July 20, 2008

It’s only July and I’ve already gotten to see a second film in the theater – will wonders ever cease?

I took Friday off, because I might well have had a nervous breakdown if I didn’t have a real day off soon. I decided that the best use of that day off would be to relieve stress. While I’m not going to get into the details of all my stress relieving activities, I will tell you two of them – I hired a maid and went to the movies. It’s been so long since I’d been to a movie on opening day, I had almost forgotten what it was like. Although there was a line for the first show of the day, it wasn’t too bad. (Of course, I bought my tickets online the night before – isn’t that how everyone does it these days?) I was quite surprised to hear a woman behind me ask if this was the line for Mamma Mia. I couldn’t be polite and hold my laughter – in fact, I fucking guffawed.

The Dark Knight was an out of control roller coaster ride from the very beginning. (I know, there already IS a Dark Knight ride at Six Flags). Even though the movie was long, long, long – it didn’t have any lulls in action. There were several times that I thought were settling in for the final climax and was wrong, wrong, wrong. We didn’t go see it at an Imax theater – I predict that The Dark Knight will be in theaters about as long as Titanic was, so maybe I’ll have a chance in 2009 to go see it in Imax.

Heath Ledger…best performance ever…posthumous Oscar…blah, blah, blah…Every review you’ll read about The Dark Knight is saying it, including this one. Ultimately, most of the credit should go to Ledger for the performance, but the main element that made him successful was Nolan’s choice not to belabor the audience with a Joker origin story. The Joker appears in Gotham City, a fully formed psycho, with no sympathetic backstory to weigh us down. There wasn’t even a mention of the murder of Bruce Wayne’s parents. This alone allowed Ledger to pretty much take the role as deep and as fucked up as he could take it. One has to wonder if this role ultimately really was tied to his untimely death – not that the tabloids haven’t been inferring that for months – but seeing the film makes it seem a real possibility.

Aaron Eckhart’s chin was cast as Harvey Dent. He’s a big change from Billy Dee Williams. Meh.

Although Maggie Gyllenhaal was marginally better as Rachel Dawes than Katie Holmes, I wish that Holmes had played the part. Mostly so I could have seen her die. Gyllenhaal is at least capable of showing emotion and even acting, but she’s definitely “unconventionally attractive.”

I bet you thought I was going to go through the whole review without even mentioning Christian Bale. He was shirtless, so I’m good.

So The Dark Knight was definitely better than Batman Begins – who thought that was possible? I will be surprised if The Dark Knight is not nominated for Best Picture this year. I’m not ready to place odds on it winning yet…I haven’t seen Mamma Mia yet!

Year – 2008
Rating – PG-13
Runtime – 152 minutes
Genre – Comic Book Adaptation, Sequel
Director(s) – Christopher Nolan
Writer(s) – Jonathan Nolan, Christopher Nolan
Actor(s) – Christian Bale, Heath Ledger, Aaron Eckhart, Michael Caine, Maggie Gyllenhaal
BOB Rating – Four BOBs
Favorite Quote – "This is what happens when an unstoppable force meets an immovable object." - The Joker (Heath Ledger)