I saw a dog with my Dad's face this week. Not like a dog with my Dad's bloody face hanging from its jaws or something. That would be disgusting. Just a dog that seemed to have my Dad's face on it instead of a dog's face. Obviously, I was happy to see my Dad but a bit surprised to see him in his new canine form. It has been a while since I've seen my Dad by that's definitely not how I remember him. Also, I wasn't really sure as to how I should interact with him. Like most people - guys especially, I think - there's a certain protocol involved when greeting your Dad. Handshakes are a bit formal and hugs can be awkward and uncomfortable. Now that my Dad appeared to be a dog I was confused as to how to approach him. Should I try to shake his paw? Give him a good-natured pat on the head, playfully ruffle his fur a bit? Do I whistle? What if - God forbid - he starts humping my leg or tries to bite me? Thankfully, by the time I had run all these various scenarios through my mind the dog had vanished back, presumably, to his other dog family. I'm going to resist posting that well-known picture of the dog with the human face
now as every time I see it I get strangely angry, like this is some interloper, new on the scene, greasily vying for my affections. 'You're not my real Dad', my inner teen drama queen screams, slamming the bedroom door and diving onto the bed to scribble furiously in a diary, Lloyd Cole crooning all the time in the background. Maybe I'll soften my views eventually, and grow to regard that picture of the dog with the human face as a kindly uncle type of figure. Maybe I'll even come to love him as a father. Maybe my family will disown me for good.
Anyway, I saw that Batman film
the other day. All due respect to the people who made it
and everything, but it's a bit shit really. Better than Batman Begins
, yes, but nowhere near as good as Batman
and Batman Returns
. I've noticed it seems to have become the received opinion that Burton's Batman
was a load of crap, blighted by Nicholsan's wildly over-the-top performance
and an intractably naff score from Prince
. Can't really argue with that last point but - and maybe childhood nostalgia is colouring my views here (I am, after all, seeing my Dad's face on dogs) but for all their flaws - and there are many - Burton's movies have a sense of the fantastic, a charm, and a wealth of visual imagination sorely lacking from Nolan's. The Dark Knight
is a bloated, overlong, overly-serious chore of a movie. It's not fun. It's not entertaining. It's boring and it's gloomy and it's far too fucking long. Did I mention that already? Two and a half hours! What movie needs to be two and a half hours? And even at that (wildly indulgent) length a lot of the plot feels rushed. The movies best character (Harvey Dent
) is pushed to the sidelines to make way for Ledger's ADHD twitch-fest. To be fair, it's not entirely the fault of Ledger's performance (which is OK) but the lack of any attempt at character development on the part of the screenwriters. I realise that this was intentional, ostensibly to make the Joker seem more frightening, but I feel this was a mistake and actually has the opposite effect, reducing the Joker to a cackling one-note cipher who pops up every now and then and does something wacky to derail the narrative. It's hard to be frightened by (or indeed in vaguely interested in) a character you know next to nothing about and whose presence seems only to fulfil the heavy-handed theme of capital-d 'Duality' that runs through the movie like a particularly philosophical stick of rock. Elsewhere, Bale - a shallow actor who seems to be hailed as some kind of method genius purely by virtue of his yo-yo dieting
- is good as the (shallow) Bruce Wayne but utterly unconvincing as Batman, again effecting the laughable tough-guy voice that made Batman Begins
so unintentionally hilarious. Morgan Freeman and Michael Caine potter about with little to do, except for the former being called upon to explain away the most ludicrous deux ex machina
Bat-gadget in the final act. Maggie Gyllenhaal's in it for about five minutes. She is, at least, better than Katie Holmes.
It's not an awful film by any stretch. Just a messy, unsatisfying and generally unenjoyable one. As I said, the best arc - the Dent/Two Face story isn't given enough focus and Dent's transformation (though skilfully delineated by Eckhart) seems to happen within the space of a day and is over before it ever gets a chance to begin. If they'd dumped the Joker storyline - which, thinking about it, they could have done quite easily ever since... well, you know - and just focused on Two Face I reckon we would have had an infinitely superior film. And if they brought back Michael Keaton (or even Val Kilmer who was surprisingly good in an otherwise dreadful film) and committed to making a film that had a distinct 'look', a 'feel', a certain visual identity, instead of just looking like an episode of CSI: New York
then maybe we'd be sucking diesel. As my Dad would say. My Dad the dog.
Oh, what the hell.