WALL-E and The Dark Knight

One of the things that Alli and I have done this week is watch WALL-E and The Dark Knight DVDs that I got for Christmas. I reviewed both movies a while back (see: WALL-E, The Dark Knight) and really liked them both, so obviously I wanted to watch them again.

My opinion of these two movies hasn’t changed. I loved both movies for very different reasons.

WALL-E is just another example of the brilliance of Pixar. I don’t know if I’d call this a “kids movie” because the first half-hour is spent without a lick of dialogue, but to me, it was magic. Who else has the ability to create a love story between two robots set against a post-apocalyptic future with an environmental message? Pixar continues to push the boundaries of animation, creating scenery so detailed that you can’t help but be impressed. Everyone should see this movie at least once.

The Dark Knight can be summed up in my original words about the movie:

Heath Freaking Ledger

Nothing else really needs to be said. His performance as The Joker is epic. My second viewing of this movie made me realize that (outside of Christian Bale’s horrible gruff “Batman voice”) this movie deserves the acclaim it’s getting. As long as Christopher Nolan stays at the helm, I have confidence that the future of the franchise will stay on the right track, regardless of whatever godawful casting they might entertain.

The Dark Knight

Alli and I just got back from seeing The Dark Knight with Tyson and Ashley. It’s 4:00 AM.

I’m still processing since it’s early (or late) and all, but my first thought is: Heath Freaking Ledger.

Honestly, I don’t know if the movie itself is better than its predecessor. I may have to watch it once more in order to make a proper judgment. At first glance, though, The Dark Knight should probably just be called Joker! because it truly is the Heath Ledger show.

Christian Bale takes somewhat of a backseat to Ledger and Aaron Eckhart’s Harvey Dent (perfect casting). I love Bale as Batman and I love Nolan’s interpretation of the story, but Ledger’s performance in this movie is so massive that everyone else just kind of fades into the background. This is an impressive feat considering the cinematic heavyweights surrounding him during the movie – Morgan Freeman, Michael Caine, Gary Oldman, Bale and Eckhart.

Ledger is undeniably awesome. In contrast to the original Tim-Burton-directed Batman where you could see shades of Jack Nicholson in his version of the Joker, in The Dark Knight Ledger literally disappears behind the makeup and scars and turns in a performance that really does deserve consideration from the Academy.

If he manages to get the nomination, it will be the first time since 1995 that someone has been posthumously nominated for a Oscar (only one ever to win was Peter Finch for Network in 1976). An even more stunning accomplishment would be for him to bring accolades to the genre of comic book and superhero movies, which – let’s be honest – is here to stay.

Ledger’s death is sad, but I applaud Christopher Nolan and the producers of The Dark Knight for not changing the story or trying to somehow soften the viciousness of The Joker. It’s a true testament to Ledger’s ability as an actor to showcase the full range of his talent – a guy who broke out as Patrick Verona in 10 Things I Hate About You and played Ennis Del Mar in Brokeback Mountain.

The Dark Knight is long, but it’s an amazing accomplishment. I felt like the story itself could have been tightened up in a couple places, but overall, I’d go see it again in the theater. Maybe not at one in the morning, but it’s worth multiple viewings.

If you liked Batman Begins, you’ll like this. A lot.

Now, I shall stop rambling because I have to get up for work in a couple hours.

Author’s Note: I realize upon waking up that this may or may not be coherent. The thing about going to a midnight showing of a movie is that every single person in the theater wants to be there and is very likely to love the movie no matter what. Last night was no exception. People rarely clap after movies anymore. However, at midnight showings (and particularly last night’s), they do.

Heath Ledger is Dead

CNN is reporting that Heath Ledger is dead.

This sucks. First and foremost for his daughter with Michelle Williams, Matilda.

They have not said what the cause of death was yet. I hope for his daughter’s sake it wasn’t suicide or drugs. I imagine that would mess a kid up pretty good. I never saw him as the suicidal/druggie type. He seemed to have a decent head on his shoulders despite the whirlwind romance/marriage/divorce he had with Williams.

He was also a really good actor. More details available in the main news outlets.