Gotham City. Crime boss Carl Grissom (Jack Palance) effectively runs the town but there's a new crime fighter in town - Batman (Michael Keaton). Grissom's right-hand man is Jack Napier (Jack Nicholson), a brutal man who is not entirely sane... After falling out between the two Grissom has Napier set up with the Police and Napier falls to his apparent death in a vat of chemicals. However, he soon reappears as The Joker and starts a reign of terror in Gotham City. Meanwhile, reporter Vicki Vale (Kim Basinger) is in the city to do an article on Batman. She soon starts a relationship with Batman's everyday persona, billionaire Bruce Wayne.Written by
Pierce Brosnan turned down the role of Bruce Wayne (Batman). He went and met with Tim Burton for the role, but he couldn't take the character seriously. See more »
(at around 1h 40 mins) When stealing the Joker's balloons, Batman hits a number of switches to close the claw, as he does so, three LEDs go off, one of them (the red one) clearly marked "volume". See more »
I'm sorry, this is my cab.
Listen, I was here first!
[as the cab drives away]
Oh, God! Oh, taxi? Taxi!
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The opening credits appear as the camera goes through/around a giant Batman symbol. See more »
An unofficial version of the film has aired on Latin American TV at least once. Besides being dubbed into Spanish, the film's ending is heavily edited as follows: When The Joker puts on glasses and says: "You wouldn't hit a guy with glasses on, would you?" Batman punches him and knocks him over the edge. In the original version the climax continues beyond this point. But in this changed version, The Joker simply plummets to his death after the punch. This was achieved by cutting from the punch to the birds-eye-view shot of The Joker falling. The next shot is simply The Joker lying dead and the crowd of people looming over him. The entire struggle on the ledge and attempted helicopter escape are completely omitted. See more »
After the recent press storm and domination at the box office of The Dark Knight I tried to get my head around comparing the two films. I'll be clear, I disregard films 3 and 4 of the original franchise,(ie. Val Kilmer and George Clooney as Batman), these were terrible films which pale next to Michael Keatons portrayal.
Everyone went a little crazy about Heath Ledger's posthumous portrayal of the Joker, however now that I've seen the film, I really can't agree. He looks out of his depth and just doesn't carry it off. Jack Nicholson was born to play that role, he lives and breathes that part in his daily life, so all they had to do was add some makeup and a facial prosthetic to increase the size of that already huge grin and he was ready to go.
To start with thats where the Burton films have an edge, beyond that there's Batman himself. Just like the Bond series, where there has been a reinvention and the casting of a young talent, Connery, for me and like many others, is the original and best Bond. The same goes for Batman, in terms of film adaptations, Keaton is the most versatile and adept at playing Bruce Wayne and Batman. For starters you just have to reference Beetlejuice and you'' see a screen stealing performance. Upon its release in 1989, Burton and Keaton, in that order, took Batman to a darker place in the conscious of the general non-comic reading public. Keatons Bruce Wayne, was shy, yet outspoken and slyly comedic at the same time. Current less observant Dark Knight fans will fail to notice this, as its something called depth, which current Batman(Christian Bale) only barely captures. As Batman, Keaton is hard and to the point with shades of Bruce coming through when he interacts. All Bale can muster is a silly lower and throaty voice. Given, the gadgets and cars have come along in technology, and thats great, we'd all love material that reacts to electricity and allows us to have a cape, which becomes a hand glider....but it doesn't hide some cinematic flaws.
Before I draw a close on the bad points of the new film, I'd like to honourably mention Aaron Eckhart's portrayal of Harvey Dent. It was awfully scripted, and post burning of the face scene, where his injured eye is moving around like something from 'The Mummy', that was just hard to watch, after seeing a potentially great film, move into the 'good' category.
The better points of the film are many, and in particular Michael Caine(as Alfred) and Morgan Freeman(as Lucius Fox). The original Alfred(Michael Gough), was excellent, but Caine produces some of the best one liners available. They really should have used more of him, as he brought the air of a master with him.
I read a review which compared the Dark Knight with 'Empire Strikes Back', 'Jaws', 'The Godfather', that person, who was English, should really sit with the stereotype middle American, ie stupid. Those films are cinematic reference points, in breaking new ground. The Dark Knight really isn't, its on a bandwagon of the new action genre, ie the one that the Bourne series really brought into the mainstream.
Both films are great, in many ways, but for me, the 1989 version is the winner.
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