Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Sloth Day: partial success

Yesterday’s attempt at a Day of Sloth was only partially successful. I ended up having some work tasks to do after all. But I did manage to hang out at a bookstore and see a couple matinees before the work and enjoy reading after the work. So it was good.

So what did I think of the much-hyped Dark Knight? Mixed reaction. The Batman character doesn't do much for me: all dark and broody, period. The movie was very true to the comic book character as far as I know, not being a comic reader, so I guess it gets an A for accuracy. But the unrelenting dreariness gets, frankly, boring.

The Harvey Dent character had some interesting dimension, though. He set up the moral dilemma nicely. And the Joker was just plain scary. True insanity, true unpredictability, is truly terrifying. Well played by the late Heath Ledger. (And no, I still haven’t seen Brokeback Mountain. Why? Because I knew gay men existed as Real Live Human Beings even before the movie came out. [Came out—get it?])

Action and gadgets: also okay, but the action editing was too MTV-choppy for me to follow much of it. But Batman fights dirty. I like that in a dark knight. Sadly, we didn’t get to see much gadgetry. Too busy racing from one apocalypse to the next.

And speaking of all those apocalypses, the movie is about half an hour too long. Just a few emergencies, more fully realized, would have been more interesting to me.

And I HATED the way women were portrayed in this movie. HATED. There were only three of them in a cast of thousands, with about 12 seconds of screen time apiece, and they were all blubbering victims. Not cool. At all. This is the 21st century, for crying out loud. If we can handle gay cowboys, I think we’re almost ready for women with spines.

On screen Maggie Gyllenhaal, the normally gorgeous actress who played Rachel, looked awful, as though something had been sucking out her soul. Probably the hypocrisy of pretending this was a good role.

All things considered, Kung Fu Panda kicked Dark Knight's hiney. The story was easier to follow and the hero was much more inspiring—something ordinary people could actually aspire to be. Cinematically, KFP was the opposite of DK: bright and beautiful and hopeful.

I’ll buy KFP and watch it several times more, maybe with my niece. We’ll talk about how anyone can become a hero by using her own special talents, like Master Tigress and Master Viper—neither of whom sheds a single tear in the process of fighting evil and helping her friends. And we’ll dance to the soundtrack.



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