Today marks exactly 1 month before what I believe is the most highly anticipated movie of the year. I loved Speed Racer, I’m anxiously awaiting the release of the X-Files 2movie, and Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince is due out the end of this year, but this easily trumps them all. Please put your hand together and get your geek on for The Dark Knight.
Most of the original cast is back (in case you’ve been hiding under a rock somewhere), with the exception of Katie Holmes, and you can send me all the hate mail you like, but I say GOOD RIDDANCE. She was the weakest link for me in Batman Begins and hearing she’d been replaced by a far more competent actress came as good tidings. (Once again, in case you’ve been hiding under that notorious rock) Maggie Gyllenhaal(Stranger than Fiction) will do us the honors of playing Rachel Dawes, Bruce Wayne’s sorta love interest.
But what’s the real draw for most?
I’ve been following Dark Knight news since Batman Begins, and never did I feel more confusion in my life than when I first heard Heath Ledger would be playing the Joker. Eeeeh? 10 Things I Hate About You teen heart throb, Brokeback cowboy playing one of the most memorable and terrifying villains of our time? Either, A) Christopher Nolan got bribed or went looney, or B) Heath gave him such a fantastic audition there was no way he could cast anyone else.
I think B was the correct answer. I remember seeing the initial promo pics and preview and thinking, that’s Heath?! I think we’ll be in for a real pleasant surprise. Unfortunately a lot more draw to the movie is without a doubt circling around Heath’s untimely death. I have to admit, at least a small part of me is eager to see this Joker that could fatally wound his actor.
The basic plot from IMDB(I mean other than villain threatens city, Batman defeats villain and saves city):
Batman raises the stakes in his war on crime. With the help of Lieutenant Jim Gordon and District Attorney Harvey Dent, Batman sets out to dismantle the remaining criminal organizations that plague the city streets. The partnership proves to be effective, but they soon find themselves prey to a reign of chaos unleashed by a rising criminal mastermind known to the terrified citizens of Gotham as The Joker.
For those of you who are only familiar with Batman via movies, the Joker is THE VILLAIN. Sure, Batman has some other enemies that are interesting and terrifying, but this one pwn’d them all. I think something else most will go into this movie with is “can he be better than Jack Nicholson?” I may be casting my vote early, but I’m going to give it a big fat “without a doubt.” (By the way, the material Christopher Nolan gave Heath Ledger as his inspiration was The Killing Joke comic.)
No! No one can beat Jack, you might say. Well, I think Mark Hamill already did in Batman:TAS as the Joker. To be honest, I didn’t care about or think much of the Joker until Batman:TAS (and a little later for me, comics). [And as a side note, didn’t think much of Michael Keaton either–it’s Kevin Conroy who’s Batman for me.] I guess I just don’t get this Jack Nicholson obsession over the Joker, probably because no one else has really done the Joker live action before or anyone’s better than Cesar Romero.
Point being: Heath’s gonna trump them all.
I’m the type of person who will go to a movie just to see a preview. (Come on, you all know that most of you did it for Episode I, despite how the movie turned out). So when I heard 6 minutes of The Dark Knight would be on the front of IMAX I Am Legend, not caring much about the movie, I went. Of course, I Am Legend was great, especially IMAX sized, but *squeal with excitement* YEAH, DID THAT BATMAN SCENE ROCK!
And for those who don’t know, 4 of the scenes for Dark Knight, will be IMAX sized. What’s the difference? Well, usually when you see a Hollywood movie on the screen it’s like you’re watching a widescreen movie on a 4×3 TV space. It’s still big, but there’s space not being used. When you go see Dark Knight, for those four scenes all the space will be used.
Why is that cool? The point with IMAX is your peripheral vision is covered better, so it’ll be like you’re right there with Bats and the Joker. OK, so maybe I am geeking out over this a bit, but c’mon! Don’t we thrive on the fact that bigger is better? At least some of the time?
IMAX will be worth it. If you’ve got IMAX near you, go there. Period.
[CAUTION: The following may cause some to wet themselves with excitement]
The last of my geeking out in this post has to do with something very, very cool, especially for the animation addicts like myself. I give you Batman: Gotham Knight. There are six episodes in all on the discs, from six different Japanese anime directors, such as Hiroshi Morioka (Tsubasa Chronicles), and others who worked on films such as Akira, Evangelion, and .hack//SIGN (and one even worked on the Animatrix).
Basically, it’s like the concept for the Animatrix, except some go back to more young Bruce/Batman roots. Batman will be voiced by Kevin Conroy which should be a delight to Bruce Timm Batman fans, and we’ll even hear from Will Friedle (Terry McGinnis in Batman Beyond) and Andrea Romano (famous DC Animated Universe voice director, just another little treat for those who’ve followed any DCAU shows). Bruce Timm (basically DCAU king, Batman:TAS, Superman Doomsday, Justice League) is one of the executive producers on the project.
This DVD releases July 8, the week before Dark Knight and is available for pre-order.
If you haven’t seen Batman Begins, you probably won’t be lost, but I think you will be losing out a little on back story. So see it. As for the rest of us, I guess we’ll count down the days and try not to build it up too much. 😉
P.S. Have you checked out Whysoserious.com ?
P.P.S. I was at Comic-Con and a guy who did voices for radio (he’s there all the time, but can’t remember his name) was telling us about when he asked Batman creator Bob Kane how he came up with the idea for the Joker. He said a lot of his inspiration for the Joker came from an old movie called The Man Who Laughs. I checked this out via Netflix. It’s a must see for any Batman fan, especially those who love the Joker. The movie is still fascinating and definitely creepy.