Hero Express: Dark Knight Station – Here Comes the Prologue

Welcome to Dark Knight Station, the Hero Express‘s main stop for all the news on The Dark Knight Rises. We’ll keep you up to date on all the biggest bat-news coming straight from Gotham City.

Mind the gap and avoid the shadows; This stop is the Dark Knight Station for December 11th, 2011.

The Viral Marketing Campaign Revealed – (Splash page)

You probably remember that The Dark Knight really took advantage of the internet as a marketing tool, bringing fans closer to the movie and using their involvement to blend the movie’s world with reality in really creative ways. For fans it was a really surreal thing to be a part of; I remember being handed a Gotham City newspaper in downtown Toronto one day and reading it on the subway ride home. It made me giddy. So I kind of missed it when The Dark Knight Rises seemed to be going with a traditional, if not leak-filled, ad campaign.

But things have been moving along in the past few days, beginning last week with Wired‘s ‘leaked’ image of a CIA bulletin regarding a missing Russian physicist, and then this accompanying transcript between some unidentified militia and an unknown contact:

Following that, a third piece of the bulletin was released via mysterious Twitter account ‘@thefirerises‘:

The latest part of the missive gave fans mention of ‘Operation Early Bird’, sending them to discover the website of the same name. The page listed a series of numbers and a countdown clock, but they left it to the public to figure out what it meant. It didn’t take them long to do just that. When the clock reached zero, a map of North America and Europe popped up and internet users quickly discovered they were able to pinpoint locations for early screenings of the DKR prologue.

All in all, the campaign was much more subdued than the last movie’s massive undertaking, but it did manage to give us…

Reactions to the 6-Minute Prologue; Without Spoilers! – (Slash Film)

A few movie insiders were treated to the advanced screenings of the Dark Knight Rises preview, and while that sounds like a ridiculous thing to do for a 6-minute movie clip, everyone seems to be very satisfied with what they saw. Slashfilm wrote:

“Like The Dark Knight prologue which screened before I Am Legend, this is the opening sequence from the movie — six minutes with an added minute-or-so teaser-style flash of imagery from the film. And just as The Dark Knight’s prologue was not what you expected — a bank heist thriller, this also takes you to a place you never expected the story to begin. And this opening gives Tom Hardy’s Bane a grand entrance — yes, just like the Joker got in the last film.

The tension-filled sequence is a spectacle on a grand scale, the grandest — in full screen 70mm IMAX. You will see a hiest like you’ve never seen it before — but what else do you expect from the director of Inception? There is a moments in this piece which feature Hardy in an unbelievable and breathtaking situation, which might be on par with Tom Cruise’s 1-mile high spotlight moment in Dubai. But the star of the sequence is not Hardy, or Nolan, but the IMAX format. It is clear after seeing this sequence that The Dark Knight Rises is a must see in 70mm IMAX. I can’t even imagine watching the film in digital or 35mm, missing out on much of the epic scope.

Most of the footage in the ending teaser reel are shots we’ve seen from the paparazzi shots, and nothing too shocking or notable. The big difference is that they were shot and projected in 70mm, and I can’t stress how awesome they looked. It is worth noting that Nolan included a bunch of close-up shots, something that isn’t typically shot with IMAX cameras as they are usually too loud for dialogue sequences. If anything, this is a hunt -[sic] that more of the film will be presented in full IMAX than we might be expecting[…]

The prologue will play in select theatres before Mission: Impossible – Ghost Protocol. Superhero Hype also wrote about their reactions to the prologue, and gave a similar account. It sounds like the use of IMAX tech is going to be just as breathtaking as it was in The Dark Knight. Speaking of which…

‘DKR’ has 50-Minutes of IMAX Footage – (Slash Film)

 Slash Film’s Peter Sciretta spoke briefly to Christopher Nolan at the Hollywood premiere of the Dark Knight Rises preview, where he asked the director just how much IMAX will be in the finished film. Nolan estimated the tally to be at around fifty freaking minutes. Sciretta writes:

“Fifty-or-so minutes is roughly double the amount of IMAX footage seen in The Dark Knight. I can’t stress how amazing the IMAX footage looked in the prologue. If you saw The Dark Knight in huge screen IMAX, then you might remember the feeling. I thought I remembered, but I didn’t. It could be that the lackluster films which have since featured IMAX-shot footage (Transformers 2)  may have slightly tainted my memories. Seeing Batman again, on the huge screen, in the crystal clear resolution, was like seeing 3D for the first time.

The director told me that he shot as much as the movie as he could with the IMAX cameras regardless of the issues it presents. Filmmakers have been wary to use IMAX cameras during close-up sequences due to the extremely loud noise caused by camera. Any dialogue-featured footage shot with an IMAX camera surely needs ADR (the actors need to rerecord the dialogue to tape again in post production). It is clear from the prologue footage that this issue did not scare Nolan. And it could just be me, but I got the impression that Nolan was being conservative with his estimate — I wouldn’t be surprised if the final count is higher.”

The Dark Knight in IMAX was one of my most memorable theater experiences of my life, and none of the dozens of viewings that followed in other theaters or on Blu Ray came close to that that first showing on the giant screen.

Nolan and Emma Thomas on The Film – (IGN)

Christopher Nolan and producer Emma Thomas spoke to IGN about The Dark Knight Rises in another really interesting interview about creating the final story in the Dark Knight trilogy. The two-page interview is definitely worth a full read and you should without question read the full article, but here’s a taste of what each side of the director-producer team had to say:

Thomas on casting Tom Hardy as Bane:

“We already knew that Bane was the villain when we were shooting Inception. And actually as we were shooting, we did talk about how, wow, Tom would be perfect for Bane. We talked about that pretty early on. The issue that we had was that Tom was going to be doing another movie. He was committed to be in Fury Road, and we knew he wasn’t available. So every conversation that we had about how Tom was perfect to be Bane was sort of tinged with regret because we knew he couldn’t be. So as soon as we found out that that movie had pushed we approached him.”

And Nolan’s take on handling Bane’s backstory:

Well, the liberating thing about dealing with a lesser known villain is you feel more creative freedom to embrace the elements of that character you feel can serve your story and ignore those that won’t. But at the same time, we chose Bane because he has some very unique elements to who he is. As far as the emphasis to it in the film, I’m actually editing some right now, so you never quite know until it’s done. But we certainly intend to do justice to it, to the character I’ve written and to the comics. And I think the significance of Bane, in our eyes, is his strength as an antagonist to Batman. Everything must serve that, including the nature of his past and how that will play into the story.”

Man. I could listen to Christopher Nolan talk Batman for hours and hours.

Gary Oldman on the Future of Batman Movies – (Splash Page)

And once again, we end this edition of Dark Knight Station with some words from the Commish. In a recent interview with Crave Online, Gary Oldman fairly candidly talked about the possibility of carrying on the current film franchise. He was pretty clear, though, that if there are more to come, he and likely the rest of the team are probably not coming back.

For us I think it’s the end. Whether they will make more, my guess is probably […] I mean, they don’t have ‘Potter’ anymore. So, there could be a ‘Batman 4’ and ‘5.’ It may be Chris overseeing it in a producorial position, but for us and for Chris I think that’s it. It’s a great way to go out though. It’s a great story. Epic, epic thing it is.

Following that, in another interview with Movie Fone, Oldman dished on where Commissioner Gordon is at the start of The Dark Knight Rises. He also spills the beans on a ‘Harvey Dent act’.

“We find him — obviously I can’t give too much away because I’m sworn to secrecy — but when we meet him, things are calmer in Gotham. It’s reminiscent of the Gordon that we met in the first one. There’s a world-weariness to him, and even though things on the surface are now calmer, he’s cleaned up Gotham with the Harvey Dent Act, it’s seething underneath.”

And that’s all for this week. Check back with us again for more Dark Knight Station!

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