Thursday, August 14, 2008

What I woulda Done, thoughts on the Dark Knight

The Dark Knight is the best possible Batman title. I credit Frank Miller with the term but I'm not sure. A movie by this name should be the best and be judged the harshest. This movie is amazing thanks to a really good script and a great performance by Heath Ledger (who's now dead btw); and Batman can finally move his neck (though they made it a major plot point, which was stupid... George Clooney didn't need a major plot point to explain the nipples on his batsuit.)

So now there's a posthumous oscar possibility. Remember how big a deal it was when Disney's Beauty and the Beast got nominated for best picture? No? Well the Academy loves to try and be progressive and they generally don't shy away from movies that are actually good: Indiana Jones, Die Hard, to name a few. The Dark Knight has possibilities of getting nominated for best original screenplay, best make up, best special effects, best actor, best picture, best editing... Now here's the kicker: this movie actually has a whole lot in common with the two best movies of last year, No Country for Old Men and There Will Be Blood. The Joker and Javier Bardem are both hired by a powerful group to do some clean up work and everything gets out of control once the "dog is off the leash". Even how other characters talk about them behind their back is very similar. They both play mind games with there prey, often of a philosophical nature. The only difference is the Joker is more boisterous, ambitious, and comic booky/access to ungodly amount of TNT.

The relation with Daniel Day Lewis' Daniel Plainview is more abstract. It's the kind of thing that's only there if you're actually looking for it. The way I sort of see it is There Will Be Blood being a spiritual origin story for the Joker.

So what I woulda done; I woulda not made Harvey Dents make-up so cartoony when the whole theme of this particular batman series had been pseudo realism. I would not have the Joker actually use the word, "anarchy." Some things are more thrilling when just implied; Tyler Durden style. I would not have made one of the movies big fight/chase scenes take place in a tunnel so there can't be any establishing shots of logistics. And finally, I wouldn't have made Bruce Wayne a whinning, pouting, mocking, jerking, elusive rich asshole where you have to guess anything good you want to think about him. I counted only one redeeming moment that was specifically scripted for Bruce Wayne (Read: it's not Christian Bale's fault). The only thing he had going for him in this movie other than that was the association of Batman. Bruce Wayne is just as important as batman and this script really snubbed him, if the trade is for the Joker being the new main character then I guess that is acceptable.

Closing Side Note: I saw the batsuit's light up eyes in the final action scene as a tribute to the comic and cartoon past renditions of batman, in which batman's eyes are drawn as pure white for the sake of a good graphic image. But I can't be sure. It would be cool if this movie wins Best Picture.

Frank Miller's new movie The Spirit will be out soon. It'll at least make it's money back but after fans and critics give Miller crap for shooting all his movies entirely on greenscreen he'll be itch'n to branch out. Here's to hopin someone gives him a shot at a Batman movie in the near future. That's what I'm looking foward to. Miller will cast a Bruce Wayne who's hard like Mufasa, the extreme would be someone like Nick Nolte, now that would be fun.


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