Friday, June 17, 2005

Two posts on movie trailers? Althouse, have you finally gone to the movies again?

Why, yes, I have. Yes, I have. Impulsively, I darted out to see "Batman Begins," as you might have guessed from my first post today.

And? How was it?

Well, it was a big messy melange of things. No opening credits, so I had to wait to the end to go, oh, so that's Katie Holmes. Not that I had never read that she was in this movie. Just that I forgot. I knew it was Christian Bale, looking baleful. Looking a bit like Tom Cruise actually. Holmes looked a lot like Drew Barrymore. The School of Crooked Smiles acting. Morgan Freeman, I recognized him. He's always someone who's boringly solid and good. Does that piss him off? Oh, I have to be that guy again. Liam Neeson, Michael Caine -- I recognized them -- pouring great ladlefuls of talent on undersized roles.

Lots of shadowy black-and-grey sets with smoggy mists and glinting puddles. You could play a game of counting all the hidden bat-shaped images in various shots.

The Batmobile was the ugliest Batmobile ever. More like a super-clunky SUV than a great sports car. It seemed to handle really badly. But, implausibly, it could fly. The flying car in the trailer for "The Dukes of Hazzard" was more convincing.

I noticed a right-wing edge to some key statements: "Criminals thrive on the indulgence of society's understanding." Take that, you Gitmo critics! And it was quite clear that we were supposed to think about the criminals as al-Qaeda. Here was this "League of Shadows," based in Asia, bent on destroying "Gotham." We were nudged constantly to make this connection.

The beginning of the movie was interestingly scenic in a "Lord of the Rings" way, and involved a lot of learning how to fight, Asian-style, in a "Kill Bill: Volume 2" way. But why did Bruce Wayne learn all about swordplay, and then concoct a Batman persona who has nothing to do with swordfighting? And what was Christian Bale holding onto at the end of that ice slide that kept him from falling over the precipice? Somebody conveniently installed a handle, apparently.

And why was the speech on the soundtrack all muddled? Whenever Batman had his costume on, his voice was altered in a supposed-to-be scary way that seemed to belong in a children's movie. And when they identified one of the villains early on as "Ra's al Ghul," I was all, what did he say? Al Gore?

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