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Awake In The Dark
What you're watching these days on the Big Screen and the Small Screen.


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Old June 13th, 2005, 04:35 PM   #1
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Batman Begins

I saw this last Monday - really really worked on a number of levels. Most shocking was how scary it is, many scenes are played more as a horror film than an action film, yet it never loses the Batman tone. Some very well done work from Chris Nolan (Memento).
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Old June 14th, 2005, 04:24 AM   #2
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I can't wait to see this! Gonna watch it on an IMAX screen....
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Old June 14th, 2005, 08:33 AM   #3
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I'm considering seeing Batman at the IMAX theater also, but I'm concerned whether it will give me a headache or have me "lost"--especially if there is fast cuts/rapid editing.

I saw the Matrix Reloaded in IMAX---and I think now, I would have enjoyed it better in a regular theatre.

In my opinion, films not originally "designed"/shot for IMAX sometimes have me feeling like I'm sitting too close to the screen.

As for Batman...

Should be interesting, I never really liked the other Batman films.[As matter of fact--the Animated Series were way better!]

Batman relied too much on gadgets and not enough on his brain.[Keaton/Kilmer/Clooney]

I hope this film finally does this character justice.

I really liked Memento and Insomnia, so I should expect a lot.
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Old June 14th, 2005, 10:29 AM   #4
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I don't know about IMAX. Whenever the fighting starts the camera gets in really, really close and it's hard to make out what's going on. It was hard enough to follow on a regular screen - on IMAX - I don't know.
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Old June 15th, 2005, 07:46 PM   #5
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saw this last night at midnight. a great job by all involved!

nolan focuses on wayne/batman. the first 1/3 to 1/2 of the movie is all about the character's history and how he becomes batman.

Josh is right, there are some great scary parts. Scarecrow is just freakin crazy!

I love this movie! Franchise restarted!
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Old June 16th, 2005, 01:09 PM   #6
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This would be a bad one for the IMAX. The fight scenes are all in CU/MCU with choppy editing. I think it would have made me sick on that giant screen. But it's a pretty good one for a traditional theater. I could have tuned out the first 45 minutes and not cared, but once Wayne becomes Batman, it's a good adaptation from the comics, and Batman is intimidating this time - the way he should be.
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Old June 16th, 2005, 10:59 PM   #7
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Just arrived from watching the movie. I went with my wife and kids to see it, and EVERYONE in the theater including my family, were so impressed about the quality and depth of the topics covered. By far, the best "superhero" movie done (including Superman, Spiderman, etc.). I just don't know how the Fantastic 4 will meassure up to this one... It may look now cheappy after such great movie.
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Old June 17th, 2005, 12:21 AM   #8
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are you guys annoyed (like me) by the inability of directors to show fight scenes/action scenes WITHOUT cutting? i mean, what's the big deal? christian bale can't fight as batman? i don't get it.

remember watching bruce lee's fights in all his films without lots of editing? now THAT was awesome. how about seeing things blow up without cutting in a bruckheimer/bay films like the rock or armaggeddon? i mean, what happened to this zip zip cutting like bourne supremacy, ya can't see ANYTHING! what's the point of the actions? you may as well now show it, imho.
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Old June 17th, 2005, 05:58 AM   #9
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Well I understand why they cut, it gives a sense of dynamics to the scene. A fast tension, as they maybe want to evoke that feeling by the editing.
But you are also right in the point that sometimes it's great to see an action scene without cutting.
Anyone saw the fighting scene in the movie Old Boy, where the main character fights tens of men in a little hall, and the camera just makes a very slow travel if he fights them, without cutting once?
That is one breathtaking scene.
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Old June 17th, 2005, 11:33 AM   #10
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i understand the need to liven things up but i don't think it's useful to do it through fast-cutting. i think when you start editing fight scenes you have some things to hide such as Lord of the Rings they had to keep a PG13 rating so you can't really just show all the violence (even if it's against orcs) uncut. with LOTR it is reasonable because peter jackson is sneaking in a few beheadings in a PG-13 MOVIE!

but with batman it's inexcusable because the violence is comic-book based (bang, POW, etc.). could it because MPAA wants to tone the violence down that it's cut? i dunno, conspiracy theories abound.

good action movies sustain their uncut nature because of the action that's inherent in the scene. when you start cutting the audience thinks you are hiding substance.
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Old June 17th, 2005, 12:53 PM   #11
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I tend to agree that some films use too many insert shots which makes it difficult to see who's doing what to who. I like Spielberg's philosophy of letting the audience be the editor by using more wide shots and letting the viewer decide what's important in the frame.

After all we're in the communication business. And if the audience can't tell what's going on you aren't doing your job correctly.
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Old June 17th, 2005, 02:10 PM   #12
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It's a difficult balance to maintain. Rapid cuts have been a part of action sequences for a long, long time. At the same time, there's always been a tradition of long shots with lots of choreography in them in martial arts films as well. I don't know about you, but I think it's just as bad to have a wide shot of two guys trading high kicks as anything else - which is what a lot of martial arts films end up with.

It's a difficult balance to maintain - the Matrix films did it pretty well. Doug Liman did it very well on the first Bourne film, which had a lot of 4 frame cuts but was still easy to follow. The real problem I had with most of the fight scenes was that the camera was too close, so you couldn't see what was going on. This is a problem I've seen in a lot of director's who are directing big fight scenes for the first time. Daredevil suffered from it as well.
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Old June 17th, 2005, 03:44 PM   #13
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I think these films primarily fail to establish who's doing what in the closeups. There's a reason we call the wider shots "establishing shots." If you're doing nothing but cutting from CU to CU you're going to make it very difficult for the audience to follow the action.

Rapid cuts are fine, I've certainly used them enough. But rapid cutting for the sake of rapid cutting often creates an unintelligible sequence. This is where the editor really needs to put him or herself in the audiences' place and ask themselves "Is cutting to this CU going to tell the story better or is it just cool that I can do a match cut from a wide shot to a tight one."
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Old June 19th, 2005, 09:00 PM   #14
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I've been thinking a lot about the fight scenes in this, and I've come to the conclusion that they were done the right way for the following reasons:

- A well lit fight of a guy in a batsuit doing fancy martial arts is extraordinarily difficult to make look authentic
- Batman's "powers" are his will and intimidation, not what he actually does to people. Fear is an emotional response of his victems, and you can't see fear in big wide-angle stunt sequences.
- Because Batman has no superpowers, the only way to showcase what he must actually be doing from a wider angle is to make it much more explicit. This cannot be done without an R rating.

Would I like wider-angle intricate fight scenes? Probably. But I can get that from other superheroes. Spider-man is about agility, colour and humour. Batman is about darkness. I liked how dark and close they kept this. It helped my suspension of disbelief.

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Old June 19th, 2005, 09:40 PM   #15
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Okay,

I stayed away from this thread until I saw the film. After I came out there were two things that really struck me.

How beautiful the images were.

How bad the fight scenes were.

Don't get me wrong, I LOVED the film. Best Batman ever. Gave me everything I hoped for EXCEPT:

(Fair disclosure, I AM a fight choreographer) The fast cutting of Extreme closeups worked once. Maybe twice. It gives your the perspective of how the villains percieve Batman, as a 'force out of no-where', no possible way to contain him or face him. Yeah, I can see using that cutting style as ONE way to portray him.

But not every fight.

A fight is a physical dialogue. If all the dialogues are delivered at the same level, the scenes have no flow, no depth, no arc. In short, they are flat and become boring after a while.

There are many tools for telling a story through a fight scene. Just like telling it through dialogue. Tone, pacing, delivery, and the LINES themselves (or in the case of fight choreography, the MOVES). Just as an actor can have his delivery changed in the cutting room by the director and editor, so too can a fight choreographers. I think they made some poor choices in that context.

Rent Ridley Scotts first feature film, "The Duellists" and watch how they take the same dialogue - a fight between the same two guys - and deliver a different message with each confrontation. Some slow and tentative, some fast and brutal ... it's still one of my favorite films, and I still think one of Ridley Scotts best. It's a theme he keeps revisiting in all his films.

So yeah, I'm not a big fan of slow-mo fights, but a moment or two to illustrate his prowess.. a couple of longer shots... I think it wouldn't have taken much to put it in an A+ category.

Still, LOVED the film, will buy it for sure. Can't wait for the next one. Everyone was superb, (except for Katie... a bit lightweight I thought. Lovely girl though, poor Tom Cruise)
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