Wednesday, August 8, 2012


“The DARK KNIGHT RISES” (Christian Bale, Anne Hathaway, Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Michel Caine, Gary Oldman, Marion Cottiliard, Morgan Freeman & Tom Hardy) I’ll save what bothered me about the theater we saw this in for the end, but as far as I’m concerned, this challenges "Batman Begins" as the best of the trilogy – It’s been a while since I’ve seen the original, so I’ll make the distinction when I see it again. I know, everyone else thinks ‘The Dark Knight’ was a fantastic film that deserved a Best Picture nod, but I couldn’t disagree more – as an overall quality film, ‘The Dark Knight’ did not rise to expectations – Heath Ledger did. Ledger’s Joker dominated that film. Everyone else paled in comparison. And let’s be honest, the Harvey Dent one minute I’m a saint, the next I’m the ultimate bad guy turnaround was stupid. No one else but Ledger was memorable in the film – In ‘Rises’ everyone except the villain is given a chance to ‘act’ and they all do very well. It’s also a much better story, as it brings the character Bruce Wayne and his inner demons back as the main focus. It is a tale of redemption and when it comes to those, it’s good to have Morgan Freeman around, eh? The Joker commanded ‘DK’, while you couldn’t find a blander villain than Tom Hardy’s Bane. And I’m not blaming Hardy, I’m blaming the creation of the character itself – How could Bane be as flamboyantly evil as The Joker when he’s wrapped in a headgear that completely covers his mouth and they give him a voice that sounds like Sean Connery doing a Darth Vader impersonation? James Bond playing a bad guy? Say it isn’t so! Bane stomps around in a fleece overcoat (from either Old Navy or a Sears’ back-to-school sale) and gives generic orders to his minions and the citizenry of Gotham City the same way Stephen Hawking would order lunch at a McDonald’s drive-thru. Please take note of all the product endorsements I’ve added to this review & let Goggle know that you heard about them here! Unlike The Joker, Bane never sent chills up my spine with his dastardly doings, even when he copies the Joker’s ‘ferry trick’ by telling Gotham that if anyone tries to cross the one bridge he didn’t blow up he will blow up the bridge and then the entire city as punishment – It was kind of a ‘been there, done that’ scenario. Usually a movie is defined by its villain, but that is not the case here – the story drives “The Dark Knight Rises” and that’s what made it a much better film for me. Along with Bane, I wasn’t pleased with the opening segment – it was dumb and contrived – the only reason it happened was because they wanted to start things off with a gnarly stunt to wow everyone – the only problem with that was – it was moronic. Think about it – why would anyone go to the trouble, expense and the possible sacrifice of several minions in order to kidnap someone while they were flying in a plane? They do this by hijacking the plane with another plane while in flight. They could have accomplished the same results on the ground. But of course, that wouldn’t have been a spectacle that wowed movie going audiences. Maybe I’m too picky, but if you’re going to open with an awesome stunt – at least make it plausible for those of us who don’t live in a comic book world. ‘Rises’ succeeds by restoring the franchise to Bale and the development of the character Bruce Wayne. Michael Caine’s Alfred has some nice moments, along with Gary Oldman and Morgan Freeman with their recurring characters. New to the franchise actors that I liked were Anne Hathaway, Marion Cotillaird and Joseph Gordon-Levitt (in that order) Hathaway played a cat burglar named Selina and it wasn’t just her skin tight outfits that caught my eye – I got a kick out of her pussycat like headgear (everything she wore on her head looked like cat ears) But she wasn’t playing the traditional ‘Catwoman’ role; Selina was a flip-flopper – you never knew which side she was on – or if she was basically just out for what she could get out of any given situation. So she was a cross between Catwoman and Batgirl – and I liked the blend. Not knowing how she would react from scene to scene made her a fun character to watch... and the skintight outfits didn’t hurt either... Cotillaird was less noticeable as a woman that helps keep Bruce Wayne’s charitable organizations running while he goes into recluse following his taking the fall for the death of the beloved Harvey Dent. Joseph Gordon-Levitt is usually a favorite of mine (except when he’s in Christopher Nolan films, apparently) as his beat cop with a connection to Bruce Wayne doesn’t give him much of a chance to stretch any acting chops. The sub-plot of why he’s followed Wayne’s career works splendidly – you come to care about him and his cause and you can’t help but grin when you see what his character does at the end of the film... The ‘twist’ in ‘Rises’ was unexpected, but feasible (Unlike Dark Knight’s foolish twist) So there are a lot of reasons ‘DK Rises’ is a better film than ‘DK’. I think Nolan knew he couldn’t compete with Ledger’s Joker, so he purposely made Bane somewhat boring and focused instead on the character that the franchise is based on – and for me, that was the perfect way to go. Too bad there won’t be a 4th one... Like Peter Jackson said he’d never do another movie based on the ‘The Lord of The Rings’, right? Just a word on my movie-going experience seeing “The Dark Knight Rises” on its third weekend. My wife & I were the first to arrive in the theater (I won’t say which one because I’ll still go there even though I wasn’t pleased with them) so I got a good look at the fellow patrons as they wandered in. Tattoo’d biker guy was first on my radar (If anyone was packing heat, it was tattoo’d biker dude) Head shaved goateed jackass next caught my eye – Check out death row sometime – 95% of serial killers are goatee’d wearing skinheads. Head shaved dude had an out, though; entering the theater with his sunglasses perched atop his bald head gave him that ‘fresh out of the closet’ look that didn’t scare me at all. About an hour into the film someone shouted, “Woo! Batman! Yeah!” This made me very nervous... A few minutes later another lame outburst of ‘Woo’s’. I waited for an usher to do their thing of wandering through the theater with his little red glowing flashlight to let them know the moron in the front row was disrupting the film. I think we all had determined that the kid was mentally handicapped so no one wanted to yell at him to shut up... Plus, people were murdered while viewing this movie - I don’t think anyone wanted to chance getting shot over it! What bothered me most is that NO ONE ever entered the theater throughout the entire 3 hours of the film! NO ONE. Not once. It’s like they were afraid to come in and check on us. After running a disclaimer before the previews started of how ‘If we see you talking on your cell phone, or texting during the film, we will tell you to step out into the hall – or if you talk or disrupt the film inany way, we will ask you to leave' – “Don’t be the one we kick out of the theater, because we WILL do it.” we were warned... Then NO ONE enters the theater for almost 3 hours? When I heard that there were uniformed security guards inside the theaters after that horrific and disgusting act in Colorado, I felt that was a bit of over-compensating... but NO ONE, not even a 15 year old usher armed with a little red glowing flashlight? Are you kidding me?