May 28, 2005

Ten Minute Mega-Teaser for Batman Begins
— Ace

Even better than the other one. This one contains several minutes of the training sequence from the other trailer, but a lot more than that. It veers dangerously close to the "telling the entire movie" problem, but it looks so damn good that doesn't put me off.

A review of the teaser:

* I wondered what Morgan Freeman was doing in the movie, and I hoped they weren't just giving him a token black role (as they did with Billy Dee Williams in the first one). It seems they haven't-- he plays an actual character from the comics I'm happy to see: Lucius Fox, Batman's mechanic/the designer of the Batmobile. I love that aspect of the comics-- when they admit that Bruce Wayne couldn't do all of this on his own, and they introduce you to his small circle of allies, like his mechanic, or the surgeon he goes to when he's badly wounded.

* Gary Oldman -- of course one of my favorite actors -- doesn't play a bad guy, as I figured. He plays Lt. Jim Gordon-- and, if I heard correctly, with the correct Chicago accent (he's a recent transfer to Gotham). Cool stuff. It looks like they'll try to make Gordon as cool and kick-ass as he was in the comics.

* Michael Caine is too much actor for Alfred, but I won't complain. Another of my favorite actors of all time.

* I knew one villain was the Scarecrow. I'm a little annoyed they're once again going with two villains-- which makes no sense. It's hard enough to explain Batman's origin and a villain's origin in the same movie; why add a second villain and origin? Why do they think one villain isn't enough for a movie?

On the plus side, the second villain is one of Batman's best foes, and one only comic-book readers know about, as he wasn't on that dumb TV show (actually, I think he was only invented in the 70's or 80's)-- Ra's Al Ghul. I think it's awesome they went with this subtle and cool villain... still worried how they're going to cram both villain's backstories into one movie, though.

* They're still insisting on giving Batman the power to fly, without having to go back to the Batcave for special gliding equipment. This annoys me, but I'll forgive it.

* The whole thing looks great, and the dialogue's great too. It's like a "prestige drama," Oscar-bait, but it's about f'n' Batman.

* Christian Bale is suprisingly good as Bruce Wayne (as Michael Keaton was too), but also sort of unconvincing as Batman (again, as Michael Keaton was). I think he's trying too hard to sound ominous with his "Batman voice," and I think Michael Keaton beats him on this score. This isn't really minor, but everything else looks and sounds so good I'll just chalk it up to the early Batman trying a bit too hard to play upon the fears of the superstititous, cowardly lot of Gotham's criminals.

* Katie Holmes seems fine in the movie. She's too young and too callow to be in a Batman movie, but from what I've seen Christopher Nolan coaxed an unobjectionable performance out of her. We shouldn't have any Natalie Portman problems, I think.

* Finally-- the movie gets into the spirit of Batman, and sort of hints at the Red-shift of the cultural zeitgeist, too. Bruce Wayne asks what will happen to a murderer, and his trainer says simply (and darkly) "Justice." He then explains(get this): "Crime cannot be tolerated. Criminals thrive on the indulgence of society's understanding." Hah!

Not exactly George Lucas writing in anti-Bush digs, is it?

This movie is going to be great. No need to lower expectations. They've gotten everything almost exactly right.

And... Jen also links a longer international trailer for Fantastic Four, and damnit, that looks pretty good too.

Posted by: Ace at 07:09 AM | Comments (25)
Post contains 658 words, total size 4 kb.

1 Flying Batman: ick.

Posted by: m at May 28, 2005 07:23 AM (3k0To)

2 Eh. Everything else is awesome. He'll just fly for ten or fifteen seconds and then I'll just pretend he didn't for the rest of the movie.

Posted by: ace at May 28, 2005 07:27 AM (Q6+G6)

3 Maybe I'm missing something having not read many of the comics, but what's so awful about a bat-inspired hero having some kind of high-tech flying ability? Would you rather he be a BINO (Bat In Name Only)?

Posted by: Guy T. at May 28, 2005 07:46 AM (rsJR/)

4 Because it's kinda dumb, man.

A lot of Batman's tricks are on par with James Bond's, which sometimes strain plausibility but are usually kinda-sorta possible. A flying rig hidden under a mere cape just isn't that plausible.

Besides, he really doesn't have this in the comics. Yeah, sometimes he does, but usually it looks like he has to strap on special non-standard glider wings to his outfit.

Posted by: ace at May 28, 2005 07:54 AM (Q6+G6)

5 Oh, I guess this is why I don't like the flying:

The cool thing about Batman is that he really doesn't have "superpowers," per se. I mean, yeah, he's a superhero, but it's all training, willpower, and gagetry.

Flying to me just seems like a superpower. I don't mind that the Human Torch can fly; the FF is all about superpowers. But Batman really isn't.

Posted by: ace at May 28, 2005 07:58 AM (Q6+G6)

6 Lucius Fox is not Batman's mechanic/the designer of the Batmobile.He is the CEO of Wayne Enterprises.

Posted by: Hondo at May 28, 2005 07:58 AM (3GJgj)

7 > A flying rig hidden under a mere cape just isn't that plausible.

Fair enough, at first glance -- but anyone who does his homework on the subject can tell you that Personal Flight Cape technology was invented in 1967 and suppressed by Halliburton and ExxonMobil.

Posted by: Guy T. at May 28, 2005 08:00 AM (zlLhC)

8 Hondo,

Hah. Thanks for the correction. That's right, Lucius Fox runs Wayne Enterprises; forgot about that.

Well... Batman's mechanic IS black, IIRC, so I guess they sort of merged the two characters' functions into one.

Posted by: ace at May 28, 2005 08:02 AM (Q6+G6)

9 Oh, I so can fly.....

Posted by: Batman at May 28, 2005 08:16 AM (0Nwha)

10 Ace said:Well... Batman's mechanic IS black, IIRC, so I guess they sort of merged the two characters' functions into one.I'm pretty sure that Batman's mechanic in the comics was a white hunchback named Harold. You may be thinking of an episode of Batman--The Animated Series in which Paul Winfield voiced the character of Earl Cooper, who worked on the Batmobile.

Posted by: Hondo at May 28, 2005 08:47 AM (3GJgj)

11 Premiere had a good article on the film; the movie is actually geared toward being hyper-realistic (in a comic book kind of way). They designed Batmobiles from scratch that can actually go zero to sixty in around five seconds, with no front axle to allow for room for the jet cockpit. The cape stiffens to glider form when electricity flows through it (it sounds like that nanotech adaptive armor they're working on for soldiers). They wanted all the tools to "have plausible military applications, the product of a mothballed Wayne Enterprises think-tank program."

OK, I'd better stop there in case I have a shred of dignity left.

Posted by: Hubris at May 28, 2005 09:14 AM (ywZa8)

12 No nipples on the breastplate.

They are finally serious.

Posted by: Dave in Texas at May 28, 2005 10:11 AM (7gfL5)

13 The aspect that's convinced me this is going to be good is the fact that they're explaining a lot of the philosophy/mthos and mechanics that go into making Batman what he is. That means they know and care about those sorts of things, and bothered to actually have an in depth understanding before churning out simply another "comic books movie"

Posted by: Russell Wardlow at May 28, 2005 06:31 PM (1fdKh)

14 In the comic Batman could use his cape to glide a little bit by using his cape like a parachute.

Posted by: Some Guy at May 28, 2005 11:19 PM (ALsCs)

15 prove my geek status I'm going to bitch...

Why aren't they having Jessica Alba play Talia Al-Ghul? I mean Daddy Al-Ghul tried to get them together and they did hook up rather often, if I recall, from my Batman reading days.

Posted by: Kin at May 29, 2005 03:56 AM (FPO9K)

16 Jessica Alba is cute but doesn't have anywhere near the gravitas to play Talia. It would be as bad as the braindead casting of Jennifer Garner as Elektra. She's fine in a role written with her in mind but she was completely wrong for that very well defined character.

The glider cape is reasonable so long as it is limited to just that, gliding. It doesn't make Batman into Iron Man.

This is a character created in 1939 that has always been a very high tech guy. It stays well out of Tony Stark territory to give him a cape that can be electrically stiffened into an air foil. You'd still have to be that special kind of crazy to entrust your life to it. The same technology could be used to explain some of the cape's other odd behavior that Batman uses to great effect. A huge billowing mass when he's looking to terrorize but a much smaller and convenient length when fighting.

Posted by: Eric Pobirs at May 29, 2005 05:08 AM (50wEC)

17 His trainer is Ra's Al-Gul bud. They likely are developing a contrast of justice, trying to make Batman not look so extreme by making the bad guy look more extreme regarding justice and what to do with criminals.

This is just a guess, but I wouldn't read too much red-shift (excellent turn of a phrase, by the way).

Posted by: Christopher Taylor at May 29, 2005 08:12 AM (jwvAO)

18 Took the "voice" thng in the scene w/Katie Holmes as he was trying to disguise h is voice because she knows h im.

Hope that is the case anyways

Posted by: mtnbiker at May 29, 2005 05:07 PM (NPbo0)

19 by the way, I'm not a complete idiot. It would let me post my original because of questionable content. Turns out the letters "h i" are out of line

Posted by: mtnbiker at May 29, 2005 05:09 PM (NPbo0)

20 I read a few of these superheroes comics when I was too young to understand anything more than the storyline, to give you an idea, I read Donald Duck at the same time and it was just as entertaining, but I don't remember reading much Batman comics. So, my reference point for Batman is the great TV series, with the comics "POW" words exploding on screen when there was a fight and the classic "he will not be able to escape this certain death" ending that left you hanging for each weekly episode.

But today, the problem with all these mega-million super-hero Hollywood productions is that they have a lot of beautiful takes, fantastic special effects, a sprinkle of philosophy, but it's ultra vapid as far as content goes. It's flaky drama, predictable or insip romance, stupid quests. Ugh.

AND... to really crash this Batman project as far as my enjoyment is concerned, if a movie is vapid, at least what the producers can do is fill it with gorgeous, charming men. At least the title role, but, what have they done? He is ugly!! Good God, if you are going to make a James Bond type movie, spy or super-hero or human-hero, it's all the same, it's just empty Hollywood glitz action, the very least these movie producers could do, is to cast a gorgeous guy to play Batman, the suave millionaire who deep-down is your great hero and not your Enron filth or Trump puffed pastry.

It just has to be on the Pierce Brosnan level for the big screen. Even Adam West, who was not all that magnificently looking, did quite well when dressed up as millionaire Bruce as far as charming goes.

I don't even know what the female role is supposed to be, but it seemed just as uninteresting. The only female character I have a reference for is Catgirl, which, given the stupid 60's mentality about women, that is all infused in the TV Catgirl, didn't get any better on screen.

I would go see this Batman in a theater just because of the beautiful scenery, many of those shots will come alive on a big screen. But I'll probably want to walk out the Batman theater and go right into a second film feature to remind myself that there *are* films out there with content, that leave you thrilled or emotionally satisfied or intrigued and not just this empty Hollywood vacuum puff covered with glitter.

Posted by: Alessandra at May 30, 2005 05:46 PM (fNYYe)

21 Ok. Who would you see play Talia? Jessica Biel? Rebecca Romjin? Pam Anderson?

Posted by: Kin at May 31, 2005 03:36 AM (FPO9K)

22 Who is Talia ? meaning, who is this character/what's Talia's relationship to Batman?

Posted by: Alessandra at May 31, 2005 04:08 AM (fNYYe)

23 Hey wait a minute. I thought this thread was about BATEMAN. As in Justine Bateman. Seems I stripped down to my underwear for nothing.

Posted by: Master of None at May 31, 2005 04:19 AM (2c7xL)

24 One issue I have is that Ras Al'Ghul is supposed to be Persian. Am I wrong, or did I just see a bald Asian guy in the trailer?

Damn those terrorists for making us so PC we're afraid to keep with the history of our comic legacy.

As for Bruce's voice when he's Batman, I think it's actually pretty good. This is the first time that I've ever seen Batman and didn't think "Here's a hero with a deep, serious voice, but I know he's a good guy." Instead, my impression was "There's something seriously wrong with this dude. No wonder the cops always think he's a lunatic."

I wonder if they're going switch him the same way they switched Superman. Supes was originally written as a super-powered alien from another world who played at being a human reporter named Clark Kent. After the introduction of Superboy and Ma and Pa Kent, Kal El slowly made his way over to being written the other way around. It was finalized in the early 90's that he's not Superman and putting on a Clark Kent disguise. He's Clark, and Superman is the disguise he uses to do good and still keep a private life. He's said many times that if he lost his secret ID, he'd lose himeself.

Batman is the other way around. When you see him at cocktail parties, or yukking it up with socialites as Bruce Wayne, you can see the Batman lurking beneath the surface. He's Batman first, Bruce second. The only time that flips is when he's at his parents' gravesite, and possibly when he's shooting the breeze with Alfred. Any other time, he's Batman.

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