Monday, July 21, 2008

The Night is Dark Before Dawn...

21st July 2008, Monday

At this juncture, Foo had caught perhaps the best movie of 2008 twice and clearly lobbied the idea that Christopher Nolan is his favorite director..period...

Though it might seems like words spluttered out of impulse with the new Batman featured film, "The Dark Knight", the sequel to 2005, "Batman Begins" surely drew superlatives and praises from all over from critics to hardcore Batman fanboys to casual movie-goers.

The huge blockbuster (already oust "Spider'McGuire Can't Dance'man 3"'s record for opening weekend for a superhero flick and recuperated much of the $180 million budget for Warner Brothers) began their viral advertisement for a year or so with Foo religiously feeding me with the updates over the course.
Batman fans who were impressed with a previously-unknown director of cult classic, Memento, Chris Nolan's take of the cape crusader 3 years back had be anticipating its sequel as some awaits the next Superman film.
Of course Heath Ledger's premature passing after completion of his part for this film drew alot of attentions as people are already drawing accolades for the 28 year old's protrayal of Batman's greatest foe, The Joker.
Edison Chen, who had a good 15 seconds of speaking role as "LSI VP" might had fueled more unwanted publicity for this film with his sex scandal.

As the name implied "The Dark Knight" tells the story of how Batman, a much maligned vigilante crimefighter of Gotham was a dark knight who citizens are willing to blame when things go wrong as compared to Gotham's true white knight, assistant district attorney, Harvey Dent.
"Dark" is also the theme of this film which makes "Batman Begins" look like "Enchanted"....

While Harvey went on a personal agenda to bring down the mafia rings of Gotham, enlisting the help of Lt. James Gordan and Batman's help along the way, the mafia got their own "messiah" in a freak they called The Joker.
The Joker promised to take down the mafia's number one pain in the neck, Batman and ensured the mafia leaders like Sal Maroni would not be pinned down by Dent's jurisdiction.
The reward half of the mafia's "black money" but eventually we knew it was his true interest is to cross sword with the Dark Knight as he mentioned "complete him".
So The Joker truly gave the city the villain they had craved for, creating mayhem and fear throughout Gotham, killing the polic commissioner, the chief justice and attempt to even silence the mayor as well as making the police unit an uncertain place as Jim couldn't trust anyone who had the possibility to be corrupted.

It supposed to be a superhero affair and Nolan did gave us Batman with his long line of cool gadgets like the sonar-detection mobile phones, a Bat suit which is more nifty and a cool Batpod ejected from the Rumbler.
However Nolan also played with mind games and true detective stuff as Bob Kane had always projected Batman to be.
It was such tracing accounts which led Batman, Dent, Gordon and co. huffing and puffing all about that really set the mood for the film, keeping us to our toes, cannot anticipate what would happen next.
Some people drew parallel of Ledger's Joker to Hannibal Lector and indeed both are scarily brilliant to visualize their way to kill people or to attain their motives, totally void of humanity.
But the Joker is much more scarier with the fact that he truly utilizes the mafia's power and resources to a greater extent, doing more damage and creating more mayhem.

Kudos for the great script and overall mood Nolan had created and was aptly aided by Hans Zimmer's haunting soundtrack.

In the end behind a great script, wonderful cinematography, intricate backdrop and costume and riveting background music, if there wasn't a great cast to realize Nolan's vision it would be deemed to nothing and surely I must say none of this ensemble disappoint even the corrupted Sgt. Ramirez, news anchorman Mike Engel and Gordon's young son....

Batman took a backseat this time round I felt for his nemesis as well as his rival in love, Harvey Dent but Christian Bale once again let his presence felt on the set in front or behind the mask.

Aaron Eckhart might not be in the mold for a super villain but he surely did it good as a tragic "white knight of justice" drew to the edge of sanity by a madman.

Mrs Cruise felt she is too big for the set so in came Jake Gyllenhal's younger sister, I last seen in "The Secretary".
Maggie surely didn't fare as well for looks but she is much less a "damsel in distress" persona and we empathize with why Bruce Wayne is still so smitten by her and in such grief over her tragic death.

Gary Oldman, Michael Caine & Morgan Freeman returned as the 3 wise old men in Batman's life as Lt./ Commissioner James Gordon, butler Aflred Pennyworth and CEO of Wayne Corporation & inventor Lucius Fox respectively. While Oldman totally immersed into the heroic policeman, the wise words and classy acting by the latter 2 surely up the production value of this film itself.

Supporting cast member including Eric Roberts as mafia leader, Sal Maroni, & Singapore actor Ng Chin Han as Hong Kong businessman Lau who launder the mafia's money from Gotham didn't fare badly from their more well-known counterparts.
Fans of "Lost", "Prison Break" and old World Wrestling Federation might find some familiar faces hidden in the mdst as well.

But the star of it all, the late Heath Ledger.
Alright not because we are now waxing lyrical because of his unfortunate passing nor it took on the most daunting role last portrayed by the great Jack Nicholson and voted one of the greatest super villain ever.
In fact I felt Heath just done his part as the psychotic madman as if he was born into the role.
He executed it with such ease and didn't seem to hold it back or over exaggerate himself with devious laughters or what not.
Many claimed his death was due to the fact that months of researching and sinking deep in The Joker persona had proved too macabre for him.
But he surely left it on the high and truly deserve all the accolades being bestowed.

All in all it was a great 153 minutes to savor (for Foo might be the 3rd time soon) and for me surely the best movie since the Lord of the Ring Trilogy...
Will Nolan, Bale and gang come back for a 3rd installment, well we sure will salivate over such possbility...wouldn't we?

Japanese word of the day: 暗い (Dark) Thank god we ditch Joel Schumacher and his outrageous colorful rendition of a great superhero franchise



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