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[personal profile] alexeye
we saw a late show of batman begins last night.

i think it suffered from two major problems - a director who had no idea how to manage a production that size, and a story that included everything but the kitchen sink. they packed the cast with really fun and quirky actors, but gave none of them scenes with anyone but bale or holmes (gary oldman spent most of the film talking to himself), and the only one with any kind of 3d character was caine/alfred. b told me that the "league of shadows" plot was actually part of the original comic myth, but i thought it was poorly handled, especially all of the ambiguously "asian" stuff. murphy/the scarecrow could have been a really fun villain, but from the moment they introduced him, they said quite clearly that he was only a minion, so it detracted from much of the force he could have carried as a conduit of pure fear. the movie paid lip service to batman putting himself between the elite and the disenfranchised, but we saw only two actually disenfranchised characters, and the movie undermined this message by killing everyone in "the narrows" after all.

and what's up with a machine that turns all water into gas, but doesn't kill human beings who are primarily composed of water?

Date: 2005-06-20 03:18 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
last night i was too tired to be annoyed, but this morning my pique at nolan is out in full force. he had so many strong pieces to work with: a huge budget, a stellar cast (all the members of whom come off entirely clean in my eyes - ain't their fault they had such a crap script!), a solid design team, a ready-made audience, and all the hype the film could ever want. yet a total inability to handle all the potential he had in front of him must've been too much for nolan to handle, because 'batman begins' is a really, really bad film.

what a downer.

but it's a testament to the searing, burning OH DEAR GOD MY EYES hotness of bale and murphy that i was able to enjoy their performances so much in the midst of all the crappiness.

Date: 2005-06-20 03:27 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile]

Date: 2005-06-20 04:23 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
hahahahaha!!!!! i haven't even seen the movie yet but I KNOW that is all I'm going to be able to think when cruise's zombie girl is on the screen.

Date: 2005-06-20 04:33 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
it's true. the media blitz has totally ruined any suspension of disbelief.

Date: 2005-06-20 04:38 pm (UTC)
From: [personal profile] kumquatmay
oh, I disagree, I loved the movie, and thought it was so much truer to the spirit of Batman's genesis than the Tim Burton movies ever were. Not to mention it didn't have the insane amount of plotholes the Spider-Man movies did.

The thing about Batman is that he is so very lost, and his whole "superhero"ness is all internal and psychological. He is the only big superhero who really creates himself, rather than is created (through a radioactive spider bite, crash landing on earth, etc. etc.) The fact that he doesn't have superpowers, and is in fact, just a vigalante, gives him much more psychological depth. I also felt that Christian Bale did a wonderful job as the only 3-dimensional Batman. He had actual motivations, and was a real character.

Of all the comic book movies, I found this one to be truest to the original story and characters, not only in the script and storywriting, but in the treatment of the whole world--this is the most realistic comic movie, as Batman is the most realistic superhero, in that it's a hell of a lot more plausible for a kid who sees his parents shot in front of him to turn into a psychologically damaged vigiante, than it is to get bit by a radioactive spider and suddenly have spidey senses.

His origin in the comics is that he leaves society bascially to kill himself or find himself, and ends up becoming a student of the martial arts. The League of Shadows and Ras al Goul stories are some of the most epic villians and huge in the comics, and I felt they used them in a much better way than every other comic movie does: at least here it's not so focused on the rotating cast of villains Batman must defeat. Plus it sets the stage for Ras Al Goul's daughter Talia to come into the sequel--now she's a fabulous 3-D character who is immensely sympathetic and one of the strongest women written into comics.

(they didn't kill everyone in the Narrows. They drove them all insane and then released the criminally insane of Harkum into the general population. Not really much better in the grand scheme of things, but it does establish why in Later Gotham, there are so many lunatics running around town calling themselves things like the Joker and the Riddler.)

Date: 2005-06-20 05:00 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
i meant to imply that i thought the supporting characters were very flat and gave the actors very little to do - bale did well with his character, and there was enough attention paid to his development that you could actually see some change through the duration of the film.

i don't think they made the situation in the narrows very clear at the end, and while what you describe certainly makes sense in the overall arc of the batman myth, i felt that the way the movie delt with that episode was very, very weak.

you know a lot more than i do about the background of the batman myth, and i think you make some really excellent points, but i really felt disappointed by the movie.

Date: 2005-06-20 05:32 pm (UTC)
From: [personal profile] kumquatmay
yeah, that makes sense with the secondary characters. I agree, I wish there had been more of Gordon--got to love Gary Oldman, and he's such a powerful actor who could have had so much more to do.

It's really interesting what about the movie didn't play well to the non-Batman backstory folks, because it's so different from what didn't play well to the hard core fanatics.
(deleted comment)

Date: 2005-06-20 08:32 pm (UTC)
From: [personal profile] kumquatmay
I don't really see that I was getting arguementative? So I'm sorry if it came off that way.

I don't think I ever said that all batman fans gravitated to the movie, and all non-fans hated it--and I certainly don't think that's the truth.

I should have been more clear: it was interesting to me see the persepective and opinion of a non-batman fan who did not already know the story of Ras Al Goul and who had not been steeped in the lore since childbirth. The other people I've talked to the movie about happened to be giant batman freaky fans who are chomping at the bit for Talia to show up already, and also happened to like the movie. I really don't think that you should have to know the backstory of a character in order to like a movie about them, I mean, way to limit your audience! And it's interesting to see how much the backstory does or does not play into the movie audience's take on the film as a whole.

Date: 2005-06-20 08:37 pm (UTC)
From: [personal profile] kumquatmay
(gah, I wish we could edit comments!)

anyway, I left this bit out. what I'd said was:
"It's really interesting what about the movie didn't play well to the non-Batman backstory folks, because it's so different from what didn't play well to the hard core fanatics."

and I still think that's true. What may play well to non-backstory people may not play well to backstory people. I think it's partially the classic comic movie dilemma--change something about the character/mythos as established in the comics, and diehard fans tend to get PISSED, even if it makes for a better story, character, film, etc. Don't change it, and you may end up with a film/story/character that is problematic for non-fans. Leave room for personal opinons, and voila, a hell of a time for the director, if you ask me.

Date: 2005-06-21 05:14 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
and what's up with a machine that turns all water into gas, but doesn't kill human beings who are primarily composed of water?
Whoa, whoa, whoa, whoa, whoa, whoa....WATER?!@!?

Date: 2005-06-21 05:35 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
of course, in a gravel-based biological system, the film would have made perfect sense.

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