Wednesday, June 15, 2005

Batman is Back, Baby!

Unfortunately, I cannot write this review with the exuberance I had wanted to due to some personal issues I'll likely discuss tomorrow. I'll do my best anyway. Movies usually either meet, go below, or totally exceed your expectations. Batman Begins was more masterful than I could've hoped and as far as comic book movies go it blows X2 and Spider-man 2 totally out of the water. Not only that, but it's a great movie even without being in the comic book genre. This movie has nothing to do whatsoever with the first four Batman incarnations and is not really a prequel. It's a starting Batman movie the way it was meant to be done. I was lucky enough to catch it in IMAX, and I highly reccomend that because it was well worth the few extra bucks spent. It really made each scene more powerful because of how stunning the visuals were and how important the sound is. The acting was completely and utterly spot-on. I can't imagine if Bruce Wayne would've been so perfect without Christian Bale and Michael Caine really puts Michael Gough to shame as Alfred. Hopefully, more people will show love for Gary Oldman after him aptly portraying a pre-Comissioner Gordon. Cillian Murphy is finally showing the mainstream public, who likely hadn't heard of him, how good he really is in his role as Scarecrow and it just felt right. Katie Holmes and Morgan Freeman did very well reinventing their characters and I just love how they both interacted with Bruce Wayne. I'm not going to talk about Liam Neeson and Ken Wantanabe to avoid spoilers, but just know that they were no different from the rest.

This movie shows Wayne as a human who can get hurt

I still have more to say though so indulge me for another paragraph. Acting is all well and good, but what is it that makes this movie so special? The careful attention poured onto every shot. When you can't tell what's cg and what's real, you know you have a winner. You may think that the bats aren't real, but you'd be surprised which scenes actually had live bats. Part of this grueling attention comes from the dialogue though, which I just fell in love with. Not a single line was actually corny or out of place, but rather it got to its point without having to dumb things down at all. It all seemed pretty intricate, and I liked how key lines (especially those relating to big themes) came back. Batman Returns came on last night and comparing this script to that one is like comparing night to day. David Goyer really outdid himself and so did Christopher Nolan. For the latter to top Memento is no small feat, and yet he managed to do it right here. Not only was his hand in the script good but also his sense of art direction and grabbing the essence of Batman. The whole movie seems designed for people my age and older because of how dark it is. Batman isn't scary when he goes around in a batsuit like in those old four movies, but he may strike fear in you a couple of times when he does what he does this time around! It's hard for me to scrape up anything I didn't like besides one thing I don't really want to spoil (very minor anyway) and how fast the hand-to-hand combat was. I think the latter was on purpose, but I just would've preferred to see them go a little slower. Of course, it makes sense that in real life the people fighting wouldn't slow down and what this movie did best was putting you in a world where everything happening seemed possible, not gimmicky. I loved the subtle explanations of things and the batmobile may not look as sleek as before but it's definitely more useful. I give this movie an A+ and demand that you go see it right now to make sure it kills in the box office.

I wanted this post up early for the review in case any of you were willing to see the film tonight and so there's not a whole lot of nerd news this early in the day. The new iteration of the popular DivX format will launch today and supposedly they've gotten the quality even better despite how well they can compress the size. It's ironic how what started out as a format for pirates is becoming more and more accepted for legal media. Gale Publishing put up a review of the Google Scholar beta and they don't seem to like it a whole lot. I'm not surprised because it's not yet at the point that other scholarly engines are at but rather still in its infancy and definitely not ready for a collegiate crowd but instead just an average joe of sorts. Speaking of Google, there's a great article here about what companies Google has bought and may buy next, and I agree with many of their choices (especially Technorati). Of course it's hard to tell what their overall plan is, but those are good guesses. Lastly, it turns out that businesses have been slow to upgrade to Windows XP, and I can't really blame them given the price of Windows software.

There's actualy some movie news available, and I'll keep my tradition of starting out with the Batman stuff. IGN has another interview with Christian Bale and it's just kind of cool to hear his thoughts on Bruce Wayne. IGN also has a behind-the-scenes clip of just a few scenes from the movie and it's nothing particularly exciting but geeks like me thrive on this stuff. A better piece of video is this new tv spot from War of the Worlds showing more of just how good this movie will be. There's now word that Vin Diesel will be the leading man in the screen adaptation of the videogame Hitman, which doesn't surprise me too much and I'm glad that he's sticking to movies I don't really care about. Oh, and it also looks like Felicity (Keri Russell) will get a part in the formerly unstable Mission Impossible: 3. All that's left are pretty pictures. There are some new pictures of Land of the Dead at JoBlo (as if I haven't been feeding you enough on this flick). The teaser poster of what will likely be the biggest comic book movie let down, X-men 3, is now available and is ironic since Wolverine won't even play much of a leading role. Lastly, we have a very appropriate poster for Tim Burton's Corpse Bride:

Lookin' good, Mr. Burton!

It's Wednesday so it must be time for some mind humping!

01. Besides your blog, do you own anything with a smilie on it? If yes, what is it, where did you get it and does it get much use?
I have some happy face stickers somewhere in one of my drawers, and I usually use them for greeting cards.

02. Since it's Power of a Smile Day ... if you were a super hero what special power would your smile have? How about your laugh or maybe even your frown?
The power to make people feel better about themselves would be pretty useful. Then everyone would love to be around me because they'd always feel good when I smile! Not to say that people hate being around me, but that's just the best answer I can think of. Maybe my laugh could cure diseases or something? I'm kind of low on ideas for that one. And I wouldn't really want my frown to do anything beacuse it would have to hurt people otherwise I'd always frown!

03. Using the letters of the word S-M-I-L-E, tell us some things that make you smile your best, happiest, most powerful smiles.
Movies like Batman Begins
Interesting vacations
Likeable girls

04. All day long, everywhere you go people are smiling at you. What the heck are they smiling at?
Probably about either a joke they can't get out of their head or a loved one they're crazy about (likely along the lines of a significant other).

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