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First of all, yes, I’ve been late with my blog. I apologize to all my loyal readers (hi Mom!). I know you’ve been dying to know where I’ve been (not under a rock) and what I’ve been up to (yes, I did meet Steven Spielberg - he’s short but quite friendly).

I haven’t been able to see many of the summer movies so far, but I was very fortunate last Monday to catch a sneak preview of a film everyone is dying to see…

The Dark Knight

“Some men just want to watch the world burn.” – Alfred Pennyworth

There has a been a lot of hype surrounding this film. At first it was almost solely about Heath Ledger’s performance as the Joker and how because of his tragic death he was all but assured a posthumous Oscar nomination. This, of course, brought forth a lot of backlash saying no performance would be worthy of that. And when the film started to be screened it was compared, as a sequel, to “The Godfather Part II” and “The Empire Strikes Back” in terms of how it topped the original.

On Monday night I caught an early IMAX screening and let me tell you, “The Dark Knight” lives up to NONE of the hype.

It exceeds it.

It is simply a brilliant film. Forget about it being a Batman movie, a comic book movie, a summer movie, an action movie, a crime movie, etc. It is a BRILLIANT film. This is, simply, why we go to the movies. You will find yourself thinking of all the clichés like “edge of your seat”, “heart-pounding”, “jaw-dropping”, “white-knuckled” and “can’t keep your eyes off it” - and actually experience them.

Comparisons to other fantastic sequels are unfair because it so far exceeds its predecessor. “The Godfather Part II” was great, but “The Godfather” was equally brilliant. “Empire Strikes Back” was easily the best Star Wars film. But “The Dark Knight” makes its predecessor “Batman Begins” look like the campy Adam West show - and I thought “Begins” was a pretty damn good movie. While the first film was inspired by Japanese samurai films, this was clearly inspired by great crime thrillers such as “Heat” and “Seven”.

I don’t want to spoil this film for you all with plot details. I will say that it is a study in polarity. Of white knights and dark knights. Of order and chaos. And where we all fall in between them. It’s surprisingly topical, dealing with issues such as personal privacy and terrorism. And it’s a fantastic, globe-trotting action movie owing more to the James Bond franchise than any other comic book film. It relies on practical effects over CGI and is all the more stunning for it (George Lucas, take note). Seeing a semi-truck and trailer flip over its front end will astonish you - and they actually did that in the streets of Chicago.

Most of the cast from “Batman Begins” is back. Michael Caine is perfect as Bruce Wayne’s Jiminy Cricket, Alfred Pennyworth, offering sage advice with a sardonic and honest wit. Morgan Freeman returns as Lucius Fox, a brilliant businessman and scientist. And Gary Oldman is given even more to do as Lt. Jim Gordon, who tries desperately to hold his city together while the Joker tries to tear it apart. Each of these actors has at least one great scene. Gordon has one that will make you stand up and cheer.

New to this instalment is Maggie Gyllenhaal taking over for Katie Holmes as Rachel Dawes. Gyllenhaal brings a more mature side to the character than Holmes was capable of. Aaron Eckhart plays straight-as-an-arrow DA Harvey Dent. Eckhart’s Dent is hard working, incorruptible, and humble - that is, until a shocking tragedy leaves him emotionally and physically torn in two.

But above everyone in an outstanding cast stands Heath Ledger. Ledger’s performance is simply stunning. His Joker will go down in history as one of the best screen villains of all time. Ledger makes the Joker amoral, psychotic, terrifying and hilarious all at the same time. The Joker is also the smartest character in the film, manipulating everyone like marionettes. The performance is absolutely pitch perfect and simply the best performance Ledger ever gave. An Oscar nomination is required here - not because of sympathy for a talented young actor who died too young, but because the performance merits it.

I saw it this film on IMAX and I was skeptical that it would work given most of the film is in a 2.35 to 1 aspect ratio while IMAX is traditionally more like 1.33 to 1. But it is absolutely worth making the effort to see these action scenes in IMAX.

I can’t give enough praise for this film. I was blown away. This isn’t just the best movie of the summer, it’s the best of the year.

Brett Deacon apologizes for his tardiness. Please accept his note from Epstein’s mother.

Comments:

16 Responses to “The Greatest Movie Blog Of All Time: The Latest Movie Blog of All Time”

  1. Grail37 Says:

    See, this movie is so damn good, it inspires Brett to write a blog.

  2. Americo Says:

    Actually, Batman: Year One was the inspiration of Batman Begins.

    Can’t wait to see the flick.

  3. Ron Moses Says:

    Just wanted to let you know there’s someone out here old enough to get your Kotter reference. :)

  4. Amy Says:

    Nice Title. Wonder where you got it?

  5. opinioninahaystack Says:

    Your sentiments about TDK make me all the more excited to see it in a few hours…also, when you met spielberg did you punch him in the face for indy 4 then kiss him for the rest of his career?

  6. Deacon Says:

    OPINIONINAHAYSTACK - Let’s just say I’m glad the subject of Indy 4 never came up.

    And Americo, I was talking about films as stylistic inspiration, not graphic novels.

  7. andersonryan Says:

    can’t wait to see it. thanks for not including spoilers. nice to see the blog is back. keep it up.

  8. Trevor Jahn Says:

    Hi Brett!
    This is your cousin, Trevor. My friends and I are going to see the Dark Knight on Friday. Can’t wait!
    I have a question for you… Do you know if the casting for the movie “The Last Airbender” directed by M.Kight Shamalon has been completed? - (Not sure if I am spelling his name correctly)….? Please let me know.

  9. Deacon Says:

    Trevor, no casting as of yet. Release date is some time in 2010.

  10. Bailey Says:

    Brett,

    When you said “…great crime thrillers such as ‘Heat’ and ‘Seven’.” did you mean “Se7en”?

    I’m itching to go see the movie, but tickets in this little college town are sold out for this weekend and next. Reminds me of Crystal Lake when “Passion of the Christ” came out.

  11. Trevor Says:

    Great thanks Brett

  12. Trevor Says:

    Hi Brett,
    Thank you for your help. i am interested in trying out for “the last airbender” so if you hear anything let me know… Thanks, your cosin… Trevor

  13. Aunt Sue (your favorite Aunt) Says:

    Brett,

    Wonderful review. I don’t think you’ve ever been this excited about a movie. I wasn’t planning on seeing it but now it’s a must.

    Just saw Get Smart and laughed out loud.

    So - want to hear more about Mr. S.

    Did you want to tell all of us why you are so late with updating your blog??? And don’t blame Epstein’s mom.

  14. williamwilkins Says:

    Well put sir. Agree 100%

  15. Joseph Magnuson Says:

    I love Batman in general and was still totally blown away at how much I loved this film. I will see it again before it leaves the big, big screen. Bravo…

  16. JoshWink Says:

    Oh, Thanks! Really interesting. Big ups!

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