Thursday, June 23, 2005

Batman Begins

It's the best Batman movie since Batman Returns, possibly since Batman (the Tim Burton one, not the Adam West one). It does have some flaws. Some of these were probably corporate-dictated. It is interesting to compare Christopher Nolan's version with Tim Burton's.

First, the continuity is different but this is more or less the same Batman as the Tim Burton. The basic elements are the same including the batsuit. This is not surprising since it is the same producers.

There are three big differences. One is the look. Burton gave Gotham City a very distinct, timeless architecture. This extended down to the cars. This gives the movie a timeless look. It still holds up pretty well today. Compare this with any of the Superman movies. They age real fast. Parts of New York City were duplicated as Metropolis and the cars were all current models.

BB (Batman Begins) is somewhere inbetween. Gotham City looks like any other modern city. Sixteen years from now it might look dated. I am sure that this was forced on the director. They wanted to get as far away as possible from the black-light Gotham in Batman and Robin.

The second difference - the focus of the BB was on Bruce/Batman. There was at most fifteen minutes of the movie that did not feature Bruce/Batman. Very little time was spent on the Scarecrow and less on Ras al Ghul. Burton left us wanting more Batman. Nolan gives us our fill.

The third difference - plot holes. I cannot think of any in Burton's Batman. They might be there but I can't think of them. BB has lots. Here are a few (warning - spoilers):

Ninjas are from Japan. What are they doing on mainland Asia? And why are they now sort of a force for good?

How does a fairly small box generate enough microwaves to blow underground water mains? Through a train car, even! I'm not sure that this is possible with an unlimited power source. If it is, you would think that it would vaporize anyone standing near it.

How does a group of Ninjas cause a depression? In a global economy, a local depression would be hard to manage. In the movie they kept saying that the depression was what was making things so bad. Gotham needed to be destroyed because is was corrupt. It was corrupt because of the depression. The depression was forced on it to destroy it. There were also some references to Gotham cleaning itself up somewhat after Bruce's parents were killed. This implies that a depression is a moral failing, not an economic problem. There's a big piece missing here.

Any cave with that many bats is going to be knee deep in guano (bat droppings).

The dry well led into a dry cave with a waterfall at one end. How did this well ever work? Why not pipe water from the waterfall?

Bruce got all of this training in using swords. You would think that he would carry one.

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