Featured Title: The Dark Knight
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As the film begins, we have a Batman who longs for a normal life, if only he could complete or pass on the Sisyphean task of being Gotham City’s protector. Unfortunately for Batman, it seems that his extraordinary crime-fighting techniques have prompted normal criminals to rely even more heavily on corrupt cops and byzantine financial loopholes to protect their ill-gotten gains; punching faces alone can’t solve that sort of dilemma. His iconic status has attracted not only vigilante wannabes who put their lives in danger trying to emulate him, but a new criminal, one attracted to the sport Batman represents, one for whom chaos and anarchy aren’t a byproduct or crime or a means to an end but rather the whole point in and of itself. Batman has allies both old (honest cop Jim Gordon and Wayne’s childhood love turned DA’s office lawyer, Rachel Dawes) and new (Harvey Dent, the new DA). But this new criminal, this Joker, preys on the insecurities and foibles of the whole system. He doesn’t care about money. His “plan” seems to be to set impossible moral decisions in front of Batman and his allies and then watch as the tragedies that result from those decisions tear our heroes apart.
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Why is The Dark Knight so good? The direction is superb. The cinematography is gorgeous. The action set-pieces are thrilling and exhilarating. The actors give uniformly excellent performances, from Morgan Freeman and Gary Oldman in supporting roles to the stars Christian Bale, Aaron Eckhart, and above all, Heath Ledger. The plot is dense but moves swiftly. It feels more like an epic crime drama than a superhero fantasy; it has more in common with Heat than it does with Superman Returns. It is a brilliant, transformitive work — one whose reverberations will be felt for a long time to come.
Also Out This Week
As much as I want to believe that the rumored remake of Chan-wook Park’s brilliant Oldboy starring Will Smith won’t be unwatchably bad, I have another Will Smith remake to temper those hopeful thoughts. I Am Legend is amusing enough, I suppose, but does it stack up to other adaptations of Richard Matheson’s seminal novella? As Smith himself might say, “Oh HELL naw!” A show where anything is possible, including a vampire apocalypse, is Lost. I might have something up my sleeve regarding this BD release so I won’t get into in too much depth here. Suffice it to say, if you were a fan of Lost in it’s first season, but fell off somewhere in the following two seasons, it is totally worth picking it back up and slogging through some of the slower episodes to get to Season 4. It seems that setting an end-date for the show rejuvenated it creatively, and while I still sometimes get the feeling that they are playing it by ear and haven’t had an overall story arc for the entire series in mind from the beginning, it seems that the huge risk they took with the finale of Season 3 paid off. The show recaptured the magic in Season 4, and as a fan who was drifting away, I was riveted for every episode. Season 5 can’t get here fast enough!
Thanks for reading Add to Queue, Levi’s weekly round-up of US home video release highlights. Sorry, rest of the world; region locks are the industry’s way of saying they still don’t understand the Internet. Cover art courtesy of Amazon. As I was saying, I’m a woman and can’t be taken for granted. Life’s a bitch, now so am I. . Follow me on Twitter. Add me to your PSN or XBL friends list: VsRobot. You can also e-mail me at levivsrobot [at] gmail [dot] com. Thanks for reading, and don’t forget to leave a comment!