Jun 5, 2012

Film Pre-Review: The Dark Knight Rises

Tableau Your Mind recently had a somewhat-drunken conversation with guest blogger Square Peg about Christopher Nolan’s upcoming film The Dark Knight Rises. Mostly, we’re excited, but something about the film is still stuck in our craw.

Whip It Good!
We are very big fans of the first two of Nolan’s Batman films. We’re even willing to forgive him Katie Holmes, because everyone makes mistakes and we admit to feeling a little something for Joey back in our Dawson’s Creek days. We’ve also been fine with him taking Batman characters from previous Batman movies and reimagining them for his films. The Joker and Two-Face have both already been Batman villains in movies (played by Jack Nicholson and Tommy Lee Jones, respectively), but we have been pleased with Nolan’s reimagining. And we look forward to his interpretation of Bane, who was pretty forgettable in Batman & Robin.

However, we cannot, in good conscience, endorse Anne Hathaway as Catwoman, the role
that Michelle Pfeiffer plays in Batman Returns. In our minds, the role ends with Pfeiffer’s and Tim Burton’s interpretation of the character. Now, we are Anne Hathaway fans. Ever since old big boobs first graced the silver screen, we were smitten. She’s gorgeous, goofy, occasionally sexy, and all-around a good actress. And it’s not like we can think of anyone who can better play the role. We ran through our rolodex of actresses we love, and none really fit the bill (maybe Christina Hendricks - maybe), because Michelle Pfeiffer is amazing in the role, gymnastically flipping her way through a BDSM version of corporate espionage.

Michelle Pfeiffer's Catwoman
And she takes on everyone, from Christopher Walken, whose character is literally hoarding power (Screenwriter Daniel Waters, who also wrote Heathers, is a big fan of non-subtle messaging), to Batman himself.  Christopher Walken’s Max Shreck is the epitome of the out-of-touch, evil 1%-er, and when Pfeiffer’s Selina Kyle takes him down, it feels right. Her vengeance is quick, far-reaching, and sometimes random. She’s dangerous and just, and in another movie she could easily be the hero (let’s not bring up Halle Berry’s Catwoman, which is a joke and should only be regarded as such). She can be an agent of good, but she can also be very, very bad. Michelle Pfeiffer makes Catwoman a morally ambiguous roller coaster. Anne Hathaway completely lacks that complexity on screen – she is a clean-cut Ferris wheel. There’s no danger when the ride is going around in a controlled circle. Her most evil role-to-date is in The Devil Wears Prada, and even when she’s trying super hard to be a bitch (and wearing black while doing it), all we can think is ‘Oh, honey...no.’

Anne Hathaway's Catwoman
Another reason we love Michelle Pfeiffer in Batman Returns is her costume. She’s kind of dirty, rummaging around to make a super sultry costume out of an old leather jacket and found objects from her anachronistically pink apartment as cats lick at her wounds. Catwoman has always been a villain whose main power is her danger, her crazy-eyes commanding a kind of feverish, sexual power. And from the photos and trailers we’ve seen of Hathaway in The Dark Night Rises, that sense of dangerous sexuality is completely lacking, and it starts with costuming. At most, Hathaway looks like she’s wearing some sort of deconstructed Batman costume, with her tiny black ears and her too-well-made rubber jumpsuit. It’s all a little to clean, a little too sane.
Guest Blogger Square Peg

Now, as much as we love Michelle Pfeiffer, we would also love to be proved wrong. We weren't sure Heath Ledger could fill the role that Jack Nicholson brought to the screen almost two decades prior, and we were very wrong. It’s just that we've been burned before, so we’re skeptical. Prove us wrong, A-Hath.


Tableau Your Mind and Guest Blogger Square Peg
Guest blogger Square Peg spends her free time killing it at life and maiming it at Foosball. She's verbally-assaulting it at pumpkin carving.
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