Hero Express: Dark Knight Station – My Own Reaction to the ‘Rises’ 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 16th, 2011.

This edition of Dark Knight Station is going to be a little different than the others. Last night I went to the midnight show of Mission: Impossible – Ghost Protocol. Like most of the audience in the theatre, I was really there for the 6-minute prologue of The Dark Knight Rises. I’ll drop some info on the latest news below, but first I want to talk about the 6 minutes of Rises I got to experience. I’ll try to spoil as little as possible about what actually happens in the clip. I’m going to get right into it, here is my spoiler-free reaction to my first glimpse of The Dark Knight Rises.

Like the bank heist that introduced us to The Joker in the preview for The Dark Knight, the prologue is a high-tension scene that introduces us to the main villain, Bane. We’re dropped in almost mid-conversation and immediately start asking questions. If you followed the movie’s viral marking campaign, you’ll have a little more to go on, but suffice it to say that things escalate very quickly before taking an unexpected turn. Then it all goes haywire. The focus of the clip is to give us a sense of Bane’s capabilities and methods – again, it’s very much like The Dark Knight‘s prologue in that sense – but while The Dark Knight showed us The Joker was calculating in his ruthlessness, Bane makes it very clear that he has no love for subtlety or theatrics.

“Oh shit…”

That’s not to say that there’s no room for mind-bending action; the climax of the  preview is a sequence that is unlike anything you’ve ever seen before. It’s guttural and physical, and the IMAX camera makes it look gorgeous. Think of the sequence in The Dark Knight when Batman flipped the semi, then go much bigger.

This leads to the next point, which is the IMAX footage. Nolan is leading the pack in his push to make IMAX more prevalent in movies, and he makes a great case for it here. Peter Sciretta was spot-on in his reaction when he said “…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.” I have to agree. The Dark Knight was incomparable in IMAX, and undoubtedly Rises will be too.

Now, there are plenty of people complaining about Bane’s voice being hard to understand and I have to say the complaints are valid. Hardy’s accent has a strange (and wonderfully upsetting) pitch, and coupled with the distortion from the face-mask and the fact that you can’t see his mouth move, it’s hard to decipher at the best of times. When you add to that the frenzied action, sound effects and building music, some of his dialogue is lost entirely. However it would be ridiculous to think that Chris Nolan overlooked that one of the movie’s most important characters is impossible to understand.

Remember there is probably more work being done on the sound mixing, not to mention that if you can get your hands on the transcript you’ll notice none of Bane’s inaudible dialogue was particularly important. The words you need to hear are clear enough, and the muffled parts only add to the creepiness of the character. Try to keep in mind that this is a deliberate choice that Hardy and Nolan made, and think back to your reaction to Heath Ledger’s voice as The Joker the first time you heard it. Didn’t sound right to you at all, did it? And now that voice is cemented in the character, just as much as Mark Hamill’s.

After the Bane scene, there are a few quick flashes of other moments from the movie. They all offer a tantalizing peek at what is to come, but there are a couple worries I have that I do want to mention, although I know they’re totally subjective and unwarranted at this point:

  • Catwoman still looks a little out of place
  • The Bat Wing looks like a space ship
  • Batman barely looks like he’s in the movie

Don’t get me wrong, I’m not criticizing anything. I’m just very anxious. The prologue is thrilling and every bit as engaging as the one they showed for The Dark Knight. Christopher Nolan is one of the only current filmmakers who consistently makes me feel giddy and childlike when I see his work on screen, and that feeling was all over this piece. You have to go to Ghost Protocol in IMAX and see the prologue. You don’t have any excuse – M:I4 is fantastic, too. Just to reinforce the point, here’s the teaser trailer that we all probably already know by heart:

Alright back to the old format:

The Newest Poster is Spectacular (EW)

The latest poster for Rises is out and it is a beast. It’s very evocative of that iconic poster of The Joker in the street from TDK, which makes me wonder if this one is also more directly tied to a scene from the movie, rather than simply a wonderful use of imagery:

Talia al Ghul Will Appear… As a Child!(CinemaBlend)

Everyone’s pretty much decided that Marion Cotillard will be playing a version of Talia al Ghul in The Dark Knight Rises despite having no official indication at all that that’s the case. Cotillard is currently cast in the role of ‘Miranda Tate’, a character we know next to nothing about, but speculators are wondering what other role she could play in the already loaded cast.

A British newspaper recently ran a story on a local 8-year old girl who was offered the role of a young ‘Talia al Ghul’, but turned it turned it down because the part would require she shave her head. Cinema Blend is now assuming the role probably has something to do with the announcement of Josh Pence playing Ra’s in a flashback. The logic is sound, and if they are looking for a young Talia to feature in such a scene, it’s only safe to assume that the character will re-appear as an older woman later in the film.

(Editors note: I just had to put this picture of Marion up again)

Hans Zimmer Wants More From Your Voice (CinemaBlend)

The seasoned composer of the Dark Knight trilogy and some of your favorite movie scores has been offering fans the opportunity to include their voice in The Dark Knight Rises. Specifically, as part of a chant that comprises an element of Bane’s musical theme.

The offer’s been ongoing for a while now, but in a recent interview with MTV, Zimmer revealed an amusing issue with the fan submissions:

My only problem is that they’re so well-behaved on the chanting right now. If anybody goes onto UJAM right now, I need a little bit more. If you want to be heard, get a little louder, get a little more aggressive.

Christopher Nolan, Hans Zimmer

He also talked about the intrigue of bringing the fans closer to the movie:

Right now we’re all focusing on the chant because that’s all you guys are hearing. It’s a very small part of the score, but I think there is something wonderful about finding a way of having the people who really care for this movie be participants in this movie.”

Nolan on the 8-Year Gap

I could give you a nice and flowery segue into the surprising news that The Dark Knight Rises begins 8 years after the events of The Dark Knight, or I could just get straight to the really great stuff Christopher Nolan said about it in an interview with Hero Complex:

“It will make a lot more sense to people when they see the film. But it’s not a great mystery — it’s the jumping-off point for the film — but it’s hard for me to articulate it. I think the mood at the beginning of the film will make a lot of sense. If I had to express it thematically, I think what we’re saying is that for Batman and Commissioner Gordon, there’s a big sacrifice, a big compromise, at the end of the ‘The Dark Knight’ and for that to mean something, that sacrifice has to work and Gotham has to get better in a sense. They have to achieve something for the ending of that film — and the feeling at the end of that film — to have validity. Their sacrifice has to have meaning and it takes time to establish that and to show that, and that’s the primary reason we did that.

It’s a time period that is not so far ahead that we would have to do crazy makeup or anything — which I think would be distracting — but it gave them something to get their teeth into, particularly Christian in terms of [portraying] this guy who has been frozen in this moment in time with nowhere to go. He really has done an incredible job figuring out how to characterize that and express that.”

As you may already know, the most fascinating subject for me is the character of Bane, and Nolan managed to find even more interesting things to say about him:

“With Bane, the physicality is the thing,” Nolan said. “With a good villain you need an archetype, you know, you need the extreme of some type of villainy. The Joker is obviously a particular archetype of diabolical, chaotic anarchy and has a devilish sense of humor. Bane, to me, is something we haven’t dealt with in the films. We wanted to do something very different in this film. He’s a primarily physical villain, he’s a classic movie monster in a way — but with a terrific brain. I think he’s a fascinating character.  I think people are going to get a kick out of what we’ve done with him.”

The interview is quite long and there are so many great quotes from Mr. Nolan. As usual, I highly recommend reading the full interview.

That’s it for this week, remember to go see the prologue as soon as you can!

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