04 July 2007

Batman Begins

Overall Reaction: Wow.

My only real gripe is that some of the dialogue (mostly Bruce's parents in the flashback sequences) was of the "Who talks that way?" variety. Some of Rachel's dialogue had that feel, too, but the actress managed to make it work. *shrugs* Other dialogue was absolutely brilliant. One favorite sequence:

Bruce Wayne: Too expensive for the Army?
Lucius Fox: I don't think they tried to market it to the billionaire, spelunking, BASE-jumping crowd.
Bruce Wayne: Look, Mr. Fox.
Lucius Fox: Yes, sir?
Bruce Wayne: If you're uncomfortable...
Lucius Fox: Mister Wayne, if you don't want to tell me exactly what you're doing, when I'm asked, I don't have to lie. But don't think of me as an idiot.
Bruce Wayne: Fair enough.
(taken from imdb; any inaccuracies are theirs)

In a lot of places, the movie did not need dialogue. Just the right level and tone of music, perfect camera angle...and that's it. There wasn't really any of the classic hero/villain speechifying. And the scene where Bruce's parents were killed was all the more poignant for being quiet, almost eerily quiet. A lot of scenes were like that. Body language and cinematography convey the main part of the message, with just a touch of music thrown in, just the right amount.

Of course, it was also quite refreshing to have a well-thought-out, well-written plot in a comic-book movie. Especially since there are clues planted throughout, right from the beginning, as to what's going to happen. Once in a while they were bit too blatant (how many times did they have to mention the microwave-vaporizer?), but at least the pieces were all in play before the endgame. And there was no vocalized speech putting it all together for us; the writer actually assumed the audience would be intelligent enough to put the pieces together. Well, almost. One brief explanation was given by Lucius Fox, possibly necessary but not well-integrated. It was a bit too ad-hoc, like someone said, "Hey, wait? What if someone doesn't figure it out?"

It's also hard to maintain a sense of realism in a comic-book movie. Tim Burton's first Batman movie managed it. The second (Returns)...pushed a bit beyond the edge of realism. Same with the third (Forever). Then there was Batman and Robin. Uh, I think the old '70's tv show had more realism than that. Batman Begins manages it beautifully. Okay, the villains' plan was just a bit over the top, but the technology, at least, was believable. I don't know enough about microwaves to say if the final bit would have really worked... Maybe the Mythbusters will build a supermicrowave and find out.

Final thought: very, very good actors in this movie. Christian Bale is excellent as Batman. Liam Neeson makes an awesome villain. And this is the most normal role I've ever seen Gary Oldman in; usually he's the out-of-control-psycho-nutcase, yet he does well as future-Commissioner Gordon. Plenty of others, too many to list. And it looks like most of them are coming back for the sequel, plus Heath Ledger as the Joker. :^)


John said...

I also thought this movie rocked. My only problem with it was the 'water evaporation microwave(?) thing' at the end.

Why didn't it evaporate people?

But I do have a soft spot for comic book movies. I can suspend disbelief like no one's business. So, really, it wasn't a problem.

And I'll say it again:
Best Batmobile, ever.

Qalmlea said...

It's definitely the first Batmobile that actually makes sense. I mean, the others were all about looking good (in one version, they spent weeks trying to figure out how to make bat-hubcaps that didn't rotate with the wheels). This one was all about function.

Random gripe about the first Batman movie: why, exactly, did the Bat-Wing have exactly the perfect tool for gathering balloon strings built onto it, but no other obvious built-in tools? I mean, if there had been a bunch of other stuff there, it would have made sense that something might work to gather balloons, but what was that the ONLY visible tool? (Probably Answer: lazy writers)

Qalmlea said...

Make that WHY was that the only visible tool...

Qalmlea said...

Ah. Found an attempt at explanation for them microwave not vaporizing people: "It's a Wayne Enterprises doomsday device— so it's designed to be non-lethal. Technobabble would supply an explanation that it operates on a revolutionary principle (or a tight enough frequency) that it resonates only with the molecules of freshwater, not saltwater. Hence the salinity of human blood prevents the microwave generator from cooking people— instead it works only on clean, potable water."

Comes from here . Some interesting martial arts discussion in the forum as well.

John said...

I actually have more problems with explanations like that.

I just tell myself "it's a comic book movie, get over it. If Superman can fly..."

Attempted explanations get to me. Especially when they delve into something I know a bit about.

Microwaves are absorbed by water molecules because they are tuned to water's absorption frequency. As far as they are concerned, there is no difference beween freshwater and saltwater. H20 is H20 regardless of what is dissolved in it.

Also, the steel pipes would reflect the microwaves. But again, comic book movie.

Qalmlea said...

LOL. Good points. Any way to focus the microwave beams, so that they would only hit the water main (assuming they COULD penetrate the pipe)?

John said...

a maser could probably be made to operate a the absorption frequency of water.

Qalmlea said...