Early reviews swoon for Dark Knight – and The Joker
Batman: The Dark Knight doesn’t open for another three weeks, but the first reviews are starting to appear. And they’re incredibly positive.
Peter Travers of Rolling Stone magazine gives the sequel three-and-a-half out of four stars, describing it as “raw and elemental,” and marveling at how director Chris Nolan “brings pop escapism whisper-close to enduring art.”
And at AICN, a reviewer calls Heath Ledger’s performance as The Joker “truly one for the books.” That’s something echoed by Travers, who dubs the late actor “mad-crazy-blazing brilliant” in the role.
On that note, Nolan talks to Wired a bit about his vision for The Joker:
The director wasn’t interested in plumbing the murky origins of the Joker himself — the Clown Prince is more a Loki-like force of chaos. “He’s like the shark in Jaws,” Nolan explains. “The Joker cuts through the film, he’s incredibly important, but he’s not a guy with a backstory. He’s a wild card.”
It’s a good article that focuses primarily on the technical aspects of filmmaking, and Nolan’s desire to to shun digital effects: “Anything you notice as technology reminds you that you’re in a movie theater.”
In other Dark Knight, and Joker, news, the viral-marketing campaign continues for the film, which opens in North America on July 18.
Who watches the length of Watchmen?
Watchmen director Zack Snyder says he’s editing down the first director’s cut of the film, which now runs about three hours long — and seems to indicate he’s at odds with the studio over length.
“The balancing act for me is, you want the movie as tight as possible for, I don’t know why, I guess so people can enjoy it,” Snyder tells SciFi Wire. “But for me, the hardest part is just, when is it not Watchmen anymore? I don’t think that’s a danger, but it’s a thing that I am trying to be the gatekeeper of while other forces conspire to say, ‘No. Length, length, length. Playability.’ Whatever the hell that means.”
He goes on to say how everyone who made the movie loves it, and how wonderful the experience was. But then:
And so then you come back from that experience, and you go to the studio, and the studio’s cool, don’t get me wrong, but they don’t love it like we do. Right? It’s like just a movie, like, ‘Oh, we have this movie, Watchmen, and it’s f–king long.’ Like, ‘What are these superheroes? They look crazy.’ So you have that experience. So for me, right now, I’m in the middle of that. So for me to go to Comic-Con is to get a chance to go back to people that love it.”
Watchmen, based on the miniseries by Alan Moore and Dave Gibbons, is set to open on March 6, 2009.
• Although Shazam director Peter Segal seemed to suggest the future of the Superman franchise is in jeopardy, actor Brandon Routh says production of the next movie should start in early 2009. [Cinema Blend]
• Scarlett Johansson has joined the voice cast of Astro Boy. There’s no word yet on what part she plays in the CG film, which also stars Nicolas Cage, Donald Sutherland and Freddie Highmore. [Collider]
• Paramount Pictures won’t be presenting any panels or bringing any stars to Comic-Con International next month. “The timing was off this year,” a studio spokesman said. [Thompson on Hollywood]
• Director Guillermo del Toro says Hellboy II: The Golden Army, which opens on July 11, is much better than the first movie. [SciFi Wire]
• Heroes director Tim Kring says the NBC series will wade deep into backstory in the upcoming Season 3. And given that this volume is titled “Villains,” we’re going to see a lot of bad guys. [SciFi Wire]