THE OBENSON REPORT

Covering Cinema From All Across The African Diaspora

So, I Saw 'The Dark Knight' Last Night...

In short - it's the best studio film I've seen so far this year - emphasis on the words "studio film" - and I plan on seeing it again as it's meant to be seen, on an IMAX screen, since I didn't get that chance the first time.

It's dark, brooding and menacing, just the way Batman movies should be, unlike Tim Burton's comical renditions - although I did appreciate both of them.

Heath Ledger's performance was good, but not as great as most seem to be giving him credit for. I suppose his untimely death likely has something to do with that. The drums have long been beating for a posthumous Best Supporting Actor win for Ledger, but I think it's too early to start singing that song. There are still a lot of films left to be seen with 6 months left in the year, and a fall season that's loaded with the usual Oscar bait.

So, overall, a solid effort - the best Batman movie ever made, in my humble opinion. Despite one or two "ehhh" moments, it didn't piss me off the way other overhyped super hero films I've seen this year did (yes, I'm looking at right you Hancock), and my friends and I walked out of the sold-out theatre energized, looking forward to seeing it on an IMAX screen!

I still would have liked to have seen Darren Aronofsky's version, which was rumored to be in development 4 or 5 years ago, soon after he made Requiem For A Dream. At that time, word on the street was that Aronofsky's Dark Knight was to be considerably grittier, infused with a realism super hero movies often lack, fashioned after 70's cop thrillers like the seminal 1971 film, The French Connection. Upon hearing the rumor, I was immediately intrigued. Will we ever get to see Aronofsky's version? Who knows!

And now the numbers.

As expected... The Dark Knight is setting all kinds of box office records, beating out Spiderman, with a record $66 million opening day, and several estimates have it soaring past Spider-Man 3 for a $157 million opening weekend, which would be the all-time best.

Courtesy of Fantasy Mogul, here is a list of the best all-time opening days:

1. The Dark Knight - $66M (estimate)
2. Spider-Man 3 - $59.84M
3. Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man’s Chest - $55.83M
4. Star Wars: Episode III – Revenge of the Sith - $50.01M
5. X-Men: The Last Stand - $45.1M
6. Harry Potter & The Order of the Phoenix - $44.23M
7. Pirates of the Caribbean: At World’s End - $42.9M
8. Spider-Man 2 - $40.44M
9. Harry Potter & the Goblet of Fire - $40.11M
10. Spider-Man - $39.4M

From the list above, it's no wonder why super hero movies are all the rage these days! Those suckas are pure money! 5 of the top 10 all-time opening day champs are super hero movies. We could actually even say that 8 of the 10 are defacto super hero movies, because one could make a strong case for Harry Potter being a super hero of sorts, as well as the entire Star Wars gang. But it's clear that fantasy/action movies are certainly universally appealing - well, maybe I should clarify and say instead that fantasy/action movies with white faces are universally appealing :o)

Some industry writers are saying that The Dark Knight will, after all is said and done, be the #1 movie of 2008, passing both Iron Man and Indiana Jones & The Kingdom of The Crystal Skull (I get annoyed whenever I think about that film) and even possibly getting close to the all-time domestic box office champ, Titanic, which took in over $600 million (I'm still not sure why that film was so popular).

Some are even calling for a Best Picture nomination. Maybe... but, as I said earlier, it's a little too early to start singing that song. Let's see how the rest of the year plays out.

6 comments:

  1. Invisible Woman said...
     

    Ditto on Titanic--couldn't even finish it.

  2. Nic said...
     

    Obenson, you know how the Oscars go. Sometimes all it takes is hype to get someone the award. Not saying Heath wouldn't deserve it if he got it.

  3. nic said...
     

    Oh, I'm with you on Titanic. I'll still can't stand that movie.

  4. UK Black Chick aka Wendy said...
     

    When was the last time anyone, dead or alive, won a best actor Oscar for an all out, blockbuster, super-hero, action movie...?

    Um, just asking.

  5. UK Black Chick aka Wendy said...
     

    Oh, and I'm not a super-hero movie kinda gal, but I'd have been very tempted by an Aronofsky effort.

  6. Qadree said...
     

    I've read a few things about Dark Knight and it's references to the war on terror, but I hesitant to believe what I read until I saw the film. Now that I've seen it I think the film did a pretty good job of incorporating many different messages without being preachy.

    It seems like the film was advocating corruption and deception as a way to solve problems as long as it's used by someone who can't be corrupted. The illegal eavesdropping system that Batman set up was on obvious reference to the current Bush administration and the ending in which Batman tells the commissioner to hide the criminal acts of the D.A. so that the people could still admire him as a hero was another one.

    There were too many references to detail them all, everything about the joker has direct correlation to things that we associate with terrorists.

    I thought it was interesting that they decided to portray the wholesome hero that everyone admired as a two-faced lunatic in the end. There are many ways to interpret that, but what stood out even more to me was that all of the people that are supposed to be good guys are engaged in deception on many levels and accept it as normal. The Joker on the on the other hand is pretty straight forward about his intentions and never pretends to be anything other than what he is.

    I'm not sure if it's the action and adventure that has attracted so many people to the film or are people, even if just on a subconscious level, attracted to the values and ideas that are on display?

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