Monday, July 23, 2012

Batman- Why my family went Friday

 In the days approaching my day off this past Friday, our family was debating which film we would go see- Pixar's Brave, or the about-to-be-released The Dark Knight Rises. Brave is Pixar, and everything they make is good and my oldest son and I are suckers for animation. But the new Batman film was the conclusion of a three movie story arch. Would it live up to the hype and expectations that grew from the first two films?
 When we got up Friday morning and heard the news of what happened in Aurora, Colorado, there was little debate about where we were going. We decided we would go see Batman. Partly because we wanted to see the movie, but also as our way of showing we were not going to allow sick individuals to confine and constrain us and have us live in fear. I and my family are Christians. We believe in a life after death. For me, there is no fear in dying itself, though I can fear some of the horrible ways that would lead to death. But you decide that fear will not rule you, and you teach your children that by example. So we went to Batman on Friday morning. We enjoyed it. And we knew that what happened in Colorado was such a random thing, there is almost no way to prepare for it or see it coming. We will remember the families and the victims- living and dead, and we will question why this happened, and maybe we will be better prepared for this by having more of our affairs in order. And life goes on. Director Christopher Nolan's statement sums up  things pretty accurately, "Nothing any of us can say could ever adequately express our feelings for the innocent victims of this appalling crime, but our thoughts are with them and their families."

"Where does he get those wonderful toys?!"

"I'm Batman!"
 But about the movie itself- as I said, I hedged a bit on going to see this final chapter, not knowing what "final" would mean and if it would live up to the first two movies or tank horribly. I was also concerned about the length of the movie- two hours and forty-five minutes? I thought the first film, Batman Begins, was simply too long. I'll admit it. I enjoyed The Dark Knight, but I didn't go "cu-coo for Co-Co Puffs" over it like several people I knew who just thought everything about the film was GENIUS! For me, this was the best of the three films. I didn't feel like I had sat through three hours of a movie.
"and then he says, 'blurghblah griff zem ba!' Ha! Ha! Ha!"
 While Bane was not the most charismatic or engaging villain in the three movies, he is certainly intimidating and brutal. I hated that his "mask" altered his voice so much- to me it sometimes sounded like a Sean Connery impersonation done into an empty ravioli can. When he spoke through the mask and through the microphone into a stadium loudspeaker system, I was reminded of the Idea Men in the Tick cartoons and was waiting for people in the stands to go "What? We can't understand you! E-nun-ci-ate!"
Rookie cop John Blake in action!
This is what Cat Woman should be in a movie (this or Lee Meriwether's version)!
 Christian Bale is solid again as Bruce Wayne/ Batman, going from a "retired" and physically worn-out person and building back up into a hardened crime fighter, complete with new gadgets. The rest of the cast is equally solid with franchise staples Morgan Freeman, Michael Caine and Gary Oldman and with new faces like Joseph Gordon-Levitt (as John Blake). The biggest surprise for me was Ann Hathaway as Selina Kyle. I'm only familiar with hathaway in films like Princess Diaries, Ella Enchanted, The Devil Wears Prada where she is the nice girl, doe-eyed and good-hearted through-and-through. Maybe she has played some grittier roles- I don't know. But she was Catwoman! The way she talked, the subtle sway of her walk and sway of her hands, the outfit, and the acrobatic moves (whether done by her or not, I don't know) left me impressed. This girl can kick butt and look like she enjoys it!
 The sets are mainly in concrete and dirt and rubble. It is dark, but not in a way that seeing the action and who is on the screen is difficult (I hate movies like that!) so kudos to Christopher Nolan and his cinematographers for doing such a fine job of shooting this film! It's not a perfect film, but the things that aren't perfect or great don't take away from the enjoyment of this movie. If you are a movie goer, see this film. Do it because you like well-made movies. Do it to let others know not to live their lives in fear.

Tuesday, July 3, 2012

Cartooning Club- Thursday, July 12

Our next Cartooning Club will meet Thursday, July 12 at 5:30. It's a week earlier than usual because we have a special program at the library on July 19- Action Animals. That program will feature animals trained for TV and movie work. Sounds cool!
 We have already covered Batman and Spider-man in anticipation of their upcoming films, so this month we will work on creating a world for our characters to move around in. Characters are great, but they need a place to do great or funny things in- not just a white box. And it has to be the right kind of place, too. Flash Gordon just wouldn't be the same next to a rock wall and a red dog house. To close out, we'll have some animation, just not sure from whom or when just yet!
 The Cartooning Club is for everyone aged 8 to 98 who wants to draw, or write comics or learn about the techniques used by comic artists and animators. You'll learn a little history, some practicle application, and you can share your work with others!