Resolution update: new movies edition

23 Jul

WALL-E
Wall-E tells the story of a future Planet Earth in which all human beings have left the chockful-o’-trash planet in favor of centuries-long “space cruises,” leaving Wall-E, a robotic trash compactor and the movie’s protagonist, left to clean earth by himself. After discovering a single live plant, he works his way up into a space cruise to alert the humans.

The dialogue is sparse (since the main character can’t, you know, speak) but the visual effects are worth the price itself. In addition, the story – a science-fiction tale of saving earth, and moreover a belief in the human spirit – is about ten times more poignant than you’d expect from an animated feature. There’s talk of Wall-E being nominated for Best Picture (here is one argument); I have no problems with that. Grade: A-

THE DARK KNIGHT
In an effort to quell the feverish expectations of The Dark Knight for the six people who still haven’t seen it, I’ll begin with the negatives. At 152 minutes, it’s way too long. The plot is slightly convoluted and definitely too busy; it almost feels like two separate movies crammed into one. There are more than a few holes in logic that only distract from the storyline. Furthermore, I haven’t spoken to anyone yet who enjoyed the ending.

With that said….holy fuck, does this movie deliver. Like, far and away the best comic book movie ever. Christopher Nolan’s Gotham isn’t some kiddy faraway land with cartoonish villains and all-knowing heroes. It felt real, dark, doomed, no hopes for repair. Batman (who, reports are true, was in no way the lead character) is flawed as much as anyone. People are dying on his watch and he can’t do anything about it. It’s a violent, action-packed film. Scary, even. I almost crapped my pants a couple times.

And, it has to be said: Heath Ledger’s Joker is on my short list of creepiest movie villains, joining Hannibal Lector and Anton Chigurh. His insane badassery made Jack Nicholson’s Joker, and in fact, the entire comic book movie genre, look like rated-G child’s play. Seriously: I saw 1989’s Batman playing on the Family Channel a couple days ago. Nicholson looked like a damned fool. Grade: A-

Those who’ve seen the movie: I’m going to post a few discussion questions after the jump. Those who haven’t seen it should obviously steer clear.

1. Why was the mayor wearing manliner? Does he moonlight as the lead singer of Stone Temple Pilots?

2. Am I nuts, or did I hear the Joker make a “you complete me” joke at one point? That’s an obvious reference to Jerry Maguire, right? Are we to presume The Joker, one of the craziest villains in all of film and completely off the rails, has actually sat down and watched Jerry Maguire?

3. OK, here is my actual discussion question: Why did Batman take the blame for the murders? I understand his sappy logic for wanting the D.A. to die a hero, but aren’t there, oh, a million other people they could have blamed for the deaths? How about any random criminal off the street? How about some other unknown person who just died? Or…Or! HOW ABOUT THE JOKER? But, no. Let’s just blame the biggest hero in the city’s history. That’d be like, if there were a crippling PGA scandal, everyone getting together and deciding to blame Tiger Woods.

Please readers: someone explain why they did this. Will the next installment portray Batman as the villain, trying in vain to get back in the public’s good graces? Even if that is the case, I don’t think it excuses such a sloppy, forced plot twist. Your thoughts?

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2 Responses to “Resolution update: new movies edition”

  1. Batman Nerd July 28, 2008 at 8:32 am #

    Regarding Batman taking the blame, I think he (Batman) explains it fairly well at the end of the film. Explaining that “I am whatever Gotham City needs me to be.” Kind of a romanticized sacrifice for the city. And I think it is 2 fold. 1, it shows his dedication to the city, willing to be the “fall guy.” And 2, it gives the city a new hero (in the dead guy), and will bring Mr. Wayne closer to his dream of no longer being Batman.
    And sure, it is a subtely sentimental gesture, that is open to interpretation.

  2. B. July 28, 2008 at 12:55 pm #

    But why would Gotham “need” Batman to be a villain? Doesn’t make much sense to me. As for your first point, I don’t see how taking the blame himself rather than blaming the Joker is helping any matters. And for your second, Dent would have been the new hero no matter who took the blame, so long as it wasn’t Dent.

    The only plausible theory I’ve heard so far is that Batman taking the blame would stop the imposters, who were doing more harm than good. I suppose an argument could also be make that Batman was making a moral choice, sort of an “eye for an eye” to make up for Dent taking credit as Batman earlier in the film.

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