archive: July 2008

Heath Ledger as the Joker

Heath Ledger as the Joker

I saw The Dark Knight (IMDb) on opening “early morning” at midnight (12:01am) and I have already seen it a second time. I plan on seeing it at least one more time at an IMAX theater. I was very bit impressed with with Heath Ledger performance of one of my favorite villains.

When ever I watch Batman on television, all other villains just bore because they are mundane and have no fun. The Joker is crazy and funny at the same time. Jack Nickolson’s performance of the Joker in the original Batman film was good at the time. But this performance of Heath’s is just amazing. Not only does he capture the meaning and style of the Joker, he really does become one with the character. Along with that, Nolan used an IMAX camera for the four action scenes that are in the film.

When it comes to characters in the new series of Batman movies directed by Christopher Nolan, everyone has played their role successfully that you believe that the characters are real people. I think the only exception to the fact was Katie Homes version of Rachel Dawes in Batman Begins.

The full review is below… and if you have not seen this movie do not read it yet. It is worth to see the movie without any knowledge of what happens.

The first sequence of the movie I saw during the I Am Legend IMAX opening at the IMAX theater. It was a majestic bank robbery scene, were in the open sequence you see the Joker and his croonies hit a mob bank.

As the robbery goes on – in classic sequence – we get to see how he plans these crazy heists, even down to to taking out his own croonies. We even get to see William Fichtner play the bank manager take out one croonie. In the end, he is gassed to death by the Joker.

Next we open up to a small action sequence were we see our hero for the first time of the movie taking out the return of the Scarecrow (which was really cool cameo) and some “Batman Copycats”. Next we learn the Wayne Manor has yet to be rebuilt so we come to an underground cavern and learn that Fox (Morgon Freeman) fully knows Bruce is Batman.

Our first glimpse to Harvey Dent (Aaron Eckhart) and his famous coin come into play in the court room trying to put away the new drug kingpin. Things get out of hand and we move right along in the movie with Gordon and Dent, taking about the Batman “unofficial” status. They even go off on the Batman floodlight.  Etc. happens and we get to see a nice dinner between Bruce, Rachel, and Dent at Bruce restaurant.

Next part is a mob meeting. Were we see the mob meet as discusses certain things. This is the scene in which we get full glimpse to Heath as the Joker as he interrupts the meeting with an idea to “Kill the Batman”. He wants “half” of the entire mob fortune. Gamble gets really pissed off and in classic Joker style the Joker makes it really impossible for them to kill him and hands him a Joker card as his “business card”. Gamble even puts a bounty of the Joker: $500,000 – dead, $1,000,000 – alive.

Comments 4

Commenting is now closed

Something that is also very interesting to see is that Shawshank Redemption is still in second place, leaving the Godfather in third, something that pleases me greatly. I never liked the Godfather.

On to the Dark Knight. I liked it a lot, Heath Ledger stole the show of course (and I’m sure he would have gotten almost just as many compliments for his acting if he was alive still), but it wasn’t perfect.
One scene that was pretty useless for example was when Gordon “died”. I knew that they wouldn’t kill him off so when he returned it didn’t surprise me at all.
I LOVED the intro scene with the bank robbery. “I’m supposed to kill the bus driver”. Excellent!

Thanks for the reading!

I’m not going to say this film sucks because it doesn’t. I’m also not going to say it is great because it isn’t. This is a solid 4 star film that is good. But, that is where it ends.

It is not the be all and end all of Batman films. It does not, I repeat does not, beat Tim Burton’s Batman from 1989. Jack IS the Joker. He is Mr. Kirby’s 1st, and only, choice to play the Joker. Not Heath, not the guy down the street. Jack. It ends there.

Michael Keaton did an incredible job at Batman. Could he have been better yes but Burton’s Batman is a dark, comedic, and enjoyable film. The Prince song for the parade needs to be removed but other than that it is solid.

Heath is a good actor. He played a nice Joker. But, he did not play the best Joker. His Joker is psychotic. It is the darkest incarnation seen on film. Those are good. But, his Joker is not funny. The Joker, in comics, is dark and psychotic. But he is also funny. He revels in the disorder and does so in a comedic way. The reveling may be there, I’d argue against that for most of the film, but the comedic way is lost. I’m not talking a funny Joker. I’m talking one who makes the disorder fun.

In Batman 1989 the desecration in the museum is a prime example of this. The Joker and his henchmen are destroying priceless works of art. They are wrecking havoc and spreading disorder. He is psychotic and he makes the destruction hilarious for himself, the other characters, and the viewer. That is missing from The Dark Knight.

Also, there are two further issues. First, the husky Batman voice needs to go. Batman Begins is arguably the worst Batman film of all time period. In that film Batman doesn’t speak much so the husky voice, although a nuisance, is not an issue of dire consequences. In Dark Knight he speaks…at length in the horrendous husky voice. Make it stop.

In the conclusion, if we can call it that, a lot of plot lines are left in the air unresolved. Some number of them is expected for a potential continuation. Why they’d kill of Two-Face and keep the Joker plot available after the creators knew of Heath’s death is beyond me. I’d call that a bad move. But there are a lot of secondary plots left unresolved such as the ferries.

Once viewers get past all the hooplah, the lunatic rantings from the liberal New York Times, and the misguided notions of fanboys lashing out at the past I firmly believe that time no history will show this film for what it really is. A decent entertainment venture that will not stand the test of time. I paid to see it once but I’ll never do so again.

The elitist Hollywood buy-in almost guarantees absurd awards for this film but that doesn’t mean mainstream America should be duped into agreeing.

As with comics, movies offer different interpretations of notable characters, such as the Joker, Batman, or Two Face.

I would have no respect for Christian Bale had he merely echoed the performances of the Batmans that came before him, right on down to (Quahog Mayor) Adam West. Same goes for Joker: I enjoyed both Jack Nicholson’s and Heath Ledger’s interpretations of the character.

i have no problem with Bale’s gravel-like voice when he’s in Batman mode. Obviously, he’s not going to speak like Bruce Wayne when he’s in Batman mode.

As for the ferries… we knew they didn’t blow themselves up, so why people throw that one out there for further elaboration is beyond me. Would we like some hackneyed cut scenes of them jumping for joy that they’re not fish food? It’s as pointless as the scene at the end of Family Guy: Blue Harvest when Biggs (Joe Swanson) hands Luke (Chris Griffin) a sandwich after the Battle of Yavin. (I am cognizant of the fact that the “sandwich gag” was deliberately pointless—but it was pointless, and spoofed the pointlessness of such lapses in the screenwriter’s judgment.)

Now, on the other hand, is the film the greatest film of all frakking time? I’m not pretentious enough to even go down that road yet.

It was an enjoyable film. I’d have no problem seeing it again on the big screen. It is reflective of our time, where villains and superheroes with cocky humor have become increasingly cliche. (I’m lookin’ at you Hellboy and Iron Man. Yeah, that’s right, I’m lookin’.)