July 31st, 2008

Dark Knight for Writers - no spoilers, just analysis :)

Increasingly, as I learn to tell stories, mainstream entertainment fails to satisfy me. You probably feel this too, because anyone intelligent enough to wipe their own ass should be repulsed by the endless swamp of McMovies created by the demented mad scientists at Hollywood who get paid to ruin stories for a living.

But if you're a writer, it's worse, because you can see the skeleton on which they hung their lies, see the throbbing organs in the wrong locations, some missing, some replaced with water balloons or plot coupons or live cats. I don't want to spend money to be tormented by plot holes, poor characterization, and teeth-grinding handwavery, all of which I now pick up as easily as I previously picked up notions like, "Ooh, that celebrity is attractive."

In the past, I've thought that very thing about Heath Ledger, whom I was mildly annoyed to find would be playing the Joker. The pretty boy from Ten Things I Hate About You? The gay freaking cowboy from Brokeback Mountain?! I am more than pleased, perhaps religiously moved, to report I was wrong, wrong, wrong. And it wasn't just Ledger's performance, though that was a descent into deep characterization that I suspect is responsible for his death in the way that Leonardo Dicaprio's mimicry of Howard Hughes in The Aviator actually gave him a case of OCD. No, this is a polished, clever film with multiple subplots that connect and influence one another as the action rises.

I don't think you have to like comics or Batman in particular to enjoy this movie, and you certainly don't have to like Batman Begins, which was a mutant fake-story with an incontinent plot and no circulatory system. Don't think of Dark Knight as a sequel. Think of it as a nine dollar seminar in deep characterization, rising action, and amazing pacing.

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Help! Rogue italics attacked my post.

Blind Pew, the one-eyed rummynose tetra.

This fish is awesome. When I feed him bloodworms, I have to wait until he's facing the right way to drop them in. Then, once he's gotten almost all of it in his mouth, he swims at the sides of the aquarium and repeatedly bashes his face into the glass to cram the rest of the worm into his mouth. Best. Fish. Ever.

In other wet pet news, I let the marsvin* stay out grazing in the rain because usually she stays inside her little wooden house and happily munches. Today, she decided to attempt rodential hypothermia; I found her soaking herself in the drizzle while voraciously inhaling dandelion leaves. She's now drying out on my lap, and she smells strangely like wet chicken, of all things.

Why do I know what a wet chicken smells like? I'll leave that to your imagination. If no one else comes up with something disturbing, we can count on my friend Bishop.

* Guinea pig in Swedish. It's a long story, but I first became interested in them while in Sweden, and I've mostly called them that since.