The Dark Knight Rises – Movie Review

It is rare that there is a pin-drop silence in the theater while a movie is playing. Usually there are people who are talking, giggling, making fun of one thing or another, people getting restless and banging your seat from the back and mobile phones ringing and being answered. It is rare that a movie commands your apt attention and that is what I witnessed in the theater as this mesmerizing last installment of the Dark Night Series unfolded. No one moved for 165 minutes.

The biggest challenge for Christopher Nolan was to at least match the benchmark of The Dark Knight. The absolute terror which Joker created in that movie will remain unparalleled in the world of cinema. This movie needed its own moments to make people forget Joker. I knew that if I would have missed Joker, this movie would not have worked for me. And I didn’t.

Set eight years after Batman disappears after taking the blame of Harvey Dent‘s murder, Gotham is peaceful and free of organised crime. Enters Bane and things go for a toss. I would not reveal the whole plot here as the movie connects to the Batman Begins at a lot of places, there are pieces of the jigsaw which fall into place, so it would be a good idea to watch it before going for this one.

There are a lot of sequences in the movie which gives you goosebumps, like the opening sequence in which an airplane is pulled up by a bigger aircraft, the first appearance of the Bat hovercraft when Batman is cornered into a dark alley, the moment when Bane hits the button and the whole American football ground caves in and cat burglar Selina Kyle driving the Bat Pod. Amidst all this mayhem, there are moments which gives depth to the characters, like the one between Bruce and his butler Alfred where Alfred tells him that he does not want to bury him and the one between Selina and Bruce where she tells him to save himself as he has given enough to the city.

Nolan uses three of his Inception cast members here – Joseph Gordon-Levitt as a Blake who is a smart police officer who inferred Bruce’s actual identity and one of the very few officers left on the ground (you will know what I mean when you see the movie), Marion Cotillard as Miranda who is one of the board members of the Wayne Enterprise and plays a key role and of course Tom Hardy as BaneAnne Hathaway as Selina is an interesting grey character but finally joins the fight against Bane and God! does she look sexy riding that Bat Pod. There was quite a lot of whistling in the theater when she knocks down the enemy vehicles with it. Christian Bale is the perfect Batman. He has that sadness on his face.

The movie is fast paced and constantly keeps you engaged. There are times when the scenes rush and you feel that the movie is trying to squeeze in a lot of things but you can ignore such times. A lot of credit goes to the background score too. It pumps up the events, creating an aura of terror. All the recent Nolan movies like Inception and the Dark Knight had exceptional background scores too. These movies can act as a case study as to how a good background score can elevate a movie to a new level.

*spoiler alert*

I found the graphics a bit patchy in a few places like a few shots where the missiles are following the Bat Hovercraft. We have seen better. Also, Miranda’s death scene was comical. She died like a Bollywood hero – closing her eyes and jerking her head.

*spoiler ends*

As the movie ended, people clapped and whistled and let out the breath they were holding. Take a bow Mr. Nolan for giving us this epic finale of the masterpiece trilogy.

Rating – 4.5/5

[images from Google]

Best Hollywood Movie Series

I have not done any filmy post from a long time now and I am having a headache in my stomach because of that. I saw “The Mummy” and “Singh is Kinnnnnng” but didn’t feel like writing a review for either of them. Both of them gave me a terrible headache. I have been watching a lot of Hollywood Movies lately and as the sequel fever is catching up with Bollywood movies too, I wonder if we will ever get a “Maine Phir pyar kiya” of a “Dilwale Dulhaniya phir le jayenge” ? I would really do anything to see what happened to Raj and Simran.

Putting an end to all the wishful thinking, here is the list of my all time favourite Hollywood Series. Its a very personal list and don’t be disheartened if I have not included one of your favourites. 🙂

10. Back to the Future

Back to the future was released in 1985 and it went ahead to become the highest grosser that year. It was followed by its sequel in 1989 and the last movie of the trilogy released in 1990. The Sequels were not as successful as the first movie, but I enjoyed all the three movies thoroughly.

The movie revolves around the concept of time travel. In a time machine invented by Dr. Brown, Marty travels back to 1955 where he meets his parents when they were teenagers. He interferes with their first meeting. Now he has to make sure that his parents fall in love so that he is born otherwise he would be erased from the future.

The movie was funny and engrossing. In the sequel, Marty goes to the future to deal with his children who are grown up and directionless.

The movie has a 95% tomatometer rating and is at the 10th position in AFI’s Top ten Science Fiction movies of all times.

9. X Men

This series consisted of three superhero movies based on the Marvel Comics series of the same name. Each movie outgrossed the last movie and each sequel was more expensive than the previous. Hugh Jackman was a relatively unknown actor when the series changed his fortunes overnight. He plays the lead character of Wolverine who is drawn into the conflict between two groups of mutants. One group is headed by Professor Xavier who runs a school for mutants where they are coached to understand and control their powers. The other group is headed by Magneto, the evil mutant who wants to destroy mankind before they destroy him.

And all those who are thinking that the fun is over, hold your bad breath, because X Men Origins series are on their way starting with Wolverine and Magneto next year.

8. Pirates of the Caribbean

The first part of this trilogy was first released in 2003 and its success was completely unexpected. Walt Disney revealed after its unexpected success that a trilogy was on the way. The second movie in the series – Dead Man’s Chest, was an instant success and broke box office records all over the world.

The first movie was based on a theme park ride in Disneyland and people were expecting it to be a big flop but Johnny Depp(who played Captain Jack Sparrow) completely turned the tables. The name of Captain Sparrow will always remain synonymous with the movie. The movie follows the journey of Captain Jack Sparrow and a blacksmith Will Turner(played by Orlando Bloom) as they rescue Elizabeth ( played by Keira Knightley) who is kidnapped by the cursed crew of the ghost ship named Black Pearl.

7. Spiderman

This three movie series of the Marvel Comic superhero directed by Sam Raimi changed the fortunes of Tobey Maguire. The series was immensely successful and the third movie broke the opening box office records in 29 countries. All the three movies grossed more than 800 million dollars each at the box office.

The rights of the motion picture on Spiderman were purchased in 1985 but the first movie came up in 2002. The rights moved through many hands before they ended up in the lap of Sony Entertainment. How the movie finally saw the light of the day after a wait of 17 years is another interesting story which you can read here.

The bad news is that even after the success of all the three movies, there are no indications of a fourth part.

6. Shrek

This series consist of a total of eight projects out of which three have been already released. The series is based on a picture book of the same name by William Steig. The movie follows the unusual story of an ogre who is sent by Lord Farquaad to rescue princess Fiona who is locked in a tower guarded by a dragon. Shrek rescues the princess with the help of a talking donkey. The most hilarious part of the movie is the love story of the donkey and the dragon(who is a female by the way). And yes, who can forget the adorable puss in boots?

The movie dazzled with brilliant animation and a unique storyline. The third part of the series was panned by the critics saying that it was a normal movie trying to be an animation, but I liked it nevertheless. The movie boasts of so many unforgettable characters like the frog king, Prince Charming, the Fairy Godmother and so many fairy tale creatures.

5. Batman

Batman movies have been there since a long time but the series being mentioned here is the reboot series directed by Christopher Nolan which started with Batman Begins in 2005 and exploded the screens with The Dark Knight. The Dark Knight holds the record of the fastest film to reach the 400 million mark. It did that in just 18 days. Christian Bale does full justice to the role of Batman in both the series and infact when the wears the Batsuit, you have a feeling that no one else could have done it better.

In Dark Knight, Heath Ledger as The Joker gave another dimension to the villain in Cinema, which is hard to equal. Its a pity that he passed away without seeing his own success.

And yes, before you ask, there is no sign of a sequel announcement.

4. Star Wars

Star Wars was conceived by George Lucas in 1970 which finally went on to become a six film series. The first three movies came in 1977, 1980 and 1983. The story takes place in a fictional galaxy consisting of super developed planets interacting with each other. “Force” is an energy form which can be harnessed by those who have the ability. The creatures who can harness the force for good are called Jedi and there is an academy to train them. But there is a dark side too which consist of those who misuse the Force. The are called the Sith. The first three movies follow the story of Luke Skywalker who is the son of the Dark Lord called Darth Vader.

The next three movies came in 1999, 2002 and 2005 which followed the story of Anakin Skywalker who is trained to become a Jedi since childhood but finally turns towards the dark Force to become Darth Wader. The series were immensely successful and had spawned a plethora of franchise.

3. Harry Potter

No, its not a series of 7 movies. Its 8. The last book(Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows) is been split into two movies. So, three more to go!!! 🙂 Rowling sold the film rights for the first four movies to Warner Bros in 1999 for a reported 1 million pounds. She also insisted for keeping the primary cast as British and allowing casting of Irish actors as well. Steven Spielberg was supposed to direct the first movie but somehow that didn’t worked out. Apparently, Speilberg wanted the movie to be an animated series!!!!

All the five movies of the series released so far have been tremendous success and the next one ( Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince) is slated to be released on July 17, 2009. Generally movies based on popular books divide the fans over the faithful creation of the movie adaptations and this series was no different. This is one reason I haven’t read the books yet. I don’t want to fall out of love with the movies.

2. Matrix

This series comprised of three movies in the science-fiction genre which were directed by the Wachowski Brothers. The first movie in the series came out in 1999 and I was verbally abused by my friends for choosing to watch Mann over this movie. I consider it the biggest mistake of my life.

All the three movies were critically acclaimed and successful but there are debates over the last movie of the series. The second movie( The Matrix Reloaded) is the highest grosser out of the three and set benchmarks as far action sequences were concerned. The series also inspired a new religious movement called Matrixism or “The path of one” by a group in 2004.

Personally, I don’t remember the number of times I have seen the movie. For days, I observed everything around me very minutely and was quite sure that we are living in a Matrix. Such was the influence of the movie on me. I used to think that the Matrix is mocking us by showing us this movie about what actually happened to us and still we could not make it out. An absolute favourite and a must watch.

1. The Lord of the Rings

The Lord of the Rings Triology consist of three live action fantasy epic films based on the book by the same name by J. R. R. Tolkien. The story is set in Middle Earth where a Hobbit named Frodo comes into possession of the One Ring of the Dark Lord Sauron. Frodo sets on an expedition to destroy the ring with 8 other companions with him.

The movie series is the Highest grossing series of all time right now and has grossed a total of $2.91 billions worldwide. The combined special effects of all the three movies stand at 3,420. The movie took 8 years in the making with a total budget cost of $280 million and was shot in New Zealand. In total, six million feet of film (over 1,100 miles) was edited down to the 11 hours and 23 minutes (683 minutes) of Extended DVD running time(and I am the proud owner of the extended DVD version). It won 17 Oscars out of the 30 it was nominated for.

I have seen all the three parts about 30 times each. So much that I can recite the dialogues while watching the movie and tell you the next scene in advance. My family was very concerned once because every time they used to see me watching a movie, it was LOTR. 🙂 I don’t think any other movie series would be the number one for me.

Those left out

There are many movie series which are not included here for the simple reason that I did not liked them as a package. For e.g. you may not find Indiana Jones here because the movie “Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom” was the worst one I have ever seen. The way India is portrayed in the movie is nonsensical.

Another popular movie series which is not in the list is Saw. I did not liked the third part. It was too gory. There are numerous more examples like – Hannibal, Home Alone, Scary Movie, Hulk, Resident Evil, Jurassic Park Series, to name a few.

p.s. A lot of information for the post was obtained from Wikipedia.

The Dark Knight – Movie Review

And thus arrived the mother of all Superhero movies. And what an arrival!!! Its dark, its gloomy, its dangerous and it makes your hair stand. It reinvents the villain in Cinema and pours an avalanche of well crafted sequences and performances your way. This was the most awaited movie of the year and it was worth all that wait.

Christopher Nolan directs this sequel of Batman Begins where Batman(Christian Bale) is pitched against the most malicious villains of all times- The Joker (played by Heath Ledger). The Villain who does not care about money but just want to see the world in chaos. There is no way you can scare him because he has nothing to loose. Then there is Harvey Dent (Aaron Eckhart) who is the district attorney and has a strained relation with Batman. He is Gotham city’s only hope as a hero with a face and Batman is banking on him so that he could live a normal life with his childhood sweetheart Rachel Dawes who is oscillating between the two men. In comes the Joker and everything turns topsy turvy.

The movie belongs to Heath Ledger. Never have a villain been so terrifying and so much filled with malevolence. Its been a long time since we have come across such a fine piece of villainy(read acting) and I can strongly smell an Oscar. Its rare when an actor takes over a movie with his sheer presence even though he is playing a villain. This was Heath Ledger’s last movie as he passed away in January 2008. Joker will always be remembered by this performance and whoever takes over the role in the next movie in the series will be having some pretty big shoes to fill in. Christian Bale is also good as the man torn between his duty and love(as all superheroes are) while Harvey has some very realistic graphics done on his face in the second half.

The movie boasts of some great action sequences although I didn’t like the one towards the end as it was too haphazard and hazy. In this movie Batman can be seen flying for the first time when he goes to HongKong to abduct Lau for the Gotham City police. That was one hell of an action sequence. The sequence in which Joker attacks the police vans carrying Harvey is also well executed and that is where the Batpod appears for the first time. Pretty neat vehicle. 🙂 The Joker is in police custody near the interval and you think that its over but its just the lull before the storm. And yes, Harvey Two-Face also makes an appearance.

Do watch this movie as it is one of the best Superhero movie of recent times. Dark, full of turmoil and with fabulous performances. Watch it for Joker, the perfect Anti-Hero. Its nothing less than sheer delight.

Rating – 4.5/5

Director – Christopher Nolan

Official Website – http://thedarkknight.warnerbros.com/