July 24, 2008
A Dark SummerThe Dark Knight (IMDb) will likely be the biggest blockbuster of the summer. I went to see it last Friday, just barely able to get tickets by going to get them early in the day. I checked online before the show and tickets for every show that night were sold-out. So I'm not surprised that it destroyed at the Box Office. This film, I believe, is not just the best since Tim Burton's 1989 Batman (IMDb), its actually better.
The Dark Knight follows director Nolan's previous re-ignition of the Batman franchise with Batman Begins (2005) (IMDb), which while being great itself was purposefully a vehicle to reestablish the Batman universe and build up to The Dark Knight, a longer and more dynamic masterpiece. Which sets Nolan's movies apart from previous Batman films is the accuracy and appreciation the screenwriters have for the world Batman inhabits in the comics. The Dark Knight continues to develop the characters from Begins, firmly establishing the character Commissioner Gordon as Batman's best ally.
There are similarities to draw between this Batman film and Burton's. In particular, both films' plots revolve primarily around a conflict with Batman and his arch nemesis The Joker. In these films the quality of acting by the actors portraying The Joker is a large part of what makes them great. Jack Nicholson played the part masterfully, and so has Ledger. I think he ought to be seriously considered for the best supporting actor Oscar nomination (tragically posthumously). His performance is every bit as terrifying as the role Javier Bardem won for in No Country For Old Men last year.
As might be expected there were several intriguing trailers shown with The Dark Knight. Three that stood out in my mind were: Terminator Salvation, The Day the Earth Stood Still, and most especially The Watchmen (or watch it here at apple).
Trailer notes: After Terminator 3 I wasn't that interested in any more sequels, but this trailer has restored my curiosity. The Day the Earth Stood Still is aparently a remake and looks to be a dramatic special effects update of the original. Casting Reeves as an emotionless ambassador from another world seems a logical choice.
Having seen the trailer for The Watchmen, the concerns I may have for the ability for anyone to bring it to the big screen are decreasing. The details are perfect, from the costumes, to the sets...from the grit to the posh lifestyles, and the even the Smashing Pumpkins song works well to accentuate the feeling within a watch of a winding down, epitomizing the overriding theme of the story. But even though the trailer looks perfect, its still going to be quite a challenge to recreate all the nuances of the story on a screen. I wonder even if it is articulated perfectly on screen, will be as well received as a film as it has been as a graphic novel? I hope so, I'm looking forward to it.