July 30, 2008

This Year in Seriousliness: Batman & Dubya

The Dark Knight has made more money quicker than any movie ever (in a world with more people who go to the theater less.) And the reviews, whoo! Rotten Tomatoes gives it 94% good reviews, & imdb gives it an average 9.4 out of 10 stars, making it currently the best film of all time. (The Godfather, 9.1; Citizen Kane, 8.6)

What sour percentage of society would then dare to drive down its perfect score? Don't they know that Heath Ledger looked into the void for his Joker, ominously presaging his accidental prescription drug overdose? I'd say I'm in lock-step agreement with the hipsters over at Salon.com. The movie is confusing, noisy & badly-paced. Stephanie Zacharek writes "...The Dark Knight looks as if it were made from a messy blackboard diagram with lots of circles, heavily underlined phrases ... and crisscrossing arrows that ultimately point to nothing." And not in a good way, I might add.

Here's David Denby over at The New Yorker:

At times, the movie sounds like two excited mattresses making love in an echo chamber. In brief, Warner Bros. has continued to drain the poetry, fantasy, and comedy out of Tim Burton’s original conception for “Batman” (1989), completing the job of coarsening the material into hyperviolent summer action spectacle. Yet “The Dark Knight” is hardly routine—it has a kicky sadism in scene after scene, which keeps you on edge and sends you out onto the street with post-movie stress disorder.
Years ago, there was a rumor that the director Darren Aronofsky (who made Pi & Requiem for a Dream) was asked to write the batman-returns script, & that they took it away from him because it was too weird or confusing or something. (I'm sorry if I'm botching or making up this saga.) But then what is this we're watching now! I guess the only way to save their favorite comic-book star from the camp of the TV show & the specter of post-Burton sequels was to let the brothers Nolan write movies that would get reviews like this: "Watching The Dark Knight is like gazing into a mirror on a waning moon night: chilling and mesmerizing." (Denver Post). I'd be surprised if we ever see Robin again. Someone once told me that Aronofsky's Batman was going to have the "Pow" visual effects from the television series!! If he could have updated the campy Batman & still told a good story, with the necessary indispensable 21st-century visuals & MTV editing, now we're talking. But no use lamenting what never happened...

I have to lump The Dark Knight in with the Pirates of the Carribean franchise: Movies that made baffling amounts of money, & were too confusing & bangy for me to have any clue what was transpiring. Oh! And the visual stunts & acting were real great.

In related film buzz, there's a good article in The Independent about the casting & bizarreness for Oliver Stone's George W. Bush biopic, & a trailer: here.

1 comment:

Brains said...

Thank you! I totally agree (though I haven't seen the movie). And Slate.com did an interesting rundown of fight scenes in film, motivated by the incomprehensibility of Dark Knight.