This is it. Tonight, witness The Dark Knight Rises as Christopher Nolan's epic trilogy comes to a close. After years of chronicling over the single most anticipated films in years, The Daily Zombies give a final take on The Dark Knight Rises ahead of its première tonight.
July 19th, 2012. Today is indeed a remarkable day to note on many people's calendar. For today marks the opening day of the single most anticipated films for 2012 for us here at The Daily Zombies. And this is by no means a small feat given the fact that 2012 is a year packed with films with extraordinary hype and media attentions like Andrew Stanton's live-action directorial debut of Edgar Rice Burroughs' classic character, John Carter of Mars, Marvel Studios' box-office smashing The Avengers, legendary film-maker Ridley Scott return to the sci-fi horror genre he founded in Prometheus, Marc Webb's reboot of The Amazing Spider-Man, and last but certainly not the least, Quentin Tarantino's upcoming venture into Spaghetti Western in Django Unchained. Nevertheless, I will be the first to admit that here at The Daily Zombies, we used the words "much-anticipated" and "epic" far too frequent than we should be. For the simple reason that once in a while, a film, like Christopher Nolan's The Dark Knight Rises, will rise and redefined how we look at these run-of-the-mill descriptions. Today is July 19th, 2012, and here we are doing our usual final preview for films that we have been keeping our eyes on The Film we have been apprehensively waiting since its official announcement in 2010.
In our usual Final Previews for films, we usually weigh in on the potential of the film and determine if the film is simply put worth that entry ticket. This is in fact an exercise in futility given the fact that films that we deemed to be worthwhile enough for our Final Preview treatment are, no matter how bad they eventually turned out to be, some of the must-see films in the year themselves (unfortunately, with the exception of Transformers: Dark of the Moon. Everybody made mistakes, and that includes us here at The Daily Zombies).
In our Final Preview for Transformers: Dark of the Moon, we asked if "the last film in the franchise that many are calling "metal-clashing porn" be the last straw for us?" (a resounding yes for those who are asking). In our Final Preview for The Avengers, we boldly took the leap of faith with the then-untested director Joss Whedon. In our Final Preview for The Amazing Spider-Man, we took a much-needed cold hard look at the very real problem of comic superhero fatigue at the big screen as well as the necessity of reboots. With that, here we are, full circle back to our Final Preview for The Dark Knight Rises, Christopher Nolan's swan song to his epic Batman trilogy. And we are not even going to talk about how comic superhero fatigue is going to have an adverse impact on the film or even how the first film in the series, 2005's Batman Begins, changed Hollywood in a subtle yet resonating way forever. For the simple fact that these are already prerequisite knowledge for those who are even remotely interested in the film. Nolan's brilliant efforts in the film franchise has made people changed their minds about conventional superheroes so much that there will be simply put zero concern for comic book superhero fatigue, and by saying that Nolan has redefined the term "reboot" for Hollywood is an understatement.
2005's Batman Begins stunned the audiences by deeply rooting the iconic Batman mythology into a somber and realistic setting. The perfect balance between comic book and realism was achieved, influencing later reboots such as Daniel Craig's 007 and J. J. Abrams' swashbuckling Star Trek. Then came 2008's The Dark Knight, which in my opinion, rules with an iron fist atop the other brilliant sequels (The Godfather Part II, Star Wars: The Empire Strikes Back, Aliens, and many others) as the best sequel in a film series yet.
With the official announcement of The Dark Knight Rises in 2010, we can't help but wonder: How do one improve on near-perfection, when perfection is nigh-impossible? After all, as great as The Dark Knight was, it was gifted with a few undeniable tools, some by design and some unfortunately not. Firstly, we have two of the most intriguing villains of the Batman mythos showing up: The Joker and Harvey Dent, AKA Two-Face. Secondly, as much as we hate the admit it, the tragic demise of Heath Ledger, coupled with the critically acclaimed actor's astonishing disappearing act in his absolute transformation into The Joker, somehow added to the mystical factor of the film. Thirdly, it is considerably easier to devise a killer cliff-hanger ending in the first sequel of the film when compared to setting up a fulfilling conclusion in the third and final chapter of the series. Anyone unclear about that might want to check out the ending of this little film known as Star Wars: The Empire Strikes Back (spoiler alert) of which the audience faced a most terrifying cliff-hanger ending.
However, I mean no negative remarks and am not/unable to take away anything from the cinematic grandeur of The Dark Knight. After all, who would have the balls to create the bleakest, darkest, boldest superhero film of all-time and make it into the box-office smashing epic that will forever be right there on my all-time favorite film cabinet? One of my favorite directors ever, Christopher Nolan. His extraordinary filmography has almost never failed to make it into my number one films of the particular year (with the exception of 2002's Insomnia, which is still a great film). Nolan's previous effort, Inception, was a tour-de-force that strike right into the hearts and minds of the audience while maintaining the impeccable balance of style and substance.
Meanwhile, Christian Bale has already proven without a shadow of a doubt that he is indeed the best actor to embody the iconic Batman ever. With the latest film, it would be fair prediction that we might just witness the peak of the acclaimed actor's remarkable prowess. And we are not taking anything away from the rest of the cast, which in my opinion, formed what is indeed the best cast in a cinematic trilogy ever. The casting is flawless, and the range provided by the actors effortlessly illustrated that fact. From Michael Caine's incredible Alfred, Morgan Freeman's pitch-perfect Lucius Fox, to Gary Oldman's excellent interpretation of James Gordon, the regular cast is near-perfection for the fact that nothing is ever perfect.
Joining the cast this time would be Tom Hardy as Bane, Anne Hathaway as Selina Kyle/Catwoman, Marion Cotillard as Miranda Tate, and Joseph Gordon-Levitt as Blake. While Tom Hardy will no doubt be channelling his role in Bronson for the menacing antagonist Bane, Anne Hathaway has so far been able to shut fans off with what we have seen thus far from the promotional materials. As for Marion Cotillard and Joseph Gordon-Levitt's respective original characters, we truly can't help but to doubt their legitimacy as truly original characters given the dubious nature of Nolan's plot.
Further adding on to the certainly heavy plot of the film, the Nolan brothers managed to fit in a bigger theme within the film. And a timely one at that.
In an interview with ComingSoon, director Christopher Nolan and co-writer Jonathan Nolan elaborated on how, as unlikely as it is, Charles Dickens‘ 1859 classic novel A Tale of Two Cities influenced the final chapter in their Batman trilogy. Christopher Nolan commented on his thoughts on his brother Jonathan's 400-page screenplay:
"It had all this crazy stuff in it. As part of a primer when he handed it to me, he said, ‘You’ve got to think of ‘A Tale of Two Cities’ which, of course, you’ve read.’ I said, ‘Absolutely.’ I read the script and was a little baffled by a few things and realized that I’d never read ‘A Tale of Two Cities’. It was just one of those things that I thought I had done. Then I got it, read it and absolutely loved it and got completely what he was talking about… When I did my draft on the script, it was all about ‘A Tale of Two Cities’."
And Jonathan Nolan elaborated on the timely subject (Occupy movement anyone) of the concept of how a society crumbles under the weight of a societal class war leading to a revolution:
"Chris and David [Goyer] started developing the story in 2008 right after the second film came out,” he says. “Before the recession. Before Occupy Wall Street or any of that. Rather than being influenced by that, I was looking to old good books and good movies. Good literature for inspiration… What I always felt like we needed to do in a third film was, for lack of a better term, go there. All of these films have threatened to turn Gotham inside out and to collapse it on itself. None of them have actually achieved that until this film. ‘A Tale of Two Cities’ was, to me, one of the most harrowing portrait of a relatable, recognizable civilization that completely folded to pieces with the terrors in Paris in France in that period. It’s hard to imagine that things can go that badly wrong."
For those still in hope that we might yet witness a fourth installment of the much-celebrated film franchise, we are quite certain that this is indeed the end of the road for Christopher Nolan's game-changing vision of Batman.
Despite what Warner Bros. President and COO Jeff Robinov would have us believed earlier this year, Christopher Nolan will not be returning to Batman or the proverbial live-action Justice League. Speaking to Entertainment Weekly, Nolan responded to the million dollar question of any planned involvement with Justice League:
"No, none at all. We’re finished with all we’re doing with Batman. This is the end of our take on this character.
Batman will outlive us all, and our interpretation was ours. Obviously, we consider it definitive and kind of finished. The great thing about Batman is he lives on for future generations to reinterpret, and obviously, Warners will have to decide in the future what they’re going to do with him,” Nolan said. “We’ve had our say on the character."
Based on details provided by the British Board of Film Classification, The Dark Knight Rises will be running to a total of 164 minutes and 27 seconds. That would mean that every new entry in the epic trilogy by Nolan is twelve minutes longer than its previous, with Batman Begins running at 140 minutes, and The Dark Knight running a total of 152 minutes.
And we are certain that this is one exhilarating 165 minutes that you will want to relive again. So, getting back to the point of our usual Final Preview where we weigh in on the potential of the film and determine if the film is simply put worth that entry ticket... Here's The Daily Zombies calling out a No-Brainer.
We moved on to the phenomenal promotional campaign of the films followed by a an updated look at some of the latest items that have been released recently.
Over at the viral campaign department that the franchise has been well-known for, Mountain Dew has apparently struck a deal with Warner Bros. Pictures for a massive viral website cross-promoting the film and the brand. Of all the promotional items from the site, what has been most intriguing would be this letter written to Bruce Wayne himself by Lucius Fox (Morgan Freeman), Wayne Enterprises’ head of R&D.
And here's the full contents of the letter:
I hope this letter finds you well. Although I would have liked to have had this conversation with you personally, Alfred tells me I am better off writing as you are not receiving any visitors at the moment. That being the case, I’ll do my best to detail what I feel is becoming a situation within the company.
It’s a given that in the current economic climate our investors have become increasingly concerned about how their money is being spent. As such, our own profitability is being judged and analyzed, particularly by the Board itself. In the past, we haven’t given them any reason to worry as both our earnings and spending have been consistent. This allowed us the autonomy to dedicate resources to Wayne philanthropic programs as well as our own R&D endeavors. But over the past five quarters, our earnings have been on the downtrend. Meanwhile, our R&D spending has been on an astronomical uptrend. And as the black grows fainter around the entire company, I am being put into a position where I have to answer certain questions, particularly about your energy project.
No one is going to dispute the fact that innovation is key to our growth and success. It’s a mainstay of our business, which is all the more reason why the Board has begun to scrutinize our R&D budget and set their sights on your machine. Since they don’t know exactly what you’re up to, all they understand is a vast amount of capital is being spent on something they now deem as fruitless – quest for clean energy. Herein lies the problem.
The last time we spoke, you expressed your reluctance to move the project forward and initiate the next phase of trials. I understand your argument as to why. But if you want the company to continue to fund your efforts, I think it is time we give the Board more than just the overview they already have, enlightening them on what this project will mean to Gotham if you are successful. On a personal note, I’d also like to let them know that with age, Bruce Wayne has decided to fill his father’s shoes, using Wayne Enterprises and all its resources to readily and reliably support our city.
Nothing bad can come from this, Bruce. But if you decide not to address the issue at hand, I am not sure how long I can keep the Board at bay. Making matters more difficult is your absence. I am assuming you have your reasons for it and it is not my job to question those, but I fear that if you are going to drop off the radar for an extended period of time, we may risk another Bill Earle situation. I can see a couple [of] Board Members already maneuvering to build influence around the table, most notably John Daggett, who I feel is the last person we want to engage in a power struggle.
When I agreed to take on this role I knew full well what the job and our agreement entailed. I am also well aware of your preferred ways of handling all matters relating to Wayne Enterprises However, I must tell you that we are quickly approaching a set of circumstances that will unfortunately call for a change if we do not address the Board. Change in most instances is not a bad thing, but in this regard I am worried. I’m sure you consider my pessimism to be just another part of my charm. That may be the case, but let’s remember: you didn’t hire me for my charm.
I look forward to hearing from you.
With luck it will be in person.
John Daggett? Is this a nod to Roland Daggett, one of the recurring villains in the classic animation series, Batman: The Animated Series?
Anyway, in a typically coy move, Bruce Wayne responded in a brief hand-written note:
The full contents:
Tell the board that as of today the program is shut down. As we discussed before, there is too much at stake and the risk is too great. That is my only concern.
With that, are we looking at Bane's earth-shattering (and stadium-levelling) secret weapon of mass destruction? From this leaked image, it could be a fusion reactor not unlike that of what Doctor Octopus was working on in Spider-Man 2.
In this final launch trailer of the film, we have a recap of the epic chronicles of Christopher Nolan's ground-breaking take on the iconic character. It is through this trailer for the entire trilogy that we have a better grasp at the truly epic cinematic grandeur of the trilogy.
In this new trailer entitled "Journey", clips from both Batman Begins and The Dark Knight were also used as we gradually find ourselves on Bane's warpath in the third film.
For a most comprehensive report on the making of the film thus far, here's a cool new 13-minute TV special featurette on the film.
For more specified details on the production of the film, head over to Collider for their interviews with special effects supervisor Chris Corbould and costume designer of the entire Batman trilogy, Lindy Hemming to learn nifty stuffs like the functionality of Catwoman's costume.
The official IMAX TV spot. Head over to Yahoo! to view it in HD.
In this TV spot, a medical assessment of Batman is in place. To humorous effect.
International TV spot.
A fan of Hans Zimmer's heavy, brooding soundtrack that you have so far heard from the film's trailer? Or you might just need a killer score while going on that dead-end job of yours? Fourteen minutes of samples from Hans Zimmer‘s score for the film are now available online in one clip.
And here's the official track list:
1 - A Storm Is Coming
2 - On Thin Ice
3 - Gotham's Reckoning
4 - Mind If I Cut In
5 - Underground Army
6 - Born In Darkness
7 - The Fire Rises
8 - Nothing Out There
9 - Depair
10 - Fear Will Find You
11 - Why Do We Fall
12 - Death By Exile
13 - Imagine The Fire
14 - Necessary Evil
15 - Rise
With IMAX indulging themselves in rolling out exclusive limited editions of major films screened at special midnight premières IMAX theaters (we have seen those made for Prometheus and The Amazing Spider-Man), there is without a shadow of a doubt that they are going to make one for the biggest film of the year. And we have not one but two of them right here.
The other limited edition 12:01 IMAX poster featuring Bane.
And here's another cool new poster rising from the viral campaign featuring Bane.
And here are more of the recently-released posters from the film.
And here's an awesome Japanese banner compiling the earlier character posters. Notably, the Japanese comments on the banner further enhances the emotional element of the film.
Here are a slew of recently-released official set images from the film.
Courtesy of the latest issue of Entertainment Weekly, here are more set pictures from the film.
And here's Christopher Nolan and the cast at Grauman’s Chinese Theatre where the director was honored with a hand and footprint ceremony.
And finally, the updated official synopsis of the film that actually gives us more on the plot of the film:
Warner Bros. Pictures’ and Legendary Pictures’ “The Dark Knight Rises” is the epic conclusion to filmmaker Christopher Nolan’s Batman trilogy.
It has been eight years since Batman vanished into the night, turning, in that instant, from hero to fugitive. Assuming the blame for the death of D.A. Harvey Dent, the Dark Knight sacrificed everything for what he and Commissioner Gordon both hoped was the greater good. For a time the lie worked, as criminal activity in Gotham City was crushed under the weight of the anti-crime Dent Act.
But everything will change with the arrival of a cunning cat burglar with a mysterious agenda. Far more dangerous, however, is the emergence of Bane, a masked terrorist whose ruthless plans for Gotham drive Bruce out of his self-imposed exile. But even if he dons the cape and cowl again, Batman may be no match for Bane.
Leading an all-star international cast, Oscar(R) winner Christian Bale (“The Fighter”) again plays the dual role of Bruce Wayne/Batman. The film also stars Anne Hathaway, as Selina Kyle; Tom Hardy, as Bane; Oscar(R) winner Marion Cotillard (“La Vie en Rose”), as Miranda Tate; and Joseph Gordon-Levitt, as John Blake. Returning to the main cast, Oscar(R) winner Michael Caine (“The Cider House Rules”) plays Alfred; Gary Oldman is Commissioner Gordon; and Oscar(R) winner Morgan Freeman (“Million Dollar Baby”) reprises the role of Lucius Fox. The screenplay is written by Christopher Nolan and Jonathan Nolan, story by Christopher Nolan & David S. Goyer. The film is produced by Emma Thomas, Christopher Nolan and Charles Roven, who previously teamed on “Batman Begins” and the record-breaking blockbuster “The Dark Knight.” The executive producers are Benjamin Melniker, Michael E. Uslan, Kevin De La Noy and Thomas Tull, with Jordan Goldberg serving as co-producer. The film is based upon characters appearing in comic books published by DC Comics. Batman was created by Bob Kane.
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