Monday, July 28, 2008

Mandatory Dark Knight Post

Since everyone seems to have seen The Dark Knight and almost every blogger has posted about it, I thought I too would follow the crowd. Following are my mental notes when I watched the movie - beware this post could contain spoilers.

the Ya-Get-Him factor

Rarely have I watched movies where I really cheer for the hero and when he finally lands a punch or two I go "Yaah!". One last movie that I can really remember was Lagaan - the Oscar nominated 19th century cricket movie. In Lagaan, by the time the climax arrives, you are so involved with the characters that when the hero who is batting whacks the other team's bowler for a six, you are cheering for him. Here it's the same - yes we know who will win (hint: Batman) but still when Batman trips the truck with his bike and slams into the truck with the Batmobile you go "Finally!". This movie had "the Ya-Get-Him factor".

intelligent villainRarely are comic book movie villains interesting. Rarely are they intelligent. They are almost always caricatures. The Joker - he was pure evil. The way the character was portrayed - especially the pencil magic scene - it left no doubt that the villain was pure evil. He was someone who was interested in being evil purely for evil's sake. Heath Ledger portrayed the Joker with the just the right amount of eccentricity. Any more and the Joker would be laughable. Any less and the Joker would be undercooked.

set-piece actionAny "action" movie needs a few scenes that will be remembered long after the movie. In the Matrix Reloaded we had that highway chase scene. In this movie, the Batmobile chase of the truck carrying Harvey Dent and followed by Joker's crew and the subsequent Batpod scene with the truck was that for me. You can't make that in Bollywood, no way.



Shovon said...

"Rarely are comic book movie villains interesting."
They are as interesting and deep as the main characters. I have found some very interesting villains, its the portrayal in later adaptations that ruins them such as the original batman movie series, superman, etc.

mezba said...

Shovon: yes I agree the comic book villains are pretty interesting - it's the portrayal on screen that is sometimes not good, which is why I said "rarely are comic book movie villains" because the previous Batman movies (and in particular the TV series) treated the villains as a joke.

Farah said...

The best part about the Dark Knight was the joker. The guy who played it played it really well.

But you know, it's not THAT good. Whenever I meet someone and they tell me the Dark Knight is like one of the best movies they saw... what a load of rubbish... I have seen better movies. TDK was long in the end, seemed to drag on and on... you know, the Joker is evil, I get it! Not many good fight scenes too.

mezba said...

Farah: wow that's a different point of view. To be honest I went with high expectations, and for the most part they were met. I DID feel the ending was beginning to feel long, but in the end it all worked out.

I actually thought the Good Cop Bad Cop scene with the Joker was a classic.

Anonymous said...

I agree that the Joker character was an absolute classic! I think I came out of the movie liking him even more than Batman (well, not him per se, but you know, the character). A brilliant end to the late Heath Ledger's career.

I certainly felt the movie was getting rather long, but to be honest, I think the story was still engaging enough, and in the end I couldn't complain (In other words, the movie was my full 10 bucks' worth!)

I've been wanting to blog about it as well, but did you notice any of the metaphors for current politics (One particular scene: Morgan Freeman and the cell-phone tracking thing..."too much power for one man"). I thought I might have been the only crazy one, but a lot of critics have been writing about it.

mezba said...

Rawi: Yes I did notice that Morgan Freeman scene aout the cellphones. Do you by any chance have a link to any of the reviewers who talked about it? I would definitely like to read up about it.

You can read this (rather long) article on Counterpunch.

It's about how Batman just reinforces the old conservative heirarchy. In someways the cellphone scene reminds me of that - too much power in the hands of one man - but as long as the man is right it's all good and conservative politics is about making you believe you are that right man.