posted by Matt W on July 27th, 2012

The other day, I went to see The Dark Knight Rises, the new Batman movie, on the big screen. In this case, I am being quite literal as I saw it in the IMAX theatre. I usually look at how the movie was shot to see if it is worth seeing in 3D or IMAX (To 3D or not to 3D is an excellent blog, rating movies on their 3D quality). Since they shot the movie specifically for IMAX I said, “What the heck, what’s another $100 in the whole scope of life?” The thing that I have noticed when watching IMAX films is that unless you go to one of the huge IMAX screens, the picture doesn’t seem that different unless you get a perfect seat. (I have found the perfect seat to be the middle of the back row in front of the central aisle for IMAX and the middle of the front row behind the aisle (Joe A.’s suggestion) for normal movies.)

The sound however always seems much more intense with IMAX. Which leads me to my first comment in the actual review: The Dark Knight Rises is hard to understand at times, specifically the character Bain and especially when he only says a few words. Batman sounds like he’s coughing up a hairball part of the time as well. While the sound quality was very good for the rest of the movie, I really had a hard time understanding the two main characters, which is a problem. My other warning is, “Make sure that whoever you take has recently seen the first two movies.” My wife and I had a running dialogue throughout the movie that went something like this.

Wife: What did he say?
Matt W.: I have no idea.
Wife: What did that guy say?
Matt W.: No clue.
Wife: Do we know who that person is?
Matt W.: Yes, he was in the first movie.
Wife: The one with the Joker?
Matt W.: No, that was the second movie.
Wife: There was a movie before the one with the Joker?
Matt W.: By definition, there is usually another movie before the second one.
Wife: Smart ass. Wait, what did he just say?
Matt W.: I don’t know, we were talking.

(Over the years I have developed a very quiet movie-theatre voice as my wife asks a lot of questions.)

Back to the movie review itself. The characters (when I could understand them), were all very solid. The special effects were all very solid (the motorcycle was very cool). The script was also very solid. As I have a Thesaurus with my copy of Word, this is the place where I would usually look up words to replace “solid,” but this was a solid movie. I was talking to my son about the movie and he really liked it but thought it wasn’t as good as the one with the Joker. I agreed but this movie would always struggle with expectations because it was going to be almost impossible to match one of the best performances of the past decade. Heath Ledger was indeed amazing.

The enjoyment of this movie was also tempered by the great tragedy in Colorado. As my wife’s purse was searched for the first time while entering a theatre, it was hard not to think about the tragic loss of life. As I had gone to see The Avengers a couple months ago and remembered the buzz in the theatre, the sharp contrast in excitement was very apparent to me. The whole theatre was definitely subdued.

So, in conclusion, The Dark Knight Rises is a very good movie. But more than most movies, I really look forward to its release on DVD. I think that watching all three together in a few months will allow me to view the movie with a clearer mind and truly appreciate it. (Hopefully, they can fix the audio a bit as well.) A six-pack of Diet Coke, a huge bowl of Popcorn, and a spare 8 hours await. Sweet.

File Under Jack of all Trades