Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Movie Review: The Dark Knight


Let me begin by saying that I'm a huge fan of Christopher Nolan and what he did with Batman Begins years ago, which redefined the Batman series. I've been excited for "The Dark Knight" since it was announced. A lot of times it can be a crap shoot as to whether the story content of a sequel will stand up to the reputation set forth by the previous film. The Dark Knight does not disappoint, Christopher Nolan's reputation remains intact, and the series is built very well on what was started, illustrating how Batman Begins was indeed just as its title states... "the beginning."

The story in The Dark Knight clearly articulates many morality issues, and how we as citizens of a society respond to them. Issues that make us all look in the mirror and re-question what we really stand for, and whether we have what it takes to stand for them even in the midst of total chaos and great despair. Some of the issues reminded me about how Americans deal with the Iraq war, that we should back out or regret getting involved. It is this struggle of how the characters deal with the issues and the choices they make that create the "dark" tone of the film which kind of left a feeling of depression in me when it was over, hence the film title "Dark Knight".

Comparing to Batman Begins... the only complaint that I had with the directing of Batman Begins was that the "camera work" was a little too close to see what was going on during fighting/action scenes. I was glad to see that Christopher Nolan pulled back a bit. He fixed this issue in The Dark Knight, giving him a perfect score from the director's chair.

It is said all over the Internet what great performances everyone gave... particularly Heath Ledger. I agree and don't want to sound redundant here. Every cast member played their role as expected and then some. Give credit to the cast, but I would also like to give credit to the director. A good director plays a key role in bringing out the best in the members of his team... like a good coach on any team.

If you liked Batman Begins, then go see The Dark Knight. It is one of those few sequel movies that bring the story to the next level. And if you've like both films, check out other movies that Christopher Nolan has directed, you won't be disappointed.

4 cars

*This film is not for children. Really adhere to the PG-13 rating. I let my kids watch Spiderman, but have not let them watch Batman Begins and for sure would not let them watch The Dark Knight. Also, if you have teens that do watch it, discuss it with them to make sure they understand the important things that are presented.


The Dark Knight

Once in a while, a film comes along that is the perfect combination of action, drama, special effects, and great acting and directing. The Dark Knight is one of those films. Director Christopher Nolan reaches a new high with this masterpiece. Jeez, I sound like James Lipton saying those things...

The Dark Knight is a film that is truly inappropriate for anyone under 13, given the films dark themes and violence. I disagree with those, however, that felt the violence was excessive or unneeded. Every piece of dialog and action seemed to be carefully planned and add to the message of the movie. To me, that message was that humans are essentially good. If Heath Ledger's Joker had a purpose, it seemed to be to try to prove that humans are inherently evil, perhaps in a bid to justify his own horrible nature.

The Joker, however, seemed to have no real intention other than to cause chaos and terror in Gotham. He took terrorism to another level, showing the same disregard for his own life and others' shown by today's homicide bombers. Unlike the homicide bombers, though, the Joker doesn't believe that he has any higher purpose--he just wants to "watch the world burn." I was a little concerned when I heard the reports of the stellar performance given by Ledger, thinking that maybe they could be attributed to the post-mortem fondness of Hollywood. That turned out not to be the case, and Ledger's interpretation of the Joker was the crowning Jewel of the film. His redition of the character makes Jack Nicholson's Joker look very much like the cartoon character it was probably meant to be.

The other actors' performances were also excellent, with the exception of some of the mannerisms used by Christian Bale while in his Batman costume (I don't want to spoil it, so if you're curious what I mean contact me). The directing and production were equally brilliant, and the fight scenes much easier to follow than in Batman Begins. This is one of the few movies that you'll ever see that comes close to flawless, and well worth paying to see in the theater. I give it 3 1/2 cars.

*Bonus: picture of my daughter as Batman: