Wednesday, September 10, 2008


Sunday we saw a movie at a multiplex on top of a mall in District Five. It's the second movie I've seen in Vietnam. I saw I Am Legend at the same theater six months ago. Having coffee before the show meant that we'd catch the Dark Knight, showing later, instead of Wall-E, earlier. We knew what we were doing. Both of us expected to enjoy the Pixar movie more than Batman, so a rowdy Asian theater experience seemed better suited to the latter. Batman must be the most re-imagined comic book hero there is. There's very little narrative consistency--in origin, temperament, look, even plot--in the source materials. Staging a new cross-media production need bear little resemblance to any previous incarnation, I suppose. It probably isn't possible to choose a traditional archetype for Batman anymore. The comics themselves are all over the map depending on era, author, illustrator, and intended audience. Batman has no canon. The gulf between Adam West and Christian Bale, both playing Batman, reflects this inadvertently. That said, how come my review--"the baroque villainy of an interesting and cleverly written clown blessedly steals the screen from a depressing and stiff rubber bat suit, which, in turn, serves to obscure what might have been a stock, if underwritten, performance by a hoarse lead more interested in the foppish curlicues of the titular character's alter-ego than any heady adventure"--describes both Sunday's Batman movie and the one I saw in '89? So what's actually new? Well, Gotham City's become a lot blander over nineteen years. Now the Joker looks like a grunge band leader, though Heath Ledger nearly disappears behind prosthetics and a good comic book geek impersonation--a trick of acting Jack Nicholson never embraced. Lastly, Asian kids are quieter than eighties kids. [Cavin]

Then, a 0 sided conversation ensued...

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