So it’s been over a week since I’ve seen this movie and and if you haven’t seen this movie yet, you should! If I know you and you haven’t seen this movie yet, do remind me to smack you a few times the next time we meet.
I’ll try to give you readers heads up before any spoiler, but if you’ve seen any of the trailers, you practically know the whole story already. Why should you watch the movie then? Though the story is important, the experience and execution was just fantastic.
By the way, I’m serious about reminding me to slap you if you haven’t seen the movie yet.
My friends and I had been planning to watch The Dark Knight at IMAX for some time. We had plans to go watch it on the opening weekend. With my employee discount, I found out I was able to get IMAX tickets at a major discount. Normally $10.75 (which is exceptionally cheap already considering typical movie tickets are $9+), I was able to get tickets at $3. However, I was only limit to 2 tickets per Prime card and my coworker said I could borrow his to get 2 more.
Everything was set. We had planned to go 3-4 hours before the showing to get tickets, since it was opening weekend. Boy were we disappointed to find out that on Thursday, IMAX tickets for Friday, Saturday, and Sunday showings were all already sold out. To use my employee discount, I had to purchase them in person at the IMAX theater. Talking it over with my friends, we decided we should try to catch it on a weekday evening. By Friday, Monday’s evening tickets were already sold out and by Saturday morning, Tuesday’s evening tickets were already sold out. We decided we’d tried to get some tickets for Thursday evening.
Before I left, I had checked online and Thursday’s 7pm showing still had openings. However we got side tracked by Bite of Seattle, that by the time we went to purchase tickets, the 7pm showing was already sold out. So we opted for the 10pm showing instead. Which was a good thing I suppose since they recommended that we arrive 1.5hrs early if we wanted decent seats and given that we had 9 people in our group.
With tickets secured, the next thing we had to do was to make sure people didn’t spoil it for us. I avoided clicking on any link on Digg that mentioned The Dark Knight. Well, that’s not true. I clicked on the links that talked about how well it did, like how it broke records of all sorts (Best Opening Night, Best Opening Weekend, #1 on IMDb, etc.) I also gave friends an ultimatum that if they spoiled it for me, it could be the end of our friendship.
Several friends had asked me why wait for IMAX when you can definitely get tickets for a regular showing if you got them a few hours in advance. There are several reasons for this. Besides the fact that I had a big discount and that I had always wanted to watch a film at the IMAX theater, The Dark Knight had scenes that were shot specifically for the IMAX. In fact there is about 30 minutes of the film shot in high resolution IMAX. You also get more picture with IMAX. Here’s a comparison between what the difference is between an IMAX shot and a standard shot:
(taken from How The Dark Knight Went IMAX)
Most of the scenes that were shot in IMAX were overviews of the city and those were just spectacular. However I was most impressed by the opening segment, with the bank robbery. That whole 6-7 minute scene was shot in IMAX and it was so beautiful!
I did notice a couple of differences between the IMAX and standard parts. Besides the fact it’s much higher resolution making it crisper and sharper, the aspect ratio is also different. It’s not your standard 16:9 that the rest of the movie was in, but was much closer to 4:3 (aspect ratio of standard TV). If you’re looking for the transition, you will see it switch between IMAX and standard film by looking out for the top/bottom bars disappearing and a change in picture quality. However it’s very subtle and the transitions are done extremely well.
After I got home, I did a bit of research on IMAX and found these interesting tidbits:
- Standard film uses 35mm, but IMAX film uses 70mm and instead of shooting them vertically, they’re shot horizontally. To see a comparison of the different film sizes, check out: IMAX – How Does It Work?
- The camera that films IMAX weighs almost 2 tons.
- IMAX theaters are usually at least 6-8 stories tall, much bigger than your standard theater.
- IMAX theaters comes in 2 forms: Dome vs Flat. Flat is like your normal theater where the screen is flat in the front. With Dome, it is used more for immersion experiences where it covers all your peripheral vision.
Did I mention how beautiful it is already?
I might as well stick in the big spoiler warning now.
Lets get the most awesome thing out of the way first. DID YOU SEE THE MOTORCYCLE SCENE?!?! I totally did not expect the Batpod to pop out of the tumbler. And then when he pulled the 180 turn by popping off the wall, JUST WOW!
I’m not going to bother giving you a detailed summary of what happens. For that, all you need to do is watch the trailers.
Let’s jump to some things that have bothered me. I had not expected Harvey Dent to die. Throughout the story, they make it obviously clear that Batman does NOT kill. They even made him save the Joker from falling to his death. However with Harvey Dent’s death, it becomes quite clear that Batman has now dirtied his hands.
This also brings me to the favorite quote of the movie. Batman is running away and Gordon says that they’ll have to hunt him now. His son, confused, says, “But Batman didn’t do anything wrong…”
Lt. James Gordon: Because he’s the hero Gotham deserves, but not the one it needs right now…and so we’ll hunt him, because he can take it. Because he’s not a hero. He’s a silent guardian, a watchful protector…a dark knight.
Did I ever mention my favorite quote in the first one was:
Jim Gordon: I never said, “Thank you.”
Batman: [looks back to Gordon] And you’ll never have to.
Now jumping over to the Joker. RayAlome had asked me whose performance did I think was the best and although Christian Bale’s performance was excellent, Heath Ledger was just amazing.
It was ingenious how the Joker just randomly makes up stories on how he got his scars and how he became what he is today.
Thinking back to the scene where Batman has to make a choice to either save Harvey Dent or Rachel Dawes, and the Joker purposely switches the addresses, so Batman ends up saving Harvey Dent instead of Rachel. This got me thinking… Rachel knew that Batman would come to save her and told Harvey to try his best to get freed. Harvey Dent, not knowing the relationship between Batman and Rachel, assumed they would definitely come for him first, but said they’ll definitely go save Rachel instead to comfort her. This was reconfirmed when Harvey asks Batman in the final scene why he didn’t go save Rachel, but Harvey already knew the answer (but not the real one). This played out extremely well in my opinion.
Since I’m Chinese, I noticed the the dialect they used during the scenes in Hong Kong was not Cantonese, but was Mandarin. Given that the main spoken dialect in Hong Kong is Cantonese, I would’ve expected them to speak mostly that. There were some Cantonese lines and that’s when I noticed Edison Chen (陳冠希) as a security guard in the movie.
The bullet reconstruction scene confused me. I understand he was trying to reconstruct the bullet to find the fingerprint, but before that he shot different bullets at different walls to figure out which bullet type it was. What was the purpose of finding out the bullet type if you already have all the pieces of the bullet?
They made a big deal about how Batman’s new body armor was more prone to knife attacks and given that the Joker had nothing more than knives and lint on him, I’m surprised Batman never got injured by a knife.
RayAlome brought up the question about if Alfred destroying Rachel’s letter was the correct thing to do. Given that Rachel is dead now, I believe it’s the correct thing to do.
I’m not sure how many of you have watched Rurouni Kenshin, especially the first OVA (Trust & Betrayal), one of the themes was that Tomoe would become Kenshin’s sheath. To give a little more context, Kenshin was an assassin during the Meiji revolution. He worked directly under one of the revolutionary leaders. The leader saw Kenshin as a raw blade and didn’t want Kenshin to lose himself into this madness. He hired Tomoe become Kenshin’s sheath, to hold him back when necessary and bring him back into reality. Tomoe ends up dying (actually being sliced in half by Kenshin, but not on purpose), but for the rest of Kenshin’s life, Tomoe has done her part and is continuously doing her part to bring Kenshin back to humanity and keeping him sane.
Rachel says earlier in the movie, “Bruce, don’t make me your only hope for a normal life.” I think in times when Bruce is about to go crazy and insane, memories of Rachel will be the one bringing him back to humanity.
The scene of the 2 boats armed with bombs and detonators was very moving, especially when the big inmate came and threw the detonator out the window into the water.
Late in the movie, Bruce builds a system to use all the cell phones in Gotham city as little sonar devices to spy on people to figure out where the Joker is. When Fox found out, he said this was too much power for one man to have. Batman gave the power of destroying it to Fox, but right now he was determined to find the Joker. Fox agreed to help but said something along the lines of, “Consider this my last act and my resignation.” This was never retracted and in the final scenes, you see Fox walking away from the array of monitors shutting off, which leads me to think he is actually resigning. Batman will probably have to win him back somehow in the 3rd movie.
There was an article on /. on the similarities of this and our current government on how so many of our freedoms and liberties are taken away justified by the fact it’s helping us catch terrorists. Someone commented that The Patriot Act should only be used to capture Osama Bin Laden and France would hold the keys to destroy it once the deed is done or when they deemed it abused.
I was also surprised that part of Gordon’s team was corrupted. I thought his men were handpicked and fully trustable. I mean even Internal Affairs was investigating his men and I’m not sure why Gordon wouldn’t have cooperated with the investigation given that 90% of the cops before were corrupt. Because of this, we ended up losing both Rachel and Harvey Dent.
The music was once again composed by Hans Zimmer and James Newton Howard. However instead of giving the tracks names with names after different bat genus/species (i.e. Molossus, Myotis, Eptesicus, Vespertilio) as in the Batman Begins Soundtrack, they named tracks after famous quotes from the movie (i.e. Why So Serious?).
The music was darker and heavier than the original. For some reason I find myself liking the original one better. Maybe it’ll just takes some time for this soundtrack to grow on me. I read somewhere that the main Batman theme song was only played twice throughout the movie because the main theme song didn’t give the dark feeling that the movie needed.
This movie instantly became one of my favorites, probably #2 or #3. I would definitely recommend anyone that hasn’t seen it to go see it. The hype is all REAL!