Anyway. Time for some reviews. Still haven't watched episode two of Rome yet. Was going to this afternoon but then Ben and his wife dropped by with the children and I was stuck playing snap and watching Dora the Explorer with my niece and nephew, sigh.
I might go slightly against the grain here: I really love what Tim Burton did with Batman. Love how he characterised Gotham, loved Danny Elfman's score, loved how he interpreted the characters. And I like the reboot of the series, but not to the same extent. There are things I can take and leave with what Nolan's done.
I was a little worried how Heath Ledger's interpretation of the Joker would measure up to Jack Nicholson's, the latter being one I particularly admire as far as comic book villains onscreen go. The two are completely different creatures, however. It comforts me to know that Ledger had respect for Nicholson and didn't want to emulate that.
That said, this Joker is scary. Not in the sense of doing stuff that is squicky, but really, genuinely frightening. The scene where he gives the African-American mobster the 'Chelsea grin' left my palms sweating and I got really nervous anytime he was onscreen because I didn't know what he was going to do next. The impression from the film is that the main story arc is the evolution of Harvey Dent, but Ledger's Joker is the centrepiece and I think it probably is an Oscar-worthy performance too, but still won't win because posthumous Oscars are rare things.
And maybe it's just me, but the film did seem more about Harvey Dent's story than Batman's. Yeah, Bruce Wayne's still struggling with his alter ego and that he can't be with his True Love. But Wayne mainly appeared to serve as a counterpoint to both Dent and the Joker, highlighting the differences and similarities in their personal histories, code of ethics, life philosophies, etc.
Or maybe it's just me and my belief that comicbook villains and their stories more often than not are far more interesting than that of the heroes. That's probably why I wish Cillian Murphy had appeared as Scarecrow for more than two minutes here. I wish there'd been a further continuation of his story, but then with two villains set up in the film already perhaps he can return in a third film. Even with the open ending, I don't see how they can bring the Joker back in another film. Heath Ledger's performance is so memorable and larger-than-life that there's no way it could be emulated by another actor, and it would be a stupid move on the part of the filmmakers to try. The Joker will indeed stand as a last testament to Ledger's acting talent.
Er, other stuff in the film besides villains? I don't quite know what to add there. The whole cast brought the high quality, even the minor supporting roles. Maggie Gyllenhaal made a better job of Rachel Dawes than Katie Holmes did, though killing her off was a good move by the writers in that it advanced the plot and there was really nothing more they could do with her. And on that note, major love for Gary Oldman as Commissioner Gordon. He kicked so much ass in this film! Like, even more ass than he did in the last film.
Since the box office is such that I'm pretty sure there will be another sequel, I'd love it if they brought Catwoman in for the next film. Pleeeease? I know David Goyer already said they wouldn't use villains that had appeared previously, but how many more major members of the Gotham Rogue's Gallery are there that weren't in the previous films? Maybe the Mad Hatter and Harley Quinn (but you can't have Harley without the Joker), possibly Talia al Ghul. I personally hoped the early rumours re: Philip Seymour Hoffmann playing the Penguin were true for this film. That would've been cool.
This episode didn't do much for me. I didn't feel drawn in like I did with 'Partners in Crime' or 'Fires of Pompeii'. It wasn't until maybe the final fifteen minutes that it got really good, before that the pacing was a bit off and again the supporting characters suffered from flat writing. It was a great story though, the sort of story that showcases the Doctor at his very best. Not in the sense of 'everybody lives!' but....well, you know. The bit at the end where the Ood thank Ten and Donna for helping liberate them was great. And the song of the Ood was too. It wasn't too corny or saccharine, it was just right.
Oh, and when Halpen was turning into an Ood, the bit where the tentacles fell out of his mouth totally squicked me. And possibly coughing up the brain too. Can't wait to show it to my niece and nephew when they're old enough though. I've been wanting to show my nephew in particular a few eps of New Who, though my brother still thinks he's a bit young (six years old). Which is true, but hiding behind the sofa when the Daleks appear is half the fun!