this cup is half full, fer cryin' out loud

Monday, July 21, 2008

Someone Tell Me What i Missed!

No, i haven't blogged in a long time.
Yes, that's lame.
Yes, I am frustrated that The Dark Knight was jumbled, uninspiring, less-than-epic and not very dark.

And NO i don't understand why the rest of the world is blowing so much smoke up batman's tailpipe:

someone please explain. PLEASE


Anonymous said...

Redneckaunt says,GLAD YOU"RE BACK.
Won't bother to see that flick if you did not enjoy.
Still hopeing to see you.

yitz said...

i saw hellboy 2 instead of batman, and i think i made the right choice.. it wasn't a great movie, but it was interesting to see what kind of strange ideas are bubbling in the collective hollywood subconscious..

Jason Streitfeld said...

It's a few more weeks before The Dark Knight comes to Szczecin, so I can't comment. But, unlike my wife, I'm looking forward to seeing it. I'm not expecting anything amazing, but I expect it should at least cause me to rethink my entire approach to philosophy and most branches of the natural sciences. So we'll see.

Anonymous said...

Well, it's good to see that someone else had more or less the same reaction to The Dark Knight that I did.

I had to fight to stay awake during the obligatory action sequences.

The truck scene was enjoyable, on its own merits.

But, because the makers of the film spent such little time developing the themes and the drama -- the pitifully neglected themes of the film were literally tacked on at the end as an afterthought -- I was less than emotionally invested in the action sequences.

There was little dramatical conflict, so I didn't care much about the outcome of the action sequences. Maybe he'll get'im, maybe he won't...maybe he'll die, maybe he won't...I didn't really care too much either way, because it was all so relatively devoid of meaning.

What was the director trying to communicate to me with that story?

Why was he telling it? To give me a place to sit and eat popcorn for a couple of hours, is my feeling.

This pathetic trend of making movies exclusively for people with ADD, with no shots lasting longer than 5 seconds before a cut, has had the effect of reducing the average attention span of movie audiences.

And, they all seem to have forgotten what action movies USED to be like -- GOOD action movies that had us so wrapped up in the outcome of the plot, by means of effective dramatical and thematic development, that by the midpoint of the film, the director had us in the palm of his hand -- movies like Raiders of the Lost Ark, Aliens and the original Terminator.

The Dark Knight -- bah. I give it 2 to 2.5 stars on the Netflix scale, only because I so enjoyed the performance of Heath Ledger as well as those of the other actors.

The acting was very good all around, with the exception of a couple of wince-inducing moments by Maggie Gyllenhaal.

And, I really can't stand Christian Bale in that role. His grunting, Batman voice really gets on my nerves. And, there's something about him that creeps me out generally, though this I will admit is probably an issue of taste that doesn't apply to most people.

As with so many things in life, the expectation of The Dark Knight was more enjoyable than the experience.

Anonymous said...

Red Neck Aunt says,Loved it Erik.

JG said...

Movies, food, sex, and basically everything sensory will never again truly blow our minds like they used to.
We in this foul 21st century have been subtly brainwashed to believe that every experience we will ever have for the rest of our lives could and should be infinitely better than the one before it.
When our expectations are not completely blown away by the staggering newness of some revolutionary way of enhancing our ever-deepening robotic consumer/materialism (thus diverting us from our chronic cynicism for a few brief moments)... we feel blank and confused.
We are brainwashed to be consumers in every regard - comparing every experience the overlords serve up and deciding that we as rulers of this complacent new world surely deserve better than this - which is of course all the overlords wanted us to do in the first place. And onward we march toward experiential and creative servitude. Childhood has been dead for years.

The one exception to all this would probably be music. Music, although obviously not immune, is very resilient to corruptibility. Serious music- much like God awareness and Love in general- continues to thrive and will do so as long as we humans have even the dimmest ember of spirit remaining within us.

Don't worry, Shimsh. We're all in the same boat.
Much love

Jason Streitfeld said...

I saw it last night, and it fulfilled my expectations, which were that it would be a whole lot better than Iron Man, and yet still be severely flawed and less than awe-inspiring.

Maybe it's getting so much praise from the critics because it really is better than a lot of the other movies they are used to lauding (which isn't saying much). And maybe it resonates with a lot of people because of its message about morality. Americans tends to be in a state of desparate confusion when it comes to the foundations of morality, a fact this film plays on shamelessly. More on this point below.

***The rest of this post contains SPOILERS***

I had three general problems with the movie. First, the logic of the film had too many holes. (Like, everything to do with cell phones was absurd.) But this is to be expected from a sci-fi/fantasy film, so it's not a big deal.

Second, while I really like the way they developed the birth of the coin-flipping Two-Face, I think they totally botched that character's climax and conclusion. They could've done so much more there. The Joker's climax and conclusion were equally unsatisfying. This is far, far less forgivable.

Finally, the whole message of the film is really hard to accept: Batman becomes "the Dark Knight" because Dent's image is just too important for the good of humanity, despite the fact that he turned into a homicidal maniac?

No, I can't embrace the message that we should cover-up the psychotic criminality of our community leaders. Are real role models so hard to come by, we need to fabricate them to protect the fragile moral fiber of civilization? No. Profoundly, no.

More than anything else, then, I object to The Dark Knight on moral grounds.

Batman should've become the Dark Knight because it was the only way to uphold justice, not because it was the only way to protect the image of flawed politicians.

But Heath Ledger was chilling. He made the film, as far as I'm concerned, topping Nicholson's Joker in spades. It's a shame he's gone.

Bale is good in this role. But his character wasn't developed enough in this installment. (As for the voice, that's supposed to be some kind of electronic voice-disguising thing Batman uses to protect his real identity. So as annoying as it is, I can forgive it.)

Anonymous said...

Well, Jason, I agree with you that Batman becoming The Dark Knight, in order to preserve the fantasy image of a flawed politician, was a morally dubious mission.

Further, it seems to me that this very reasoning has been at the inception of the world's mythological heroes, saviors, prophets and so forth.

People need something to believe in, so why not give it to them, if it gives them hope to slog on through the darkness?

Well, I suspect that you have a good answer as to why not. And, my answer would probably be similar. But, the generic issue that I see herein is that of the personal values of reality vs. fantasy, to put it simply.

I think that if we briefly look around, we will notice that some people value fantasy more than others, and some people value acknowledgment of reality more than others.

The fantasists, for lack of a better term, would reason, "Why not live in a fantasy world if the real one makes you feel badly or you find it lacking?"

And, the realists might rejoin with, "because you can only maintain the fantasy for so long, at certain costs, and eventually reality will always intrude, so you might as well start dealing with it now in order to increase your chances of improving it."

At any rate, I think that it can be found in the political history of the USA that fantasies of the "Dark Knight" variety have done as much harm as good, if not moreso.

I think that our generation has realized even more than the preceding generation that the image of the USA, with which we were indoctrinated as children, comprised a substantial amount of fantasy -- for example, the nobility of our foreign entanglements in the name of truth, justice and the American way, which we have come to know by such names as The Phillippines, Panama, Guatemala, Chile, Vietnam and Iraq among others.

One would be hard-pressed to show that the human slaughter of such endeavors -- innocent humans, collateral damage, mind you -- has been an equitable price for the benefits derived therefrom.

In any case, such analysis surely tarnishes their presumed nobility.

The flip-side (I'm aware of the irony) is that it is almost certain that some of our greatest, most inspiring heroes have been fantasized and mythologized to a significant degree. I say that it is almost certain because of the prevalence of such practices in human history: exaggerated fish-stories are the rule and people loom ever larger in their legend.

But, if the truth is successfully repressed, so to speak, and we are none the wiser, then we may derive inspiration and hope from such legends. The trick is to keep us ignorant (and thus blissful).

At any rate, wouldn't it be satisfying if, in the sequel to The Dark Knight, the limits and flaws of fantasized, mythologized hero-worship were treated as a theme?

That would really humble the likes of you and me who'd been here protesting as we are, wouldn't it?

It's probably not going to happen, but one can always hope.

And, then choose to live in that hope to the exclusion of pesky, uninspiring reality...

Damn the torpedoes, full speed ahead!

Jason Streitfeld said...

One thing I think you left out, Erik, is the issue of power.

In real life, these mythological heroes are not usually just handed to people to help them get through the hard times. Rather, they're sold to them, and sometimes at a rather hefty price. Having paid the price, people are often willing to do just about anything to hold on to their idols.

Anyway, if they did more rationally treat the subject in the next installment, as you suggest, I wouldn't be humbled by it. I'd be surprised and excited, but not humbled.

Don't get me wrong. I'm all for humbling experiences. I like being humbled. But I don't see how that would do it for me.

Anonymous said...

Well, I just meant that if it were to turn out that what we have been criticizing here -- the moral dubiousness of dishonestly preserving the fantasy image of Harvey Dent -- had been but the exposition of a theme to be developed in a sequel(s), wherein some or all of the characters come to the realization that it is better to face the unpleasant truth and deal with it than to try to keep themselves blissfully ignorant (rather Garden of Eden, isn't it), that it might humble us for having thought ourselves morally superior, more thoughtful, more clever or more cinematically deft than the filmmaker who was, in fact, one step ahead of us all along.

Jason Streitfeld said...

I see . . . and the odds of that happening are about the same as me winning a lottery without even buying a ticket. :)

Anonymous said...

Maybe Chris Nolan will read our posts and become inspired.

Perhaps we can goad him into improving the thematic content of the sequel to Dark Knight...

Hey, Nolan...

You out there, you chicken-shit sellout?

You don't have the stones to tackle our theme, you pussy.

Why don't you just stay home and watch Memento, your last project that had any value beyond vegetation-inducing mind-candy, you tool.