for instance? And how the hell does Batman manage that voice - this was the part I liked least, the Batman voice was totally exaggerated. Michael Keaton did this much better (he used his own natural voice for Bruce, and then he lowered his voice a few notches for Batman - the result was different enough to be credible while still convincing). They should have restrained themselves on that one, because it was just too much. The caped crusader sometimes had me chuckling when Nolan clearly wanted him to have me cringing. ;-)

But a lot of things were very good. A LOT. :-) First and foremost Heath Ledger. :-o His performance as the Joker is absolutely fantastic. The movie's worth seeing for that performance alone. Totally blows Jack Nicholson's Joker out of the water. (I'm not a Nicholson fan, I've never been able to perceive that supposed charm or whatever is that people claim that he has, so take my opinion for what it's worth ... but I genuinely think that his Joker doesn't even compare, at all, to Ledger's.) As a Liberace fan I loved the little references to him that popped up a couple of times ... the Joker uses a classic Lee line in his first meeting with the mobsters (I'm glad you like [my suit], you bought it!) and he semi-sings a line from Lee's signature song I'll Be Seeing You in his last and major fight with Batman. That was so cool. I wonder if anyone but me in the whole theater picked up on that. :-D

The stunts were very cool, some of them really fantastic. Batman's kidnapping of a bad guy from a skyscraper in Hong Kong completely rocked, it was just too cool. (trilltrall was disappointed that he didn't get to see Batman jump out of a plane. ;-) Basically any time Batman jumped off a skyscraper it was very cool and I dug it. ;-) And of course there were several OMG-I-totally-didn't-see-him-there! scenes in which our dubious hero suddenly appeared out of the shadows in unlikely places. Coolness. :-)

Maggie Gyllenhaal - meh, I'm not a fan, and I don't see why people think she's so beautiful, but she's a good actress. Her character wasn't very interesting IMO - generally there was too little backstory in the script for my taste - but you gotta have a love interest in an American movie, it goes without saying. Even if you have to invent one. ;-) Gary Oldman - pleasantly subdued, he gave a pretty good performance. A 'little' over the top at the end there, but I'm sure that's the way Nolan wanted it. I also didn't entirely buy Gordon as a family man here - it seemed kind of tacked on for the plot's sake. But I wouldn't be surprised if an older version of his son pops up in a sequel at some point. ;-) Morgan Freeman was Morgan Freeman, he's always good, but he's almost always the same, too. So not that impressive IMO. Michael Caine on the other hand, he's on a whole 'nother level. ;-) Always fantastic. And Aaron Eckhart was good although in some of his scenes as Two-Face I thought he overdid it. A great scene with Two-Face and the Joker ... and even better the scene where the latter has some difficulty blowing up Gotham General while wearing a nurse's uniform. :-D Fantastic.

Overall an excellent movie that was well worth watching. Although (perhaps for sentimental reasons more than anything) Batman Forever remains my favorite Batman movie. I really want to see both that and Batman Begins again now. :-)

The subtitles weren't horrible but there was a series of ridiculous mistakes, as always. I stupidly forgot to check who the translator was, so I'll have to find that out - if it is who I think it is ;-) I'll be blogging about it here later.

Weirdness, or maybe not: By some peculiar coinkydink I'm reading American Psycho right now. I've seen the movie, years ago. What I mainly remember from it is Christian Bale as the crazy guy, so classy, always dressed to the nines in expensive suits, hair perfectly styled, with money to burn ... Remind you of anyone? *cough* Bruce Wayne *cough* Actually it was a pretty perfect coincidence. Because Batman really is the ultimate American psycho. ;-)

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