Jeri, the kids and I worked hard yesterday on the deck. I was so ridiculously sore today I wanted to just relax so we went to the movies, and saw The Dark Knight, the new Batman movie. I felt the abiding need, despite my usual lack of posting here, to relate why the movie ultimately really pissed me off. That doesn’t, by the way, mean I wouldn’t recommend it, or that there wasn’t a lot of it I enjoyed. Now that I have you thoroughly confused, dear reader, let me explain.
I love movies. But I have found of late there is a problem in the world of moviemaking. And it has to do with editing, and I’m not talking about technique. I’m talking about cutting a movie to tell a story of reasonable length, an art that I fear is lost on the movie world at times.
The Dark Knight has some good performances, and all the buzz about the late Heath Ledger’s Joker is well deserved, he’s that good. Nope, I have no problem with the acting; all the major roles are well acted by truly great actors. There are good, quotable lines, something I like a lot. Effects, good. Cinematography, ditto.
The movie is 150 minutes long, or thereabouts. It should have been about 45 minutes shorter. Instead of being satisfied with a few main characters it piles more and more on, each demanding their fair share of screen time. In so doing, however, it burns them off in an unsatisfactory way. I don’t want to post a spoiler here, but one character in particular, who could have appeared in another Batman movie later as a major character, is instead wasted by the outcome of the film.
To some extent I’m not sure if it’s the writing or the editing, but as I think about it, I think it’s the writing where the failure is. After all, movies cost way too much to overshoot tons of film on scenes that might well not be used.
I also hate false endings. You know, where you think the movie’s point has been made but like Glenn Close in Fatal Attraction, it keeps popping back to life. The Dark Knight has one and it’s annoying.
You know, I think in a way this is why I usually really like almost all Pixar animated movies. They have the story, they tell it, and do it in about 90 minutes or so. I’ve seen long movies that I’ve liked, usually historical movies like Gandhi or The Last Emperor. But 150 minutes of superhero make bad guy go boom? C’mon guys, tighten it up.