Luncheon of the Beast


Posted by zeptimius at 01:02 PM, February 12, 2010 | Permalink | Comments

Previously, on snowstone...
jamoyt 86: "White dinner"

From the archives

Batman Begins

4 out of 5 snowstones
To Europeans, the cult of Batman is an enigma worthy of the Riddler. Sure, the Old World enjoys exploding stuff, fast cars and hot babes as much as the next red-blooded American, but we never grew up with the comics, the cartoons and the clumsy live action TV shows. In short, what many of us saw was a guy in a ridiculous costume fighting lots of other guys in ridiculous costumes. Europeans take pride in their lofty, highbrow cultural heritage and often find comics silly and childish. And how surprising: when Christopher Nolan, born in London, takes on the saga of the Caped Crusader, the result is a thoughtful movie that doesn't forego moral subtleties for the sake of an obligatory romantic or humorous interlude. Hollywood studio execs must be baffled that this episode, which is heavy in dialogue and relatively easy on the stunts, scores higher on IMDb than any of its predecessors. The cast of famous actors (rather than celebrities who act) such as Michael Caine, Liam Neeson, Tom Wilkinson and Morgan Freeman add to the "seriousness" of the project. Here's a typical scene. Bruce Wayne is throwing a birthday party at his mansion, attended by the master villain of the story. To prevent unnecessary bloodshed, Wayne lets out his guests, leaving only the evil guy and his henchmen behind. In any regular Hollywood movie, this would be the prelude to some major ass-kicking. Instead, as the henchmen torch the place, Wayne and his nemesis discuss moral issues as if they're at a philosophy conference. What makes this movie the best in the series to date is simply its believableness. Yes, there's still a guy in a Kevlar suit swooping down from the rooftops and the action scenes are dazzling and spectacular, but the hysterical over-the-topness that characterized all the other episodes is absent here, and CGI is kept to a bare minimum. I had to read the reviews afterwards to realize that the movie does actually features an alter-ego villain like the Joker or the Penguin (in this case, it's the Scarecrow); to me, Dr Crane was just a mafioso with a shtick. It's a credit to Nolan that he managed to convince the producers that "less is more" would be a successful action movie formula; that's tantamount to heresy in Tinsel Town. The problem, of course, is obvious: we're still taking about Batman here, a comic book hero fighting the bad guys. Some people might say that Nolan made his own movie and gave it a couple of bat wings. But I like to see this movie as a first indication that there is again room for action movies that actually cannot be understood by children under the age of six.
Posted by cronopio at 01:34 PM, July 21, 2005