<body><script type="text/javascript"> function setAttributeOnload(object, attribute, val) { if(window.addEventListener) { window.addEventListener('load', function(){ object[attribute] = val; }, false); } else { window.attachEvent('onload', function(){ object[attribute] = val; }); } } </script> <div id="navbar-iframe-container"></div> <script type="text/javascript" src="https://apis.google.com/js/plusone.js"></script> <script type="text/javascript"> gapi.load("gapi.iframes:gapi.iframes.style.bubble", function() { if (gapi.iframes && gapi.iframes.getContext) { gapi.iframes.getContext().openChild({ url: 'https://www.blogger.com/navbar.g?targetBlogID\x3d15109074\x26blogName\x3dThe+Arts+Corner\x26publishMode\x3dPUBLISH_MODE_BLOGSPOT\x26navbarType\x3dTAN\x26layoutType\x3dCLASSIC\x26searchRoot\x3dhttp://lovelysalomearts.blogspot.com/search\x26blogLocale\x3den_US\x26v\x3d2\x26homepageUrl\x3dhttp://lovelysalomearts.blogspot.com/\x26vt\x3d-228031166709675816', where: document.getElementById("navbar-iframe-container"), id: "navbar-iframe" }); } }); </script>

14 January 2006

Batman Begins (2005)

Christian Bale (Bruce Wayne/ Batman), Michael Caine (Alfred), Liam Neeson (Henri Ducard), and Katie Holmes (Rachel Dawes)

Directed by Christopher Nolan (Memento)

From IMDB: "The story of how Bruce Wayne became what he was destined to be: Batman."

I've never been a Batman person, per se, so my enthusiasm for this film was limited only to Nolan's direction and the possibility of seeing Christian Bale shirtless. At least the latter point of interest was met with mostly satisfying results.

The movie really is two parts unsuccessfully melded into one whole. The first third details Bruce Wayne's trans- formation from a snot-nose teenager bent on gunning down his parents' murderer to a rebel-with-a-cause crime fighter stuck in the middle of nowhere in Tibet. Liam Neeson, in a really tragic Qui-Gon follow-up, becomes Wayne's tutor and uses all manner of cliched Yoda / Emperor / The Sphinx from Mystery Men phrases about controlling anger, fear, bladder reflexes, etc. Good to know Neeson's martial arts training didn't go to waste after Phantom Menace.

The latter two thirds chronicles Wayne's return to Gotham City where he somehow convinces Alfred, played by the wonderfully funny and sympathetic Michael Caine, that he should dress as a bat and fight crime. The whole process seems rather self-evident, with no real debate as to the wisdom, sanity, or necessity of such a gambit. He waffles from faux-playboy, escorting two women around in his sports car in order to disguise his serious intentions, to moon-face puppy dog, pining for the love of his childhood companion, Rachel Dawes. Dawes, played by the not-as-irritating-as-I-feared Katie Holmes, is a city district attorney with integrity by the bucket-full, even though she appears no older than a co-ed.

And then the city starts to melt down. Cillian Murphy, as Dr. Jonathan "Scarecrow" Crane, is lovely and creepy, although I missed the exotic, manic charisma of his role in 28 Days Later. And (gasp!) Scarecrow - for all his nifty "scared you" special effects - is just working for some shady, powerful third party intent on destroying the city. You'll guess it if you watch the film... it's not particularly shocking.

Otherwise, Batman Begins is a veritable who's who of wasted talent, Murphy and Bale among them. Gary Oldman, as Commissioner Gordon before he became commissioner, was utterly wasted and pathetic as a two-bit goody-goody cop. Tom Wilkinson dons a terrible accent to play mob boss Carmine Falcone. Rutger Hauer looks immeasurably like Jerry Springer for his turn as the head of Wayne Enterprises. Ken Watanabe, famous for his supporting actor nomination in The Last Samurai, literally has one line. He mostly stands around looking grim. And Morgan Freeman was witty in his banter with Bale, but how can a director allow a guy listed twelfth on the credits to steal the star's limelight?

Bale, when he was allowed to be human, was vastly entertaining and generous with both his charm and refinement. But, for the most part, he made his voice all gravelly while in the batsuit and tried to look imposing. In that respect, his interpretation of Batman did not stray from other men who have played the part in film (no one should count Adam West in this discussion). Ultimately, this was nothing more than popcorn fare of the just-watchable variety.

Anonymous Pacze Moj said...

Agreed. I'm not a big fan of comic books or adaptations of them, but I liked Burton's two Batman films. Part of the reason was their creation of their own world; I loved that Gotham isn't a real city.

With Batman Begins, Christopher Nolan tries to bring realism to the Batman world, and I think that killed the film. Why try to give rational explanations ("Oh... the Batmobile is really a mod'ed Hummer!") for something that was always meant to be larger-than-life? Like you say, the film is about a man running around dressed up as a bat.

And I never realized how many well-known actors were in Batman Begins until you listed them!

NB: I don't understand Christopher Nolan's popularity. Memento relied much more on its gimmick and script than on direction; and that Robin-Williams-Crazy-in-Alaska remake wasn't as good as the original. Do I just not get his style?

23:26  
Blogger carrie_lofty said...

I really enjoyed Memento, and for the longest time I've thought it was because of Nolan. I thought the original Insomnia was fantastic, especially Stellan Skarsgård, which is why I didn't want to see Al Pacino shouting for two hours and generally making a muck out of a quality story. So I skipped that one. Now I'm curious if I actually like Nolan's directing, or if it was the "told backwards" aspect of Memento that I appreciated so much. Batman Begins did not help his case in the least.

Keven said (after reading my review) that I didn't seem to like it at all. Funny, it didn't feel like such a bad movie when I was in the middle of it, but once I finished writing... the truth was out. Wasn't impressed at all.

11:38  

Post a Comment

<< Return to Salome's Corner