Thursday, August 07, 2008

THE DARK KNIGHT [2 more reviews]

The Dark Knight
by Mark Earl Yap
Radioactive Culture
[reviewed 07-20-08]
9.0 of 10
Directed by Christopher Nolan
Starring: Christian Bale, Heath Ledger, Aaron Eckhart.
Caveat: Spoilers Ahead.

I wasn't lucky enough to catch The Dark Knight last Friday. It's just so hard to get tickets here in my area. I assume it's because the movie was mostly filmed here in Chicago. Of course, it was Heath Ledger's last film as well. But that's all behind me now since I saw it earlier this morning, and all I can say about it: awesome but unfocused.

It was everything I hoped it to be, the film was terrific. It's dark, ominous, and dirty. It portrayed Gotham and Batman with realism. Although the plot became a bit of a drag in earlier parts, it's engaging and chaotically fun in its entirety. So why do I say it's unfocused? Well, there's just too many characters and things going on in the film.

First, there's The Joker. Heath Ledger, I'm afraid, played him too damn good. Too good that he stole the whole show. He's psychotic, sadistic and anarchistic but still retains a wicked sense of humor. His mannerism, the way he licks his lips, made him even more sinister and memorable. Every scene I remember from the film was The Joker's, not Batman's. But since The Joker is the other half of Batman, it's okay for him to take half of the spotlight.

In addition, Harvey Dent also stole a bit of the spotlight from Batman. Bruce Wayne, weary of wearing the mantle of Batman, wanted to pass the torch to Dent as Gotham's unmasked hero. So he downplayed Batman's role and put much more importance in Dent's achievement. But it was later in the film, when his Two-Face persona emerged, that he really became a minor nuisance to me. I just felt that Two-Face kind of splintered from the main plot and became a minor story arc in the film.

Overall, The Dark Knight is a sterling comics-to-film adaptation. The plot is great. Heath Ledger's take on The Joker is exemplary. Batman's getting more mature and learning to do what is necessary. I would watch it again if I could. I would've given it a perfect 10 if not for the film having two villains. It was just too small to contain two baddies in one movie. Especially if the other one is as big as The Joker.

by Jinki Beldia
rating: 5 stars
[reviewed: 07-22-08]

Here's one from a self-confessed dunce when it comes to anything Batmanish. Weeks before the showing of The Dark Night, the boys could not stop talking about it. As usual, I would be flipping the Life and Arts pages of Financial Times, partly refusing to listen to the all-nighter gabfest, and partly (honestly!) not understanding half the things they were saying. I should say I was not at all thrilled by what I knew I would see on the boys' itinerary for the month, and yet I was well aware that when it would be time to flip the coin, I would (once again) lose my chance to choose the movie for the weekend. You see, it's always boys versus girls in the house. If you do the math, you know those mommah feel good movies have very little chance in making it to the movies-for-the-month list. Boys versus girls. My other selves never back me up on this area.

It was a queue that ended at the other side of the planet. Plus, the ticket prices would have left me half paralyzed if not for Cole's beautiful smiling face, promising me heaven and earth and no more hiding when it's study time. These promises would usually last for 30 minutes after the movie but this time...the Dark Night effect continues to be potent.

Joker to Batman: "You complete me". Now I get it.

This has been the most human Batman has ever been presented with the psychotic side of him flaunted, perfectly matching that of Joker's. Heath Ledger, I must insist, was born to embody this character that would leave you hating and loving, but mostly loving, it. The Batman-Joker-Gordon triumvir was huge. The first few minutes into the movie did not require me to know which character to like, which one to ditch, which one to simply ignore.

It was riproaring, and for a non-Bat like me, it sure had a welcoming effect. Gotham was more real this time. I have always had the penchant for Dark City but Gotham had always failed to thrill me for the past 32 years of my life. That's something about me that continues to puzzle Alex (that and 30 million other things about me).

Perhaps if Gotham would still be this real the next time another Bat would hit town, I would already be confessing eternal love for it.

Ledger nailed it. Bale nailed it. Nolan most definitely nailed it. I'm in love.

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