Saturday, July 19, 2008

The Dark Knight movie impressions, and WHAR IS SQUIRTLE

1. The Dark Knight movie impressions

To set the record straight: I never liked superhero flicks. No, really. Not because I badly want to "go against the grain" or however you want to call it, I just don't. My days with superheroes ended when my brother's stash of comicbooks - comicbooks that I surreptitiously sneak out of his room whenever he's out - suddenly disappeared along with my childhood and my then-fascination with spandex-clad people.

With that said, I was surprised when I found myself clamoring for more superhero movies - of the same caliber, of course - after watching the Dark Knight. The question is IF I can see more superhero movies that can even be compared to Christian Bale's (*swoon swoon*) reprisal of the Caped Crusader. Everytime I remember The Fantastic Four movie, though, my faith in Hollywood wanes.

Back to the movie. The Dark Knight, first and foremost, transcends being just a good superhero movie into a feature that focuses on the psyche of the people of Gotham City as a collective whole, including its heroes and villains. In fact, it is the people who pushes Batman's hand when he decides to pass on his mantle as the pallbearer of justice to the "White Knight," Harvey Dent.

But of course, not even the thousands of citizens of Gotham City can take the limelight out of Heath Ledger's Joker. You know that he's certainly something after seeing him perform the "Disappearing Pencil" trick.

This is one Joker that many people will no doubt use as a benchmark against the future portrayals of Joker. You won't find a clean-cut or a theatrical Joker in THIS movie. No, what you get is a brilliant criminal whose cold logic is the complete parallel of Batman's own. Ledger's Joker is not insane - he's just a highly efficient criminal with a Glasgow smile who wouldn't let trivial things such as loyalty get in the way of his goals, and you can see that in the genius applied in the bank heist at the beginning of the movie.

And we go to Harvey Dent. Ah, Harvey. In the first half of the movie I sat back in my seat, relaxed at the thought that there's at least one predictable character in the movie, aside from the fact that he's going to be transformed as Two-face in the end.

I was glad to be proven wrong. What I didn't expect was for me to actually like Aaron Eckhart's Harvey Dent - a powerful district attorney who's as straight as a rod in many ways than one. One his shoulders lay what could be one of the biggest responsibilities for a city of Gotham City: bring hope to the people that yes, there is law. And yes, crime DOES pay, and there's someone incorruptible at the helm, always watching out for them.

Dent is supposed that person, and who better to champion him than Batman himself?

Unfortunately, Dent's portrayal becomes a bit forced in the later parts of the movie, starting at the cause of his transformation as Two-face. Not sudden or unexplained, of course, but just a tad forced.

But in the end, what impressed me the most in the movie aren't the main characters, but the supporting ones. Yes, I'm looking at Alfred the Butler, Lucius Fox, and even Rachel - Rachel, who didn't seem to change despite being portrayed by Maggie Gyllenhaal and not Katie Holmes. They're not the usual supporting home team who hands Batman his utility belt, pats his fanny and lets him go on his way. No - they're people with actual needs, opinions, and reasons why they help Batman. Fox is the best example - he still feels compelled to help Batman even if doing so goes against his morals.

Speaking of morals, I somehow feel that Joker's social experiment between the Gotham citizens and the prisoners, though impressive in its own right, was a bit stilted. Not trite, but it's as cheesy and as out of place as a heartwarming Hallmark scene in a movie that's all about mindfuckery and shooting people's brains out because they don't serve their purpose anymore.

Despite being an exceptional film, it's just a bit sad that the tagline of The Dark Knight movie poster, "Welcome to a world without rules," does not give the movie justice. It sounds awfully like something that should be pasted onto another poster with a random muscled, topless guy holding a machine gun in one hand and a chainsaw in the other. It's taken from the Joker, that one person in the movie who is criminal simply because he is not bound to any rules, literally, but that doesn't capture one of the greater thesis of the film, which is summed up nicely by Dent (in words and in action): that those who wield power either die as heroes or live long enough to become villains.

I'm not going to expound even further about the plot of the movie - I wouldn't take the pleasure away from you - but yeah. Go see the movie. The Dark Knight is so brilliant, I have already forgiven Bale's horrible raspy voice as the Batman. It's that good.

I read that The Dark Knight was optimized for IMAX, so if you have the dough (which I and my partner didn't when we watched yesterday), splurge on those IMAX tickets and wear those stupid glasses. It's way better than watching a girl hallucinate after smelling dino egg fart.


I'm not talking about my pet, Squirtle (apologies to those who thought I was referring to my pet - some contacted me in YM when I had "WHERE THE HELL IS SQUIRTLE?" as my status message). My pet is happily swimman in his container, and chillin on his platform everyday under the sun to dry his shell and get his tan. I'm talking about his namesake, the Pokemon.

I really don't watch Pokemon. I don't have anything to do with Pokemon. I only watched a few episodes when it was first aired in GMA 7 (heralded with Billy Joe Crawford's GAR opening theme), I couldn't be bothered with the card games and even the DS games (no, Rio, please don't hurt me. I didn't say the game was bad! D: )

But when I saw Squirtle waddle about as one of Red's Pokemon in Super Smash Brothers Brawl, I was in love. No, it wasn't because Squirtle was a half-tartol, half...squirrel (?), but because of how Squirt was portrayed in the game: look at him wag his tail! Look at him do cartwheels in the air! Look at him surf....BLARGH. THE EPITOME OF CUTENESSSBLARGHAHGAHAHGAH


Anyway, ever since I saw him in Brawl I started looking for anything Squirtle. So far, I found...nothing. No posters, no figures, no plushies, no NOTHING.

Was Squirtle retconned? His fellow starting Pokemon Charmander and Bulba/Venus/Whateversaur are still around. SO WHAR?