Things you should be looking at.

Friday, August 29, 2008

Chris Wildrick on 'Dark Knight'

I think most of the movie, I was happily carried along by the action and bravado, and more especially, the acting by the side characters, the Joker, obviously, but also Maggie Gyllenhaal and in particular Gary Oldman, who hasn't been all that good recently otherwise. Maggie and Gary were just awesome, they seemed utterly natural. In the scene where Gordon meets Dent for the first time, he looks around for a chair for a minute before he sits down, and it was just a great touch. And the Joker made some great philosophical arguments that, I think, were never refuted, which is the real problem with Batman's character. He was in a muddle, because what kind of response could he give? Actually, I think the real response wasn't to turn himself into a bad guy in the public's eye, but to become all the more of a hero in the public's eye. He needed to show that while chaos can overturn arbitrary order, it can't overturn order that is driven by a vision of heroism and sacrifice. They sort of make this point by making Dent the hero, but don't really sell it enough.

And this is my main problem. I had annoyances through the movie--the action, you're right, was just too dark and you couldn't tell what was going on. Part of the whole point of Batman is watching him kick ass, and that didn't really get satisfied. And the whole "I should turn myself in so the Joker doesn't kill anyone" thing was silly. People turned on Batman way too early, and without the movie really backing that kind of emotion up. Plus, Batman never really did any actual detective work, which, after watching him kick ass, is the second best thing about Batman. He should have been looking for the Joker instead of moping around. There was too much time spent on Bruce Wayne, who is just not a really interesting character in any comic. He's more boring than Clark Kent. Sure, in the Cult, maybe, or Dark Knight, he's got something, but not enough to hold a movie screen. But anyway, the end of the movie was the problem. Between the characters and their philosophies, I had enough hope that everything was eventually get resolved in such a way that it would all wrap up nicely. But the end was stupid. There was no point in Dent going after Gordon's family. And when Batman took on, pointlessly, the rap for Dent's murders (they could have blamed anyone), Gordon starts saying something like "he's not a hero [actually I think it was a different word, but something like that], he's a protector, a guardian, a dark knight." I don't remember exactly what he said, but it was basically a bunch of synonyms that added absolutely no new information, and made no change in his status in relation to the city.

So, yeah, over time, I have a lot of nice memories of vignettes within the movie, but not the movie as a whole.

Friday, August 22, 2008

"Get Your War On" is Animated

I was already familiar with comic strip Get Your War On:



...but I didn't know until today that there was an animated version:



More episodes here

Monday, August 18, 2008

Dr. Who 45 Year Tribute



At nearly 8 minutes, this is an epic tribute to every official story from 1963 to 2008, with the spin-off shows and BBCi internet productions & the Children In Need specials, but doesn't include any of the spoofs, comedy sketches or other charity skits not made by the official Who Production Team.

Saturday, August 16, 2008

A Brief Review of "Dark Knight"

[Contains spoilers- read at your own risk]

So I finally saw "Dark Knight."

It was a complex story with some clever writing. It was well-cast and featured excellent performances from all its principles.

Nolan's and Ledger's Joker was particularly excellent. He was spot on as an "agent of chaos." That's exactly how the character should be portrayed.

While I appreciate the movie, I think I didn't especially like it. I don't plan to get it on DVD (or even download it).

"Dark Knight" borrowed a lot of interesting elements from Frank Miller's excellent "The Dark Knight Returns," but didn't commit to Miller's vision of Batman as a bit of a fascist anti-hero. Nolan's Batman in this new film had no discernible personality or philosophy except wavering commitment to his mission- which is antithetical to ANY good interpretation of the character and even betrays the character as established in "Begins."

Again, Nolan shows that he's not good at portraying action. The car chase and the hand-to-hand combat were awkwardly choreographed and shot/edited in a way that made it difficult to follow what was happening. They way he portrayed the "sonar" thing with the cell phones was an absolute failure.

Batman deciding to cast himself as a villain so Harvey Dent could be cast as martyred hero didn't work for me. This decision serves neither of the character's major drives (to be a symbol to the righteous and a scourge to the criminal) and is, again, out of joint with the character's best incarnations (including the one in "Begins").

There was less fun...less delight...in this film than there was in Miller's "Dark Knight Returns." Being gritty doesn't mean you have to suck all the fun out of a story.

Lastly, the movie didn't really SAY anything. One could argue that it makes the statement that people will reject chaos...because the people on each boat didn't blow the other boat up...but this is so obviously removed from what people would REALLY do that it stands out as contrived, defeating the point it might've made. So what is the movie about?

Not a BAD film, but nowhere near as good as so many have made it out to be.

Saturday, August 09, 2008

Sunday, August 03, 2008

Billy Joel is the Sheriff of Nottingham

The BBC launched a new Robin Hood TV program in 2006 and I've watched a few episodes of it. It doesn't suck. Some elements remind me of Xena or Hercules...but with better writing and superior actors.

Keith Allen is wonderful as the evil Sheriff of Nottingham. Still, I keep thinking the role is being played by Billy Joel.

Keith Allen as the Sheriff of Nottingham:



Billy Joel: