Saturday, December 20, 2008

The Dark Knight

Director Chris Nolan made comic-book movies right again with Batman Begins - 2005's reinvention in the Batman movie franchise, completely ignoring all previous attempts. After receiving plenty of critical and nerd acclaim, they went for round two and stepped it up in ways unimaginable with The Dark Knight. Christian Bale, Michael Caine and Morgan Freeman return as Bruce Wayne, Alfred and Lucious Fox respectively and are joined by Heath Ledger as the Joker, Aaron Eckhart as Harvey Dent, and with Maggie Gyllenhaal replacing the leading lady role previously held by Katie Holmes (proof that the Lord is indeed merciful). Dark Knight brings us back to Gotham, but the city has changed. The caped crusader has inspired citizen and criminal alike and has to deal with as many copycat vigilantes as he does stereotypical baddies. One man comes in to break those stereotypes though and bring the criminal underworld up to a level that can compete with the mysterious Batman. The Joker unleashes a series of murders and attacks that show the public and the mob what he is capable of. The battle grows in intensity and becomes more personal as friends and loved ones are brought into the mix... with devastating results. A cinematic maze of twists and turns keeps your eyes unblinking through all of The Dark Knight, so I suggest having some eye drops ready when you watch. On to the ratings...

Original Release: 2008
Running Time: 153 minutes
Acting - $2
I truly miss Heath Ledger. Forget "A Knights Tale", "10 Things I Hate About You" and "Brokeback Mountain"... this is the role he will forever be known for. There were a lot of skeptics when he was first announced for the role but he powned the pants off all doubters. His twisted interpretation of Batman's most infamous antagonist left comic fans and the general public alike with their jaws on the floor and a newfound fear for pencils. Dark Knight's addition of Ledger, Gyllenhaal and Eckhart to the already proven Bale, Caine, Freeman and Oldman proves to be an unstoppable acting force.

Effects & Animation - $1
This is the one thing that sort of bothered me just a little... some of the effects. I liked the Batpod and thought it made some sense as being part of the Tumbler technology, but the one scene where he kind of rides it up a wall to turn around just got to me. It looked stupid. I also wasn't a big fan of the "sonar" tech used, feeling it was a little too outlandish and too closely resembled some of the silly gadgets of the earlier Batman movies. The effects for the explosions and the makeup for Joker and Two Face were both great, but a couple snafu's is all it takes to lose full ratings.

Repeat Play - $2
Even clocking in at two and a half hours, Dark Knight leaves you wanting more. When I saw it in the theater I wanted to turn around and buy another ticket, and when I watched it on DVD I very nearly put it back in again 20 minutes later. I'm writing this the next day and as I see the case on the table in front of me, I am very strongly considering watching it right now. Friggin love this movie.

Nerd Factor - $2
Attention Hollywood... THIS is how you make a f*cking comic book movie. It's brutally realistic and not campy at all. This is the Joker that fan-boys have been wanting to see for years... psychotic, evil and as he says himself "an agent of chaos". We're also treated to the lengthy roller-coaster transition of Harvey Dent to the coin-flipping Two Face. Come on people... this is the ultimate Batman movie and nerds shall forever sing its praise.

Billicious - $2
The trailers for TDK had me drooling on my keyboard for months and I was still completely blown away when I saw the full film. I thought I knew what was coming but nothing could have prepared me for the level of awesome I was about to watch. It's dark and brutal and everything it should be. I friggin love it!
Total Rating: $9

In lieu of writing a lengthy exit blurb, I am going to go watch the movie again. You should do the same!! The Christmas holiday is coming up, so be prepared for plenty of new reviews and additions to the collection... I think I'm getting some Best Buy (sponsorship opportunities are still available) gift cards that I'm sure will be entirely spent on DVD's. Sweet.

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