SPOILER ALERT !!
Ahoy, squirts! Quint here… Now, of the three main editors of the Movie News of AICN, only one hasn’t seen this movie yet… Yeah, me. So, who’s the one dealing with all these spoiler-ific reviews? Yeah, me… At least I was having fun running around Chicago’s dastardly and evil O’Hare airport, missing connections and having good times while the Austin screening of BATMAN BEGINS was rolling… Anyway, this is all to say that I haven’t seen the movie. I didn’t read the script. I want there to be some surprises in the movie for me, so I haven’t read any of the below reviews. I’m sure they’re great, but I’m gonna be selfish on this one. If BB’s as good as everyone and their mother is saying it is, I want to be as fresh as possible come next week. So, be warned. There could be tons of spoilers below.
We have a couple regulars to start off. Our main man Vern and Ghostboy. Vern is first up to bat! ZING! He also has some personal information to share with his mass of fans! Enjoy!
I got two thrilling stories for you today boys. First up is my review of this new Batman picture. Second is an unrelated, earth shattering movie scoop that you have not seen on access hollywood, E.T. – The Entertainment Tonight, the Michael Jackson trial re-enactments, or any of those shows. Possibly it was in some newspaper column in a city called Rochester, but I have not confirmed that yet. Anyway enough preamble let’s get down.
STORY #1 starring Batman
You know how RAMBO 2 tried to help our nation get over Vietnam? Well this one is trying to help us get over Joel Schumacher. The idea of BATMAN BEGINS is to pretend none of that other shit ever happened and start over. And they do a good job taking a 98.9% different approach.
One thing they figured out, if you want a good comic strip type movie you gotta hire a great maniac to play the super hero. Take for example Eric Bana, who gave one of the best performances of whichever decade that was in CHOPPER. Absolutely brilliant as a lovable psychotic murderer who cuts his own ears off, so they cast him as (The [Incredible]) Hulk. Same thing with Christian Bale here, many of us are most familiar with him as a sadistic yuppie with perfect abs running around naked with a chain saw, biting women on the ass, etc. So he’s perfect for Batman.
This one’s pretty different from AMERICAN PSYCHO. His character (name’s Bruce Wayne I believe) is another rich guy but he wants to make the world a better place and that kind of crap. Not shoot women with nail guns. But at first we don’t know that, we first meet him as an american con in a hellish Chinese prison. He’s a bad motherfucker we know because 1. he’s probaly gonna turn out to be Batman I bet and 2. he purposely goes to Chinese prison to practice on criminals. Good stuff. (spoiler note: unfortunately we do not get to see some sort of badass escape from Chinese prison, a forgivable offense but also the first sign that this is not a perfect movie sent down from the Heavens like the internet would have you believe. Let’s have realistic hopes here, fellas.)
This is a smart idea to start out weird like this because everybody, even me, knows that Bruce Wayne’s parents were killed by a mugger or the Joker or Green Goblin or somebody like that, and that’s why he decided to dress up as a bat and get good at climbing ropes. So it’s nice to start out with something unusual before rehashing that material again. This does tell that old yarn again but what they do is they make it more in depth, more grounded in a halfway real world (not entirely real, let’s not exaggerate). They make you really like Bruce’s dad and get sad when he (spoiler) gets killed. And they show how and why Bruce Wayne builds the whole Batman operation from the ground up: how he learned to fight, how he got a cool cave, where his equipment comes from, how he avoids arousing suspicion when ordering strange items from overseas, who helps him cover his tracks, even why he has those little spikes on his gloves. And why he decides hey, you know what would be cool, I should go with a bat motif.
Like in the other movies, Batman wears an asinine armored scuba outfit with point ears, but they use a couple good tricks to make it forgivable. Number one, they don’t show it as often. There’s one part where he’s in silhouette and he looks really cool. It’s kind of like remember that movie ALI, I thought Will Smith really looked alot like Mohammed Ali when you either squinted enough or when they showed him from the back. This is the same way, he almost looks cool when they’re not showing him.
Number two, they show him building the suit, so you can understand why it looks so stupid. Just the body part alone cost $300,000 dollars. What’s he gonna do, start over because it doesn’t make him look cool? Bruce Wayne isn’t that petty. If they’re real friends they’ll judge him on who he is, not on his clothes. And think about this Batman, you look EXTREMELY fucking cool compared to Daredevil. (That little pep talk works on all super hero movies except Daredevil.)
And the third trick about the costume is, alot of the movie isn’t about wearing the costume, it’s about leading up to the costume. Travelling around the world training, fighting crime without a costume, pretending to be a drunk playboy. They make Bruce Wayne into more of a character, more of a methodical guy instead of just the weirdo who stares out the window and/or makes speeches about duality.
Not that there aren’t speeches. I liked how much the movie focused on story and character instead of the usual “comic book movie” stuff, but there’s a section there where it gets a little bogged down by too much dialogue of characters exchanging their views about justice. I wanted to say, “Hey, David S. Goyer who wrote this script, you know one of the reasons your character Blade is so cool? Because he knows when to shut the fuck up, which is most of the time.” David S. Goyer wasn’t there though and anyway before I got a chance to say it the movie really kicked in.
One thing I liked is how much they try to make it seem real. They shoot it more like a crime drama, not some gothic fairy tale. And most of the gadgets seem like semi-plausible experimental military type technology. Even the grappling hooks he uses they make seem sort of real, because they sound like equipment you kids use for your rock climbing or Road Rules. Also Gotham seems like a real city some of the time. Later on though, especially when the action gets big and out of control, they end up with some of the cheesy soundstage feel. Also the crime ridden areas of Gotham remind you of those ’80s New-York-is-hell movies like THE WARRIORS or CHAINS or a couple of the Michael Jackson videos. At least they don’t have dudes with mowhawks pulling switchblades on people.
The cast is great, especially Bale (SHAFT), Liam Neeson (DARKMAN) and Michael Caine (ON DEADLY GROUND). Katie Holmes is pretty good except she can’t pull off a couple chunks of exposition they gave her and they made her lecture Bruce Wayne enough that you wonder why he bothers with her. Nothing too bad though. As for the villains, the emphasis is much more on Batman getting things in place than on villains, but they’re good ones without much of a trace of that histrionic post-Jack-Nicholson-as-the-Joker comic book movie villainy we’ve seen from Tommy Lee Jones in that one movie, Arnold Schwarzenegger in that other movie, Colin Farrel in a different movie where his super power is flicking deadly peanuts and paper clips at people, or the other guys like that in the other movies.
A warning for action movie fans though: the action is this movie’s one major weakness. Its KRYPTONITE if you will. (little comic book reference for you guys, I bet some of you hardcores will get that one. [if not it’s from superman I believe, don’t quote me on that it might be spiderman but I think superman though]). In a movie that pretty much starts out with a dude going up to Shaolin Temple and asking to be trained, you want to see some good fights. To be fair, I just watched 8 DIAGRAM POLE FIGHTER so my standards are temporarily high. But most of the action here is shot in a very Bruckheimery/GLADIATOR style where the camera is too close and shaky for anybody to really have any idea what is going on, except that it involves Batman in some way I believe, and possibly that guy who he is fighting. This is frustrating because Goyer definitely sets up what could’ve been some great fights, including more than one where our guy has to take on multiple ninjas with swords.
Hint to Christopher Nolan: in a ninja fight, there should be some shots that show their arms and legs. So you can see what they are doing. In my opinion. I’ll send you some ninja movies if you don’t understand what I’m talking about. Like I always say, think Bruce Lee in ENTER THE DRAGON, not John Saxon.
Honestly though, unlike hugely popular best picture winner that I didn’t like GLADIATOR, the badly shot action scenes didn’t ruin the movie for me. Because I really liked the story and characters, and never was waiting for another fight. I was thinking you know, I’m really enjoying this movie, I’m surprised how seriously it’s treating the story, how it expects you to care about character drama instead of guys in colorful costumes climbing around on giant statues and crap like that. Which means of course that most people will hate it and say it’s boring, like (The [Incredible]) Hulk. That’s what I was guessing but when the movie ended there was a huge, enthusiastic applause and people walking out with big smiles like they’d been smoking weed all day, which they hadn’t, because they were waiting in line for this screening. I’m not a psychic as far as I know, I have never touched an object associated with a crime and gotten visions to help solve the mystery. But my impression was that this was an honest to Christ applause, they really were excited about this movie. As far as I saw Batman was not in the audience so they weren’t just being polite. So hopefully alot of you will like it.
If not, there’s always life.
STORY #2 starring me
Okay, so BATMAN BEGINS was story #1 today, story #2 has no connection or similarity to story #1 at all except that it also concerns a Great American Icon. In this case, me. I don’t want to sound like I’m full of hot air, I know most of you won’t give a rat’s tail end about this, but for anybody that does it’s time to go public with the information that some young Hollywood hipster from Canada is trying to make a movie out of my web sight, life’s journey, etc. The script writer is named Skander Halim, and when he first approached me for this “option” business a couple years ago he told me he was a story editor for a TV show but “don’t watch it, it’s about a farting alien.” I felt sorry for the kid so I played along. I got ten bucks and a pack of Newports so it was a pretty good deal. Also his people sent me a script of his called PRETTY PERSUASION. Pretty good script I thought although yes, Skander, I saw HEATHERS too. Let’s move on with our lives now.
I’m still sure a movie about me is only a little more likely to happen than CATWOMAN RELOADED. But the twist I never saw coming is that his PRETTY PERVERSION script was turned into an actual movie, and a genuinely good one in my opinion. I saw it at the Seattle International type Film Festival last week. I’m not gonna review it obviously because I have a commitment to excellence so I watch out for the ol’ conflicts of interest there. But this sleazy and perverted, er I mean bold and uncompromising black comedy actually turned out great. It has a few elements I seen in WILD THINGS and yes, HEATHERS but it puts them together in a really smart, original and confident way. I laughed alot and only squirmed when I was supposed to. Like the part where James Woods gets caught jerkin off on the couch. Seeing triumphant scenes like this on the screen I realized it was a whole lot smarter than I caught on when I read the thing. I’m slow I guess.
My solemn vow not to review the movie almost seemed unneccessary because watching it I knew I genuinely liked it, not in a “that’s pretty good for some guy who actually reads my crappy web sight” kind of way. In my opinion. So if you can confirm that it is good from some objective third party or parties, please fly to New York or LA on August 12th to enjoy it in its limited release before it spreads like wildfire and becomes this generation’s DIE HARD. Or at least SPEED. Sorry there is no nudity but there is some cunnilingus so Harry will like it.
The movie Mr. Halim wrote about me is of course called VERN TELL’S IT LIKE IT IS and it is sort of a phoney baloney hollywood version of how I came to be and the great impact I had on the world through reviewing films on my TV show. (Don’t ask me, I didn’t write it.) He told me it was like a hard-R version of Pee Wee’s Baadasssss Song or whatever that first Pee Wee Herman picture was called. To be frankly honest it is not the sort of gritty and philosophical masterpiece that I would have written if I for some reason wanted to make a movie about myself. But I didn’t and his script made me laugh so I hope they will make it and share my laughter with the world. Also because I would get paid.
According to some rag called the Hollywood Reporter, Halim is about to direct a ghost movie he wrote. But if he is an honorable man of his word like you or I, he’s also working hard trying to get the story of yours truly into the right hands. Personally I think it’s his life long dream project, like GANGS OF NEW YORK, only with more prison, uh, scuffles. (I should mention by the way there are many unpleasant incidents in this script that are 100% fabrications. I don’t do shit like that anymore don’t believe the hype people.) It’s alot of lewd humor but also satire about internet film critics, high vs. low culture, and who knows what else, I only read it once. But I remember there was alot of stuff in there for people who really love the films of Cinema. Remember when you first started posting about how much such and such movie sucked, you did it because you mostly LOVED movies. That’s who this movie is for in my opinion, the old you. Also for ladies.
My role in the movie is to write lots of harsh notes to Halim which he will probaly ignore. I am trying to get him to change the title to BOILED HARD which promises all the action of HARD BOILED but with all the explosions of DIE HARD. Even if he doesn’t listen to me though I got some of me in there because the script faithfully adapts some stories from my columns and quotes some of my reviews. The other horse shit in there hopefully I’ll clear up in the novelization.
I’m hoping this will be the first movie in Hollywood history adapted from a geocities web sight. Then maybe those fucks’ll give me some more data transfer without making me pay $4.95 a month or whatever. And before you say anything, yes, Hulk Hogan should play Vern. Actually Roddy Piper would be better in my opinion. I sent this guy a list that started with Nick Nolte and ended with DMX. I’m just praying I don’t get Leslie Nielsen.
Anyway sorry for the self indulgence, but now it is off my chest and I am a free man. I don’t have enough money to fight crime though so don’t give me any shit about what I do with my life. I’m talking to you, Katie Holmes.
Originally posted at Ain’t-It-Cool-News: http://www.aintitcool.com/node/20410