Ramblings from the Desert

The man who trades freedom for security does not deserve nor will he ever receive either. ~Benjamin Franklin

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Location: New Mexico

Author of the urban fantasy novel, The Music of Chaos, and the paranormal romance, The Canvas Thief.

Friday, July 15, 2005

Batman Begins

The first few minutes of Batman Begins are rather slow, leading me to wonder if the film would suffer from the same ponderous character building of The Hulk. Young Bruce Wayne falls in a well, inadvertently finding the bat cave and its furry flapping residents. Cut to grownup Wayne (Christian Bale) sulking in a foreign prison camp. Things don't get interesting until Ducard (Liam Neesom) kicks Wayne's ass, in a sort of tough love Jedi mentoring thing. Ducard is a member of the mysterious vigilante group, the League of Shadows, and in Wayne he sees the perfect recruit. After a couple more unnecessary flashbacks to Wayne's youth--we get it; he's feels responsible for his parents death--the movie really gets going.

Gone are the annoying sidekicks (Robin/Chris O'Donnell, argh) and over-the-top camp that plagued most of the previous (non-Burton) movies. Director Christopher Nolan gives us a Gotham, particularly the run-down Narrows neighborhood, which has the wet grunginess reminiscent of Blade Runner. The cool gadgets are all here, with Morgan Freeman lending his cool touch to the role of Lucius Fox the gadget guy. And the Batmobile rocks. Ferocious and burly, the terrain-eating vehicle is more like a well-appointed Warthog (Halo, Halo2 ), than a simple speed machine. Can I get one in dark purple?

The overall plot is functional without any obvious jet-plane size holes, at least on the first viewing. Bruce Wayne returns to Gotham, gets gadget-y and starts mopping up the criminal filth. All is going well until the obligatory, mega-baddie rides into town with a doomsday machine. My one complaint is with the Device of Evil and the science behind it. Without spoiling anything, I'll just say this: The human body is composed of 98% water, no?

Unlike Toby Maguire of Spiderman, Bale isn't so good that he owns the role of Batman, but his performance is solid, if a little too somber. Fortunately, there is Michael Caine as Alfred to provide needed levity to an otherwise humourless film. Gary Oldman disappears behind facial hair and poofy overlong hair in the role of honest but jaded cop Jim Gordon. Frankly all three could have used more screen time, time that was squandered on Katie Homes's character, D.A Rachel Dawes.

In her defense, the script doesn't give her much to work with. She's dull, self-righteous, and hopelessly miscast. Rachel Dawes also has the dubious honor of being the movie's too-stupid-to-live character. Although, as D.A., she supposedly works tirelessly to take a bite out of crime, it never occurs to her that crime might bite back.

And the romance between Rachel and Bruce Wayne barely warms to tepid. Which renders her part rather pointless.

Dr. Jonathon Crane, played with pretty menace by Cillian Murphy (28 Days Later) is everything Rachel Dawes isn't. Dynamic, creepy and weirdly sexy. Honestly, I'd watch this again, just to see him. (And probably will, since the J-man liked it and will be buying when it hits DVD.)

All and all a good waste of an afternoon.

Yawn. TGIF.

P.K.

 

Graphics and Content Copyright © Patricia Kirby 2005