Friday, December 26, 2008

Six Things 1, with The Dark Knight Review

John tagged me with the Six Things meme. I don't usually do chain letters/memes. I think the concept is stupid. But I like John, so I'll do it for him. Someday. Maybe. On my own terms. I'm not sure if I'll come up with six unusual things about me that I feel like sharing, so I'm going to post them one at a time. If I get to six, I'll do the normal Six Things post.

Here's one: I hate movie theaters. They're too loud, and I have to sit through insufferable commercials, including previews for movies I would never watch, before I get to see my movie. That's why I waited until The Dark Knight came out on DVD to see it.

After listening to months of rave reviews of The Dark Knight, and Heath Ledger's performance, I had pretty high expectations. I was slightly disappointed. I enjoyed the movie. But I didn't poop myself every time The Joker came on screen, nor do I find it likely that I will someday run into someone like him in a dark alley.

I only have one complaint after the initial viewing (I usually find inconsistencies during later viewings). As in Batman Begins, I hate Christian Bale's Batman voice. He's just whispering. Come on. He's Batman. He has billions of dollars of technology in that suit, and he can't get a little voice modulator? Pah!

Now that that's out of the way, I loved the fact that there was no explicit gore other than Two Face's face. I don't like seeing that stuff, they did a fine job of implying it, and the lack of gore in the rest of the movie made Two Face all the more hideous. I also love that they didn't feel the need to throw in a sex scene. I don't need sex in movies, especially when it's obviously just there to sell the movie.

Despite my above lack of enthusiasm over The Joker, I thought the portrayal was very creative, if not faithful to the comic story. There are different kinds of evil. The most common evil is the choice to harm others for personal gains. Almost everyone will engage in this kind of evil from time to time. It's built into us - it's part of how we survive. That was not The Joker's evil. The Joker's evil is taking delight at harming others. It's a mean evil. He's not just being efficient, he enjoys torture and terror - he's a terrorist. And it's not just that he enjoys punishing specific people, like Two Face did, though there were certain people like Two Face and Batman that he wanted to watch suffer. No, The Joker's love of human suffering is a component that is uncommon to most human evil. That helped make him an interesting character.

Overall, I found the acting fairly convincing, which is unusual for a big, popular action movie. I agree with everyone else on Earth that Ledger did a fine job of making The Joker believable. But I would go beyond that to applaud Bale's portrayal of Bruce Wayne as the fop and as having a crush on Rachel. I'm thinking of two scenes in particular. Bruce the fop getting out of the Lamborghini after having wrecked it, saying he was just trying to catch the light, asking if he should go to a hospital. Bravo. Also, when Bruce tells Rachel he's going to give up Batman, and will she still be there for him. The kiss showed Bruce's lust for Rachel - not Rachel's body, but all of Rachel - while she loved him but with reservations. Their portrayal rang very true for someone who has had very similar experiences.

Overall I found the movie enjoyable and engaging, and am planning to watch it again. I found the use of terrorism creative and culturally relevant, with the safety of escapism possible in The Joker's unusual character. I'll be giving it 4 stars on my Netflix account.

1 comment:

Rene Benthien said...

Yes agree about Batman could use some voice amplification unit. These guys seem to think so too.

In addition to what you said about the joker, I think what makes him interesting is that he feels that he has a moral point to make. He has convinced himself that he's teaching society a lesson about itself. That 'plans' and socially accepted moral norms are a facade to hide and control their true natures. People at their core are self-interested anarchists themselves.

We of course realise that this whole elaborate justification, that he is so very certain of, is just an excuse to go about hurting people, his true pleasure.

But this creates is an ambiguity in his pleasure. What is he more happier about? Causing suffering? Proving people wrong? And what's the joke?

Anyhow great movie. I'm probably more enthusiastic about it than you. A very high 8/10 i think.