Diary of a Network Geek

The trials and tribulations of a Certified Novell Engineer who's been stranded in Houston, Texas.


Review: The Dark Knight

Filed under: Art,Criticism, Marginalia, and Notes,Fun,Movies,Review — Posted by the Network Geek during the Hour of the Pig which is in the late evening or 10:57 pm for you boring, normal people.
The moon is Waning Gibbous


Originally uploaded by Network Geek

I saw The Dark Knight today.

I feel confident that this is going to be the best movie of the year. I have to admit I was a little dubious based on the massive amount of publicity the movie’s gotten and all the rave reviews my friends gave it. I mean, when they compared Dark Knight to the Godfather movies, well, I thought the reviewer had lost his mind, but I think they may be onto something.

So, the Dark Knight picks up where Batman Begins left off. Batman Begins retells the origin story of Batman in a way that’s closer to the original comic than the first movie did. This movie continues with that story, though Maggie Gyllenhaal replaces Katie Holmes as Rachel Dawson and Aaron Eckhart joins as Harvey “Two Face” Dent. Christian Bale still plays Bruce Wayne/Batman, with Michael Caine as Alfred and Morgan Freeman as Lucius Fox, not to mention Gary Oldman as Jim Gordon.
The story opens with Batman fighting a number of criminals in a parking garage, along with some Batman copycats sort of getting in his way. He seems to find the whole thing a little depressing, having copycat vigilantes. He’s also sort of looking for a way to retire, once the city is safe from organized crime. For this, Bruce looks to Harvey Dent, the Gotham District Attorney. He’s the last honest man, outside of Jim Gordon, in the city and he’s putting away plenty of criminals. He’s also dating Rachel Dawes, much to the pain of Bruce Wayne.

Well, it seems he has his work cut out for him when he goes up against a new kind of criminal, the Joker, played by the late Heath Ledger. He’s scarred, both physically and mentally, and appears in makeup to hide both. But, his crazy shows through both when he kills his accomplices and offers to kill the Batman, for a fee. So, off he goes, in his crazy way, using random violence and our own worst nature against us.

Well, I don’t want to give away too much plot, because you all really have to see this movie, so I won’t tell you more, but it is a violent roller coaster through a dark world of back alleys and sub-levels and ruined buildings. There are explosions and guns and more explosions and hand-to-hand action and car chases. But, oddly, there’s also a fair amount of philosophy, brilliant dialog, and social commentary. But, none of that stuff gets in the way of the story or the action.
The sets and cinematography are brilliant, too. Oh, and most of the movie was shot in Chicago and near where I worked for several years. I kept seeing things in the background that totally reminded me of home. In a good way.

I’m sure I’ll see this movie again, possibly on IMAX. The friend I saw it with today had already seen it twice before and was talking about seeing it again. Dark Knight is one of those movies that you can watch many times, finding more each time you watch it. It truly is the best of the Batman films and, really, is one of the best films I’ve ever seen.
I cannot encourage you enough to see this film. If you see no other movie this year, make it Dark Knight.


“It’s not who I am underneath,…”

Filed under: Art,Criticism, Marginalia, and Notes,Deep Thoughts,Fun,Life, the Universe, and Everything,Review — Posted by the Network Geek during the Hour of the Dragon which is in the early morning or 8:27 am for you boring, normal people.
The moon is Waning Crescent

“… but what I do, that defines me.”

A great quote from a great movie. In other words, yes, I saw “Batman Begins” yesterday. I took a giant step outside my comfort zone and went at the absolute last minute to see a movie with a guy from a support group I attend. A guy who, honestly, I hardly know, though I’ve seen him at these meetings for years.
Anyway, it was a good movie. The fight scenes were done in that new, modern style that I think of as “Gladiator-esque” ever since seeing that movie. It was all a blur. Shapes whirling through the darkness and chaos everywhere. Not unlike a real fight, if memory serves, but a little annoying in cinema. I much prefer the older style where I don’t get motion sickness trying to follow the action.
The movie, of course, is about the origins of Batman, as the title implies. Slightly different than the comic book, he delves into the criminal underworld, and then is recruited by a kind of ninja/assassin’s guild/secret society designed to “fight” evil by totally destroying it. A sort of hyper-radical scorched-earth policy that also would wipe out the innocent as well. Not good. Obviously, Batman doesn’t stay a part of this group and, well, plot ensues from there.
It had a bit of a slow start, as origin stories often do, but once it got rockin’ and rollin’, it was a good, old-fashioned action movie ride.
There was one small continuity problem from the first movie that just leapt out at me. Who killed Bruce’s parents? In the first movie, of course, it was Joker, before he was Joker. In this movie, it was some other guy named “Joe Chill”. Also, Joker wasn’t Joker but still Jack Napier. He didn’t become the Joker until after Batman and he fought in the nasty chemical plant, just like in the comic book. But, that in no way diminished my enjoyment of an otherwise brilliant film.
Also, Liam Neeson, Michael Caine and Gary Oldman gave brilliant performances. Christian Bale was top notch as the angry, young millionare who became a crimefighter. And, all I can say about Katie Holmes performance is, er, it must be cold in Gotham. Or were those just some pesky Thetans in her blouse trying to poke their way out?
Oh, that reminds me… Gotham, though it was supposed to be a slightly fictionalized New York City, was Chicago. I recognized the bridges across the river, especially the Lake Shore Drive bridge right there at Wacker. I can’t tell you how many times I drove over that when I worked downtown. And, there were scenes that could only be Lower Lower Wacker. I know them, too. All too well. I also saw an altered Wrigley Builiding and the Tribune Tower, remade, if I’m not mistaken, into the Wayne Tower. Yep, it was all scenery that I knew quite intimately, though it’s no longer really home.

I have to admit, I liked this movie in part for the scenery and for the writing. It was a well written movie. I especially liked the quote, which was bounced back and forth between Wayne and his erstwhile paramour, Rachel Dawes, “It’s not who I am underneath, but what I do, that defines me.” Indeed, I sympathize with that sentiment and always have. I identify with the dark heroes, who have that wild animal that they fear to release, but try to harness to do good. In my more arrogant moments, I allow myself to feel as though I’m one of them.
I am more than my Flaw. I acknowlege that at the heart of who I am, I am a flawed human being, but that flaw does not define me. What I do consistently defines me. And, I consistently act in accordance with my beliefs about what’s right, not the way my Flaw would dictate. I haven’t always, but I’m better than that, now.

Yeah, it’s worth getting out to see “Batman Begins“. Happy Independance Day.

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