Thanks for the info PolarisDiB, that’s exactly what I did here and I always cite references and give credit for everything I’m linking to or quoting. Cheers→
Weirdly out of it today. My point being that the likelihood is greater that people will only read what you posted and not what you linked to. Second paragraph completely superfluous.
I really need to see Memento again but I remember being pretty impressed by it when I first saw it in 2001.
It’s the only Christopher Nolan film I’ve seen thus far. I had zero interest in anyone re-doing Batman after Tim Burton in my opinion did it so excellently. Comparing him to Christopher Nolan seems like a joke to me (I’ll get back to that in a second). But I’ve become fascinated with The Dark Knight phenomenon nonetheless. When I rewatch Burton’s films, I can’t believe the mainstream liked them so much. They seem as though they were made for the freak outsider, like me. Joker was basically a death-fashion enthusiast. Which of course stuck its’ finger into neon, brightly-colored, candy-coated 80’s culture and pulled out its’ phony heart to show how rotten it was on the inside. It seemed like a real anti-80’s movie. But still we were allowed to enjoy how truly insane the Joker was and yet dangerous at the same time. That was clever. Inspired. One of a kind.
But the public has spoken and they want a Joker who’s more like a smart street thug. Who doesn’t use the system against people. A guy who kills with his hands not with a bag of tricks like a clown. Ironic, considering Heath Ledger actually looked more like a clown than Jack Nicholson. Here’s what bothered me right off the bat about Ledger’s Joker: horror movies have been turning their killers into Professional Wrestler knock-offs since – what – Jason X in 2001. That’s not scary. They make the guys physically larger and make them act like Ozzy Osbourne really in the mood to grab an animal and eat it raw right in front of us. It’s overcompensating for the fact that young filmmakers don’t want to do true psychological work establishing frightening characters. It’s a “style” choice and it’s stupid. Professional wrestling is a television freakshow, not art. Not like horror used to be in the decades previous. Maybe they could all take a tip from Nolan and Ledger because I’m sure Dark Knight’s character was everything Rob Zombie’s Michael Myers lacked or Remake Jason Voorhees, etc, were not.
But considering all the hype the character has gotten, it remains in my eye a bad compromise. Why? Because – let’s be brutally honest – the public isn’t so cool with Nicholson’s Joker because post-comics Jokers would be looked at as gay by audiences programmed by so many (decades) of Adam Sandler, sports, George Bush, Fox News, you name it homophobia. Why would a villain dress up like a clown if he weren’t trying to femme it up; why would an intimidating villain be interested in art; why would a villain they should be afraid of try to use our culture against us instead of just being some kind of loner badass type? Heath Ledger’s Joker is the public-approved Joker in Homophobic America. Because if he dresses up like a nurse, nobody can laugh at him because they already saw him kill a black guy with a pencil. It sounds weird to most people but it makes a frightening amount of sense when you think deep. And don’t even get me started on Demonic-Christian Bale’s Batman. Burton tried to make Batman look freaky in the opening scene of his movie too and didn’t have to make the actor sound like Cookie Monster.
Tim Burton’s movies made me fascinated with the idea of Batman. Christopher Nolan’s version seems like just another disposable action movie. With very manipulative qualities that make me feel insulted as an audience member. For example, again, I’m not like every idiot who fell for the pro-wrestler tricks with cinematic villains over the last decade. The least interesting aspect by far of 28 Days Later was the fact that the “zombies” were people with “rage.” Oddly enough, I’ve never been in a situation in which a steroid-addled football player tried to clothesline me in the streets. And whether I’m meant to relate to it or be impressed that I’ve never seen it happen outside of school where guys were acting like idiots to intimidate each other (too much MMA), it’s a cheap way of trying to make audiences more afraid of a character. The people they should be afraid of are politicians, businessmen, folks in suits. What Nicholson’s Joker represented, as well as a satire of high-end low-taste culture of the time.
Anyway, I’ve seen parts of The Dark Knight. And I’m not impressed with the abundance of wannabe-mindfuck stuff in the culture. I HATED The Matrix like you can’t believe (because it was obnoxious). I didn’t care much for Fight Club either but Inception is clearly trying to meld those kinds of movies together and thanks to David’s Lynch and Fincher, James Wan, Richard Kelly, and Darren Aronofsky- everyone’s quick to jump on not just the bandwagon of action-superhero-crime flicks but wannabe-cerebral, psychological stuff too. Man… the real cutting-edge psychology is the stuff people don’t want to think about. If Inception is this popular where (by the way) Fight Club wasn’t for a LONG time, it’s probably not doing its’ job right. Nolan’s a trendy guy. Not many trends right now worth a damn.
In my honest opinion, in spite of all the respect I have for Burton as a visually faschinating director in his prime period (before recent years), his Batman was, although astonishingly gothic and captivating, a slap in the face of the character. His Bruce Wayne often appeared as indecisive, confused and bland to the degree of making fun of himself. And, although I regard Nicholson as one of the finest and my personally favorite actors alive, his Joker is incomparable to Ledger’s achievement. Nicholson basically overacted his previous roles, only adding slight details of a gangster persona and clown. He cared more about the money he was paid than the actual performance. He did not even spend considerable time on the set of the film. I doubt one could argue anything against the degree of Ledger’s involvement and devotion to his character. HHe basically stole the whole film in the same manner as the Joker himself.
This is just my opinion, but I personally believe Nolan pushed the whole Batman saga to a comepletely different level, well outside of the genre horizons. And, he certainly has made way more better films than Burton could even come up with by his 40s. I do take Edwards the Scissorhands and Ed Wood as exceptions, but even these barely meet the splendor of Memento or The Prestige in my eyes.
We’re never going to agree. But I see Burton in his prime as one of the most unique filmmakers on the face of the planet. Nolan is a dime a dozen guy. Barely above the Michael Bay level. But, you know what- people love Michael Bay and I hate almost everything now so… you certainly have the popular vote on your side.
And I hated Ed Wood. I will never watch it again.
“It’s the only Christopher Nolan film I’ve seen thus far. I had zero interest in anyone re-doing Batman after Tim Burton in my opinion did it so excellently. "
“Here’s what bothered me right off the bat about Ledger’s Joker: horror movies have been turning their killers into Professional Wrestler knock-offs since – what – Jason X in 2001. That’s not scary. They make the guys physically larger and make them act like Ozzy Osbourne really in the mood to grab an animal and eat it raw right in front of us.”
“the public isn’t so cool with Nicholson’s Joker because post-comics Jokers would be looked at as gay by audiences programmed by so many (decades) of Adam Sandler, sports, George Bush, Fox News, you name it homophobia.”
Translation: I haven’t seen it, but I hate how the new Joker is like a bunch of characters he isn’t like at all, based on unrelated cultural phenomenon I oversimplify, because Burton’s Joker was interested in art like he wasn’t at all, and none of today’s kids would appreciate that like they actually do.
People hate comparisons. They just like being children and thinking the remake is always completely good and justified. Don’t pretend for a second you gave Burton’s films the fair amount of consideration. Nolan’s films have A LONG way to go before they prove they were ever as truly socio-politically relevant as their fanboys claim. And as your jaw drops, allow me to plug up the void with Cloverfield and see you chew your way through that.
That said (the remake thing), I should shoot an “I forgot the address the comics” over to Billy the Poet. I remain totally ignorant of the content of the comics and perhaps that’s not fair. But I would never, not even as an actual child (I was 6 when Batman was released in summer of 1989), have assumed this was better than the comics. I just believe when you adapt something from one source into a completely different one (let’s say, as much as people are going to hate this example- Dark Shadows tv show becomes awful and ridiculously alien Dark Shadows feature film), you have the right to change it as much as you want to. The same liberty does not apply to Rob Zombie’s Halloween or Zach Snyder’s Dawn of the Dead. And, at best, it half-applies to The Dark Knight.
Back to PDB: I’m not oversimplifying anything, you’re making Dark Knight out to be more than just an absurd action flick in expensive designer threads. People responded to the rush of the moment, the movie threw them a little cinematic cocaine and they took the ride to mean something. Nolan is not an artistic filmmaker. (Though I don’t deny there are great directors who work in action who are. Takashi Miike wipes the floor with Nolan.)
“Nolan’s films have A LONG way to go before they prove they were ever as truly socio-politically relevant as their fanboys claim.”
“I really need to see Memento again but I remember being pretty impressed by it when I first saw it in 2001.
It’s the only Christopher Nolan film I’ve seen thus far."
Now here’s the thing. Before I continue, I do often find myself in the position of defending the qualities of Nolan’s Batman films and his general work as a whole, but as far as being a ‘fanboy’ goes, not only did I think Batman Begins specifically was a complete mess and waste of time, but I also don’t like Inception much at all and think Insomnia is definitively an ‘unjustified’ remake. He’s not the greatest filmmaker ever or anything like that, I just think he’s good.
But what you have said in two posts is, “I haven’t watched any of his movies except Memento, I liked it, and his Batman movies are total shit because of what I’ve read about how people are responding to them.” You compared the Joker to a wrestler, which he’s not, and then brought out this whole thing about homophobia based basically on his wardrobe and makeup design, to yes, oversimplify. Until you’ve actually watched the fucking movies, I call bullshit, and if you want to think that that’s me dismissing your reading of Burton’s movies, then it’s clear the disagreement here isn’t in the movies but in your need to pigeonhole me into some popular ‘other’ you take offense at to nurture your own ego.
“Don’t pretend for a second you gave Burton’s films the fair amount of consideration.”
Well I actually love both of his Batman movies (and Ed Wood, since that’s been brought up), but I guess if I’d admonish as much it still wouldn’t prevent you from assuming you know anything about me. Is this about Batman movies or what you need me to be as a person to justify your unearned criticism?
I consider Batman Returns to be better than Nolan’s Batman films save The Dark Knight specifically, as both Returns and Dark Knight are the two which most confront what I’ve studied and read about societal and mediated treatment of vigilantism (neither Nolan or Burton have made what I would call an accurate portrayal of true vigilantism because they were making comic book movies. Vigilantism makes a fun dramatic narrative rife for thematic discourse — see Taxi Driver — but the ‘accurate’ portrayal of a vigilante is a lynch mob. The Lone Vigilante is mostly a fabrication that in real life is mostly indistinguishable from a serial killer). I also thought Batman Begins is an absolute mess of a film and a waste of time, so I wasn’t even going to see Dark Knight until I got dragged there by my manager, and it turned out to be a pleasant surprise. Not everybody agrees with my views on it but that’s okay. At least most people who’ve disagreed have seen it.
My order of Batman movies, since I actually enjoy discussing them and don’t care if you don’t care, is
The Dark KnightBatman ReturnsBatmanThe Dark Knight Rises
and that’s pretty much it, since I don’t like Begins or Schumacher’s stuff or even Batman: the Movie at all. Well okay, Forever was good for a laugh. Rises ended up being the most ‘comic book’ of Nolan’s movies and in that regard I found it more fun than meaningful. As due consideration goes, Dark Knight and Returns are the Batman movies I like looking at the most.
“I’m not oversimplifying anything, you’re making Dark Knight out to be more than just an absurd action flick in expensive designer threads.”
I’m used to that argument. And have seen it applied to Burton’s films too. “It’s just a comic book movie” is a common trope, would you like me to pigeonhole you in that position the way you’re treating me?
“Takashi Miike wipes the floor with Nolan.”
I agree. Also, Kenji Fukasuku wipes the floor with Tim Burton. That’s about how relevant that comparison is.
And going back a bit, just to clarify:
“But the public has spoken and they want a Joker who’s more like a smart street thug. Who doesn’t use the system against people.”
That’s EXACTLY what the Joker in The Dark Knight does. See for yourself.
“And as your jaw drops, allow me to plug up the void with Cloverfield and see you chew your way through that.”
I will admit that I have no idea what that’s supposed to mean, though. I haven’t seen Cloverfield so I don’t know if you mean to state Nolan’s movies are as lacking as Cloverfield, or Cloverfield with an example of the qualities Nolan’s movies lack. What comparison are you seeing here?
However, I’ve been meaning to see Cloverfield because I like first person/‘found footage’ movies and my VFX friends were talking about some of the neat things they do technically, so if it happens to have meaningful/thematic elements in it that would be great to know too. If your point was more to the contrary, I can keep it lower on my to-do list.
It’s interesting how quickly the conversation shifts to the last posts made. I suppose that is an inherent aspect of this forum. Nevertheless, I do invite those wishing to return to topic to continue the conversation at my original full length text here -
Wow, Sheldon there’s a ton of stuff in your post that’s hard to compartmentalize down to a sufficient response here right now but I’d like to extend the offer to discuss Inception in greater detail at any of my recent posts about Nolan and/or Inception. There’s two links here to start https://rorydean.wordpress.com/tag/inception/
That being said, I like your points about the differences between Burton’s imaginings and Nolan’s but it’s hard to go into any real depth given you haven’t seen the trilogy and while you might think the periphery scan you’ve given the material/Jokers is enough there just isn’t enough comparative observations.
What it really boils down to is the fact that extreme opinions are always going to amount to a tug-o-war of personal experiences that are never going to line up with a clear and detailed assessment of the merits and failures of either Burton or Nolan. To suggest perfection at all is revealing enough of your bias and inabilities to look at the material objectively. The best films are flawed because the medium is flawed. Filmmakers succumb to success syndrome after billion dollar franchise building, sitting in a room with people who have no idea how he did it or why but know they want to get on the gravy train. That ends up giving the filmmaker the boots of god and they set out to make airy, convoluted concept films that run on and on in slow motion drunkenness with entirely too many subplots, plot holes, and ridiculousness for the sake of pomposity.
The best films and filmmakers give us reason to talk about their creations and revel in the collective spirit of the medium. It’s best to come to an understand of our dissemination that fight to own it or change our minds.
Now what about this thing about Nolan as Master & Commander?
PolarisDiB your lengthy comment is appreciated and duly noted.
PolarisDiB, your posts rock!
Lotsa money goes toward advertising his films. That’s all it takes. They buy their success.
This can only reasonably be applied to his first Batman movie. Do you really think audiences didn’t walk out of the theaters thinking Dark Knight was a great movie, and that if they hadn’t, Dark Knight Rises would have made so much money?
If box office success was only a function of advertising dollars, John Carter would have been blockbuster of the year. You also have to get people to watch the film, and tell other people how much they loved it.