This whole post-apocalyptic thing is getting old
Reviewed by tmeyer for The Book of Eli at 2010-08-11 04:44:36
I hate to be a whiner, but an awful lot of The Book of Eli - not the plot but some of the elements and inhabitants of the barren, broken world - are blatantly ripped off from Cormac McCarthy's The Road. The Road is way better. Read it.
On its own terms, The Book of Eli isn't a bad film, it just kind of devolves into nothing special from an interesting, religiously inspired premise. I liked Denzel and Oldman in this - they didn't create iconic heroes or villains but they were fairly charismatic and they squared off very nicely. The action was no better than ok, but it was diverting. The end of the film had a nice twist that was completely unnecessary but also very much caught me off guard. The best thing about this movie were the incredibly striking visuals and landscape created by the Hughes Brothers. Two thumbs up to the art director of this movie. The Book of Eli is mildly engaging but it eventually becomes a pretty standard chase/action movie, which robs it of any real soul or memorability. And it was blatantly ripped off from Cormac McCarthy. Just saying.
I'm not going to make the argument that The Dark Knight is the greatest movie ever made, but it's closer to that spot than 99.5% of movies are. And it's my favorite movie ever. Why? Many reasons. The Joker is just about the scariest and most iconic villain since Hannibal Lecter and Ledger absolutely blows Nicholson out of the water. I love the realism - Gotham looks and behaves like a real city. The ensemble acting, especially by Ledger, Oldman and Eckhart is tremendous. The action scenes, especially the truck/Batpod chase in middle, are some of the best ever shot. Christopher Nolan is a genius - his tale is complex, striking, iconic and deep. He has taken a blockbuster franchise and made it a towering, Shakespearean drama - he has successfully combined the best of pop entertainment with the best of enduring art.
Gary Oldman is the best Dracula I've ever seen. Period. He steals every scene he's in, to be honest. Anthony Hopkins provides an amazing performance too, as the seemingly off-kilter Prof. Van Helsing. It's also a very visually-impressive movie. The film's main problems, however, lies in its uneven 'experimental' special effects (experimental in the sense that the film-makers went back to using old fx techniques), which are sometimes amazing, and other times cheesy; and Keanu Reeve's terribly fake British accent, which he puts to 'good' use by reciting some wooden lines every now and then. The script was okay, I thought; it could've used some touching-up here and there, but was overall decent.
So do I recommend seeing it? Absolutely. Just because it's not the best film out there doesn't mean it's not exciting and entertaining. If nothing else, you at least have an excuse to sit inside on a rainy day and curl-up with a nice horror movie.
Christopher Nolan is quickly becoming one of my favorite contemporary writer/directors. The first in the newest batman series, Batman Begins blew me away. Nolan managed to take my favorite comic book hero (the only one that has the balls to fight crime without any special powers) and turn out not only an entertaining movie in Batman Begins, but one the preached all of the morals and ethics I believe in. I thought he could do no better, but I was wrong. The Dark Knight really is one of the best films to come out in the last decade, if not longer. The realism in it down to the way the actors deliver lines is incredible. Nolan managed to create a perfectly believable world. On top of that, the hauningness of the Joker as his plan begins to unfold to the audience is overwhelming(particularly in the interrogation scene between he and batman). I'm not neccessarily a movie buff, but I'm a huge movie fan and a man of strong morals and ethics and I believe that the Dark Knight sends a wonderful message. I don't get to the theaters too often (I usually don't have money) but I saw The Dark Knight 5 times in theaters, and more on video. It is one of the best movies I have ever scene, and it never gets old. I strongly recommend it.
Great film; very intense and dark to be sure. The oft-mentioned great performance by Ledger is certainly merited. Good storyline and effects, with lots of action but tries to not go too much "over the top" with action. Excellent movie that deserves to be held up as a new standard for comic book films (albeit a very dark one).
A super-hero movie this good could have been even longer than 2 1/2 hours. Especially if the extra time would have made room for a more noteworthy entrance and exit for the Joker in order to expand his story. There was not much of a story arc for him, but he was equally fascinating to watch from his first moment to his last. "Who let the Joker out of his box?" someone in the film asks. And I wouldn't have minded seeing the box. Christopher Nolan did the same thing with Scarecrow and Ra's Al Ghul in Batman Begins. Given the overdone origin stories in previous Batman films, Nolan falls off the other side of the horse by giving us crazy people who did not become evil; they just are evil. It is fascinating how the Joker changes his story about the origins of his scars depending on who he is addressing. I was disappointed when Batman didn't let the Joker finish telling that final version. Given the progression of the first two versions of the Joker's tale, there is the hint of a suggestion that the Joker actually afflicted himself with his deformities. As fascinating as Ledger's Joker is to watch, we have no perspective of him as a character. And as awesome as Ledger is, we will never know what it would have been like to watch this role without the actor's death attached to it. But this film is also about someone named "Batman," who is getting short-changed in recent hype about the film. Batman gets an awesome new suit - one that lets him turn his head (so he doesn't have to use sonar to know what is behind him). He gets a new, slightly chubbier mask. His gravelly, THX-enhanced voice remains the same: a bit too death metal (I found his grunting contest with Two-Face almost laughable). Batman is much cooler when he is not trying to explain things. The action set-pieces are amazingly done. The film is short on digital animation. It shows Indiana Jones how shocking and exciting a spectacle like this can be with restrained CGI. The dank, grey, smoky, digital Gotham City from Batman Begins is traded in for a Gotham that is more pristine, brighter, more familiar, more corruptible. The action of this film takes place in realistically conceived space.
See the rest of this review at http://braidedthreads.blogspot.com/2008/07/will-real-batman-please-stand-up.html
I'll be honest - I was worried that Heath Ledger's death had tainted some of the early reviews - it's hard to diss a dead man. I was greatly relieved when his performance actually made the movie. He was perfect.
Maybe the best Batman movie ever? Heath Ledger is creepy yet strangely mesmerizing as the Joker, I couldn't wait to see him onscreen again during the film (is he doing a sort of freaked out Bugs Bunny accent? really, I swear, listen to it again!)
The Bat cycle is cool, and the rest of the cast and script is great, but Ledger proves why he was so well-regarded, in his last (unfortunately) performance.
This movie should be the template for any directors trying to make a film based on comic books/superheroes. Forget all about the Tim Burton version (although Jack Nicholson was great) after seeing this one!