Monday, 2 February 2009

Random thoughts on Batman: The Dark Night

Not exactly topical I know, but I've just watched the DVD extras for the film. Obviously the film itself rocks in a major way. Although it is not quiet as great as general opinion would have it be.

Watching the DVD extra's however I am convinced that this film is a major leap forward in how action movies will be made. In terms of film making technique it stands with The Lord of the Rings trilogy as being the major film making achievement of this decade. I was amazed at just how many of the "stunts" and "special effects" were actually real. For example the scene of the Joker's lorry doing a vertical 180 weren't the result of model work or CGI. They actually flipped an articulated lorry 180 degrees! And the test footage for Batman's dive off the building in Hong Kong has to be seen to be believed.

Also the bit in the film where the hospital was blown up... Yup they blew up a real building for real. There's no model work at all and hardly any CGI. Basically what you see is real, even to the point of a Ledger walking away from an exploding building. All real. Although biggest bollocks award still goes to Sylvester in Greatest Show in the Galaxy because (1) he didn't get rehearsal and (2) he wasn't expecting the explosion at all, whereas Ledger was.

Back to a couple of thoughts on the film itself. Firstly the cast, brilliant in the first film, even better in the second. This is mainly the result of the recasting of Rachael. Katie Holmes was the weak point in the first film being badly miscasted. She was too young looking for the role she was playing and rather wooden to be honest. That's not to say she can't act, she was utterly brilliant in Dawson's Creek, but she just couldn't do that role. Maggie Gyllenhaal is far more convincing and will be a loss to the franchise should there be a third film. It also has to be said that she was immensely fit. Her politics in real life are spot on too.

Gary Oldman deserves a million billion awards for being almost totally unrecognisable as James Gordon. This is how good he was, I didn't even realise he was in Batman Begins and I then spent most of this film trying to work out why he seemed familiar.

Heath Ledger. Yes he was fantastic, but I'm not sure that he was definitive. I think its open for another person to better what he did. Indeed I think Nichelson handled the humorous stuff better than Ledger. Also I remain totally bemused at what the guy did to himself in real life. He was married to Michelle Williams and had a beautiful kid. And left them for a freakin Olsen Twin before overdosing!

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