Wednesday, July 16, 2008

TDK – HBO’s First Look

Below are two vids that encapsulate HBO’s "First Look" of The Dark Knight. I love it! This has all the markings of great drama. Consider, too, the words of James Berardinelli from his new 4-star review:

Consequences. In real life, these ramifications emanate from every action like ripples from a stone thrown into a pond. Often in movies, especially those that feature characters who don't play by the rules, such penalties are suspended. However, in Christopher Nolan's Batman universe, decisions and actions have consequences. The Dark Knight, arguably the moodiest and most adult superhero motion picture ever to reach the screen, illustrates this lesson in ways that are startling and painful. This is a tough, uncompromising motion picture - one that defies the common notions of what is expected from a "superhero" film. While there are plenty of action sequences and instances of derring-do, The Dark Knight's subtext has a tragic underpinning that would intrigue Shakespeare or the Greeks. It's about power and impotence, sanity and madness, image and reality, selfishness and sacrifice, and - yes - consequences...

For all of the heavy lifting done by the movie’s screenplay, dealing as it does with substantive issues and existential questions, there's still plenty of the meat-and-potatoes content of any superhero movie: action sequences. There are numerous fights, chases, and races. The Batmobile gets its share of screen time as does a new Bat-cycle. Batman takes on bad guys singly and in bunches. And there's a heart-pounding sequence in which the Caped Crusader must race against time to save a life, where the price is almost as terrible if he succeeds as if he fails. Nolan's inherent sense of how to transform a relatively mundane fight scene into something involving is in evidence here, much as was the case in Batman Begins. He avoids flash editing and allows the action to evolve in a coherent manner, drawing the viewer in rather than keeping him guessing what's going on…


Sabina E. said...

wow. holy hell. the movie hasn't even come out yet and people are already talking about Oscar nods for this one. It's very rare for a superhero/action movie to get a lot of raving reviews like that.

I'm actually kind of excited to see what's the big fuss all about.

Mystery Man said...

Yeah, baby! It's going to be great.


Emily Blake said...

Yep, this seals it. I would have Chris Nolan's babies.

Anonymous said...

I saw a preview Monday night for Warners employees, and I have to tell you, it was more amazing than you're even expecting.

Take David Denby's review, then imagine the exact opposite. "The narrative isn’t shaped coherently"? Did Denby fall asleep halfway through the movie.

The movie was full of clever bits of detective work, melded with character and action. The writers even made international money laundering clear and understandable.

You guys are going to love this film.

Mystery Man said...

Emily - Me too!

Anon prod ass - I was there. Did you recognize me? Hehehe...

On a side note, here's a comment from Ebert's 4-star review, which I thought were interesting:

“Batman” isn’t a comic book anymore. Christopher Nolan’s “The Dark Knight” is a haunted film that leaps beyond its origins and becomes an engrossing tragedy. It creates characters we come to care about. That’s because of the performances, because of the direction, because of the writing, and because of the superlative technical quality of the entire production. This film, and to a lesser degree “Iron Man,” redefine the possibilities of the “comic-book movie.”

Danny said...

Just went back and looked at your May 1 entry, where you have Ebert's review of that movie CHAOS.

I haven't seen that or The Dark Knight yet, but given the fact that Nolan and company love to liken the Joker to the shark in JAWS, this quote seemed funny to me, where Ebert explains to CHAOS' filmmakers why he gave their movie the worst review ever:

"You use the material without pity, to look unblinkingly at a monster and his victims. The monster is given no responsibility, no motive, no context, no depth. Like a shark, he exists to kill."

Mystery Man said...

Dan - Interesting you would make that connection. With Nolan, he's alluding more to the fact that the Joker doesn't have a character arc and he's the force of criminality that everyone's reacting to, but he's still a fully fleshed-out, developed character. He's a flawed, tragic, screwed-up, twisted, needy, human character. On the other hand, the murderer in Chaos isn't fleshed-out. He's as inhuman and one-dimensional as a shark.


Danny said...

That a good distinction.

It just tickled me seeing two prominent film people refer to characters as sharks in the same day, only one in a good way and one in a bad way.

Have you seen The Dark Knight yet? Will you post a review after you do?

Neil said...

I saw The Dark Knight Friday and Here is my take.

It started off great action wise, but as some (dare I say, brave) critics have commented, the action becomes disjointed and in some instances, anti-climactic and unsatisfying.

Otherwise, the movie was fantastic in just about every regard.

With that said, Nolan effectively painted the future of the series into a corner.

Really, what in the fuck could they do next to top it? The movie essentially has enough stuff crammed into it for six movies.

The biggest problem Nolan and company will have for any future Batman films is that they really can't use mostly any of the traditional Batman Villains.
"The Dark Knight" dragged Batman too far into the real world, and they can't go back to the pseudo-comic book world of the previous Batman movie.

Are they going to dust off Clay Face, or Poison Ivy or even newer villains like Mr. Freeze? No, they can't. So that pretty much leaves the Riddler. To be honest, I don't know if I would be interested in a movie where Batman is chasing down clues all over Gotham. Besides, Die Hard 3 pretty much did a faux-riddler in Jeffrey Irons villain.

All in all, TDK is a great movie. It's a mix of "Heat" and "Batman." Heath Ledger's performance was fucking brilliant. Ledger brought The Joker into the real world and made him just the perfect amount of batshit insane.

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