Saturday, July 26, 2008

The Dark Knight

I saw this at the Arclight Dome Cinema with a bunch of friends the other night. I had been planning on waiting until the crowds died down, but as it turned out the 5 pm Friday showing was less than half-filled. I'm glad I saw it with Rod, Ronson, Melanie and Bill (even though they had already seen it at least once prior to last night!), because the communal experience of watching the film definitely enhanced the experience.

There are tons of reviews dissecting the storyline and rating the portrayals, so I'll skip that. Instead I'll just post the random thoughts that popped into my mind as I watched the movie:

1. Heath Ledger hype? He totally delivers. The movie leaves it open for the Joker to return in future installments, but I find it hard to imagine how anyone could take on what Ledger created with his version of the Joker. Gleefully sadistic, Ledger completely disappears into the role of the psychotic clown. The makeup by John Caglione Jr. was perfect for evincing the distorted and disturbed anarchist.

2. Batman who? The thing about the Batman movies is that the character is pretty much a cipher--thus allowing so many different actors to portray the character over the years. Solid physique? Check. Chisled chin? Check. Bale's Batman could be anyone in a mask or cape and his hoarse, husky whisper voice gets cheesy quickly. He's much better at giving alter ego Bruce Wayne some dimensions, but in this movie Wayne is mostly relegated to playing Hardy Boy with Alfred and Lucius. The one thing we could usually look forward to was a scene with Bruce without a shirt. In this movie, that scene had Bale stitching up a wound on his arm. Ew! Thanks a lot, Nolan--my one chance to see Christian Bale shirtless and I have to look away due to squeamishness!

3. Maggie Gyllenhaal vs. Katie Holmes? I love Maggie Gyllenhaal. She's fabulous! But I kept thinking throughout the entire movie that she really needs to stand up straight. She looks like she has scoliosis or something. Dear Maggie, take a ballet class or yoga or something! Stop slouching! Gyllenhaal's character was supposed to be the love interest for Bruce Wayne and Harvey Dent--but I just wasn't feeling chemistry with either.

4. Aaron Eckhardt has soft, fluffy hair. And a chiseled chin that could very well look good wearing a Batman mask...

5. Richard Alpert is the mayor of Gotham City! Or at least Nestor Carbonell of LOST fame was. Carbonell sported more guyliner in the flick than Johnny Depp's Captain Jack Sparrow! What was up with that?!!!

6. Too many subplots. One of which, the introduction of the next evil villian for the next Batman installment, would have been better left for the next movie.

7. As usual, the fight scenes were so frenetically shot and edited that they lost the power to create tension. If you're going to spend the time and effort to choreograph and film a fight scene, please let me as the viewer be able to discern what the @#$% is going on! There were a couple of terrific action sequences: the truck flipping over shown in the trailer was really nifty and the Joker blowing up a hospital was a visual feast.

8. A cast of thousands! Well, over a hundred anyway. In addition to the underutilized Gary Oldman as Bruce Gordon and Morgan Freeman as gadget guy Lucius Fox, William Fitchner (one of my favorite character actors...) appears briefly as a Mob Bank Manager, Cillian Murphy is back as The Scarecrow--this time a burlap sack covers his creepy eyes, Eric Roberts is a snarky Mob Boss and Anthony Michael Hall plays a TV interviewer.

9. The verdict? It's a high-octane energy rush--at times confusing and erratic--but definitely worth the price of admission if only to witness Heath Ledger's amazing performance. And @#$% getting blown up all over the place!

1 comment:

  1. Metafilter had an interesting thread on movie editing, specifically with fight scenes, and mentioned overdark Batman movies: