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Passengers stand on the wings of the Hudson crash plane

Passengers stand on the wings of the Hudson crash plane

 

 

“Brace for Impact” 

Composed and focused, the pilot instructed the passengers of US Airways Flight 1549 to get ready for their impending plane crash. Within seconds, the plane would crash into the Hudson River, but for once, all passengers would survive.

I’m sure you have all seen the remarkable photo of the survivors standing on the wing of the airplane, a nearly biblical image of men and women appearing to stand on water. (Certainly an image that will remain in my mind’s eye for a long time to come.) The event has been called miraculous, but ever-the-atheist, I dislike using this word, and would prefer to credit the skills and calm reactions of the captain and his crew. Passengers report that they remained quiet, and simply watched their fate unfold. One passenger had sufficient possession of his faculties to remember switching on his phone. Perhaps the GPS signal would help others locate his dead body. 

But they did not die. Each and every one survived. And I have learned something fascinating from their reports. I had always assumed that these situations would raise mass hysteria, and that the frenzy would only end with death. In fact, in an earlier blog post on the most recent Batman movie, The Dark Knight, I criticized the movie’s portrayal of the reaction of a large group of people in the face of impending death. I was convinced that people would panic, scream and run around frantically like headless chickens. Now I know that I was wrong.

 

A map of the path and landing site of the Hudson plane crash, Flight 1549

A map of the path and landing site of the Hudson plane crash, Flight 1549

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LOL for those who claimed that “batman’s voice sounds ridiculous” is not a good argument for disliking a movie, enjoy this CNN front page article, entirely devoted to why Batman’s voice sounds ridiculous in Christopher Nolan’s “The Dark Knight”:

http://www.cnn.com/2008/SHOWBIZ/Movies/08/04/mondaymoviebuzz.darkknight.ap/index.html

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http://www.thehousenextdooronline.com/2008/07/trickster-heaven-two-faced-hell-dark.html

See also:

http://thedarkknightsucks.com/

I can honestly and sincerely say that I am profoundly puzzled by the widespread nearly maniacal defense of this movie. Its flaws are numerous and well exceed the review I posted. Sure it has some moments of excellence, but for the most part I found the movie forgettable, boring, unimaginative, and utterly devoid of original cinematography or writing. Riddled with cliches. The movie owes a hell of a lot to Heath Ledger (and his suicide), because without that performance, nobody would have remembered this flick. 

I assure you I am 100% serious when I question whence all this rabid fandom comes… truly bizarre for something so unremarkable… Tens of thousands, maybe even hundreds of thousands, of impressionable teenagers gobble up the corporation’s viral marketing, throwing around the hackneyed phrase “Why So serious?” on their LiveJournal “I HEART Batman” blogs. Even the craze around ‘Titanic’ was more understandable than this.

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I finally saw the new Batman movie, and I have to say: While pleasantly surprising in unexpected ways, the movie was far more disappointing in other respects.

 

 

 

Ten Reasons Why I Think “The Dark Knight” is overhyped:

 

 

 

1. Sure, Chicago is an excellent choice over New York. Magnificent historic architecture, fabulous lake side location with a somewhat futuristic canal instead of an ordinary river. But how on earth did they manage to make Chicago look so boring and plain?!? Could they not spare more than minimum wage for cinematography? Gotham City was always intended to be a dark city with dramatic features and obviously a Gothic nature. Think Caspar David Friedrich cathedrals. (see pic) And no, this does not have to mean a Gotham that is steeped in dark fantasm. Such a Gotham can be portrayed in a realistic manner with a film noir cinematic style. Think German Expressionist cinema which (for the most part) employed no real special effects whatsoever, but instead relied on skilled directors and cinematographers playing with contrasts between light and dark in Gothic settings and Romanticized nature scenes. Christopher Nolan’s Dark Knight is not ‘realistic’ or ‘modern’, it simply lacks decent cinematography. I find that particularly disappointing in light of the ‘hype’ surrounding Nolan’s style and choice of Chicago.

2. The Geriatric Joker. He’s not much of a joker, is he? And what’s with the lizardine tongue gestures and constant sound of oversalivating? A spit sucking Ledger plays the joker like an elderly man with Parkinson-like movements and too much drooling. Nevertheless, I was pleasantly surprised with Heath Ledger’s appearance overall. Some of his previous movies like A Knight’s Tale and The Brother’s Grimm had given me a less than favorable impression of his acting (and besides: I’ve always found Australian accents painful to the ears, reflecting their heritage as common British criminals). Nevertheless, he created a unique interpretation of the Joker that better reflects the Joker’s madness and love of chaos. A joker is traditionally a funny character, but also a character that speaks the truth that nobody wants to hear. He is an uncanny character whose humor perhaps make us laugh because of the absurd truth that lies at the heart of his jokes. The Joker makes people nervous. As British playwright Howard Barker once wrote: “Laughter conceals Fear”, and Ledger got this ancient truth that underlies the figure of the Joker/Jester. I just wish he’d remembered that this truth must be revealed through comedy for the people to listen.

3. The Bat Cave. Could somebody please explain to me why the Bat Cave looked like a large deserted milk bottling plant? Why does it have to be an enormous empty open space, utterly lacking in imagination and devoid of cool gadgets or style? Is that Nolan’s idea of realism??

4. Batmobile vs Lamborghini. So if we’re going for a realistic look, then why does the bat mobile look like a crappy remodeled plastic spaceship from a 1960s SciFi movie?? Thank god for the Lamborghini that Bruce breaks out towards the end of the movie, that offers ‘some’ redemption after that hokey batmobile.

5. Does Batman have a voice modulator installed in his vocal cords that he can magically turn on with his tongue when he puts on his cape?? Why does Christian Bale suddenly sound like a stalker with a $9.99 mod device from Walmart as soon as he turns into Batman? Couldn’t they just have found an older actor with a more masculine voice to do Batman?

6. “Hey, why do the prisoners get to go on a boat first?” “Well, go ahead and join the felons if you think that’s better” Because of course, it’s better to be burned alive by the Joker than to get on board a boat with a bunch of handcuffed American ‘felons’ who may have done things as terrible as sell an ounce of marijuana *gasp*

7. [I have since retracted this criticism, see comment  for an explanation] And speaking of the felons, and the other boat: Do you seriously think large crowds would have remained so calm in the face of destruction? Yeah right. Fat middle aged housewives trample people to death each year to get into Walmart on Black Friday to buy a DVD and some half price mumus. Do you really think they’d sit back and relax knowing they’re about to die?? And of course a boat full of criminals will gladly obey a bunch of retard cops when they’re facing death (and a crowd of civilians gung-ho for harsh treatment of everyone who commits even the smallest offense).

8. The lack of development in a flimsy triangular relationship that really doesn’t raise much sympathy with its superficial nature and cliche dialogues. And then she dies, story over? Cheap excuse for easy
Batman-motivators. Ohhh the conflict…. (Though at least we got a great shot when the girl says: “I know they’re coming to save ME, but they should save YOU, my lover!!”, only to then see the horror on her face with a look of “Oh shit, they’re NOT coming to save me? WTF!!!” as Batman breaks into the room where her lover is being held prisoner. They could’ve just shown her as a heroic martyr, relieved to discover that her beloved is rescued, but at least Nolan has the guts to show her much more realistic cowardice and horror.

9. The “deep” symbolism of the coin. It has two ‘heads’-sides, you see! He’s in control of his fate. But not really, because the coin becomes charred on one side, clean on the other. Naturally, this foreshadows his two faced nature and internal struggle between good and evil, light and dark. And of course his literal ‘two-face’: The charred dark side, and the bright clean good side. Nolan overstates the symbolism by making the coin central to the latter part of the movie, referring back to his ‘brilliant’ plot device over, and over and over… And we’re continuously reminded of the hackneyed internal human struggle between madness/chaos and civilization/reason also symablized through the half charred coin AND face. I’m sure Christopher Nolan considers himself the heir to Freud’s Civilization and its Discontents. So deep…

10. And finally… boy what great current events commentary on illegal wiretapping. Batman, taking justice into his own hands like a veritable George ‘W’ Bush, creates the ultimate wiretapping scheme, using sonar. Fortunately his right hand points out that such a scheme is immoral, and though he will help him fight the terrorists, I mean the joker, the machine must be destroyed upon completion of this task, or he will resign. Upon Batman’s victory, the machine is destroyed, because while wiretapping is warranted in a time of war, it is immoral and must be abandoned as soon as the war is over. Batman does what is needed, but eventually proves heroic and fair to his people. What a profound and centrist truth, Nolan! (Looking for a job as running mate perhaps? It would clearly suit you better than the job of filmmaker!)

Perhaps the movie would have been better if it had features more scenes with veteran thespian Michael Caine, and the stunning Lamborghini…

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