View Full Version : Christopher Nolan's Batman Begins

03-23-2004, 07:10 AM
The 5th film in the Warner Bros. franchise is currently shooting in Iceland: BATMAN BEGINS. It will also have shoots in London and Chicago.

Great Cast!:

Christian Bale
Michael Caine
Morgan Freeman
Ken Watanabe
Liam Neeson
Gary Oldman
Katie Holmes

There is an official website, but all you'll see is the new Bat-logo:

Finally the character will be done right.

05-07-2004, 04:20 AM
Pictures of the new Batmobile, which looks really *different*, and of Christian Bale as Batman are now available on the site.

05-07-2004, 05:03 AM
Looks like a tank, doesn't it? Bring it on!

Bale is gonna be THE MAN as Bats...
Michael Caine as Alfred the Butler is perfect.

What I really like is the fact that the character of Ras-al-Ghul is being used (Ken Watanabe). Ras is a great Batman villain that few people know about. He has a Fu-Manchu moustache and a fantastic robe. I'm curious to see how they do his costume...

03-07-2005, 02:13 PM

03-08-2005, 01:25 AM
I'm really intrigued by the fact that much of the film is going to be shot in Iceland. I'm sure it'll make for some stunning, scenic visuals, as the landscape of New Zealand did for the LOTR trilogy.

...And hey, maybe Bjork will make a cameo appearance!

I know, I know...that was cheap...But I can't seem to talk about Iceland without bringing up Bjork. =)

06-22-2005, 01:25 PM
Batman Begins

The studio and the filmmakers have given us all the things that make Batman such a God among comic book characters.

Bruce Wayne is psychologically fucked up.
His parents are murdered right in front of him. In Burton's film this was handled with intensity as well, but Nolan made it even more important. The sheer drama of the scene elevates the story arc.
The death of Thomas and Martha is what makes Batman Batman.
In Frank Miller's Year One (part one) he put Bruce on his knees between his slain parents on the cover. (An overhead drawing- powerful, succinct)

Nolan knows how important this is to the character.

Bruce's psyche is so shook up by this early tragedy that he has no desire to do anything but instill fear in the types of criminals that shot his folks.

Like The Punisher, everything he cared about was ripped away.
Like The Punisher, he is mistaken for a vigilante (even the crooks say he's a loose cannon)
Like The Punisher, he punishes. With prejudice. With righteousness, with sweet justification.

I've talked to a few people who didn't like the movie. When I ask why I get different reasons: "My expectations were too high", " Liam Neeson is all of a sudden a bad guy? How could he not forsee Bruce refusing to be an executioner?", " The bat-suit still sucks", etc..

My expectations were high as well but holy shit Batman, Nolan surpassed them. The scene when Batman's cowl "melts" into a macabre halloween mask and he rages at the perp... that scene alone makes the film the best Batman film ever. That was a scene that was aimed directly at the fans of the character. When I saw the cowl melt I clenched my fists and said "Fuckin' A" in my head. Instilling fear into criminals is driven home with that little scene. Bale's husky whisper cannot be understated- it's vitally important for Batman to be stealthy, and the voice is just as important as footsteps.

Poetry. Cinematic poetry.
Folks, we cannot ask for better cinema than the comic book adaptations we are currently receiving.

Michael Caine embodies Alfred the way he should be, and he steals the limelight from Michael Gough (who I think is the best Alfred), and the humour is very welcome. Alfred is the only person in Batman's life who has his complete trust and respect.
You treat Alfred as a joke, a sidekick, and you are commiting heresy. In the comics Alfred is extremely vital to Batman's cause, and he even became a costumed hero who died (1966) called "THE OUTSIDER". People gotta realize Alfred is as important to Bruce Wayne as Watson is to Holmes.

Gary Oldman is the secret weapon. This James Gordon is the James Gordon comics fans know and love. This is the Gordon of Hush, the Gordon of No Man's Land, the Gordon of The Dark Knight Returns. I bought the action figure of Gordon based on the graphic novel Hush. Beautiful little sculpted piece of plastic.. Oldman should never stop playing the "Commish".

Katie Holmes is forgettable, and I'm so glad Warner Bros. dropped her for the sequel. What's distressing tho is that Nolan may not direct the sequel. Filmmaking is a long process- remember when Michael Herr said to Kubrick about Apocalypse Now? "That was a tough shoot, Stanley"
Kubrick: They're ALL tough, Michael.

Cillian Murphy is incredible as the Scarecrow/Dr. J. Crane.
He's got that Harry Osborn thing going on, but Nolan directed him in a way that gives great power and depth and meaning to his scenes. Dude's psychotic! As in the comics. Amen on the treatment of the characters. Blessed be we...

Ken Watanabe attempts and succeeds at evoking Toshiro Mifune in a Kurosawa film. His *brief* scenes have weight, and I think we'll see some more of Ras in future Bat-films. He should be a constant menace to Batman (just like in the comics!).
Yes, this review is emphasizing the holy scriptures based on the Bat-Man. Don't like it? My heart bleeds purple porpoise piss.

The editing of the film must be singled out as a major reason why the movie works. Lightning fast edits (As Oliver Stone said: the audience thinks fast) allow us to digest the controlled fury of Batman's modus operandi. The fights are usually blurs, shadows of pastiche, clouds of war. Batman waits, stalks, unleashes.
He is the Dark Knight, surrounded by darkness that made him who he is. He is a psychologically wounded warrior (nee Soldier), and whether we agree with his forms of "justice" we understand why he does it.

Nolan and co. nailed Batman cinematically.
Just like Rodriguez & Miller nailed Sin City cinematically.

Another aspect that appeases fans is the inclusion of items of mythos pertaining to Batman. Like Arkham Asylum (with the villain Zsasz- a character who self-mutilates himself with a knife), the Bat-Signal is muddy- just like it would be in real life, Batman's vanishing acts (a stalwart device in the comics) and the rooftop/precipice shots with the man looking down on Gotham.

We should be grateful that films of this quality are still being made. Christian Bale is Batman. He's the first actor to embody and emote that characters' very real and very complex life.

This isn't a "Bif Bam" or a "Chicks like the car" Batman movie.

It's the beginning of a legend.

06-22-2005, 06:54 PM
Great post, Johann. I'm almost convinced that this is worth the $. Will try to see it soon.

06-23-2005, 12:59 AM
I really enjoyed Johann's comments on Batman Begins, his writing is full of substantive contents and well presented.

Three weaknesses fall out from his observations.

1) The death of Bruce Wayne's parents isn't particularly unique. And the way both the bodies are sprawled seemed somehow positioned and artificial in fact. I didn't quite feel the intensity of this sequence though powerful, it just seemed like most Asian martial arts movies where somebody most important to the main character dies horribly. In terms of comic heros, however, this presentation is one of the strongest and potent.

2) The scene of Batman cowl melting if I remember the scene was actually a bit much, too offbeat, and didn't seem to be in character of either Bruce Wayne or Batman. I didn't like it...for it made Batman into some kind of ghoulish character who won by terror instead of fear, albeit, a fine distinction.

3) The fight scenes weren't impression at all for me - the blur was more of a brush off of expediency. I've seen other film techniques that allowed the audience to see hyperspeed better, the batman flashing attack approach is more than just a blur as such sequences from a human perspective can often be experienced in a different temporal universe. I still appreciate actually seeing the stroke for stroke, the entire chereography of the fight instead of such a mish-mash of hurried camera shots.

06-23-2005, 03:27 PM
Originally posted by tabuno
I really enjoyed Johann's comments on Batman Begins, his writing is full of substantive contents and well presented.

Three weaknesses fall out from his observations.

1) The death of Bruce Wayne's parents isn't particularly unique. And the way both the bodies are sprawled seemed somehow positioned and artificial in fact. I didn't quite feel the intensity of this sequence though powerful, it just seemed like most Asian martial arts movies where somebody most important to the main character dies horribly. In terms of comic heros, however, this presentation is one of the strongest and potent.

That shot is actually an homage to a panel in Frank Miller's Batman: Year One. I got shudders when I saw it.

06-24-2005, 12:42 AM
HorseradishTree: "That shot is actually an homage to a panel in Frank Miller's Batman: Year One. I got shudders when I saw it."

Tab Uno: The problem that I have is that in some ways I am deficient and unable to appreciate the associated memory of the homage since I never saw the panel. You have a very good point and an honorable one that I probably will never be able to experience. Thus each of our pasts can have a tremendous impact on the perception of the current evaluation of today's movies. What you saw and experienced was significantly different then what I saw and experienced - in some ways we were looking at two different scenes in the same movie at the same point in the same.

06-26-2005, 09:24 AM
In addition to Christian Bale, Michael Caine and Morgan Freeman have signed to do the sequel. Katie Holmes was NOT asked to do the sequel. Seems Execs at Warner Brothers did not like Holmes promoting "War of the Worlds" with Cruise (supposedly) and this is her punishment. (Village Voice)

06-29-2005, 03:48 AM
Much like what Sam Raimi did with Spiderman, Christopher Nolan went back to the drawing board for his creation. The final result is far way from the "gothic" and "noirish" Batmans of graphic novels ( "The Dark Knight Returns" etc.) and the two Tim Burton Films (the kind I love), but much farther away from the cheesy and campy Batmans of the 60’s television series. Batman is my favorite because he’s the most "human" of comic-book heroes.

[A lot has already been written about the film so I’ll just borrow and expand on a few thoughts. It looks like this is the older thread so I’m posting my comments here even though I realize that I might be subjecting myself to Johann’s wrath.]

So, after 8 years of darkness, things were supposed to be a'right with Batman Begins but what do we have to sit through in the beginning? A couple of tacky mano a manos; with the first of whom taking place in a prison yard in Bhutan. Drenched with mud in falling rain, our hero fights off a few thugs. Punches sounded like bombs being dropped. I paid $12.50 for this, so it certainly wasn’t the sound system. For a moment I thought I’ve time-traveled to the past and ended up in an era in which Van Damme films used to play in theaters. What was Nolan thinking?! And people are impressed by this?! As wpqx said, "The editing in this film is atrociously bad. I couldn't tell a single thing that was happening in a fight scene, too many cuts and all blurry camerawork, someone was asleep at the wheel." I agree.

It’s been said quite often that much time was spent concocting the back story. Am I totally convinced by it? I’m not quite sure. Things did seem a little rushed as if Nolan was in a hurry to get to: "Does it come in black!" What I’m trying to say is that Batman's early years weren’t embedded in the script as well as I would’ve liked. (Yes, dammit, I am hard to please!)

wpqx: "As for Gotham City, it never once looked to me like a city, at least from the skyline, way to CGI for me. In that regard I'd say it bears more similarities to Star Wars than you may know." What Burton did so well was to give the place a personality, an attitude, a distinct charisma that enabled us (or at least me) to believe that the bad guys, the highly-sexed Jokers and Penguins existed. The place where Cat Woman could fuck and possibly ruin Batman. wpqx: "Jack Nicholson, he was awesome as the Joker, and Tim Burton's Batman is still the best of the lot." Amen. Nolan has given us a mixture of Chicago and New York with Tokyo’s railway system thrown in for good measure. I don't want "realism," and I do want to see some creativity. I don't think anyone would try to argue that Burton has a unique imagination. The "third-world" seemed fake (weak art-direction). Simply put: I didn’t see the $135 million on screen.

I wholeheartedly agree with everyone that the performances were excellent. Christian Bale was a great choice to play Batman. Liam Neeson, Morgan Freeman, Michael Caine, Gary Oldman, and Tom Wilkinson -- you can’t do much better in English language cinema. (BTW, Oldman’s character was Commissioner Gordon in comic strips.) And yes, I thought Katie Holmes was quite good also. Believe me, I was ready to say a few clever things about her but she surprised me. Obviously the filming was finished before she got "affected" so she was fine. She’s not being brought back as it was stated earlier, and I’m sure that they won’t have any problems finding a worthy candidate. But no matter who they come up with, Michelle Pfeiffer's legacy will not be diminished. I was also quite fond of Cillian Murphy as "Scarecrow." He brought some style and panache to this role. It’s not his fault that his character can be scared by a taser gun! My recommendation for Joker in the next Batman: British actor Paul Bettany.

Batman Begins borrows heavily from Frank Miller's "Batman: Year One." Why he wasn’t given a credit is beyond me. But may be it was because then they’d also have to give one to Sam Raimi and Spiderman for the final train sequence!

It saddens me that films like Star Wars, Batman Begins, and Howl’s Moving Castle can effect and generate political discussions. And while I respect the positions taken by George Lucas, Nolan, and Hayao Miyazaki, they are not individuals who’ve devoted their lives and careers for various causes (they’re more or less dropping their political stance in to make their works seem more relevant), but people like Chris Marker, Fernando Solanas, Peter Watkins, Fredrick Wiseman etc. have, and it’s about time that they become a little more pertinent.

Okay, so, overall I found Batman Begins to be a slightly below average product. It didn’t offend me in anyway, but there were times when I just wanted to get it over with. Even if this film had gotten a 0 on metacritic, it probably would’ve made the same amount of money. But if I had not seen it, I wouldn’t have missed much.

Grade: C

06-29-2005, 04:28 AM
The best Batman since "Batman"

I was very impressed by the unwillingness of this film to give into superhero movie clichés and maintaining it's dark, but very "Batman", tone throughout. The flashbacks were done well. The action scenes were tight and watchable. The production design was fantastic. In short, this movie was by far the best "Batman" film since Tim Burton's excellent "Batman". One does not expect to see actors like Morgan Freeman, Gary Oldman, and Micheal Caine in less than leading roles, especially in a summer, superhero film. I suppose the quality and success of the "Spider-Man" series has changed Hollywood's outlook somewhat.

Liam Neeson was serviceable in his dual role as mentor/tormentor although his performance lacked originality. The pacing and editing was very quick and kept the visual suspense at a very high sustained level. The "scarecrow" effect was great. I actually caught myself smiling as I watched it. I think I may have even said "Fuckin' A!" to myself like Johann. It was a good movie moment.

I must admit I was worried about how they were going to make a lame villain like "Scarecrow" scary.

(I double dare them to make "Toyman" the bad guy next time!)

DC should just go balls out and make "Kingdom Come" into a movie.

oscar jubis
06-29-2005, 03:39 PM
I've generally enjoyed these movies based on comics or "graphic novels" which have proliferated as of late. They can be said to constitute a genre onto themselves based on their source of inspiration. My opinion cannot have as much weight or value as one coming from somebody who's actually familiar with the comics or novels. Growing up, my taste led me towards stuff like "The Adventures of TinTin", Wells and Verne rather than superhero comics and the like. Even though he's super rich, perhaps it's easier for me to identify with Batman because he doesn't have super powers, only rage fueled by tragedy. It's interesting to see Wayne figure out what to do with that rage, but I'm not quite satisfied by the script's treatment of it. Actually, while admitting the film provided sufficient diversion and entertainment to make it worth the time and money spent, I wasn't inclined to mount much of a defense when Chelsea told me she didn't like it. She said it's inferior to either Spiderman, for instance. I found the acting in general to be above average, but for some reason I found Liam Neeson (or the character he plays) very annoying and Morgan Freeman and Tom Wilkinson (or the characters they play) particularly compelling. I liked the "paranoid hallucination" scenes and the chase scene a lot, but found the same problems with the fight scenes that tabuno, wpqx and arsaib have mentioned.
When it comes to commercial filmmaking, my favorite directors are James Cameron and Peter Jackson. Mr. Cameron hasn't directed a fiction feature in quite a while. So, I'm very much looking forward to the summer of 2007 when Cameron plans to release, in theatres equipped with 3D digital projectors, his live-action adaptation of the first three books in Yukito Kishiro's series of graphic novels starring Battle Angel Alita.

07-10-2005, 03:43 PM
Battle Angel Alita is a masterwork of japanamation.

I watched "Rusty Angel" and "Tears Sign" yesterday- my roomate has tons of animae & Manga videos.

Yukito Kishiro created it, and I can see why Cameron would want to make a live-action version. A sequence in Rusty Angel has her bringing down one of he biggest cyborgs I've ever seen (in a live-action movie or otherwise) and it's pretty damn boss.

It's got a futuristic feel not unlike Terminator. I love the Warrior- Hunter characters.Cameron will probably boost the already high sales on it. By the way, translated from "Gunnm", it means Gun Dream.

I also watched Ghost in the Shell and Akira this weekend. (Animation Attack party- my place- BYOB!)
Awesome films aimed at intelligent viewers as Ebert said.

And in line with Batman, I bought a pack of Batman Begins collector cards (1 pack!) and inside was a movie memoribilia card: a piece of Batman's cape. My buddy Brent was with me and he is so jealous... I was pretty damn happy. It's gotta be worth something....

07-11-2005, 06:31 PM
Originally posted by Johann
It's gotta be worth something.... It sure is: a piece of batman's cape and $2.25 Canadian will get you anywhere in zone 1 of the Lower Mainland Transit System.

07-11-2005, 07:01 PM
Rock? Rock? Hey man, you wanna rock?

Meth? Weed?

Batman card?