*** Official THE DARK KNIGHT Discussion Thread

DavidJ

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OK, working through the thread and reading the comments and the discussion regarding heart...Chuck, I think you sum it up well. To me this film has much more emotional depth than Begins (which I love), but it includes both highs and lows. I too found the film hopeful and really connected with the theme of sacrifice in the face of evil.

I didn't think it played too long at all, but I've just had one viewing. I am pretty sure you wouldn't be able to rip 15 minutes out without making it too lean and losing a sense of scale.
 

ThomasC

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I'd chalk it up to him being shocked and not knowing how to initially react. I think the best way to convey a "huh?" reaction would've been a shot of his face, but with that mask on, it wouldn't have come across very well.
 

DavidJ

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He some ways he is like Anton Chigurh. He is a force of evil in our world that defies understanding, but the message in TDK is more hopeful about man in the face of such a force.

So, I think your point that we do not have any identity for him or real origin story is a key one. We don't need it and it would detract from the power of the character.
 

cafink

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Why is everyone so shocked to learn that someone would think Batman Begins was a part of the Burton/Schumacher series? I'm sure most HTF members know better, but we tend to be the kind of folks that actually follow these things closely, delve into the background material, and learn everything we can about the production before even seeing a film. But for the ordinary viewer, there was little indication that Begins was a "reebot."

I don't agree that the title should have been a clue. If anything, the "Begins" nomenclature suggests that the film is a prequel to the existing franchise. And the fact that Nolan used relatively obscure villains (Scarecrow and Ra's Al Ghul) that weren't already covered in the Burton/Schumacher films was a bit of an odd choice if the audience was supposed to know that this was a "new" franchise. I'm sure that there are many little details in Begins that contradict the Burton/Schumacher version of events, but nothing that would stand out to the casual viewer, and indeed, I know many people who had always assumed that Begins was a prequel to the Burton/Schumacher films, and were surprised to see the Joker and Two-Face appearing in The Dark Knight.
 

Patrick H.

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I saw this film at midnight last night due to an extraordinary bit of luck...I won a ticket in the parking lot of the theater from a local radio station that was doing trivia questions. (Mine was "Who played Harvey Dent in the 1989 Batman movie?" I was the first person all day to correctly name Billy Dee Williams, although they told me they even would've accepted "Lando Calrissian"
) I was actually on my way to see Hellboy II, since the midnight shows were all sold out. Naturally, my plans instantly changed to me taking a nap in my car until 11:30...

This film was intense, but, man...was it glorious! Much like its predecessor, it keeps getting better and better the more I think about it.

Some observations:

As others have pointed out, that line about the new suit being "cat-proof" seemed an obvious hint that Catwoman is somewhere in the future. Let the fantasy-casting begin!

Regarding that suit, after all the online apprehension over various elements of it, I actually thought it looked great! I re-watched 'Begins' last week to get up to speed for this, and one thought I definately had was "I didn't remember the suit looking so bulky..." Felt the same thing during the opening act of this one. So when he upgraded to the new streamlined model, I was sold. I also think it had more cool stuff built into it than all the suits in the entire previous movie series, and the technical excuse to actually give him the trademark glowing white eyes for awhile was awesome!

The plot was a fantastic amalgamation of a whole slew of great stories from the comics, and Nolan and his crew working their magic to make it all seem grounded and plausible was again fantastic. The ability of these filmmakers to both completely re-invent these iconic characters while also being as close to their core concept as any adaptation has managed is just a thrill to watch.

"You're suggesting that the person you work for is actually ruthless vigilante with unlimited resources, who spends his nights beating criminals to a bloody pulp with his bare hands...and you want to blackmail him? Good luck with that!" I'm paraphrasing, but that line and Freeman's delivery of it got a huge laugh in my theater, on par with anything the Joker did.

Speaking of such reactions, my teenage-to-twentysomething midnight crowd LOVED it. There were laughs, screams, cheers, and applause. Above all, the car chase culminating in Gordon's getting the drop on the Joker brought down the house. GREAT stuff...and the movie just kept right on trucking from there!

Haven't seen this mentioned yet, but what happened to Wayne Tower? Corporate headquarters was obviously in a different building this time, and the old building was clearly there in the background in some shots without the "Wayne" on it. For some reason, that was a continuity jump that stood out more to me than Maggie Gyllenhaal.


Heath Ledger, man...goddamn! After that early roundtable scene with the mob bosses, people actually applauded. His Joker was all-at-once a totally unique creation AND completely in-line with that iconic character we've all got in our collective imagination. I never once felt the weight of the actor's passing, either, because I wasn't seeing the actor...just this fantastic character. And after the film was over, I realized that with each delighted laugh, gasp, or scream his performance got from this young crowd, I was seeing first-hand the ultimate power movies can bestow: if you're good enough, they really will make you immortal. With the Joker, Ledger cleared the bar.

While I agree that it certainly wasn't clear, I think Harvey Dent DID die at the end. It didn't really hit me until the parking lot, but that just seems most fitting for the story...Joker's cycle of personal destruction was complete, and the only thing Batman could pull out of the fire was Harvey's reputation by sacrificing his own. Also, in keeping with the real-world sensibility of Nolan's films, I don't think Two-Face would've lasted all that long with the level of wounds he'd sustained...I mean, you were looking at raw muscles and exposed skull there (excellently rendered in disturbing detail, I must say)! I think he basically saw himself as the walking dead, just staying on his feet long enough to exact his revenge and make his point. Perhaps his physical fragility was underlined by the accidental and seemingly minor nature of his death. I guess we'll see, though...

Again, just wow.
 

Rian

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Somebody said a few posts above that it's not the GREATEST FREAKIN MOVIE EVER...well at least yet. To me, it was since there was just so much to it. On my way home, I couldn't just help but think about the things that were so interesting but you don't even think about it til after. This is something that needs to be seen many times in the theatre just to get the full scope of the movie. This coming from someone who has never found a need to go back to a movie in theatres.

One other thing I was thinking about that nobody mentioned, did Harvey just walk away from that car crash he caused with Moroni? And I take it that the Joker just easily turned the tables on the cop that was going to pummel him just as he did with his magic trick, right?
 

MikeRS

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Fantastic and this coming from someone who respected more than liked Batman Begins.

(I do love Memento and The Prestige, so I guess I'm a Nolan fan
)

Hollywood needed 20 years before it could fully embrace the Post-Miller era of Batman comics. Yes, Burton's first film was inspired (and greenlit) by that era - but it was too new and revolutionary a concept to translate equivalently at that time. It couldn't be that dangerous. Dilution was necessary. To take comics that seriously on the silver screen, Hollywood needed more history with the genre. Baby steps.

(And hitting rock bottom with Schumacher didn't hurt)

After finally giving us a film completely devoted to making the audience feel and understand "the Batman", Nolan has told The greatest Joker story ever.

Didn't someone tell Nolan that summer films aren't supposed to be this good?
 

MikeRS

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-The action scenes ROCKED. I found Begins' setpieces lacklustre, but these sequences were fantastic. Gritty, pulse punding, even emotional. And I "only" saw it at a digital theater.


I agree completely. It's a great (extremely flashy) role organically part of an excellent script.

And like Nolan hinted, so true to this story...

[url=http://static.hometheaterforum.com/imgrepo/1/12/htf_imgcache_33017.jpeg][URL="http://static.hometheaterforum.com/imgrepo/1/12/htf_imgcache_33017.jpeg"][/url][/URL]


-More than the Joker, I believe Jonathan Nolan is Christopher's secret weapon.

-Heath was definitely in his own demented inner world. The cumulative effect of the performance is just eerie.

-This film's tone (and where it leaves you emotionally at the end of the film) is not that far off from Fincher's (R-rated) Seven. Of course this film has hope (Gordon and Batman), but the "feel" is really not that far off. I can't believe this is a summer blockbuster.

-Why would anyone want to imagine Eckhardt's Two Face as a "traditional" villain in another picture. His arc is brilliant and complete. And actually (believe it or not) realistic. It's so organic to this story, that it would cheapen this film to bring him back. He represents the ultimate perversion by the Joker. The one that rocks Batman, Gordon, and the audience the hardest. Fini.

-I love Batman's voice. Another thing that bothered me only in the first picture.


More later....
 

Paul_Scott

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As much as I liked it, I do see one subplot that could be excised with little consequence that I don't think has been mentioned yet- the accountant threatening to blackmail Wayne. IIrc, there are three sequences devoted to this character and none are essential to the plot per se. I do think they have value in adding a sense of verisimilitude. It would be impossible to keep a secret like this for very long, especially using the resources of a now publicly traded company. Also, it was cool to see/hear the Joker turn the situation on its head during the call-in.

Something I wanted to add to the thoughts about the original Superman since it had been brought up. Looking at the film now, the only aspect that disappoints me is the ending. It's not the act of turing back time that I find to be a problem- it's that there is no further great consequence to doing that. For instance, had that been the act that contributed to unleashing the Phantom Zone villans, then it at least it would have felt a proper payback to what is essentially a cop-out resolution.
That's why I'm happy to see that Nolan appreciates and is willing to investigate and explore the consequences in his stories. Just like ESB, this film doesn't send you out the theater door on a rousing up beat compared to it's predecessor-but that obviously has little bearing on it's eventual shelf life.
 

Chuck Mayer

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To comment on the Joker a bit more (not slighting Two-Face, I'll get to him, but I am HOPING the definitive Two-Face hasn't been done yet), I mostly disagree with Mike about this being the greatest Joker story ever told. But I do think it's the second greatest
I still go with Mad Love as the greatest Joker story ever told, but they are tonally very different.

Even farther than Moore took the characters The Killing Joke, Joker and Batman are mirror images in this. Getting away from their pasts, they are both extremely driven men who look to save or destroy Gotham in their image. Batman wants to be a symbol of hope and justice, Joker wants to be a symbol of anarchy and id. Both are control freaks (one critic was put off to some extent by the Joker being so organized...they are missing the point there), geniuses, and very manipulative. Believe it or not, I could go on for a bit more, but that's 90% of it.

I am interested to see how the box officed fares after the initial opening. For what is a melancholy and somewhat morbid film, a downer if you will, there is an immense amount of energy and excitement in it. I think that'll offset the darkness and keep it going pretty strong. It's a unique balance Nolan struck, getting the tone he wanted and still delivering a rousing film.
 

Carlos_E

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Hey Guys:

IMAX footage questions:


Does anyone know the following,


1) Dark Knight has a 152 minute run time. If you see the movie in an Imax theater, how many minutes of the total minutes contain Imax exclusive footage


2) How many scenes in the movie were filmed with Imax cameras and which ones are they?


Thanks for any info.

Carlos
 

Colin Jacobson

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Whether or not the average fan knows - or "should know" - is one thing. Are you actually arguing that it's okay for a major film critic to be unaware of the reboot?
 

Chuck Mayer

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Carlos, I'll do my best.

1) I didn't count, but I read it was around 30 minutes. That feels about right.

2) It isn't that simple. I've been told 6 scenes. But many establishing shots and flyovers are IMAX...meaning it'll switch to IMAX for that moment (not a full scene), or even switch back and forth (it's NOT distracting believe it or not). The opening sequence is IMAX. Quite of bit of the exterior Shanghai sequence is IMAX (but not the interiors). A chunk of the middle major chase sequence is IMAX. I'm not sure how much of the final 30 minutes are IMAX. It's pretty discreet how it switches back and forth.
 

JonZ

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I saw it twice yesterday and absolutely loved it.

Ive always said Donners Superman was my favorite comic book movie - not anymore.
 

Scott McGillivray

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Saw it last night. I was surprised that I only liked it...I did not love it. Perhaps a 2nd viewing will change that. Not sure.

Joker was great, but as others have said, I needed to see more of him. I wanted to see him "in action" a bit more. I expected someone to accost him while he was in jail and see The Joker destroy another inmate. It was sort of like Hannibal in "Silence of the Lambs". You hear how dangerous he is but then when you see him in action you realize that it is true.

Maggie Gyllenhaal was, for me, a distraction. I did not need her to be "stunning" but wow...she was actually rather unattractive. I overheard comment from a few others around me whispering the same thing. Looks aside, the character just did not come across as charming enough to seduce Bruce Wayne AND the D.A. I know it is a point of argument, but it was something that pulled me out of the movie. I have never had a womans bad looks do that in a movie before.
 

Tim Glover

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Wow, then. That wasn't my initial thoughts...but that certainly makes it more complex and even richer if that is indeed the case. In the shock of it all seeing R's fate, I kind of fuzzed over a little.

Eventhough the character of Rachel is not one for the ages, I was really caught off guard with her fate. Really was. And I can't explain why it affected me so much. No doubt that is a reason why I felt the events following had a slight "tacked on" feel and a tad too long? Hmm...the next viewing with the hype/shock/misconceptions removed, one can better enjoy the actual screenplay.

Good discussion fellas. One of the many reasons I enjoy the HTF.
 

Carlos_E

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Chuck:

Thanks for the quick responses.

Can you remember if any of the hospital scenes (when the Joker visits Two Face) were in IMAX format?
 

Chuck Mayer

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I'm certain the final hospital scene is in IMAX (the walk away and the explosive finale). I am pretty certain the interior scenes aren't.
 

Carlos_E

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Chuck:

That hospital explosion is HUGE. I cant imagine what it looks like in IMAX.

Which brings me to my next question:

Has anybody already actually seen The Dark Knight in both a conventional movie theater and the IMAX theater. Please tell us about your experiences in both locations.


I have only seen the movie in a conventional movie theater. And the movie has impacted me like few movies have. I cant wait to see this in an IMAX theater.

Carlos
 

Zack Gibbs

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What's up with all the "Maggie Gyllenhall was ugly" comments? She might not be a supermodel, but last time I checked there was a long way between ugly and supermodel. Have we actually reached a point where "normal" people can't have parts in serious movies for fear of being too ugly?



Anyone want to post pictures of their wife/girlfriend for comparison?
 

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