Monday, March 30, 2009

What The Hell Was That?

So last night we watched The Dark Knight.   Two hours and thirty minutes of torture, sadism, and gratuitous violence, intercut with half-baked, incoherent gibberish about anarchism and man's fallen nature.   

This was a hit, right?  This was the "best Batman ever?"

I kept thinking: why am I watching this?  I don't care what happens to ANY of the characters--whether they live or die; whether Batman violates his one, unbreakable rule; whether they all get turned into giant penguins and hunted down by deranged psychotic polar bears.  It was all the worst aspects of a cartoon combined with all the worst aspects of a live-action 'naturalistic' movie.  Just enough stylization to render the characters two-dimensional, but not enough to distance the viewer from all the violence.   Fight scenes that were simultaneously wonderless and absurd.   It was ridiculous.  More than that, it was insulting.  Humorless, portentous, sophomoric dribble.  I would have walked out if I'd been in a theater.

Also, maybe I have a much lower tolerance for on-screen violence than other people, but did anyone else find it was too much?  Could you imagine taking kids to see that movie?  I felt like I was watching Reservoir Dogs at certain points.  Only, you know, without any writerly or directorial talent shoring it up. 

I don't know.  I guess I'm a grumpy old man.  In the immortal words of Krusty the Klown: "I could have pulled a better film than that out of my...Hey Kids!" 

But maybe I've missed it.  Have I?  Someone who liked this film--and it seems like everyone did--explained to me what I'm missing.  Did it just catch me at a bad moment?   Was Heath Ledger really THAT amazing?  Would anyone ever watch this twice?  If so, why?


Dezmond said...

I rather enjoy a good dose of sadism and gratuitous violence.

Johannes said...

I could have written this about Watchmen - which i did walk out of. Never has life felt so precious and fleeting as when i cringed my through the first 3/4 of that atrocity.

I liked Dark Knight, but didn't rave about it. I do think Ledger was remarkable and the only thing that made it compelling. The so called moral questions it tried to raise, were dismissable. It also served to remind me how much worse ALL the other Batman movies were. I didn't hate it.

T, don't go see Watchmen unless life has lost all meaning and you're just waiting for death. Spend those THREE HOURS playing with your dog or doting on your lovely wife, or vice versa.

JMW said...

I agree with you. I thought it was the most overrated movie of the last, what, 20 years? Not because people liked it in some kind of brain-dead way (I can't get angry at Paul Blart: Mall Cop topping the box office, mostly because I don't think about it for longer than the time it takes me to read some headline on, but because people tried to argue that it was a great movie. Ridiculous.

ANCIANT said...

Johannes: By the use of the single sentence "...don't go see Watchmen unless life has lost all meaning and you're just waiting for death" you have made my entire half-baked, semi-ranting Batman post worthwhile.

As it happens, life HAS lost all meaning, but I'm going to fill the void with alcohol and cookies, not bad cinema.

Still: good advice.

Saxo Philologus said...

Well I'm glad I read this. I don't think I was going to see 'The Dark Knight' anyway, but still...The original graphic novel of Watchmen is just as juvenile as the movie seems to have been.

日月神教-向左使 said...