At the Movies…

So, I saw Dark Knight this afternoon. I’ve been looking forward to this movie for a long time, and its been hugely successful on this, its opening weekend, so I had to get to see it. My opinion?

Its ok, but not great. It left me feeling unsatisfied.

Don’t get me wrong, Christopher Nolan is a brilliant filmmaker, Christian Bale can do no wrong, and Heath Ledger was the Joker… it just offered nothing new.

It could be because Batman Begins was the best re-boot of a franchise ever, and the sequel had too much to live up to. It could be because the hype was too much for anything to satisfy. But it just felt like this movie had no style. There was nothing in it we haven’t seen before…

Batman was the same as the first movie, only his suit was a little sillier looking, and his gadgets a little less impressively derived from the plausible.
Gotham was too normal a city. In Batman Begins it looked like a normal city, but with just a hint of story-tale too it — a little bit of surreal.
And Heath Ledger really only offered a slightly more mature interpretation of Jack Nicholson’s Joker. He was adequate to the task, but brought very little that was new to the table. Certainly he doesn’t deserve an Oscar (posthumous, or otherwise) for the job.

And the story line was just… uninteresting. If you’re going to make people sit through two and a half hours of film, you should at least have a good reason. There seemed to be no reason here, except that Christopher Nolan doesn’t want to do yet another sequel. By the end of the movie it was clear that he’d lost interest in the franchise.

Which is fine. Its a passable follow-up to Batman Begins, but a third movie would likely sink the series right into mediocrity.

Oh, and I couldn’t escape this nagging feeling, that struck me about 1.5 hours in, that Nolan is a Republican, and he’s trying to draw some misguided parallel between Batman and George W. Bush. Watch it, and see if you don’t catch on (Hint: listen for the part about “A real hero is someone who isn’t afraid to be hated so that the terrorist doesn’t win!”)

In contrast, let me tell you about the other movie we saw in theatres recently: Wall-E. I know this may seem like comparing apples to oranges, but I can’t help it — I don’t get to go the movies that often these days, and its inevitable that I’ll have to decide which was a better waste of my time and money.

Wall-E is full of things we’ve never seen before. Its completely creative, beautifully presented, and loaded with characters who drawn you in emotionally (without even speaking a word.) If Batman is a traditional tale of good vs. evil, where most of the characters (save for the “bad guy”) are drawn as essentially good, Wall-E is a non-traditional tale that more accurately depicts reality: most people are essentially stupid and self-absorbed. It doesn’t need a good guy and a bad guy to drive the narrative — in fact it suffers from almost none of the crutches of the simpler stories that Hollywood-produced drivel is usually hobbled by.

I’d like to go on about it longer, but I think you should just go see it yourself. If you have a choice between Batman and Wall-E at the theatres in the next couple weeks, go see Wall-E. Its altogether more satisfying, original and enjoyable than the half-hearted sequel to a good re-make of the decades-old Batman franchise…

The new Bond looks good, though!

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5 thoughts on “At the Movies…

  1. I watched the Dark Knight last night and found it to be good, but would agree on some of your comments.
    I thought Ledger did a great job of acting but would be in agreement that it was not a masterpiece of award level.

    My thing with the movie was that I found there were some parts that were either lacking or just left you wondering. I don’t know how much of it was affected by Heath Ledger’s passing, but without giving any details away, just found some areas that didn’t make sense. There were predictable parts to much of it that I am not a big fan of. I like the suspense.

    All that said, Batman’s car was sweet.

  2. I have to disagree with what you consider to be an analogy between Bush/Batman.

    The theme is rather a much older one. It has been recycled time-and-time again. It is the story of the Messiah and of a Savior. There was quite a bit of Scriptural parallels in it. Namely:

    “Gotham is getting the hero they need, not the hero they deserve”

    Compare that to the recurrent theme in the New Testament, and other various world religions, of how the Messiah came to save them from that which they had coming for them.

    Yes, the Bush analogy may be there, but even if it is, or was intentional–the story of the Messiah is a louder one by far.

  3. Interesting take, but I can’t really buy Batman as a parallel to Christ…
    I wouldn’t really call Jesus a “Dark Knight.” Especially when there are so many other movies that are much clearer analogies for the Messiah.

  4. Well I am just saying this.

    The Dark Knight was amazing
    Bush is not amazing.

    That is my take on the movie ;D

    And I hate Batman and I thought this movie was amazing.

    Heath Ledger > A lot of actors

  5. Going where others fear to go: Nicholson retreads himself in every movie and is no longer much fun to watch. One notable exception was his over-the-top Joker. That role should have been left alone for thirty years. Redoing that in less than twenty was a mistake. Too many of us remember Nicholson’s maniacal glee to allow another – no matter how talented – reinterpret the character. I find the overwhelming fascination with Ledger’s tragic death morbid and disturbing. Is Hollywood going to start bumping their stars off to increase revenue in the future?

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