March 19, 2008

I Believe In Chris Nolan

Summer 2008 will be big for movie goers, with the announced releases of big-ticket blockbusters like The Incredible Hulk, Wall-E, The Happening, Indiana Jones 4 (my personal fave), and many others. Amidst those summer releases is Chris Nolan's follow up to his refreshing take on the Batman franchise, Batman Begins.

This year's installment, THE DARK KNIGHT (yeah, dog), promises to be darker, sleeker, and badder than its predecessor, thanks in part to the late Heath Ledger's ominous performance as the Joker--which, based on what I've seen thus far (photos, trailers, & the IMAX short film that screened before I Am Legend), could and should be considered the truest on-screen Joker portrayal ever, rivaling even the versions we've seen in the Batman comics. No offense, Jack Nicholson, but I think Ledger has you beat as far as creepiness goes.

Nolan has done for Batman what many other studios seem to be attempting for their failed franchises. For example, the HULK franchise is getting a facelift, tummy-tuck, and lobotomy with this summer's release of The Incredible Hulk (Edward Norton, who I think is one of Hollywood's best, plays the big green guy). The X-MEN series, which ended on a somewhat flat note with the lackluster X3, looks to breath new life and audience-interest into the franchise with the upcoming WOLVERINE (an X-MEN prequel of sorts). And let's not forget goldenboy JJ Abrams' no-small-feat-of-a-revival prequel to every Star Trek movie (or TV episode, for that matter) ever made, with his hip incarnation of STAR TREK, coming out the end of this year. Lots of big kids calling "do-over" this year, and I'm confident the results will be worthy of some good theater-time this summer, popcorn in hand, of course.

Regardless of this total disregard for original story (heh heh...like there are any truly original stories any more, right?), I am super excited about the Batman series and what it has done for the Dark Knight's character. I am also stoked about the marketing tricks Nolan and his team have pulled out of their hats this time around. Talk about smart advertising: It all started with a phantom website that seemed to pop up out of nowhere, the original www.ibelieveinharveydent.com, which consisted simply of a campaign poster for Gotham D.A. candidate Harvey Dent (Aaron Eckhart). Then there was another site, www.ibelieveinharveydenttoo.com, with an image of that same poster, only this one has been vandalized...a red smile and black eyes spray-painted on it (obviously the Joker isn't a big fan of Mr. Dent).

Then the sites vanished. Then the teaser trailer, which had a few soundbites over an image of the Batman logo being blasted by white lasers or something. Then another website for Joker followers, encouraging people to paint their faces like the Joker and take their pics next to some landmark in their city. Lots of people got involved, even out here in Utah.

Then came the big release of the current trailer, followed by an announcement that there would be a special, IMAX-only showing of the first minutes of The Dark Knight, which would play before the IMAX showing of I Am Legend. I actually went to I Am Legend just so I could see this short film, which featured none other than the Joker himself doing Jokerly deeds in a Gotham City bank. So cool. And so smart! I have been aching to see the rest of the movie ever since, and come opening night, I will be in line with ticket in hand.

Most recently is the reemergence of www.ibelieveinharveydent.com, only now it is a full-fledged campaign website for Mr. Dent, where fans can sign up for newsletters, join campaign rallies, visit with the Dentmobile, etc. If you haven't visited it yet, take a minute and drop on by. Check out the downloads section, where you can download banners for sign waving. Or go to the On The Road page and see if the Dentmobile will be in your neighborhood. If you're a fan of Nolan's vision, then you'll love this site. It's pretty convincing! I believe in what the Batman Begins crew are doing to this franchise. I believe it will be one of my year's favorite movies. I believe that Heath Ledger has made movie history as the Joker.

And I believe in Chris Nolan.

1 comment:

jase said...

Im pumped out of my own brains about this film. And I aint going to laie to watch it (my Ipod has a bigger better screen)