*** Official THE DARK KNIGHT Discussion Thread

Tim Glover

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I mentioned this the other day but it's worth repeating.
...

Gary Oldman is underrated. It's such an awesome cast that it's easy to group them together but in some ways, Oldman's Gordon is very important (maybe not the anchor) but close. He brings something to the film that it needs. Humanity, persaverence, brains, and honesty. I don't want to overstate this but he kind of represents 'us' in a way?

Gary Oldman was fantastic in the The Dark Knight.
 

ThomasC

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The main problem is comparing Katie to Maggie. Katie's Rachel was the girl next door, and Maggie's Rachel seemed to be more distant. I thought Katie was fine in BB, and I missed her in TDK. I think that Maggie's Rachel was given too little to do to make Rachel her own. When she died, I didn't feel sad. Maybe it's because there was so much to take in, and there wasn't much time to reflect after her death. Maggie did what she could, but I think recasting Rachel was a mistake.

But ugly? Hell no!

 

Chuck Mayer

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Zack, I agree. She's unconventional, but still sexy and adorable.

Tim, I agree. I hope his role expands EVEN further in the third one. He's not the superhero, the white knight DA, the crime boss, the corrupt cop, the insane genius maniac. He's just a good cop in a very bad city. I appreciated the increased focus on his character. And for the actor, what more can we say
He's one of the very best of his generation, and he brought gravitas to some better than average popcorn films in the last few years. I hope he is enjoying himself. I also hope Nolan gives him his big line in B3
Just for fun.

With all of the raves for Ledger, I did want to bring up an inspiration for that performance. Mark Hamill's work (along with Dini and Timm) in the DCAU on the Joker is (rightfully) legendary. I think his last appearance there was in Justice League:S2 (in Vegas), where he ran the entire JL ragged with some very familiar concepts. Ledger and Hamill produced very different representations of the character, both of them perfect for their medium. Just a shout out to Mark Hamill. I'd love to see what he, Dini, and Timm thought about the film.
 

mattCR

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I must be alone in the group that was really underwhelmed. i appreciate what was done as a film, and the look was fantastic. But the story left a lot to be desired t me, and it was dark enough that it wouldn't be anything I'd take anyone under 14 or so to see.

I enjoy a dark Batman, but this kind of teetered into areas where I felt that the sting against Batman, that he was an out of control vigilante, was by and large the case; I didn't feel like Batman was so much the 'tormented good guy' as he was deranged, but only in a way that worked for Gotham.

There were a few scenes as far as narrative that I found particularly disturbing and not what I wanted.

So, the Joker takes over a fundraiser that Wayne holds for Dent, and bammo! Batman rescues Rachel. Ok, so what happened to the billionaires left with the Joker? They are basically dead. He basically leaves them for not.

That kind of stuff really bothers me, it bothered me about "Wanted" too; the cavalier way that secondary characters exist primarily as bullet sponges, it's almost as though anyone not direct characters who are offed in these things are a "eh" kind of happening. Yes, there is the beginning meeting between the three to prevent that, but time after time, let's do the most dangerous endanger the citizenry thing imaginable.

That's part of what I found endearing about X-Men, Spiderman, even Superman, that in all of those films, there is a hint that part of what makes the Hero's job difficult is his self obsession with responsibility for all in his domain; Batman hints at it.. and then goes the other way far too often.

I'm sure I'm probably the lone voice in this thread waiting to get the smack put down on it. But I was really disappointed in where I thought this could go.

I have no problems with films being dark & moody; but certain genres rely heavily on a connection to the protagonist that you can root for - and this film didn't do that for me.

I'm glad others enjoyed it much more then I did. The audio track, though, makes this a likely blue-ray pickup, which is all the studio cares about, they got my ticket $ and they'll get the purchase.
 

Nick Martin

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I agree. Tuesday is the EARLIEST I can see it in IMAX, simply because it's completely sold out until then!
 

Zack Gibbs

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The Joker was only there to kill Harvey Dent, if you weren't him you were essentially safe. He through Rachel out to occupy Batman while he made his escape.
 

Robert Crawford

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She's unattractive to me and our wife/girlfriend are not young movie actresses that are getting paid for their acting skills and to a certain extent their looks.
 

Chad R

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I've seen it twice in IMAX and once in 35mm. There is a tremendous difference in its impact. IMAX isn't only big visually, it's bigger aurally.

The opening of the film is completely in IMAX, and you can tell it was designed that way. The opening shot above the bank, zeroing in on the window the robbers blow out elicits gasps from the audience in IMAX. When they slide out the window on their zip line and the camera shoots straight down making you curl your toes from vertigo.

But also the music cues knock you on your butt as well. The first strong electric guitar beat when the safe cracker moves towards the stairs after leaving the roof punches you in the gut.

All of these effects are lost in 35mm.

The highlight of the film is certainly the truck chase in the middle. Not only are the SWAT vehicles huge and impressive, but when Joker climbs out of the truck and faces Batman down with his gun, the man stands 6 stories tall and is just as intimidating as hell.

Even little things, like when the Joker exits the hospital as it's exploding, and he hops off the curb, every nuance of that little bit of his performance just plays better.

In 35mm, the story still stands up and it's still a great movie. But IMAX just hearkens back to the glory days of 70mm and becomes an immersive experience.
 

IanDP

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The difference is that that Dark Knight has a nice, tidy ending, unlike Empire. If, God forbid, a third movie is never made, it would be okay because there is no cliffhanger. As far as we know, Dent is really dead, and Joker is locked up in Arkham. Life goes on in Gotham as usual. What's really different now? Batman still has a good relationship with Gordon, but the rest of police want him locked up for being a "vigilante". The circumstances now can make for a very entertaining part III, but it's not necessary. That is where we have to give Nolan credit. His part II is not a bridge to part III of a trilogy. It's a great movie that stands on it's own.
It reminds me of something Michael Bay just said about Transformers II, and how he wants it stand on it's own and not be just a "bridge" movie. Of course Bay is full of crap, so I'll believe it when I see it.
 

Nick Martin

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Why do people have a problem with Gordon's epilogue?

He's not only summarizing WHO Batman is, but also telling his son - who probably idolizes Batman and knows his life and that of his family was saved by him - WHY Batman is. Perhaps it's because of the way Gordon spoke the words? After all, he is essentially speaking to his son that way because to him Batman is Santa Claus, or the Easter Bunny - a fantastic larger than life being. Don't all parents talk to their children in that manner when their so impressionable?

Combined with the images of The Batman evading the police dogs, the shattering of the Bat Signal, all of it made for a very powerful ending, and I'm sorry that some of you feel otherwise.

To each their own.
If it weren't for the music being so loud.
 

Zack Gibbs

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I haven't noticed anyone complaining about the epilogue? It's spoilerized in my sig, I get goosebumps just reading it.
 

Brandon Conway

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I've heard complaints amongst non-internet friends.
 

Tim Glover

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Chuck, that was GREATNESS.
and totally agree on what he's brought to films. He's one of the many reasons I love Potter-Prizoner of Azkaban so much. He's a real treasure.
 

Carlos_E

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Chad:

Great explanation of the differences between Imax and conventional theater. Thanks for sharing.

I can't wait to see it in Imax.

That bank scene at the beginning reminds me of the HEAT movie (1995) bank heist scene. GREAT intensity.
 

Carlos_E

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66 MILLION in one day!!!! Box office mojo reports record opening day take. This is just Friday guys. !!
 

Adam Lenhardt

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Quote:



Originally Posted by Tim Glover
I'm on with you regarding Maggie G. This was a surprise for me thinking she would be stellar. First, it's not a huge part, but she really seemed out of place for me. I can't explain it...Not a huge Holmes fan, but she was much more effective as Rachel.




Holmes played the character straight. She wasn't an imposing presence, but she was serious and focused. You could believe that that woman could balance the burden of Batman's secret with the demands of being a prosecutor. Gyllenhaal plays Rachel as schoolgirlish flirty. It undercut the character in a big way.
Part of my problem with Rachel is that her relationship with Dent is woefully underdeveloped. We just didn't get enough to buy Dent doing what he did FOR Rachel. His Two Face is a sideshow in the same way that Cillian Murphy's Scarecrow was a sideshow. The difference is that we had a lot more invested in Dent than Dr. Crane before he was revealed as the villain. The fall of Harvey Dent is still one of the best takes on the character, because his symbolism is so important to what Gordon and Batman are striving for. His characterization of Dent before and after the burns is tremendous, I just wish Rachel's death wasn't the lynchpin for it.

Quote:



Gary Oldman has always been a fave of mine and he remains, perhaps in an underrated way, one of the best things about The Dark Knight. Ledger will and deservedly so get most of the talk...but Oldman was just as compelling.




It gets back to the question that Batman asked Gordon about Dent: "Can we trust him?" The circle that Batman has established is, first and foremost, a circle of adults. Wayne, Fox, Pennyworth and Gordon have all already come through their trial. Dent thought he was at their level, and they really hoped he was, but when his trial came he was found wanting. And then the adults, like Gordon and Wayne, have to make the agonizing adult decisions to clean up the mess.
Playing the adult with his shit together is never as flashy as playing a character in crisis. But Oldman's work is extraordinary. In about three scenes, he sells the relationship between Gordon and his son more effectively than all of the cumulative screen time between Dent and Rachel. (I also, by the way, really loved that the baby from Batman Begins is shown to be a little girl in this film. Even if they never get to Batgirl — in a way I hope they never do — it's nice to see the pieces are there.)

Quote:



Originally Posted by Chuck Mayer
2) I don't want to judge the length based on a midnight show. I'd rather see it fully rested before I decide if it's REALLY too long. I did feel it was long, but couldn't find anything to cut.




It is a very long movie, and like Return of the King has three or four places that feel like ending points. But the movie is paced like a banshee. And the ending Nolan went with clearly felt like the ending. Even though both this film and Batman Begins end with Gotham in chaos and major story points unresolved, they each come to a strong thematic conclusion. That is, after the rooftop ending in Batman Begins, The Dark Knight couldn't have been more of the same. After the ending here, Batman 3 can't be more of the same. But even while Batman is an outlaw, his core circle including Gordon remains intact. In fact, I think every Nolan Batman flick should end with a Batman/Gordon scene.
Quote:



As I was watching that scene I thought to myself, they have officially "nuked the fridge". Basically that was a little much for us to suspend our disbelief. But like you said, it was small and I can forgive. I loved the movie anyway.




Since Nolan's Batman is essentially a Bond surrogate, I didn't have a problem with it. I understood the theory behind the technology, which seemed plausible enough, and I loved the way sonar fits in thematically with bats' radar. Of course, I though the fridge scene in Kingdom of the Crystal Skull was pitch perfect pulp adventure and no worse than the mine car chase or anything else.
Is it the movies that have gotten less plausible, or is it the audience that has become less forgiving?

Quote:



Next stop (next week): DLP.




After hemming and hawing between the multiplex with larger auditoriums/screens but crappier projection and the smaller all-DLP new multiplex, I eventually went DLP. Right choice. It was absolutely gorgeous. And 70 mm transfers to 4k projection better than 35 mm, even though 4k projection is only an approximation of 35 mm resolution. It just feels more real somehow. Like the screen's a little bit closer to being a window.

Quote:



Originally Posted by Chad R
I think the best way to quantify all of the Oscar talk for Ledger is to equate his performance to Johnny Depp's as Jack Sparrow. They are both over the top characters in big summer movies that critics typically hate. But, they transcend that by giving in to the character with creative line readings no other actor would have given. Since Depp was nominated for "Pirates of the Caribbean," Ledger does have a shot at a nomination.




You're right that both are unique performances, but I think Ledger goes beyond was Depp did with Jack Sparrow. The energy changes in every scene he's in. The movie pivots around him, and he manages to be compelling without ever letting us in. He never broke from character. Not even for a moment. With Depp's template, there are other actors out there who could embody Jack Sparrow. Any attempt to duplicate Ledger's performance as the Joker would come off as a pale imitation, I think.
Quote:



I am a devotee of Kevin Conroy's voice (DCUA Batman). He gets both perfectly right. I agree it doesn't work as well for Bale (and the suit isn't so hot either), but since the motivation is so right and the direction so sound, I don't pay a lot of attention to it. If the character is right, I'm not going to bitch about the suit.




Kevin Conroy and Mark Hamill are the definitive voices of Batman and the Joker respectively. That doesn't detract anything from Bale and Ledger. Animation and live action are different mediums with different demands. Neither Conroy nor Hamill's work would be an ideal fit here. Bale's Batman voice is Wayne's channeled rage. It's not as clean as Conroy's Batman, which is the voice I hear when I read the comics, but it's the perfect voice for this Batman. The same is true for Ledger's Joker voice, which doesn't fit with the archetypal image of the Joker, but does fit the demon he has created for this movie.
Quote:



Originally Posted by Nicholas Martin

HOW he ended up that way was very surprising, and in my mind better than the origin story explanation. It was more believable, and unexpected because when Batman shows up and pulls Dent away, you're left thinking 'but it hasn't happened...what gives?'. Then....well you know.




It especially works given this Joker's preoccupation with bullets and gasoline.
Quote:



To think that Joker COULD come back, but because of the real world tragedy affecting the film's world, he'll never be seen again.




In a way, I'm just as happy. I'm glad he didn't die, because his lurking on the margins adds a distant tension to everything, but his presence is too magnetic for the series to grow. As long as he's on the scene, everything gets pulled back to him. I'm more interested now in seeing how Batman deals with being an outlaw, the hated and despised anti-hero. Whatever villain they ultimately go with, he should play into those themes.
Quote:



Originally Posted by Chuck Mayer
Tying the coin into the tragedy and previous life was very smart, as was Batman "saving Dent over Rachel".




This was one point I wasn't entirely clear on. When the Joker gave Batman the two addresses, he switched the names, right? In other words, Batman thought he was going to save Rachel but discovered Dent upon arrival, and saved him because he was there.
Quote:



I guess the "is that all?" feeling from the Joker is due to (just like 21 years ago) being on the edge of my seat everytime he entered the scene- and anticipating at least one huge bust out belly laugh over something he does or says, that for me never came (last night or 21 years ago).




This movie is full of the Joker's funny, it's just that the punchlines are too grotesque to laugh at. Even the bank heist is one big joke on the people doing the stealing. When things go wrong, as with Bruce hiding Dent, his improvisations are inspired: I'm sure killing Officers Harvey and Dent is laugh out loud funny if you're a psychopath.
What makes this Joker succeed where Nicholson's failed is the complexity of his schemes. Nicholson's Joker was was Nicholson in Joker make-up. The Joker of The Dark Knight is an absurd force of nature. In many ways, he's less gimmicky than the source material that inspired him.

Quote:



Interesting that the big cheer-inducing moment that comes immediately to my mind now was not anything done by the good guys- it was when the convict threw the detonator out the window "something you should have done 10 minutes ago". Normally that would be where I would criticize the film for going soft and sentimental and not being 'real' but I bought it here. I didn't have any problem believing one con could step up and 'do the right thing'. It was spiritually uplifting without leaving a cheesey residue.




I agree 100 percent. After a movie and a half in this universe where the masses of Gotham resolutely refused to do the right thing, the ferry crisis was the moment of reckoning. If the boats had blown themselves up, the audience would have been in danger of throwing in the towel; ie. if these people aren't even willing to save themselves, why should we care if Batman saves them? And just as Harvey Dent needed to remain a hero in the public's eye to keep faith in the war against crime alive, those boats needed to survive past midnight for Batman to keep faith in his mission alive. Their refusal to detonate themselves, like Sophie's Choice if the siblings had been asked to make the decision, was a vindication for Batman that what he was doing had meaning. If the city was still as hopeless as it was at the beginning of Batman Begins, one of the boats would have definitely pulled te trigger.
That it was one of the convicts who took the assertive action is also thematically key to what the film has to say: that that nasty piece of work was unwilling to cross the line int mass murder even to save his own skin showcases the difference between the Joker and the old breed of criminals.
Quote:



Originally Posted by Chuck Mayer
Several comments about Maggie G's appearance in the review thread. I don't agree with comments at all. She's not a Maxim girl, but Bruce had, what, 12 of those in the film. It's about personality. I'll happily debate whether she had that, but she didn't need to look better to be more believable.




I agree. Even Katie Holmes wasn't a Maxim girl; Rachel Dawes has to be somewhat staid and professional looking to be believable.
Quote:



Originally Posted by Lou Sytsma
Loved the movie - though it did play too long for the story. If the Hong Kong sequence was removed the story would be unaffected. It would also give the 15 minutes needed to shorten the movie. The HK sequence is a prime example of something to include on an extended or director's DVD cut.




Except that that sequence is used to setup the sonar technology.
Quote:



Originally Posted by Paul_Scott
I just realized how little screen time Fox had in this film. Talk about making every second count.




The big three supporting players from Batman Begins — Jim Gordon but especially Lucius Fox and Alfred — all had less screen time this time out. But the advantage of having such a superb introduction the last time out is that you didn't need a lot of reintroduction. The audience knows exactly where each of these characters is coming from in their handful of scenes and brings that background in judging their behavior.
Quote:



Originally Posted by Chuck Mayer
A bit of speculation...were the ferrys holding their OWN detonators or ones for the other ship (as the Joker said)? In this case...I think he was being honest.




I think he's being honest too, mainly because if the detonator blew up the ship it's on, the surviving ship (which wasn't yet willing to kill) would realize what happened and be saved. The Joker would rather reward the murderers.
Quote:



Originally Posted by Brandon Conway
Another small moment I loved - how Alfred burned Rachel's letter because he realized that the time would never come that Bruce could face that he drove her away from loving him due to becoming Batman. Se recognized that Bruce Wayne was the mask and Batman was his true face, and that he would never return, and that saying she would wait for that a year earlier was incorrect because it would never come




I read that scene differently. Once Alfred realized that Bruce still thought she'd been waiting for him, he pulled the letter because it would only cause pain. It's probable that Rachel would have changed her mind once she saw Harvey's true colors, but now that she's dead the letter's irrevocable; Bruce would have been left with the promise that Rachel was out of reach, even if he could some day hang up the tights and walk away.
Quote:



Originally Posted by Chuck Mayer
As for a third film, I think all that is left is scheduling and Nolan's paycheck. I don't think we'll be waiting a year for it to be announced.




I don't know. I could see Nolan wanting to do a couple other projects first, the way he did between Batman Begins and The Dark Knight. If that's what it takes to keep things fresh and hold off the law of diminishing returns, I'm all for it.
Quote:



Originally Posted by Nicholas Martin
That's enough to get a third film going without adding some other big named villain to it.




I actually agree. I think it would be pretty ballsy to not have a villain but keep the focus on the triangle between Batman, the GCPD, and the criminal underworld.
Quote:



Originally Posted by Chuck Mayer
One of the things that really struck me in BB was how GOOD that movie looked. We've discussed the craftsmanship at length in the past, and I honestly believe this film drives that to 11.




I think using the IMAX cameras was a big part of that. Not only for the scenes that benefit from the superior qualities of the larger frame, but from the standards set trying to bring the 35 mm sequences up to that level. I still personally prefer the sepia claustrophobic feel of Batman Begins, but there is no question in my mind that this is the best shot movies in years. It'll be criminal if Wally doesn't get the Oscar for this film. My only complaint with making Gotham more of a real city in this film is that it lost a lot of the three-dimensionality of Batman Begins.
Quote:



Originally Posted by Robert Crawford
What's with the mayor of Gotham City wearing eye liner?




Bat Manuel always looks stylish.
 

Paul_Scott

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I was complaining about it earlier.
Looking back, one of my big fears was going to be tin eared dialouge and the inappropriate use of one-liners to punctuate strong scenes that didn't need them. To the best of my memory, neither happened. Even the snatches that I read about and fretted over here last year (the bank managers "what do you believe in" and the prisoners "he said he would make the pain go away") all seemed to work well enough in the proper context.
Re-reading the end lines by Gordon, it works for me, to a greater extent at least, on the page, but on screen- with his hand on his sons shoulder standing next to a gruesomely visaged dead body that had seconds before been terrorizing the boy...that calm, relective little bit of poetic flourish plays too false for me. As soon as Bats ran off, if not before, Gordon would be off comforting his wife and daughter and delivering back the son
I think I could have accepted/swallowed similar dialouge if we'd had some indication of a passage of time that would make calm reflection more amenable. A cross dissolve as Batman ran off- to the crime scene full of flashing lights and milling cops with an update of the Batman search heard over the radio. Then in a quiet aside, maybe as the family is being put in a car to be taken away, having the kid ask what will happen to Batman and THEN getting Gordons flowery reply.
At a point like that it would have seemed more appropriate to me.



This whole film moved so damn fast that I'm left wishing there was a little more quiet, introspective down time. I'm reminded a bit of Aliens by this film because of the similar long run time, and juggernaut, action pace . But that one I think was a better paced film all around. This one seemed like it felt a conscious need to hurry along to cram in as much as it needed to.
 

Carlos_E

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Guys:

How is the IMAX footage being shown in conventional movie theaters?

What is the aspect ratio of Imax? It is square. Isn't it 1:37 or close to that?

But a regular movie theater is rectangular. About 1:85 or 2:35??


When the portion of the movie that contains the Imax footage is shown on the regular theaters, is the image being cropped on top or bottom or sides? Or is it being stretched similar to what happens when you play non letterboxed material on a widescreen television?
 

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