Saturday, June 26, 2010

Culture for the weekend

Last night I drank some free beer and then went to HMV to spend money on culture.  I got back to the apartment and discovered I'd purchased The Dark Knight, Breakfast At Tiffany's and a Jason Statham film, that I have already watched on a plane.  Perhaps this shows why I shouldn't drink and shop.

Earlier yesterday I'd read somebody pontificating on how The Dark Knight was the greatest film ever, and how everything made sense at the very end.  I watched it, and didn't really have a feeling of that.  When I saw it in the cinema last year, I remember being very stressed throughout; yes, it was exciting, but in the overstimulating kind of way that makes it impossible to relax.  Or perhaps I'd eaten too many Haribo sweets and the additives had been sending me hyper.

Watching it again on DVD, several things become clear.

Christopher Nolan doesn't like music.  Apart from the occasional sawing of violins, the film is almost completely free of music.  There's no audible cues to tell you when to be excited, when to be happy, when to be scared.  For many people, the incidental music is a problem with Hollywood films, papering over cracks in characterisation and plot by telling you how to feel via some loud banging noises / some saccharine strings / a man with a banjo with five strings and less teeth in his mouth.  You're just having your emotions cynically manipulated.

Well, I've been cynically manipulated in the past and it's not as bad as people make out.  Plus, if you're watching a film about a man who dresses up as an enormous bat, I'm not sure you should be complaining that Hollywood is dumbing down entertainment.

Secondly, the explosions look terrible on my DVD player.  Really terrible.  One of my favourite films of all time is Christy Malry's Own Double Entry, which has incredibly bad cgi explosions near the end, which in the director's commentary they claim was to point out the absurdity of life.  But which just look like they didn't have much cash for special effects.  And the explosions there don't look any worse than some of the explosions in The Dark Knight.  Certainly they weren't this bad in the cinema.  Maybe this means it's time to get a blu-ray player.  Or maybe it's time to watch films with less explosions in them.

Thirdly, a lot of the fight scenes are just a bit dull.  Christian Bale seems to move in the most leaden manner imaginable, as though he's a clockwork device and the film has been slowed down.  It's just thump - crack - wallop - bash; maybe I'm now too accustomed to the Bourne films, where you just can't bloody well tell what's going on in the fight scenes because everything is cutting and rushing around too fast, or perhaps it's because I watched a bit of Ip Man earlier in HMV and after that any Western fight scene seems terribly pedestrian.  Or it's because I saw JCVD recently, and now no fight scene will ever be the same again.

I think it had helped that I'd drank all that beer though.  I'd forgotten several major plot points (including which characters die and when) so there were a lot of surprises for me in a film that I'd seen before.  However, it did go on a bit; we didn't finish watching it until 2 a.m. this morning, so I've spent today feeling rather discombobulated.  Or playing Blur, which is an incredibly fun waste of time that I've just purchased for my Xbox; I'll report back on the creators' evil plan to make you appear like a complete nerd tomorrow.


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