i went to see this movie last night with some friends. it was an experience.

first let me say, i usually LOVE going to the theater. despite the skyrocketing ticket prices and nausea-inducing concessions, nothing else allows me to submerge into a movie like going to the theater. videos at home don’t have the same power. i think it’s something about being buffetted by sound and in the pitch darkness confronted with larger than life imagery. whatever it is, it works better than drugs. and sometimes when i really need to NOT THINK, there is nothing better than the movies for it.

this theater experience was not that. firstly, there was serious street-concert jam-band action happening outside the metroplex. to which i can only sound an enthusiastic boo, which would of course, need to last 13 1/2 minutes.

once we went indoors we seated ourselves in relative comfort (due to our early arrival, the theater did end up with a full complement of viewers, even on a wednesday night) but i was then unable to unseat myself due to the almost comically sticky floor. wearing flipflops, this is especially unsettling; i do not want to lose my shoe and end up barefoot in this mess.

there were no less than 8 previews. mostly for poop like,

  • The Mummy: Brendan Frasier is Balding so let’s go to China where no one is tall enough to see the top of his head
  • The Day The Earth Stood Still: What was a classic sci-fi gem now treated to a Reeve-ing (Keanu)
  • Something I can’t remember the awful name of but it involved lying: a faux Syriana style film starring Leonardo DiCaprio (who i hate) and Russell Crowe (who i hate more) both looking fat and hairy.
  • New Bond Movie: THIS LOOKS AWESOME! (not just cause Daniel Craig is hot as hell, but it doesnt hurt)
  • The Spirit: this also looks good. dark, sexy, stylized, very comic-y and SinCity-esque
  • Watchmen: looks spooky and graphic intense. might be ok.

whatever the case, even if i LOVED every one of these films, that is still too many fucking previews. seriously.

then there was the film itself. which was CHOCK FULL of action. perhaps a little too chock full. this seemed like 2 films in one. there were several potins at which i thought: huh, that was a pretty good movie! oh, wait… it’s not over? and asking Mr Pencil (who was there too) this feeling was not mine alone.

there were 2 or possibly even 3 sequences which seemed to be the “penultimate scene” which then simply led to more stuff happening. what’s more, when the climax finally DID happen, it was pretty, well, anti-climactic.

this was still a really good movie, and well worth seeing. lots of excitement, interesting effects (i was sad to see the tumbler didn’t make it) and a pretty sound plot line, though i felt it would have served the movie better to have been made into 2 films each about a seperate villian, rather than smooshing them into one.

finally i feel i must comment on the remarkable performance of Heath Ledger. i have always had a good deal of respect for his talents, but this was something else. obviously watching this film with the understanding that it was his final work, and the haunting and tragic details of his passing lent me a particular lens through which to view his portrayal of the Joker. It was a nuanced and thoughtful rendering of a villian who is often simply made ludicrous. this Joker is primarily interested in chaos and attempting to turn his fellow Gothamites into unwilling subjects of violent social experements. he never explains himself to anyone’s satisfaction (which satisfied me completely) and he is not glamorous or flamboyant so much as shocking and awful in aspect and mein. the tics, twitches, cadence of speech, and the knowledge that this hideous creature hides a truly beautful man underneath made the performance that much more riveting and provocative. the unwillingness of the director to suffer pop-psychology fables about why the Joker wears his scars supremely wrought.

on the whole i think this was an excellent action film, well-made and worth watching, if i would have preferred two movies with all the plot points covered, rather than the extra long one we got.