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Well, I thought that was tremendous; a dark meditation on the effects of Batman's existence on his environment. The special effects are great, the direction and camera work are superb, but what carries the film is the acting, and the central commanding performance is Heath Ledger's Joker, magnetic, horrible, fascinating, makes what could have been a painfully silly storyline into a mesmerising carnival of terror. The other stars are great too; I thought at first that Christian Bale was a bit subdued as Batman, but I came around to him in the end. Everyone else has seen this by now, so I'll add that I was pretty impressed that they killed off a major character half way through - that really shows that all bets are off. Sorry, WALL-E, you were very cute but this will get my Hugo vote.

(I guess there is room for some debate as to whether or not Dark Knight is actually science fiction. But if it has made the shortlist, it is eligible for the Hugo, and it certainly feels sfnal to me.)


( 21 comments — Leave a comment )
Jun. 11th, 2009 03:22 pm (UTC)
I did wonder what you'd think of it in regards to sci-fi. When I saw your post that it was up for the Hugo, I was mildly confused, but I see why it could be near future sci-fi, the boundries of the possible, as it were.

With this and Iron Man coming out in the same year, it was interesting to see the different ways you can do a comic book film.
Jun. 11th, 2009 03:22 pm (UTC)
I think Bale did a very good job of holding back and letting Ledger's Joker steal the film, and I think the film is all the better for that.
Jun. 11th, 2009 05:16 pm (UTC)
Yes; I was more surprised that the ostensible title character was subdued than critical of the film for that aspect, and I agree that it turns into one of the film's many good points.
Jun. 11th, 2009 03:38 pm (UTC)
It is, ultimately, a super(anti-?)hero movie. It has science fiction levels of technology and the whole phone thing is definitely sci-fi, I think it counts without an issue.
Jun. 11th, 2009 03:58 pm (UTC)
My favorite part of Dark Knight was that it actually addressed (more or less) the issue of state monopoly on force in a world with masked vigilantes. Of course the solution, law enforcement that will pretend to hunt the vigilante while accepting his help, was a bit pat, but it's still a better take on the issue than Frank Miller's, where a hero with his devoted mob rides in on a horse to restore order when the corrupt civil government is unable to actually govern.
Jun. 11th, 2009 04:12 pm (UTC)
This is, as I wrote elsewhere, one of the few movies I can honestly say was a good movie and I enjoyed watching it, and I will never watch it again. Seldom can you manage to ride the Too Dark edge so precisely.

I'm not in the Hugo Voting so that doesn't matter to me, but it would not win my top spot under any circumstances, let alone in a year which had so many top contenders. (with my actual favorite being dissed by all but one significant official reviewer)
Jun. 11th, 2009 05:00 pm (UTC)
I am almost completely with you on the 'never watch again', except to note that Watchmen takes that spot for me.

Hmm, and out of curiosity (you don't have to answer), which was your actual favourite?
Jun. 11th, 2009 05:38 pm (UTC)
I haven't seen Watchmen, so it may be in that category as well.

Speed Racer was my number-one film of that year.
Jun. 11th, 2009 05:49 pm (UTC)

(The only review I recall seeing of it was quite complimentary, so I'll consider you as confirmation. Annoyingly, it disappeared from the cinema before we got round to it.)
Jun. 11th, 2009 07:55 pm (UTC)
It is one of, if not THE, only movie(s) that I literally cannot think of a thing to change in. And the final battle -- I use that word advisedly -- is one of the most uplifting, tears-to-the-eyes sequences I have ever watched, despite the undoubted kitsch and totally unbelievable technology and retina-burning colors (which are absolutely 100% necessary).

It's also one of only four movies I can remember which seems to feature an actually overall FUNCTIONAL family that focuses on BEING a family and supporting each other even if they aren't all 100% on the same page all the time (just like real families). Most movie and TV families range from the broken to the dysfunctional to the out-and-out psychotic.
Jun. 11th, 2009 07:56 pm (UTC)
Get the DVD and play it on the largest-screen TV you can find.
Jun. 11th, 2009 06:39 pm (UTC)
A wise choice. (It was mine too.)
Jun. 11th, 2009 07:56 pm (UTC)
That makes three or four of us (the one professional reviewer who ranked it highly was the guy for TIME magazine).
Jun. 11th, 2009 11:26 pm (UTC)
I'm a motorsports fan, so I really liked the back story (and yes, I was imagining Bernie Ecclestone everytime Royalton made an appearance.) and the race details.
Jun. 12th, 2009 12:59 pm (UTC)
The backstory was necessary to make the movie work, too. You had to create a world in which Extreme Auto Racing made sense as the World Sport.

I looked up the actor for Royalton, and it seems that the poor (or possibly lucky) guy has NEVER PLAYED A GOOD GUY. Ever. He showed up recently on Ashes to Ashes playing a crusading police commissioner, and as soon as I saw him I said "Royalton? He's gotta be dirty!". And sure enough, end of episode, we find out he's as corrupt as they get.
Jun. 12th, 2009 12:02 am (UTC)
They've obviously tried to address the terrorism vs. counter-terrorism vs. civil rights dillemas, but imho it was bit too straightforward.

I liked the Watchmen better

Edited at 2009-06-12 12:04 am (UTC)
Jun. 12th, 2009 02:51 am (UTC)
Children of Men also kills a significant character way before you expect, which makes you think all bets are off, which is great. Unfortunately it turns out that was the only bet that was off and all other bets are pretty much on. Good movie though.
Jun. 12th, 2009 09:36 am (UTC)
It feels sfnal to me, too; I guess I think of it as taking place in some sort of parallel universe. I certainly wouldn't complain if it won the Hugo.
Jun. 13th, 2009 03:29 pm (UTC)
If I could have heard half of what Heath Ledger was saying it would have been great!
Jun. 13th, 2009 03:45 pm (UTC)
Maybe one of the few advantages of my crappy MP4 player - this wasn't a problem for me!
Jun. 13th, 2009 04:28 pm (UTC)
I must get one of those then!

My favorite bit of the movie (neglecting the Ledger dialogue that I could not hear) was the con on one of the two ferries doing the decent thing. Very nice.

Personally, I felt Harvey Dent's post accident face was a little too much - CGI is all well and good, but credulity can only take so much...
( 21 comments — Leave a comment )

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