Posts Tagged ‘Reviews’

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Response to a Response to the Dark Knight.

July 20, 2008

(When I first wrote this I mistook who a three year old mentioned in Brant’s post belonged to.  For the record the three year old is not Brant’s child.)

I guess its time to waste some pixels.

I don’t really read blogs, at least not like quite a few of the people I know do.  Of the few blogs I read my favorite is Brant Hansen‘s and finally I disagree with him.  I went to see The Dark Knight in the very early morning of the day it opened because I was so excited about it.  I was not disappointed.  It is the best thought out and executed superhero and/or action movie that I’ve seen.  Brant disagrees, so let me start with where I agree with Brant Hansen.

The rating is inapprioriate.  Brant talks about taking his someone taking their three year old son to see the movie which I could have told him probably wasn’t a good idea.  The realism implied by Batman Begins as well as the image of the joker in the trailer was enough for me to know this wasn’t the 80s Batman.  I was shocked that Focus on the Family gave it two and a half stars especiallys seeing as this movie is an especially graphic portrayal of relativism.  Especially when their own subsidiary Plugged In highlights both the violence and the twisted ethics of the movie.  As well as highlighting that it is not a movie for children.  But ratings have always been weird, the PG for Titanic comes readily to mind. and PG-13 for The Dark Knight is a little low.

Brant calls the movie a jolt of excitement for a dying culture.  It is more a reflection of a culture trying to figure out what good and evil are or whether they even exist.  It does unfortunately ring strongest as an ode to utilitarianism more than anything else. If you are going to treat Wall-E as a wonderful tribute to the importance of life*, than you should respond to this movie as a filmmakers questioning of relativism, utilitarianism, and the nature of good and evil.  I’d love to say this movie was just entertainment but in the same way people get their theology from what they sing in church they get their philosophy from what they watch.  We need to engage movies as such.

If your problem with this movie is that it is escapism then it isn’t just this movie you should have a problem with.  It should be movies in general.  The same world that gave us Wall-E gave us The Dark Knight.  Hollywood knows we want to spend a few hours escaping the mundane.  To be honest, I just wanted to see a good movie.  I got to.  The script and direction were great.  I’m pretty sure anyone whose looked at a newspaper has heard about Heath Ledger’s unreal performance.  His death unfortunately overshadowed Christian Bale and Aaron Eckhart’s also amazing performances.  For someone who is something of a film buff this was a movie I thought would be great and it did not disappoint.  If you are not opposed to both graphic and implied violence I recommend it.

Just don’t take the kids.

I’m not entirely sure I’ve been as good at explaining the philosophical content of the Dark Knight as I would have liked.  Brian Walton, who I found in the comments does a great job on discussing Christopher Nolan’s (director/cowriter) examinations of nihilismEd Brenegar is a brilliant thinker who also does a good job of breaking down the characters as philosophical representations in this movie.

*For the Record I have not seen Wall-E, although I do really want to.

Bonus Feature:  My dad pointed out this hilarious video to me.

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Some Quick Thoughts on Cloverfield

February 5, 2008

I just saw Cloverfield.  I had been excited right from the teaser trailer, I think shown before transformers back in July.  I don’t want to talk to much about it except for a few quick thoughts.

I really like this trend towards realistic depiction.*  I first noted it on the big screen in Transformers (though I originally noticed it in Firefly).   As awful as some of the shakycam was in Cloverfield it puts you in the story in a way even 3D can’t.  As well the whole response of the people experiencing the events around Cloverfield makes it feel real.  The incredulity and sheer terror of the unknown helps the suspension of disbelief.  You empathize and quite literally feel what the characters on the screen are feeling.*

The other aspect, and possibly weakness, of Cloverfield was what it didn’t show you.  It isn’t until the final part of the movie that you get to see the monster up close.  By that point I was pretty much in shock so I didn’t really have a fear response.  The real question for me is: was it really necessary to fully reveal it?  Part of the terror of the movie (and the terror after the movie) was not knowing what this creature is.  You never find out what it is, but you do find out what it looks like and how it operates.  That alone reduces the lasting impact after the movie.

Anyway, those are just my two cents.

* If I had to coin a term I’d call it Video Realism, not sure if it exists and I’m too tired and lazy to google it right now.

*For the record, I haven’t seen the Blair Witch Project so I can’t comment to great depth about the originality of Cloverfield in this genre.