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From The Digital Sweatshop
The Music, Art and Travels of Alan D. Oldham a.k.a. DJ T-1000.

Batman Begins.

Monday, June 20, 2005

Caught it over the weekend. Good film but not great.

The casting was top-notch. After many roles in cult flicks like "American Psycho" (Giaxia's favorite) and "Equilibrium," (that movie was the shit; rent it if you get the chance) the man Christian Bale has now officially hit the big time. There were no missteps in the supporting cast, either. Everytime Alfred came on the screen, I thought of that track "My Name Is Michael Caine" by Madness.

I liked most everything about the movie. I especially liked Wayne's training by the League of Shadows, particularly in the ninja arts. It all makes sense now (although they didn't explain--yet--how Wayne became the World's Greatest Detective). Liam Neeson appears as Wayne's teacher, essentially reprising his Qui-Gon role from "The Phantom Menace."

I also liked how the film was grounded in reality for the most part. It was established that Batman's high-tech toys, including the Batmobile (inspired by the tank that Batman drove in Frank Miller's "Dark Knight Returns" comic) were all Waynetech prototypes for the military that never got off the ground.

I liked how Batman had a hypersonic device to call bats.

Another great touch is that we never really see Batman in a full-on shot; he's always a blur of motion beating people up; all we see is his cape and people flying. We only saw him full-on maybe twice in the whole movie.

I thought Katie Holmes was just OK (call me a cynic, but it's funny to me how she and Big Tom are all in love when they've both got big summer movies to promote. Imagine that. How come they couldn't fall in love in like February?).

Here's the downside for me. Gotham City wasn't stylized enough. I like it when Gotham is its own character, you know. The city itself reflects the moral corruption (coming from a place like Detroit, I am sensitive to this). I wasn't a big fan of the brutalist, Anton Furst vision from the 1989 Batman movie, I'm more of a fan of the Animated Series take, that sleek Art Deco future with black and white TVs, 40's style cars, and police blimps.

In this movie, Gotham was most obviously Chicago; Michigan Avenue, Lower Wacker Drive, etc. "The Narrows," which were Gotham's slums, where most of the action took place, was like a CGI, pasted-on adjunct to the real Chicago. It kinda kills the suspension of disbelief when you can pick out landmarks.

Cillian Murphy never full-on became The Scarecrow. He just wore the mask a couple of times. That sucked.

Oh, and I miss the Danny Elfman theme, which was the best thing about the previous run of Bat-movies.

Other than that, though, it's a great re-imagining of the Batman legend. DC Comics is finally in the movie game after years of getting their asses kicked by Marvel flicks. Now let's see what they do with Ubermensch.

-AO :: 11:24 PM ::

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