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I Have Never...

Tuesday, June 28, 2005

It Begins... Again

"I Have Never seen a film franchise so satisfactorily re-invented."

Wow. A week late I went to see Batman Begins.

I'd seen trailers, but been left unimpressed. It all looked a bit 'worthy'. A big fan of the two Tim Burton entries, I awaited reviews.

Reviews proved more than glowing. Was this really the same Christian Bale I had last seen in 'Reign Of Fire', a film so feeble that the person who suggested we go see it had actually resigned as a friend shortly afterwards in shame?

Yet Nolan as Director achieves something none of his predecessors have managed. He has made the Batman character the star rather than the support.

Think back.

Batman - a Jack Nicholson vehicle.
Batman Returns - stolen by Michelle Pfeiffer in that suit.
Batman Forever - Erm... Jim Carrey as his usual manic self.
Batman and Robin - Let's draw a shroud over that particular entry shall we?

OK, so in Batman Begins you've got Cillian Murphy as the Scarecrow. Every time he is on screen, he is a disturbing presence and the performance is destined to propel him even further than the lead in '28 Days Later' did. However, he is used sparingly and is not even offed by the Bat. He has bigger fish to fry...

Truly, it is Bruce Wayne's alter ego that you are drawn back to. Whether it be the swarms of bats, his voice when in character, or his faster than human movement when battling hoods - Bale is the star, and justifiably so.

Murphy is not the only quality support. Far from it. Michael Caine, Morgan Freeman and Gary Oldman all provide exemplary support to our hero, while Liam Neeson, Tom Wilkinson and Rutger Hauer offer various levels of threat as the baddies.

Nolan's other great achievements are to have positioned the action in a world much closer to our own, and to have had the audacity to revisit the death of Wayne's parents. Both these serve to make you as an audience truly believe this as a new beginning, and not merely Batman Film 5.

Negatives? Katie Holmes doesn't stray far from her Dawson's Creek character. The scenes with her and a kid seem tacked on to appeal to a younger audience. If only the studio had had the bravery to see that here was a more adult (and undeniably blokey) comic movie with more akin to Sin City than it's direct ancestors, and didn't require a feeble love interest...

This is merely a minor quibble, and doesn't take away from the fact that this is a rebirth that will truly compete with whatever Raimi can do next with Spiderman or Singer achieves with Superman.

Handsome Boy Modelling School:White People - Have I already recommended this? I'm going to have to start making lists. As a side project for Dan The Automator and Prince Paul, this is another stylish/modern cut up classic which ranks alongside the HBMS debut.
Highlight - Breakdown

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