Archive for Warner Bros

First Impressions: Terminator Salvation

Posted in First Impressions with tags , , on August 1, 2008 by B33

With the last outing of the Terminator film franchise (Terminator 3: Rise of the Machines) ultimately turning out to be a overall lackluster affair filled with action and drained of all it’s substance and dignity; I was skeptical about the notion of a sequel. After three films, the concept of a Terminator model traveling back and time and saving the life of a particular individual from another Terminator model lost the steam it once had and the life of the series seemed relatively drained. The ending of Rise of the Machines, however, set up the future of the series in a rather intriguing manner. I’ve since retained a cynical mindset in regards to the sequel and then “new trilogy” announced gradually as the film cycled through the development phase. The thought of taking a completely different direction sounded like a poorly crafted plan at first; but after reading more about the film and the recent donning of the teaser trailer has since made me re-evaluate my stance on the idea of continuing the Terminator series in a different direction. Below I’ve embedded the official teaser trailer which was first screened in front of The Dark Knight (after being leaked online, of course).

Vodpod videos no longer available.

The film appears to be aiming for a more post-apocalyptic waste land setting edited in a gritty manner. The more I think about the concept, the more I seem to accept the idea it’s aiming for. The series has always had a focus on John Connor (with the exception of the first film which focused mainly upon his mother) and the future’s apocalyptic outlook thanks to Skynet. This new trilogy could serve as a medium to finally detail the future and what ultimately happens to John Connor and Skynet. Though whether this intriguing new direction and style the film will present itself in refreshing and well crafted manner or ultimately bomb has yet to be determined. The cast seems solid enough and the concept is acceptable… And that is where the enthusiasm I have for this new trilogy ends.

Director Joseph McGinty Nichol’s (or “McG” as he dubs himself) track record is rather lackluster and ultimately fails to impress. And his initiative to create a remake of Spaced without the original creators or actors involved seems rather derisive and a poorly crafted idea. Will Terminator Salvation be on of the better notes of his career? Only time will tell. Though I ultimately remain skeptical about the actual quality and outcome of the film’s final verdict. Overall, my first impressions of Terminator Salvation is intrigued yet still unsure of the film’s quality due to how little of the film is actually known. It could either be a decent concept that is gracefully executed or a decent concept that is poorly executed and ultimately bombs.


The Dark Knight

Posted in Reviews with tags , , , , , , on July 18, 2008 by B33

Hype is a powerful entity within this world that can either successfully build a film or destroy it. Batman Begins was greeted with skepticism mainly due to disdain left by the Schumacher films which I hold in a very low regard as being among the worst comic book adapted films of their time. Fortunately, Nolan’s darker and more realistic take on the character soared and the overall reception was very well. Batman Begins served as a reboot to the character that reestablished the core of Batman and brought a darker and more sinister breath of fresh air to the film series nearly killed by Schumacher (a second, but well deserved shot at Schumacher).The ending of Begins pointed in the direction of a even darker plot line that left fans eagerly anticipating the next installment. After three very long years of rumors, speculation, and viral marketing; The Dark Knight has finally hit theaters… And the question of the moment; “Did it live up to the hype?” is the one often pondered by those who have yet to see the film.

I dislike answering a question like the one above simply because one sets their own unique expectations based upon their perception. The satisfaction of one individual may not live up to the other based upon their own taste and interests. While I myself certainly tried to suppress my inner fanboy that seemingly became psyched with the release of each piece of marketing and the various trailers that emerged; I could not help but throw the skepticism aside for a much more optimistic viewpoint of the final verdict of the film. And while I’m on the subject of the marketing; I can safely say that The Dark Knight featured the best marketing campaign I have seen to date. 42 Entertainment blew me away with how detailed their viral marketing campaign turned out to be. Clearly, a lot of thought was put into it with all the meticulous details taken directly from the film and transferred into a ongoing marketing game for the fans (such as the “I Believe in Harvey Dent” campaign or “Citizens for Batman”). The viral marketing kept me hooked and intrigued to the very end and I applaud 42 Entertainment for keeping myself and many other individuals entertained and busy until the film’s release.

The story to The Dark Knight roughly begins not too long after the events within Batman Begins. Wayne Manor is still in the process of being restored and Bruce Wayne and Alfred (both roles reprised by Christian Bale and Michael Caine) must make do with a different home and headquarters for Batman. Harvey Dent (played by Aaron Eckhart) has become the new District Attorney and face of Gotham that brings forth hope for a brighter future. Rachel Dawes (played by Maggie Gylenhal, who replaced Katie Holmes) is working together with Dent to bring down the criminals in Gotham and becomes a love interest that further drives character development and the overall complexity. The film’s center focus is upon the repercussions Gotham faces with Batman stepping in and fighting the corruption and greed that has plagued the city. Batman Begins primary focus was on Bruce Wayne and the development of Batman as not just a human being, but a symbol. In contrast, The Dark Knight’s focus steps back off of Bruce Wayne and more onto Harvey Dent and The Joker. I’ll stop there as I’d rather not spoil the film; but you can be rest assured that there is a lot of development and ties between various characters in Gotham that give breathing room while also still focusing on Batman as well.

The Dark Knight is a much darker film than it’s predecessor and certainly holds a  much more sinister tone than any other previous Batman film to date. The carnage is on a high scale and the sheer chaos displayed is even higher. The film takes a bit of time to ramp up near the beginning; but fortunately speeds up past the first quarter and never stops to take a break. The story is the equivalent of watching a well crafted tragedy unfold with the various twists and turns that take place. Some characters live to see another day and others aren’t as fortunate… The story of Harvey Dent is well developed and is very reminiscent of The Killing Joke (written by Alan Moore) in regards to the Joker’s theory of madness. And while some could say Dent’s alter ego (Two Face) is not used nearly as much as he could be; the development of the character is well played  and there’s a very unique sense of balance present in the film between the main and supporting cast. Christian Bale presents a well balanced portrayal of Batman, Bruce Wayne’s public image, and then the true side to him only a couple individuals truly see. Aaron Eckhart plays a spot on rendition of Dent and captures the character’s essence very well. Maggie Gylenhal does a relatively seamless job at picking up the role of Rachel Dawes and replacing Holmes. Gary Oldman returns as James Gordon and displays a improvement in his portrayal that further sold the character (who has a much greater involvement in the plot this time around). And the supporting roles of Alfred Pennyworth (Michael Caine) and Lucious Fox (Morgan Freeman) provide numerous genuine and clever moments of dialogue that further solidifies one of the great qualities found in Batman Begins (read: the well crafted script).

Though the one role I found to be the most well crafted and truly deserving of stealing the spotlight is the now deceased Heath Ledger as The Joker. Those skeptical about Ledger as The Joker can rest assure that he indeed nailed the role in many aspects… But Ledger did not merely nail the role. He took hold of it and redeveloped it. Ledger made the role his own and brought forth a truly psychotic individual that is likeable just as much as he is despicable. The Joker is a man who holds little regard for money or power. He simply wishes to rattle the cage and watch the chaos ensue. He wishes to send a message and prove a point regarded in his mind. And that message is with a push, madness is just a step away for any individual. The Joker is about the thrill of anarchy and living for the moment. He has no defined origin and there’s multiple stories within his mind made up with the real story never fully being known and it leaves it up to the audience to interpret. The Joker is always one step ahead of the audience and the characters present within Gotham. He’s essentially a force of nature that appears and rips everything apart; then disappears to further ensure another step of the sheer madness of the “plan” laid out within the sick entrails of his twisted mind.

It’s saddening to think Ledger can never reprise his role as The Joker nor ever play another role again due to his untimely and unfortunate departure. Though what I truly find saddening is the notion that he never was able to see the legacy nor impact he left behind. His inclusion sold the film and there’s never been a better rendition of The Joker displayed beforehand. It’s very rare that I find myself looking at a actors performance and truly seeing only the character they portray and nothing else. In a act reminiscent to Malcolm McDowell as Alex DeLarge in A Clockwork Orange, Ledger thrives and really takes on the threshold of his role. Looking up at the screen, I could only see The Joker and nothing more or less. Ledger became engulfed and lost within the role (read: not recognizable in any shape or form). In the end, his last completed performance was truly his best and will ultimately become the most remarkable and recognized worldwide.

With a sequel comes the inclusion of new gadgets for Batman to utilize. The Batsuit’s revision is the most noticeable and I personally found it to be a welcomed addition. The suit is slimmed down and made to be much more flexible in order to give a better sense of realism and speed to Batman. And it stands as the best rendition of the Batsuit in the film series to date. There’s a much better sense of movement that adds a better sense of realism to the fight scenes and lessens the stiff tone found in the previous visions of the suit in the film medium. Another new gadget found is the Batpod, which I will neglect to state how it ends up in the film due to it sort of being a intriguing surprise at a later segment. It’s inclusion is well played and ties into some intriguing chase sequences as well. There are a few other tools displayed that fans will find as entertaining surprises and thus I’ll allow you to see them for yourself rather than spoil them here.

The score for The Dark Knight is phenomenal and plays upon the chaotic theme found throughout. Hans Zimmer and James Newton Howard have proven once again that their collaborative efforts are not wasted. The spirit of the score found in Batman Begins is indeed carried over for the sequel, though Zimmer and Howard merely used the previous installment as a means of inspiration rather than simply making variations of already present material. Having listened to the soundtrack beforehand, I was very curious just how well the score would fit in with the film. I can now say that it’s inclusion was indeed well thought out and it further raises the bar in terms of immersion. Every scene present is further amplified with the inclusion of the impressive score and it’s currently one of the only things I listen to with great enjoyment, as of lately.

The cinematography in The Dark Knight is stunning to say the least. Nolan has always had a prestige (natch) focus on the camera in his films and it indeed shows. There were numerous moments where I was literally stunned with what was just displayed onscreen and it met with a similar response to the audience around me (applause and exclamations were the main points of response). Batman Begins had impressive action sequences that were rough around the edges in term of how they were cut. Fortunately, the action is choreographed to a greater extent and it does show. Everything runs smoother and has a overall better flow to it that only amplifies the experience. There’s a certain brilliant undercurrent of cleverness to each sequence that stops your mind in it’s track to think back and realize what you just witnessed which does encourage repeated viewings. Nolan and company did utilize IMAX cameras for a select number of shots that looked great on the screen I was viewing it on and I’m sure would look a hundred times better on an actual IMAX screen (unfortunately, I will not be viewing it on a IMAX screen anytime soon). As for the detective elements that stem from the core of the Batman character; they are included more this time around and the film does blend the super hero and crime drama genre of film together in a intriguing manner that further drives the overall experience.

The Dark Knight is the best Batman film to date and very well might be the best super hero film to date, as well. The film improves upon it’s predecessors in numerous aspects and then delivers much more. There’s really nothing I perceived as negative in the film as I enjoyed every minute of it. Though the two main points of criticism found from a few individuals (critics) is the length and the darker tone. And while I can see where the length could frighten a few as it runs longer than it’s predecessor and the average film; I still did not perceive it as a issue that needed to be addressed. It’s rather doubtful you’ll notice the length as the film’s pacing speeds up roughly a few minutes in and hardly ever lets go. The darker tone depends upon taste. I myself enjoyed it and found The Joker’s psychotic behavior and other dark moments to be among the best segments of the film. In regards to whether it’s suitable for a younger audience; that is up to the parents to decide as every child is different in terms of their perception. There’s a greater amount of death, chaos, and violence present. Which is how it should be given The Joker’s inclusion and should not be a point of criticism.

The title of the film may have a few pondering at it’s inclusion and it is indeed included for a very well thought out plot line that further defines the core of Batman and his overall purpose to Gotham. The ending sequence which ties everything together left the crowd applauding. Batman Begins had a fairly straightforward nod to it’s successor’s storyline. In contrast, The Dark Knight leaves the table more wide open for future events. Certain loose ends are tied up and the film does contain a completed feeling to it that leaves the audience much more content than the previous iterations ending. There is still room for more to be said and I look forward to future installments. And now the fanbase to the film series will be launched into the speculation phase; patiently awaiting for a third film to be confirmed and checking for any update or news regarding it. The Dark Knight is a impressive integration of action, depth, and development that truly makes it must see for any movie goer this Summer and years to come.

Pro’s: Top notch acting, well crafted storyline, many twists and turns to keep the audience engaged, much more complex action sequences that are epic on a grander scale, Ledger’s role as The Joker is one of the most remarkable points within the film,

Con’s: Creative wise, there’s a couple issues such as the inclusion of the Rachel character to begin with and raspy voice Bale dons under the Batman persona.

Conclusion: An improvement upon the first iteration that further drives character development, impressive action sequences, top notch acting, and a well crafted script that sets it’s place as the best Batman film to date and quite possibly the best super hero film to date as well.

Batman Begins

Posted in Reviews with tags , , , on July 17, 2008 by B33

The Batman series of films has had a intriguing life span thus far. The Tim Burton films (Batman and Batman Returns) went in the right direction, but were ultimately flawed in a few of the creative choices implemented. Though nothing could have prepared fans for the Schumacher films (Batman Forever and Batman & Robin). The two films did little to keep to the Dark Knight’s roots and took a rather campy and overall lackluster approach to the series that put the Batman film franchise into a hiatus of roughly eight years. There were a few projects commissioned but ultimately never were able to make it past the rough stages of development before Warner Bros pulled the plug. Batman Triumphant, Batman: DarKnight, Batman Beyond, Batman vs Superman, and Batman: Year One were the names of each of the projects tossed around as possible candidates. Ultimately, each was flawed or didn’t agree with the executives at Warner Bros… And the future of the Dark Knight ever rightfully returning to the silver screen seemed unlikely for the time being…

In 2003, Christopher Nolan and David S. Goyer became attached to a new start to the Batman film franchise. Rather than try to stay in continuity and fix the damage done, it was decided to head in a completely different direction altogether and start from the very beginning. The origins of Batman had never been fully addressed on screen (besides a flashback or brief mentioning) and it was Nolan’s intention to bring the development of the character to life on the big screen. A darker approach with realism and a focus on humanity present was also decided upon as well. As the film’s release date approached, many remained skeptical. With the trailers released and marketing; the general publics interest rose and the fans became intrigued by this new and much darker version of Batman. The inevitable release of the film brought in it’s fair share of theater goer’s and fared much better with both the fans and critics than the previous Batman films.

Batman Begins literally falls in line with the film’s title and starts from the very beginning and explores the origins of Bruce Wayne and explain exactly why he dons the Batsuit and fights the scum and corrupt in Gotham. The story starts with Bruce Wayne (played by Christian Bale) in a prison suspected to be located some where within a particular part of Asia (it’s implied but never actually stated) in which he fights the criminals he is locked up with that essentially chalks up to the “personal journey” he takes away from Gotham that eventually brings him to the Batman persona. After a brief fight scene, Bruce is introduced to Henri Ducard who invites him to become a part of the League of Shadows and become more than merely a man fighting a crime but rather a legend (read: symbol that remains imprinted and lives on). The film then follows into a lengthy exposition regarding Bruce’s training that ultimately reveals his past. The film has a very wholehearted approach to developing Bruce Wayne and focusing upon the dawn of the Dark Knight rather than simply introducing the character and running from there with little consideration for the characters displayed on screen.

In order to fully flesh out the characters on screen; one would hope that clever, intelligent, and overall well flowing dialogue would be implemented to keep things interesting and also allow for more genuine moments on screen. Fortunately, Begins does indeed feature well crafted dialogue to further help drive the story and also contribute to the countless genuine moments featured on screen. The action sequences are also impressive and are blended together with the impressive dialgoue to deliver a experience that can not easily be imitated and differs from all of the past Batman films. There’s a larger sense of scale and focus on the cinematography that can be best summed up as epic, but still flawed. The action sequences worked up until Wayne dons the Batsuit and then they just feel rough around the edges and unnatural to a certain degree. Despite the negative points, you’ll still find some edgy and rather creative sequences that more or less make up for the film’s few shortcomings.

With clever dialogue also comes top notch actors. Christian Bale delivers a interesting take on Bruce Wayne. Essentially, there are three sides to the character. There’s the public image Wayne must rely on to avert suspicion, his true personality that is never showcased to the public, and then the Dark Knight himself. Bale does a very precise job at balancing each persona out in a natural manner. Michael Caine plays Aflred in the best rendition of the character I’ve seen yet in the series of Batman films. Caine and Bale are dynamic in delivering the dialogue provided in a earnest and a manner the delivers a lot of depth. Liam Neeson plays Henri Ducard and does a top notch job in delivering some unforgettable moments within the film. Gary Oldman plays James Gordon and the approach to the character is very reminiscent to Batman: Year One (Frank Millar). There’s a certain connection between Gordon and Batman that developed when he was merely a boy and stuck in the police station after his parents death that further helps drive the character development further. Katie Holmes unfortunately plays the obligatory love interest pasted into the film. Morgan Freeman plays Lucius Fox and does the usual top notch job at delivering memorable moments that played into the gadgets Batman utilizes. And Cillian Murphy tops off the cast list as the frighteningly calm yet psychotic Dr. Jonathan Crane/The Scarecrow.

The villains featured in Begins are two that have never been featured in a Batman film beforehand and are lesser known amongst the general public yet play much more prominent roles in the graphic novel. This was a aspect I found intriguing about Begins. It’s aim was to bring a more dark and realistic approach to the character and also stay true to the core of the graphic novel (to a certain extent). The Scarecrow and Ra’s al Ghul are both villains with a lot of potential and possibilities to explore upon. Fortunately, the film makers took the right avenue as the film’s overall purpose tied well into the characters displayed on screen. Both villains are written into the plot in a connecting manner that further drives them down into reality while also keeping that Batman tone and feel found in the graphic novel.

Batman is well know for the various gadgets he utilizes to aid him in his efforts to fight the criminals within Gotham. Begins does a impressive job at providing the various gadgets and further developing what exactly makes up the overall Batsuit and how it functions. Lucius Fox provides Wayne with all he needs and improvisation follows via a division within Wayne Enterprises long since forgotten. It’s a intriguing way to explain how Wayne got his hands on what he needed and further cements the overall tone in a more realistic sort of manner (albeit with some suspended disbelief). The Batsuit finally gives Wayne a neck and more flexibility while the new and redesigned Batmobile (now called “The Tumbler”) gives way to some impressive moments and a overall shift from the usual path taken in the Batman film series. Though long time fans might be a bit disappointed to see the sudden change in Batman’s means of transportation regardless of it’s more realistic approach.

One of the key aspects of Batman Begins that sells the film even further is the impressive orchestrated soundtrack in a collaborative effort by Hans Zimmer and James Newton Howard. Begins has a unique tone that reflected a serious side laced with a somber yet soothing portion as well. Words alone can not describe how well the soundtrack to Begins fits within the actual film. It’s a living and breathing aspect that contains a mind of it’s own. I found countless moments within the film that were further amplified and understood through the score. Zimmer and Howard surprised me with the amount of depth and precision delivered. Which ended up providing more entertainment as I checked into the soundtrack and still find myself listening to it up to this day despite the fact it’s been around for nearly three years now. It’s unlike anything heard before and overall leaves a impact as one of the most unqiue impressive scores delivered within the film industry.

Regardless of the praise it receives, Batman Begins is still not without it’s issues. The new Batsuit finally gives Batman the much needed neck and flexibility but still comes off as stiff. And Bale’s raspy voice is a much unwanted addition to the film as it seems out of place and could often obscure Batman’s points of dialogue from time to time. I can understand the intended purpose as a individual attempting to conceal their identity would need to alter their voice in order to do so. But it still doesn’t shake the dismay I have for the voice and wish for it to be downplayed in future installments. The other flaw within the film is the inclusion of the Rachel character. It’s another unwelcome alteration to the Batman universe and overall feels like a cope out to provide a love interest to Wayne and further dramatize things. Holmes’ performance further brings the character down as she seems disconnected from the role and ultimately provides a mediocre performance, thus projecting a disconnected feeling from the character in general.

Despite it’s flaws, Batman Begins is a impressive film that falls under the Super Hero genre of film that succeeds in providing a higher quality. It retains the overall core of the graphic novel by keeping in line with a more gritty, dark, and realistic tone. The script is well crafted and laced with brilliance while the film carries top notch actors that can deliver the script’s strength. The ending of the film leaves a more linear approach to the next one (if you’ve seen it, you know exactly what I mean), but ultimately leaves the audience anxiously looking forward to the future of the film series (I myself walked out of the theater eagerly ready for the next film). A few flaws cripple the film from reaching a higher status and the concept of developing and rebooting the series is not for everyone (as it can be a bit slow paced at times). Yet there’s still quite a bit to enjoy with this new reboot to the character that takes cues from various points of the Dark Knight and mixes together new elements as well to provide a original and overall compelling start to the brand new beginning of Batman.

Pro’s: A darker tone, top notch acting, a grander scale to the action, impressive focus on cinematography, and intelligent and well crafted dialogue.

Con’s: The action is rough around the edges, batsuit is a improvement but could still use some work, the inclusion of the Rachel character is bothersome (on top of Holmes’ iffy performance), and the raspy voice included while Wayne is under the Batman persona feels misplaced.

Conclusion: Despite it’s flaws; the film combines top notch acting, a brilliant script, darker and more realistic tone, and a grander scope cinematography wise to deliver a much needed new beginning to the Dark Knight.

Batman Begins and The Dark Knight Soundtrack

Posted in Reviews with tags , , , , , on July 15, 2008 by B33

One of the key aspects of Batman Begins that sold the film even further was the impressive orchestrated soundtrack in a collaborative effort by Hans Zimmer and James Newton Howard. Begins has a unique tone that reflected a serious side laced with a somber yet soothing portion as well. Words alone can not describe how well the soundtrack to Begins fits within the actual film. It’s a living and breathing aspect that contains a mind of it’s own. I found countless moments within the film that were further amplified and understood through the score. Zimmer and Howard surprised me with the amount of depth and precision delivered. If you enjoyed Batman Begins, I can not recommend the soundtrack enough. It’s a calm and creative force that will provide roughly a hour and a half (60:26) of entertainment the first time through and countless amounts of time for further play throughs as well.

With The Dark Knight’s release looming, a new installment to the soundtrack has now hit and is again composed by both Hans Zimmer and James Newton Howard. The spirit of Batman Begins’ soundtrack indeed is carried over for the sequel, though Zimmer and Howard merely used the previous installment as a means of inspiration rather than simply making variations of already present material. Granted, there are familiar elements present throughout and a few moments that are reminiscent to Begins… But the overall tone to the score has shifted due to the film’s shift in tone. Chaos is the theme this time around and the score certainly amplifies that tone to deliver a great impact. The calming tone throughout Begins is no longer as prevalent this time around. Yet there’s still a uplifting and soothing tone amongst the chaos running amok. The soundtrack’s run time is longer than it’s predecessor (73:24) and also provides countless amounts of time in future play throughs. Both soundtracks are in a league of their own and unlike anything you’ve ever heard before. There’s a intriguing amount of soul and depth to each score as Zimmer and Howard both bring unique points of interest to the table in their collaborative efforts. It’s a enjoyable aspect to the film that further amplifies the overall experience as well as provide entertainment outside the theater.

Pro’s: Well crafted, captures the tone of each film, and further amplifies the experience of viewing the actual film.

Con’s: Shift in tone might disappoint some.

Conclusion: A impressive score that precisely captures the tone and is one of the many enjoyable aspects of the film.

Batman: Gotham Knight

Posted in Reviews with tags , , , , , on July 14, 2008 by B33

With the release of The Dark Knight looming just over the horizon, DC Animation has decided to release a DVD tie-in entitled “Batman: Gotham Knight” which runs in the same vein as The Animatrix concept. The DVD consists of six short animated segments that all occur within The Gotham City introduced in Batman Begins. Each segment contains a different director and thus has a different overall tone and style to the story and animation featured. Though the level of quality does remain consistent throughout. The overall idea is to witness events that take place between Batman Begins and The Dark Knight. The DVD’s introduction is a impressive sweep across a segment of Gotham City that ultimately leads to the Dark Knight himself as an impressive score plays and the title then makes itself present on the screen. A intriguing method to grab the audience and seamlessly move on to the first segment…

“Have I Got a Story For You” (created by 4 Celsius) is the very first segment featured that ultimately plays upon the “unique perspective” often found when you gather multiple individuals together to state their given story about the same subject (read: the Rashomon effect). It plays upon the idea that Batman is not only a person, but a symbol… The story revolves around 3 teenagers recollecting earlier events of the day that all involved Batman to a friend who had missed out entirely. Each story essentially sums up Batman’s day fighting the same criminal throughout the city and by the end of it, the entire miniature arc within it is cleared up. It’s a intriguing segment but ultimately proves to be unnecessary in many aspects. The segment never follows the perspective of Batman nor provides any vital material to deem it a must watch. The DVD’s purpose is to bridge the gap between Batman Begins and The Dark Knight and the first segment did not bode well if the rest featured fell into the same rut and proved to be unnecessary…

The next segment is titled “Crossfire” (created by Production I.G.) and holds the honor of being the least liked segment. “Crossfire” covers the trust between the police force and Batman which feels like it’s retreading old ground and is unnecessary. The voice acting isn’t terrible and the animation is acceptable. But I found the writing to be rather lackluster and the overall logic displayed to be rather perplexing at times, the ending especially. Once all is cleared up and Batman saves the day (spoiler alert: the good guys win) he simply leaves the two detectives he just saved in the middle of the worst part of Gotham. Numerous issues creative wise prevents the segment from being able to stand on it’s own amongst the five others featured. “Field Test” (created by Bee Train) was the next segment featured and it essentially covers the morals Batman faces with the devices and gadgets he wields and the line between risking his own life and the fate of the criminals he faces. Despite a couple odd points of dialogue and logic, it was one of the more enjoyable segments featured.

“In Darkness Dwells” (created by Madhouse) is the segment I genuinely enjoyed the most. The story consists of Batman facing Killer Croc and The Scarecrow as the late Cardinal O’Fallon was kidnapped and sentenced to death while in the middle of a sermon at his Cathedral. The overall flow to the plot is refreshing and the dialogue is surprisingly well crafted as well. In a act of curiosity in regards to the sudden jump in quality in writing, I looked up the writer of “In Darkness Dwells” and at the first sight of the name I instantly knew why. The story was written by none other than David S. Goyer, the same individual who penned the script to Batman Begins. In a intriguing manner, the next segment entitled “Working Through Pain” (created by Studio4°C) continues nearly right where the previous segment leaves off at. The overall idea is to delve into Bruce’s past and his quest to manage his pain. And the last segment featured is “Deadshot” (created by Madhouse) which picks up roughly a few days after the end of “Working through Pain.” It’s a fairly decent way to wrap up the overall package the DVD delivers and serves it’s place in line with the other segments.

Overall, Batman: Gotham Knight is a enjoyable watch for those who are a fan of the character to begin with and are tolerant of the Japanese style of animation. Essentially, there’s nothing featured that is necessary or a must see for those who plan on watching The Dark Knight. The compilation does not particularly deliver upon it’s promise to “bridge the gap” between Batman Begins and The Dark Knight. The first three segments feel more or less like a random assortment of ideas and overall storyline while the last three tie themselves together in a intriguing and engaging manner. The compilation feels inconsistent in terms of quality yet the animation and setting, in respect to it’s own style, holds up surprisingly well. It’s made rather evident the Gotham City featured reflects that of the Batman Begins Universe which further aids in selling the overall tone throughout. In the end, if your a fan of Batman and the DC Animation division, you’ll enjoy Batman: Gotham Knight. Though I can not honestly recommend it as a must see or a purchase due to it’s flaws and overall lack of purpose. It’s a rental at best and will ultimately hold you over until The Dark Knight. Though it unfortunately does not provide enough replayability value or content to warrant a purchase.

Pro’s: Top notch voice acting, decent score, animation holds up fairly well, and well crafted writing in certain segments.

Con’s: Inconsistent quality, writing is choppy at times, the overall flow does not catch on until the the last three segments, and generally feels more like filler than necessary material.

Conclusion: While the compilation proves to be a enjoyable and intriguing watch for fans, it’s flaws and lack of replay value ultimately prevents the warrant of a purchase (it’s a rental at best).

First Impressions: The Dark Knight

Posted in First Impressions with tags , , , , , on July 1, 2008 by B33

Chances are, if you’ve been to a movie theater in the past year, you’ve heard about the upcoming sequel to Batman Begins intuitively titled “The Dark Knight”. There’s been quite a large chunk of footage and information released thus far. But still a large portion of the film is unknown at this point and time. We know who the villains are and the general idea… But the twists and turns and final outcome remain unknown and cloaked under the veil of secrecy until the film hits theaters. We know The Joker (played by the now deceased Heath Ledger) is the central villain and he’s all about creating mayhem and chaos. Based upon early reviews and interviews with the cast and crew, The Joker has been described as a “force of nature” comparable to the shark in Jaws. Ledger appears to have really brought out a entire different vision of the character that takes cues from other interpretations but ultimately appears unique enough to carve it’s own place within the Batman Universe Nolan has developed for the film medium. As for other villains featured; Scarecrow will apparently be making a small appearance and Two Face will not be a vital part of the picture until the end.

While Two Face won’t be a major part of the plot this time around, Harvey Dent (Two Face’s true identity) will play a vital part in the story of The Dark Knight based upon the trailers and information released thus far. And while some may be disappointed by that notion, keep in mind what can happen if a film has too many villains packed within it (read: Spider-Man 3). I’d much rather there be more of background to Dent and ultimately Two Face that will ultimately set up the chain of events for the third film. The Joker is main villain this time around and thus will fill up a majority of the film with chaos and mayhem. Mixing multiple villains together is a rather troublesome concept since the end result will often have each villain fighting for screen time. It gives each character more of a shallow amount of depth and leads to less character development for each and every role featured within the film.

The viral marketing for The Dark Knight is another aspect of the hype for the film that has immensely kept my interest for this film in a rising state as each month has passed leading up to The Dark Knight’s inevitable premiere. I’ve yet to see the film and having enjoyed Batman Begins and Nolan’s past work I look forward to this sequel with great anticipation. Creative wise, the film is on the right track. The cast appears strong and well suited for their respective roles. And the redesigned Batsuit and Batpod (also referred to as the “Batcycle”) seem like decent additions to the device roster. Overall, I’m impressed with what has been revealed thus far and I look forward to the realse of the film with anticipation as the sequel to the much needed reboot of The Dark Knight series hits theaters on July 18th, 2008.

Watchmen Principal Photography has Wrapped

Posted in General with tags , , on February 20, 2008 by B33

Principal Photography has now wrapped for Watchmen. The film is now officially in post-production. Below follows the first image from a finished scene in Watchmen (effects implemented and everything). The film is shaping up to be amazing. It is based on the acclaimed graphic novel by Alan Moore (of From Hell, V For Vendetta, etc fame). Below follows the premise of Watchmen courtesy of Wikipedia.

“In an alternate 1985 where superheroes exist, tensions between the United States and the Soviet Union are at an all time high. The vigilante Rorschach is investigating the murder of the Comedian, and uncovers a plot to discredit and murder various heroes. Rorschach discovers a far wider ranging conspiracy involving his colleagues’ past which could completely change the course of history.”

Still Taken from a Finalized Scene in Watchmen (Dated February 2008):

First Costume Test Image of Rorschach Hidden Within the 300 R-Rated Trailer(Dated March 2007 ):

It’s incredible to see just how far the production has come along with Watchmen. And the finalized image alone makes me want to go back and re-read the graphic novel yet again. Zack Snyder and the rest of the cast and crew involved in Watchmen all seem highly motivated towards bringing the fans the film adaption they have been waiting for. Yes, there will be slight changes here and there. But all are vital in bringing Watchmen to the big screen. My skepticism is nearly gone based on what we’ve seen thus far. I’ll need a trailer to fully confirm and set aside my doubts. The film hits on March 6th, 2009. Still have a little more than a year to go as the countdown to Watchmen continues onward…