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The hype's no Joke(r)
The Dark Knight (2 DVDs)
Member Name: missixty
The Dark Knight (2 DVDs)
Advantages: Just excellent, near enough flawless, thoroughly entertaining, just what entertainment should be
Disadvantages: Perhaps not everyones cup of tea, the formula will always be the same it's just done excellently her
Batman is played by Christian Bale (The Prestige) and he gives a flawless performance throughout. That said I wasn't exactly blown away. It was perfect yes, I couldn't pick any holes in it or anything I was dissatisfied with, but I didn't leave the cinema thinking wow Christian Bale was amazing. It was all more than satisfactory though. The character itself is fine, it's what you would perhaps expect from the "good guy" facing all the usual things you would expect from a story like this, but there does feel to be a little more depth here.
Whilst the obvious main character here should be Batman, I found that in fact the Joker was much more exciting. Now obviously, with the Joker being played by the late Heath Ledger, there was always going to be a lot of hype surrounding his performance in this, whether it was deserved or not. I have to say, that yes, this was a great performance by Heath Ledger, I'm not go into a big song and dance about it. Yes, for the people who knew him (not random strangers) it is sad that he died, but that has no relevance as to how he played this part. Again, like Christian Bale, the performance was flawless, but here it had a little more spark. That however could be partly down to the character. Whilst you would think Batman may be the most exciting character, I found myself looking forward to the scenes with the Joker in. He was an amazing character, very creepy and so cool to the point where I found myself almost rooting for the bad guy!!
Lieutenant James Gordon and Harvey Dent are again both great characters, played by Gary Oldman (Batman Begins) and Aaron Eckhart (The Black Dahlia) respectively. Again the performances are flawless and the characters are great. I could in fact say this about every character, as all round the cast and performances are brilliant and the characters are well written.
All the characters are great and well played, there is no room for mistakes here, everything from casting, to script writing, to make up, to directing will have all been absolutely top notch, and it shows, because there is nothing you can fault. Maggie Gyllenhaal, Morgan Freeman, and Michael Caine all have fairly large parts also, and these are also great.
There is no doubt though who the star of this show is, and that is The Joker, or Heath Ledger, depending how you are looking at it. I almost feel hesitant to say it, as so many people are hailing this as an amazing performance, but I would like to think that a lot of people would actually still think this if he was still here. I don't mean this in a heartless way, but on a personal level, I don't really care whether he's died or not, I didn't know him and I wasn't a fan before hand, so I don't think my judgement is effected here. I think it is unfair to say it's entirely down to Heath Ledger that The Joker is such a standout character; he did have a lot to work with. The scripting was great, the make up was phenomenal and no doubt a million other things we don't see behind set that made this as great as it was, but there was a certain magic whenever The Joker that hooked you right in whenever he came on screen and left you wanting more.
This film was the only film to ever top the IMDB top 250 film list within 2 days of opening, and I can safely say I never thought I would see Shawshank budged from that top spot there (not that I agree with that) but this managed it. There are T-Shirts with the Joker and Batman (the first obviously being much cooler) being sold in places like Envy (which sell cool stuff, not movie nerd stuff) and it seems Batman fever has well and truly taken over the whole country. It's quite exciting really, it's very rare a film comes out that is so huge, and that is actually worthy of all the hype.
Mostly when a movie is supposed to be great, or has a huge hype surrounding it, I end up feeling a bit deflated and let down by the end of it. This wasn't the case here, in fact it couldn't be further from it. I was literally buzzing with enjoyment throughout the film, hooked in and totally emerged in it. I left the film thinking what a great way it had been to spend the evening - to be fair my experience was made even better by going to see this in a "retro" cinema, complete with curtains coming down, intervals with ice cream sellers, popcorn you don't have to remortgage your house for, comfy seats etc - it was an all around great experience.
I really can't express how thoroughly I enjoyed this film. I felt that this film was made absolutely excellently. There was no doubt this was a big scale production. Nothing was left to chance, every fine detail was done brilliantly, leaving it hard for even the cynical to pick holes in it. It was ultra glossy and just perfect from start to finish. Even those who like to do the whole "reasons why this didn't make sense"...or "things I learned from..." threads on movie forums (which are hilarious at times), can't actually really find anything funny but true to say. It's just so well done.
I think the large audiences might have been down to four main factors all combining to want to see the same film but for different reasons. First and foremost we have the Batman fans. Secondly we have the Heath Ledger fans. Thirdly we have those with unlimited cards who go and see almost anything going. Lastly we have everyone else, who can't help but be curious about it, as it has been so widely hailed. The fact that all these people would be attracted to see it in the first place, has no doubt led to its success because once you see it, I can't imagine not liking it.
I came at it from a different perspective from the first two sets of people, who would have a perhaps more blinkered "it's great" view no matter what. As I've mentioned, I couldn't care less about Heath Ledger so that rules that group out. Secondly I'm not a Batman fan, or at least I wasn't. I'm not a comic book fan, or a superhero fan or anything like that. In fact I've probably seen less than most people I've not see the Spidermans, I've not seen Superman, and I've not seen any other Batman films. I didn't know what to expect and had no clue of any back story. I did wonder if this would hinder my enjoyment and if I wouldn't understand some of what was going on, but it was all made very clear and easy to understand early on. There was nothing confusing, and not being a superhero fan, or having any back knowledge, didn't make the slightest bit of difference. I actually enjoyed this so much it took me by surprise and has actually made me have interest in seeing other Batman films. Some things were different to how I expected, but not in a bad way.
I guess I was someone who was just curious. There was a huge hype, which usually puts me off but somehow here it managed to weave it's magic on me and weave me in. Yes, I have an Unlimited card, but these days near us, they've clearly took on more subscribers than the cinema can take and you can no longer go to the cinema, or even in fact get in the car park unless it's 8am in the morning. This means we did have to pay to see it, but it added to the experience going to a cool cinema like that. So since I did pay to see it, yes I guess I was in the curious crowd, I went in with an open mind, expecting it to either be as great as was made out, or to be something less great than that, in which case would have been an utter disappointment given the hype. I never expected it to surpass the hype.
I almost can't express how well every aspect of this film was done and how enjoyable it was. I would urge anyone to see it at the cinema whilst they still can, as I think it is in it's element there but even when it does come out on DVD (which will be scarily soon these days) the film is amazing and will still be utterly enjoyable from start to finish then. If you must wait for the DVD, lower the lights, put the surround sound on, and make some popcorn - this one is one to experience, not just watch. Then sit back, and let the magic take hold.
Summary: What an experience!