Wednesday, February 13, 2008

Batman Begins

Nolan couldn't have been a better choice to take the director's seat, and while Bale has a strong resemblance to West, their Batmans are completely different. After eight years of silence, the Batman reemerges with a most appropriate reboot which explains the whole history of how Bruce Wayne became Batman. Nolan makes both Burton and Schumacher look like Ed Wood — most impressive of all is that, while technology has improved tremendously since 1997's flop "Batman & Robin", "Begins" chooses to take little advantage of it. A-list actors are casted as supporting characters, with Michael Cane as Alfred, and a calm Gary Oldman (that's a first!) as Gordon; among others like Liam Neeson, Katie Holmes and Morgan Freeman. Tom Wilkinson, Rutger Hauer, Ken Watanabe and Colin McFarlane are also so wonderful in their minor roles. Cillian Murphy modestly appears as The Scarecrow, which one can say is a bit underused as a well-known villain, but it actually makes it all the more realistic. Perhaps the older series should have considered using major stars as supporting characters, not villains. This film proves that superheroism isn't impossible — you just have to be a billionaire. Nolan's uncle, John Nolan, plays Fredericks.

Wednesday, February 6, 2008

Batman Forever

The third film in the Batman film series has Joel Schumacher, Val Kilmer and Tommy Lee Jones replacing Tim Burton, Michael Keaton and Billy Dee Williams. Robin (O'Donnell) is introduced, which either greatly pleased or greatly disappointed fans. "Forever" gets the silver medal of the series, being significantly better than "Returns". Unlike "Returns", "Forever" seems to know it's place. Schumacher was able to capture a mood different than the previous two, strikingly similar to both the Adam West show and "Batman: The Animated Series". "Forever" was also able to better-develop more characters in a shorter story than "Returns".

Sunday, January 13, 2008


While the acting was terrific and the story was very intriguing, there was so much more that could've been done with this film. As the movie unraveled, I began to realize that this is a no more than a typical story about a rebellious teenage girl. Wonderful character development, but it led nowhere. Perhaps one can argue that this movie can be made as a lesson, but it feels more like a pity-this-young-curios-girl story. When will teenagers begin to take advise from adults and realize that they are no more special than the people from the previous generation? The teenagers in this film didn't, and the outcome was unintentionally too satisfying.

Sunday, January 6, 2008


*** This review may contain spoilers ***
In a world where Batman was most popularly known as "Adam West in a costume", Tim Burton came along and made possibly the greatest Batman movie for it's time. Anybody who compares this to Christopher Nolan's 2005 masterpiece "Batman Begins" just doesn't appreciate what Batman really is… a superhero whose genre changes from series to series. He's always been a comic book hero since his first appearance in May 1939. But starting in 1968, Batman had a cultural impact with a campy television series that was generally well-liked, running two years with pretty consistent reception from both critics and audiences. And for twenty-one years, that's how the world viewed Batman -- Adam West assisted by Robin in whacky adventures, ranging from a surf-contest with The Joker to jellied-water in Gotham City's pipeline.

Starting in 1980, Warner Brothers went through several different scripts for the ultimate Batman movie. It took them nine years to create the perfect Batman movie, but they did it. The darkest Batman story to date. And now, thanks to this film alone, the world knows Batman as something else… a superhero who is virtually timeless. This is also the first time a lot of people saw Batman without Robin.

Tim Burton created a Gotham as ugly as possible, and a Batman who is willing to kill. And what better Bruce Wayne/Batman than Michael Keaton. The epitome of an underdog. Not handsome, but not ugly; not tall, but not short; not strong, but not weak. One could easily assume that a Bruce Wayne who looks like Val Kilmer, George Clooney or Christian Bale could easily be the man under the batsuit. What kind of secret identity is that? But with Michael Keaton, you can never be sure. Not only was Keaton's appearance fantastic, but the actual portrayal was splendid. "You wanna get nuts! Come on, let's get nuts!"

Sure, with Heath Ledger playing The Joker in the "Begins" sequel "The Dark Knight (2008), people will say that Jack Nicholson is THE Joker. But it's actually The Joker who made this film questionable. Who ever said that The Joker is supposed to have a back-story or kill Bruce's parents? Not to mention how convenient it is that a man dropped in a bath of chemicals survives with bleach-white skin, green-hair, and a permanent grin.

The film also suffers casting. Why not have characters who are critical to the franchise such as butler Alfred Pennyworth or Commissioner Jim Gordon be played by more well-known actors? Michael Cane and Gary Oldman are wonderful examples of this, from Nolan's series.

Because the Batman franchise has gone from campy-comedy all the way to intensely-dark, it's so easy to criticize any kind of portrayal of the Caped Crusader. So, judge for yourself, but keep an open-mind.

Friday, January 4, 2008

The Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe

In an era where fantasy books can be satisfyingly transferred into film, it was to be expected that the C.S. Lewis's classic "The Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe" would be brought to life too. And it was. But without justice.

"The Lord of the Rings" trilogy and the "Harry Potter" heptalogy were as successful as possible. "Narnia", on the other hand, didn't seemed to put forth as much effort as the others. The technology used in the film didn't create the same magic as the other fantasy-stories did. As the film progressed, it became abundantly clear that "Narnia" was nothing more than a competition to "Lord" and "Harry" (with an obviously smaller budget).

Many people impressed with the film can argue that it was entertaining and enjoyable. This is all fine and dandy. However, it is mere fact that the film's creators didn't go about the project with the love and passion for the story like those of "Lord" and "Harry". The campy special effects, the underdeveloped characters, and the fact that the "Narnia" film-series is going to be abridged by four book leads to the conclusion that this is done for nothing more than profit.

For those who are bored and looking for something to do, you may enjoy this lazy excuse for a film. But for those who want to be impressed as they were with "Lord" and/or "Harry", wish to see a wonderful classic brought to life on screen, or just like seeing special-effects, you will be greatly disappointed.