Sunday, December 28, 2008

The Dark Night Of The Soul aka I Eat My Words

In the long, dark hours of the soul, ie. between 2.30am and 3.30am, I was trawling through my archive, and to my utter surprise, found this:

Strange, but I don't even remember writing it. This was back in December of last year, back when I was still very highly sceptical of The Dark Knight because of the ridiculous viral marketing that was going on. I had thought, if they need to plug it so much, then it can't be a good film. So I decided to make fun of it.

Now, I must eat my words!

Yes, I love The Dark Knight and think it's the best Hollywood film this year. I've just acquired the two-disc special edition DVD and was bowled over by it all over again two days ago. Now, looking back at those "questions," a few stand out like a sore thumb.
5. What's the big deal about The Joker anyway? Isn't Heath's just a carbon copy of Jack Nicholson's seminal performance?

Boy, could that be any further from the truth.
6. Doesn't the way The Joker stand in the middle of the street aiming a gun at Bats on wheels remind you of Tim Burton's version where The Joker stands in the middle of the street aiming a gun at Bats on wings?

OK, this one still stands. I suspect it's Christopher Nolan's homage to Tim Burton.
7. Doesn't Heath's "maniacal laugh" sound exactly the same as Nicholson's?

In some of the scenes, yes. But now, I think Heath's laugh is much more menacing.
8. Could they ever top Danny Elfman's wonderful score?

My God, they actually did. In that other entry below, I've already mentioned how the minimal and understated score of The Dark Knight is so effective, using sounds rather than an actual, full-blown score.

So, now I've come full circle. And I realised why The Dark Knight works so well and is a superb and appropriate follow-up to Batman Begins. It's because the story is bigger and more complex; the filmmakers smartly focused on getting a bigger story right, before any other considerations. Compare that to say, Spider-Man 2 or X-Men 2, where the main idea was to provide bigger special effects, bigger action sequences, which ultimately becomes boring. But The Dark Knight resonates and resonates for a long time.

Too bad the extras on the DVD, especially the making-of documentary, isn't quite as spiffy as the movie. There are tonnes of stuff about the special effects, gadgets, action sequences and stunts, and a whole lot more about IMAX. But where's the stuff about the acting, the story development, etc?

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