Monday, July 04, 2005

Batman Begins (Yawn! Must it?)

Went for Batman Begins last night and fought overwhelming sleepiness all through. Now, I have nothing against the movie: in fact, I have absolutely no opinion on it. Blame it on the lateness of the hour -- it was the 10:15 pm show -- and the fact that the night before had been spent in a drunken stupor and not the refreshing, invigorating sleep I usually require to drag myself from day to day, but I just couldn't help nodding off and waking up with starts whenever there was a sudden burst of noise, which there was rather a lot of. All I remember about the last half an hour of the film is that lots of buildings were calamitously crashing to the ground, bridges were breaking impressively, a manic train was plunging to the ground and then suddenly all was calm and there was Batman (in Bruce Wayne avatar) chopping wood or something. No, sorry, he was actually boarding up a well.

It would have helped if Batman had been better looking -- that Christian Bale character looked more like Ratman to me. The only passable looking guy in the whole film was that psychiatrist character, and then he was wearing a gunny bag mask most of the time.

According to Roger Ebert, "Batman Begins at last penetrates to the dark and troubled depths of the Batman legend, creating a superhero who, if not plausible, is at least persuasive as a man driven to dress like a bat and become a vigilante." The absurdity of it makes me want to laugh. Ok, so here's a man who wants to dress up like a bat and save people. Now if you want me to believe he's not, well, batty, put him in a less serious and less earnestly dark setting, for heaven's sake! Make it more like the frothy and cheerful Superman, I say! On one hand, you have this gloomy city -- very believable in its tales of corruption and its dark, miserable depths --and on the other, you have this totally absurd and fantastical thing of a caped crusader fighting evil. Who goes to Tibet or wherever to seek a blue flower that makes people see fire breathing dragons and all. Which is ok in itself but not if it feels like these guys were trying to make a Gangs of New York with a caped crusader.

Do film-makers who make superhero movies need to take their subjects a little less seriously? Anyway, whatever, they do at least need to find better looking leading men, if you ask me.


At July 04, 2005 5:08 PM, Blogger Jabberwock said...

"On one hand, you have this gloomy city - very believable....and on the other, you have this totally absurd and fantastical thing of a caped crusader fighting evil."

Wow. Oh wow. You've dismissed the basic internal logic of some of the finest graphic novels and some of the best fantasy literature with one cruel blow. Where is it written that "fantastical" creations must only be allowed to exist in unrealistic settings? Have to get Samit in on this debate now - am sure he'll have something to say about this.

BTW, in quoting Ebert's review you've left out this very significant line: "The movie is not realistic, because how could it be, but it acts as if it is."

Also, Gangs of New York is a bad example because that's a deliberately cartoonish, carnivalesque film, and it would actually have made a very good setting for the kind of superhero you're talking about.

At July 04, 2005 5:15 PM, Blogger Jabberwock said...

P.S. You have "absolutely no opinion" on the movie? Ha!

At July 04, 2005 5:53 PM, Blogger The Marauder's Map said...

God, how you make me squirm and go red behind the ears. Now I've forgotten half my arguments and am surprised I had any to begin with.

So here goes: All ye Gods of Graphic Novels and Fantasy Literature, forgive me, a mere, fallible mortal, for being so presumptuous as to dismiss the basic internal logic of some of your finest creations. And please, please don't let Samit Basu pick a fight with me on this, for the good Jabberwock has chastised me enough.

* deep breath*

But ok, look here, where I had a problem with Batman Begins is that it was so earnest-as-hell. It failed to have a sense of its own ludicrousness; it had no touch of whimsy. It took itself too seriously. I know Batman is supposed to be one of the darker superhero sagas, I have never been a huge fan of the whole superhero genre, I don't think you can exactly equate it with fantasy literature which at its best is extremely whimsical and consciously absurd. But it's completely personal; in fact, I have never taken to fantasy lit that takes itself too seriously either.

At July 04, 2005 6:02 PM, Blogger Jabberwock said...

Ha ha. Your "All ye Gods..." reminds me of a very defensive, very sarcastic apology I posted in response to some nasty comments on my PR blog recently:

"Defenders of PR people, I shamefacedly beg your pardon. PRs are the salt of the earth and journalists the scum. Happy?"

Take away all the highbrow-lowbrow talk and we're really quite alike it seems.

At July 06, 2005 1:25 AM, Blogger thalassa_mikra said...

You thought Christian Bale was unattractive? As opposed to ethereal beauties Val Kilmer and Michael Keaton? Heck, I thought he was very lust-worthy, except when he was speaking through the Batman suit, when his mouth looked hideous. But I guess each one to her own.

At July 06, 2005 10:50 AM, Blogger The Marauder's Map said...

Gosh, the man had no upper lip and all his teeth looked fused together. And in the one scene in which we see him quasi-naked, he looks like a big chunk of beef. No sex appeal, at least not for me. Couldn't help comparing his unintentional (?) flashing with those of Hugh Grant in Notting Hill, Patrick Swayze in Dirty Dancing and Richard Gere in pretty woman. Drool drool.

At July 06, 2005 5:56 PM, Blogger Jabberwock said...

That Christian Bale is HOT. Yum.

At July 06, 2005 6:15 PM, Blogger samit said...

ok, will not pick a fight since youve asked me not to. just think the jabberwock is completely right, thassall. except i choose not to second the christian bale thing, because ive been single for a long time and people ask questions.
(the muttering you hear is me not holding forth)


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