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Why So Serious?

6 comments | 12:37 am | top |
Currently ranked #1 film in the World on the International Movie Database, Christopher Nolan's The Dark Knight is also smashing record after record at the box office. Reaching $203m after just five days in the Box office, the film has also taken the place for biggest opening weekend.

In this sequel of Nolan's first Batman movie, Batman Begins, we see quite a different Bruce Wayne. Through most of the movie, he is questioning himself, torn between keeping the enigma that is Batman alive, or stepping back and assisting Harvey Dent (candidate for District Attorney of Gotham City) in the fight against crime. We also see a very different Rachel Dawes, who this time is played by Maggie Gyllenhaal. The loveable grandfather figures of Michael Caine and Morgan Freeman return, bringing with them the wit and dry-humour which we so enjoyed in the first film. Christian Bale carries all the charisma across from the first film, reinforcing that he is the best portrayal of the Bat Man to date.

Reminds me of one of the posters for another one of my favourite movies.

Was Heath Ledger's last appearance on the silver screen, with his performance as the Joker worthy of an Oscar? We have to wait and see what other films come out this year before we can say for sure, however his all-engrossing depiction of the hideously deformed and enigmatic villan definitely makes him worth considering. Even if there another actor were to steal the limelight in this round of the Oscars, I think it would be quite fitting to award a posthumous Oscar to Heath Ledger, for his amazing portrayal as the Joker in this movie, and also in recognition of his contribution to the film industry. Maggie Gyllenhaal, Michael Caine and Aaron Eckhart have already pledged to vote that he is awarded an Oscar for Best Supporting Actor.

The bank robbery at the beginning of the film felt like de ja vu

Batman's new commute is just as impressive.

For a film that I have been looking forward to for so long, I cannot say that it quite lived up to my expectations. The ambience, the ear-splitting gun-shots and explosions certainly re-emphasise the darker nature of the film. Harvey Dent who is played by Aaron Eckhart is involved in an accident part-way through the film, and unfortunately the visual-effects-team has had a field day in re-creating one half of his face. This definitely ramps up the scare-factor, making the movie unsuitable for younger children, and causing an older audience to roll their eyes.

However, it is not many 160 minute films that keep me transfixed throughout almost the entire film. Or to laugh at the moments which weren't funny. It's hard to put my finger exactly on it, but there is something different about The Dark Knight, which leaves you with a whole lot of unanswered questions. Joe Maurone who blogs at SOLO has this to say...

"...The moral of this story is: as long as Christianity has a grip on our culture, as long as it claims a moral superiority over life on this earth, as long as it requires good people to accept selfless sacrifice over self-defense, should that defense require killing your enemy, as long as it presents lifeboat situations as the standard, the norm, then the Joker truly has won. The Joker, for all his madness, had a reason for his actions. We know this because he shared them with us constantly throughout the movie. But the good guys have nothing but altruism, an unnamed, but present secularized Judeo-Christian altruism. Which is why I say the Joker is the hero as protaganist; he's the only one able to pursue and achieve his goals of disintegration, while the "good guys" can't even articulate theirs. Good does not conquer evil here; it never had a chance. (In this regards, the theme is similar to Oscar-winning NO COUNTRY FOR OLD MEN, where "evil just keeps on coming..."). This is not the Objectivist Batman, elevating reason and achievement as an absolute. All his gadgets and batmobiles are impotent and useless in the presence of a clown with a knife. The one character who claims to take control of his own fate is shown that is not the case, that life is as random as a turn of the cards, or the flip of a coin. No, this Batman leaves the Batcave wide open to nihilism."

I don't agree entirely (for instance, Christianity doesn't have a grip on our culture - our culture has been built on Christianity), but he definitely makes some good points. If I was going to compare the two movies...



Blogger Theresa said...

I disagree. Batman begins wasn't nearly as well made [acted] as the dark knight. Sure, Harvey's face was... umm, really lame. But scarecrow was a terrible villain, nothing at all compared to the awesomeness of the Joker.
By the way, the reason why it is unsuitable for young kids is the unreasonable violence shown by the joker.

11:27 am, July 25, 2008 
Blogger Andy Moore said...

I agree, the acting was superior - but that isn't the making or breaking of a film. And I agree again, the Joker totally blows away The Scarecrow - though, I really appreciate Cillian Murphy as an actor.

The violence isn't quite so graphic as it is shocking. The Joker seems to be given to gratuitous acts of violence, most of which happen off-screen, but they're still awful - and another reason why the film is unsuitable for the littlies.

12:13 pm, July 25, 2008 
Blogger Rick said...

Joe is right, Christianity has a guilt-grip on our society and the film reflects that.

The morality that is explicit in your religion is implicit in all our lives. Few of us have managed to spit out this poision: altruism.

7:25 am, July 28, 2008 
Anonymous Nathan said...

I'd have to say, in my opinion, that this was the meanest film i've seen for ages... There was only a few let downs: Maggie whatshername wasn't the best replacement for katie holmes- they coulda got someone more "talented" and with beter chemistry, and Harvey's face was over the top and frankly lame... it would have been alot bettter if it was just all burned up and scared to the baddest. Also there were some things that didn't make any sense, like the Mob boss who feel about 3 stories onto his legs, then all he has the next time you see him is a slight limp- if he was in a wheelchair i'd been all good- so, considering that i'd give it ****1/2

12:12 pm, July 28, 2008 
Blogger Andrew said...

I agree with Nathan. I didn't notice till nathan pointed it out that the gang dude was limping around and probably needed to have something more serious like a wheelchair.
I warmed to Maggie during the film but initially I wasn't so sure.

I'm not quite sure what we expect batman to do in regards to why he does things. Batman begins was meant to deal with that I guess with giving us the origins of how he became a defender of the peeps. The dark knight doesn't show as all that again as I guess we are meant to know his origins already and therefore his reasons.

I reckon it was such a beaut film. I left the film thinking it was really good but had some question about it that I couldn't put in words. I think it was that I just wanted more of the film.

11:06 pm, July 28, 2008 
Blogger Andy Moore said...

Rick, Christianity does not have a guilt-grip on our society. I think you may be refering to the conscience that we all have.

Andrew & Nathan, yes the Mob boss who fell about 3 stories was up and walking shortly afterwards with just a limp, that is unrealistic. But so is the fighting, and many other aspects of this film, and others like it. In real life if someone gets punched in the head, they often get knocked out. In movies, the fighting and violence tends to be far more upbeat.

Maggie is cool! At least in this film, and also in Donnie Darko!

11:45 pm, July 28, 2008 

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