Friday, December 16, 2011

The Dark Knight Rises Footage Impressions (Spoilers)

Salutations, Internet!

**Spoilers abound for the first footage of The Dark Knight Rises**

This evening I saw Mission Impossible: Ghost Protocol (quite a fantastic film) with the first eight or so minutes of The Dark Knight Rises.  To those of you who know me I am quite the Batman fan.  Rather a Christopher Nolan-Batman fan.  I discovered Batman Begins in 2007 (I had been on a forced film hiatus for several years) and immediately fell in love with the world and characters Nolan brought to the screen.  To put it simply, Nolan classed up the joint.  With the reveal in the final shot of Begins of the Joker's card, my anticipation for The Dark Knight began to build.  July 2008 came and I saw The Dark Knight (after having built a Lego version of the tumbler whilst wearing my Joker shirt).  I was speechless after the credits rolled.  To this day The Dark Knight remains my number two favorite film of all time (Saving Private Ryan being number one).  I've been talking, reading, and thinking about The Dark Knight Rises ever since July 2008.  More spy photos and videos have come out of TDKR's production than I've ever seen on any film.  I and two good friends had the fortune to actually be extras in a scene for the film, shot at Pittsburgh's Heinz Field.  It was one of the most incredible experiences of my life.  So needless to say I have very high expectations for Nolan's trilogy-ending epic.

Perhaps these high expectations are what left me a bit wanting after seeing the first footage tonight.  The gist is that some CIA dudes are picking up a Russian scientist (the viral campaign plays directly into this) from someone..who has captured three mercenaries that were trying to get to the scientist.  One of the mercs is Bane and bad stuff happens.  The plane is boarded by bad buys and Bane escapes in dazzling fashion with the scientist.

What I liked: Its new footage.  I was amazed at the staging of the scene and the practicality involved; Bane's crew attached cables to the outer hull of the small plane and had their cargo plane pitch upward, causing the wings to tear off the small craft.  The men blow off the tail of the plane and rappel down into it.  At the end Bane blows the cables and the plane falls away from them with him and the scientist attached to the cable.  Everything looked very, very real with little noticeable CG.  The music was great, with the slow tonal build that culminates in Zimmer's classic Dark Knight score..then blends into the distinctive chanting that is featured in both the teaser trailer and the first official trailer.

What I didn't like: Bane's voice.  You can't understand or hear what he's saying.  This has been a huge contention amongst those who have seen this footage.  In Pittsburgh it was incredibly difficult to hear what he was saying to us..but that was coming out of loudspeakers.  He speaks in a very thick eastern European accent and his mask muffles his voice greatly.  I have all the confidence in the world that this will be fix via ADR and perhaps Nolan didn't want us clearly hearing what this badass villain is saying.  I didn't really like the editing of the moves at a very fast pace with a lot of quick cuts.  The dialogue wasn't very good either.  When one of the men mentions a masked mercenary the main guy proclaims "BANE?!" in a goofy way.  There were bits of clunky dialogue in both films, namely the lines "We'll be like turkeys on Thanksgiving!" and "Have a nice trip, see ya next fall," but I hope this is a single case and not a trend.

When seen in context, in front of the whole film, I may end up loving it (I very much probably will)..but I just can't help but feel underwhelmed.  I much preferred the first real trailer that is now attached to Sherlock Holmes: A Game of Shadows (also a fantastic film).  I'm 110% confident that I will love The Dark Knight Rises when it comes out next July..I just hope that my expectations aren't too high...

Bullet out.

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