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Awake In The Dark
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Old June 19th, 2005, 09:50 PM   #16
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I agree that the rapid cuts and closeups in the fighting scenes actually made them less exciting. It seemed kind of lazy. Still, I thought it was the best Batman movie yet in most ways, but then I never much liked the franchise to begin with. I did think the bad guy's nefarious plot was overly complicated. One other thing, in the sylized world of the Tim Burton version, Batman seemed to fit right in. But whenever they showed Christian Bale in his rubber gettup, all I could think was how silly he looked. And why he did he talk like Ed Sullivan whenever he did the scary batman voice?
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Old June 19th, 2005, 09:54 PM   #17
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Oh yeah, I liked how they handled the backstory on "Where does he get those marvelous toys?". Ever since I was a kid, I kinda wondered how you could get this stuff made, and not have someone know who you were. I figured there must have been some sort of dummy purchasing corporations and things... but I think they did a fair job of showing the logisitics of managing that aspect. Nice touch.
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Old June 20th, 2005, 12:00 AM   #18
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I had stayed away from this thread until seeing it also...

I did like the film, but strongly agree with most that the CU fast-cut fight scenes were too confusing to be effective. I thought that it would have made a fine portrayal of what a fight would seem like to someone drunk and in the middle of it - confusing and scary. But they didn't put us in the middle in any other way - I think we should have been outside observers afforded a more clear view.

Outside of the fight scenes...

I thought the script and editing in the first quarter or third were also a bit tough to follow emotionally. It seemed actually like they had shot 20-30 minutes more that had been cut to turn it in to a summer movie (and 10-20 minutes of other stuff added later in the film). I felt that we were seeing the character go through hugely powerful things before we knew him enough to really care.

Later in the film you could see the studio add-ins to the script as if they were marked by a highlighter, e.g. "cop: Can you at least tell me what it looks like? <whoooosh> Nevermind." It really degraded the character of the movie to me, but not fatally. They had nothing to do with the story or the otherwise carefully-crafted tone. But they pay the bills, right?

Spoiler-alert

I also thought the plot was needlessly obtuse. Here's the plan: Instead of shipping our chemical that no one would recognize or suspect in to the city in a regular shipping crate and releasing it into the air, let's hide it in multiple drug shipments using teddy bears, get the local mob and police involved, slowly add it to the water supply and then steal a device that turns all water in to steam (except the water in our bodies) and put that on a train and drive it through the city evaporating the water. And just to make sure we get away with it, lets train everyone involved to be ninjas - because that will help us. Even by action movie standards that's bad. It is a testament to the strength of the portrayal of the emotional journey that the plot didn't kill the movie.

Anyway, that's my .02.
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Old June 20th, 2005, 02:25 PM   #19
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I got to see the movie Saturday night. I have to agree wth most here about the fights - way too confusing and Katie Holmes seemed way too lightweight to play a D.A. 'course I'm used to Laura Flynn Boyle in "The Practice" before her concentration camp look, of course. Overall a good movie, even my wife liked it.
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Old June 20th, 2005, 02:36 PM   #20
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I also thought the plot was needlessly obtuse. Here's the plan: Instead of shipping our chemical that no one would recognize or suspect in to the city in a regular shipping crate and releasing it into the air, let's hide it in multiple drug shipments using teddy bears, get the local mob and police involved, slowly add it to the water supply and then steal a device that turns all water in to steam (except the water in our bodies) and put that on a train and drive it through the city evaporating the water.


That's David Goyer for you. Everyone's been praising his script and writing abilities for making the movie good, but really it's good in spite of him. And the fact that Nolan was the co-writer and was able to come in and say "No, Bruce Wayne, what he's going through is important, not what the villains plan is and how everything works together." He has a real bad tendency to A) over expalin how everything works at the expense of why anyone does anything and B) create obtuse plots that the hero discovers through the course of the movie that look and sound really cool as seperate pieces, but when you but the pieces together are really stupid.

Anyone at all familiar with Goyer and Nolan's work can watch the movie and see who did what.
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Old June 21st, 2005, 05:16 AM   #21
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I just saw Cinderella Man and (though I know boxing is different) I think they did a great job of mixing wide shots with fast in-the-action cuts so that you got the emotional experience of the fight while still being able to follow the action like an audience member. Good movie all around, by the way.

For all those Katie Holmes detractors, IMDB reported that everyone got signed for the sequel except her.
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Old June 21st, 2005, 08:08 AM   #22
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I don't think she was bad in a performance sense, just that she wasn't the right person for the part. Bad casting in other words.

The plot WAS overly complicated and convulted, but it didn't bother me too much. The plot, in this movie, WAS Hitchcock's McGuffin. Most films(especially action films) are big on plot, with a very slight nod towards theme. This film was almost all THEME, with the plot serving as an excuse to examine it. The themes were about confronting fear, overcoming (or BECOMING) that which you fear, and the difference between JUSTICE and revenge. All very good themes to be examining in this day and time. I think that's what's resonating with audiences.
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Old June 21st, 2005, 01:54 PM   #23
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regarding Goyer,

has anyone seen Blade Trinity? wow, what a piece of ****. i mean, Blade was good in certain places, blade2 was all about the director but 3 was terrible. i think Goyer showed his true colors in Blade3.
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Old June 21st, 2005, 05:19 PM   #24
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I think you guys are seriously missing the point about Nolan's direction of the fight scenes. Okay, maybe I only got the point because I heard him in an interview about it before I saw the movie.

He purposely wanted Batman to work in the shadows. He didn't want the viewer to see Batman sweep into a scene and deliver some big "kapow." There were several times in the movie that guys were swept off their feet screaming without even seeing Batman. This was Nolan's intention. If you didn't see the action, it's because he and the editor didn't want you to see it. It bothered me a bit, but to me, that was his intention. He made a great movie and to me, if you change anything in it, you're changing the movie. I liked it as is.

Now, what was up with Katie Holmes eyes at the end? Was I the only one thinking...hmm, why'd they make her cross-eyed on that CU? Strange...

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Old June 22nd, 2005, 03:37 AM   #25
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Batman Begins.

I just came back from viewing this movie, well a couple hours ago - was a bit hungry! :-)

In my opinion the movie was a good solid effort, but there were a number of weak elements that made it less than great. The story had some promise, but was definitely a bit obtuse and there were some plot lines dangling: anyone recover the DAs body yet and we saw a Batarang that was not used.

The look of the movie was a good one, the darkness worked and the cinematography was excellent: the mixture of light, shadow and color was spot on. The texture and composition of each shot was also very good and made the story work even when the story was not working.

The acting was solid, Christian Bale makes a good Bats and Bruce Wayne, though, yeah the rough/fake Bats voice, I wasn't too keen on - some digital enhancement may have worked better, like a vocalizer maybe. Katie Holmes, though I'm no fan, well I have to say she may have been more constrained by the script, since to be honest this movie lacked in good characterzation and character development.

For a relaunch, all the major players in the story should have been solid and especially for the "love" interest, we have no real connection to her. As for Ra's, we no nothing about him and he came across as a throw away character to me - where were his motivations? Serving some long held and mediocre purpose, and allegiance to some shadowy cookie cutter shadow group? Come on. The main audience are adults, not 10 year olds - and even they could see through that.

The fight scenes were in my opinion a step backwards and could have been much better. Christian Bale is a good physical actor, he can do action. Saying the choppy cutting and incomplete picture were the result of the director's vision is not saying much. We've all seen fighting galore and the Batman is a Physical Character: he is human and is supposed to be a dangerous human who can fight, a human killing machine who disables instead of killing. Where was that? Using gadetry to create fear and the subtle influence of the scarecrow's toxin to enhance his image are fine, but don't try to say the Batman is all smoke and mirrors, because he can throw down when he has to: supposedly a master of all forms of hand-to-hand combat, as mentioned in passing when Ducard/Ra's/Liam fought bruce. We saw no martial arts, no combat really aside from bits scattered here and there.

The dialogue was generally good, not cheesy and believable - well, aside from the dialogue between Bruce and Rachel - that could have been better.

The movie I think explained a quite a bit and covered a lot of ground, but in comparison the first Batman has it beat for raw excitement. The car chase was too long and we didn't have enough thrilling moments. Perhaps though this will serve as a launch pad for another: a sequel.

I think Christopher Nolan may have done the work to revitalize the franchise. He didn't get it all right, but maybe he did enough. Like Bryan Singer with the first X-men: he did enough.

I have to disagree with the person who said it was the best superhero movie however, the original Superman is still the best, and for modern day moviemaking and getting a character "right" I'd have to say Spider Man 1 nailed the character better than Batman Begins nails Batman. To support my claim, just look at ALL of the Batman movies and ask this movie does not encapsulate all that was good in those movies: the first Batman still creates that excitement of seeing Bats on screen for the first time and Keaton did a bang up job with Burton's admittedly dark interpretation.

A long post to be sure and I want to end by saying, it is always easy to sit back and criticize someone else's work and I have a lot of respect for what C. Nolan did in this movie. I love memento and insomnia. I am also currently studying film production and so I look at movies very critically. Hope no one disagrees with me too much :-)

Krystian.
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Old June 22nd, 2005, 06:27 AM   #26
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good point Krystian,

i think fans wanted to see more Bale's fight like in equilibrium, which had much better fight sequences than Batman Begins. in fact, the fights in equilibrium could easily be batman fighting, but nolan chose not to go that route. perhaps it's that indie sensibility of, "oh, we don't wanna do the cliche, man, let's CHOP IT UP!" but that's totally wrong. it's ironic because that mentality IS a cliche in of itself. this is still a major hollywood action film and audiences expect a big ass whoopin' not shadow and light. 2much indie-flare for such a big budget flick. the fights should deliver and not be suppressed. there should be nothing subtle about batman's ability to open a can a whoopass.
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Old June 22nd, 2005, 08:27 AM   #27
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Kevin,

I don't belive I did "Seriously miss the point". In my post I explained how that was the intention of the cutting (and I never saw the interview you mentioned). But you missed my point. One or two of those types of scenes are enough. After a while, it just gets flat and annoying.

About the "batman voice". Yeah... I suppose he was trying to 'disguise' his voice by pitching it differently. One might read that as another stealth like skill. At least it was an effort at maintaining some sort of veil of secrecy. Without wearing some kind of voice altering mask, I don't know how else he could fake it.
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Old June 22nd, 2005, 09:51 AM   #28
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I saw an interview with Bale and he said the Batvoice was something he came up with, because his normal speaking voice just didn't sound right coming from someone in such a menacing costume.
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Old June 22nd, 2005, 11:10 AM   #29
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Kevin,

On the fighting scenes... Batman as a menacing shadowy pressence is great... and times like when he was taking out the thugs on the dock I thought it worked great to not really know what was going on. But the technique we're talking about also included the fight scenes with the ninjas in the mountains, etc., when he wasn't being menacing or even "batman" at the moment.

I do agree that the vague shadowy look was used well a few times in the movie.
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Old June 22nd, 2005, 04:21 PM   #30
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The voice thing is a long standing tradition of Batman Lore - when Bruce Wayne is in the Batsuit he traditionally uses a lower, gravelly tone of voice - partially to disguise his own voice, and partially to increase the sense of terror he projects. If you go back and watch the previous Batman films, each Batman actor has tried to do it - with varying degrees of success (Kilmer, the best of the bunch with accents, probably did the best in coming up with a voice that didn't actually sound like his speaking voice).
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