on 7 August 2007
Ok, first of all you need to realise that this isn't a sequel to the previous 4 Batman films, nor is it a prequel to them.
This film sees director Christopher Nolan, take the dark knight back to his roots, to tell the story from the beginning - HIS way.
First of all the HD transfer of this film is breathtaking, the already stunning cinematography is enriched with the HD visuals and great sound to accompany it.
The story really does live up to it's name, where Batman 'begins'. He shows him briefly as a child, but mainly in his later years, prior to donning the cape for the first time. What makes him want to do what he does, how does he do it? who designs his costume?
This film feels more realistic than the other incarnations, and the audience sees more of Batman/Bruce Wayne behind the scenes to be able to empathise with his character.
A great cast supports the fantastic Christian Bale as Batman. Michael Caine as Alfred the butler is an inspired choice. Morgan Freeman as Lucius Fox, Katie Holmes as Bruce Wayne's childhood friend, Rachel. Cillian Murphy as the scarecrow and plenty more.
All in all a fantastic film, which in my opinion is the best of all that were made. I will always have a place in my heart for Tim Burton's 2 Batman films, but Nolan's has overshadowed them in all areas.
on 26 September 2005
Just to note, this is NOT A REMAKE of the first Tim Burton film.
Christopher Nolan creates a whole new film from the comic sources, especially Frank Miller's seminal 'Batman: Year One'. He remains faithful to the character's history whilst developing engaging characters rather than creating a movie around set-pieces. That said, the set-pieces that feature are spectacular, and, like the rest of the movie, grounded in the realism (as much as is possible in a comic-book world). Gotham truly feels like a sprawling, seething city with an impressive monorail system and inner island. The characters play major parts in Bruce Wayne's life and the development of Bruce/Batman as a character is excellent. The movie turns out even better than one could have imagined upon learning that Nolan was going to direct a realistic Batman movie with Christian Bale as the protagonist. It is emotionally and intellectually fulfilling, and supremely enjoyable, something lacking in many films today, let alone comic-book based movies.
on 24 August 2007
This story of batman is just flat-out brilliant. Whereas the other movies have dealt with the moral issues only casually, some of them more resembling a rollercoaster ride in a theme park for children, this movie tackles it head-on, and provides, on top of that, action and romance - it keeps you interested on a number of levels. In my opinion, it is THE defining superhero movie, because it deals with these deeper issues of the soul in a way that makes them more 'visible' and inspiring. For this to be the least bit believable the actors have to be in tune with these things themselves, and I will say that, in my opinion, they do not fall short, but support the very essence of the characters they 'fill out'.
Christian Bale is the first actor to realistically portray Batman. The other Batman films have failed to some extent, but this movie comes so close that it is difficult to find other words than 'spot on the head of the nail'. But all the performances are above par, outstanding all round.
I am tremendously grateful for this movie, I find myself seeing it from time to time again. What a movie. Any comic-book fan or action film-lover should have this film, for any number of reasons.
This movie even seems to transcend the comic books themselves, I don't know, perhaps this is a little too much. But it is a truly amazing film.
In conclusion: Get it.
on 22 September 2005
Only when you've entirely removed the concept that this is continuing on from the Burton (good)/ Schumacher (bad) series, then you will trully appreciate Batman Begins in it's own merit.
As the title suggests, it states the origins of the dark knight.
Here we have a young, bitter Bruce Wayne (Bale) overwhelmed by his impotent rage (from the death of his parents- but you knew that already), brawling in some unnamed prison in China being rescued and educated into a sort of ninja vigilante by a man named Henri Ducard (Neeson). From there on out we have a steady progression into the masked spook we all know and love. Along the way he battles the mob and the Scarecrow (Murphy).
The Chicago settings are utilised to the best of their abilities in creating a dark, grimy, overpopulated city (much.. like Chicago) and the music, though somewhat old-hat, is impeccable in acheiving what we expect, the kind of music you can comfortably ignore when watching a film like this.
The cast too is top notch. Bale is by far the most angry of the Batmen, and certainly maintains the intensity you would expect from a methodical viglante dressed like an animal. Keaton may have got across a dark, more worn out mean spirit of the later Wayne but Bale manages to be every bit as fierce as a young angry man could be. Liam Neeson, Morgan Freeman, and Gary Oldman are strong supporting cast, the latter playing against the usual stereotype of nutcase and instead playing earnest and honest Commisioner Gordon. But it's Cillian Murphy who really stands out as the first non-jokey/camp Batman villian. Murphy is superb in his measured malice, a corrupt psychiatrist whose meddling in crime is made more sinister by his hidden pleasure to psychologically torture people. Even his mask is given a reason for existence rather than the usual resigned 'well he's just mad is all' approach. He wears a sort of potato sack mask over his face to scare mental patients in his experiments. By the end he is less like the ridiculous comic character and more a mix between BF Skinner and Harold Shipman.
Of course this movie is not without it's faults. The weak love story between Bale and the ever annoying Katie Holmes only takes away from the action and is only there to make sure no one thinks ol' Wayne is gay. Secondly the Scarecrow isn't given nearly enough screen time, which in comparasion to the Joker and the Penguin's billing in the first two Batmen seems a little lacking. Third, in it's promise to be darker and edgier it still is 12 rating. This isn't nearly as violent as it could've been or even as edgy as it should've been (by comparasion to Batman Forever or Batman And Robin, though, it's the equivalent to Silence Of The Lambs or Clockwork Orange). And Lastly though they claim to be going for all it's ingeniuety it falls into the stock 'train derailed' climax, like Spiderman2 only less.
Still, it's a solid interpretation that stands alone as intriguing as it is entertaining. Fans of the comics will be more in tune with this gritty vision and the average joe can be pleased with the limited amount of CGI action.
on 3 October 2011
Christopher Nolan sows the seeds of Batman & watches it grow in a reboot that set the standard of all reboots we've seen in recent years.
We're introduced to Bruce Wayne as a young boy who for reasons that soon become obvious is terrified of bats. After witnessing his parents coldly murdered in a back alley, we see a disillusioned Bruce travelling the world, getting caught up in the world of criminality, until a mysterious mentor guides him to a mountain lair where he will be trained to fight by the 'League of Shadows', a secret ninja organisation hell-bent on destroying criminals & the cities who sire them. Thankfully, Bruce is not quite so genocidal in his ways in refusing the latter & returns to Gotham to fight crime, where he learns Wayne Enterprises is now a global conglomerate, with a particular department in military technology, including body armour, a terrain vehicle & several gadgets in tow.
Hence, Batman's origins are explained in full, the anguish, the pain, the fighting skills, the suit, the batmobile & the grapple gun. It takes about an hour for Batman to finally appear but this back story is an enthralling watch & builds up to one of the movie's most rewarding moments where Christopher Nolan got it right where so many TV & movie directors have got it wrong - finally the criminals are afraid of Batman, terrified in fact as they know something is there but they don't know what (What is more terrifying than that?) But Batman's enemies are inventive intelligent characters and it's not long before Bruce's past catches up with him.
Visually, this film is a stunning watch, Gotham city disturbingly portrayed as a city of darkness, decadence & decay with a criminal underworld controlling everything. The batsuit looks terrific, no longer with a big yellow bat symbol across its chest (or nipples either for that matter) while the batmobile is one of the most memorable vehicles in movie history & its chase scene is a cracker. Bale portrays a tortured Wayne with conviction with an excellent supporting cast in Michael Caine as Alfred with a subtle humour, Tom Wilkinson as a Crime Boss, Cillian Murphy as the cool yet demonic Scarecrow, Liam Neeson as Bruce's mentor (is there any role Neeson can't play?), Gary Oldman as Jim Gordon & Morgan Freeman as the gadget-letting Lucius Fox and Katie Holmes.....well, we'll forgive her this time.
This is a superb telling of the origins of the Batman character, full of brooding tension, a very apt musical score and an exciting finale. That reboots of the James Bond, Predator & Star Trek franchises followed in the aftermath of this film is a testament to how effective it is as an origin story.
The special features disc is also worth a watch (particularly as the DVD menu is controlled by navigating a virtual comic!) and contains plenty of interviews with cast & crew (Nolan's vision in creating this movie is of particular interest) and intriguing documentaries on the suit & batmobile amongst others. The packaging for this particular version could be considered to be for the die-hard fans only, but it has an undeniably cool holographic cover where Batman emerges from a colony of bats and also includes a 72 page comic book with some classic Batman stories including a re-print of the first ever Batman strip from 1939.
Considering the franchise was buried by Joel Schumacher's 'Batman & Robin' debacle, this shines as a truly excellent movie, with memorable packaging and well worth the inflated price over the single 1 disc edition.
Welcome back Batman.
Batman at the cinema has never really worked for me. Michael Kenton's two outings were alright and at least tried to get to grips with the characters psychology and incipient rage. But the first one despite Tim Burtons singular visionary flair was mugged by an over reliance on Jack Nicholson's Joker and the second was once again way too interested in the villains and not enough in the guy with the cape and the chip on his shoulder. As for the follows ups.....lets just say i began to feel nostalgic for the vague campness of the sixties TV show.
Batman should be scary and intimidating especially to criminal scumbags and it's good to see that in Batman Begins Christian Bale endows him with a ferocious intensity. His alter ego billionaire Bruce Wayne is a decent mild mannered sort of guy so it makes it even more startling that once he dons the bat suit his face twists in fury under his mask, teeth clenched in a permanent desire to pound bad guys into the Gotham dust. This guy means business. And so he should. One of the real strengths of Batman Begins is that it really does what it says on the tin it tells us in forensic detail the origins of the character. His loathing of criminals coming from seeing his parents murdered which has been done in other batman movies. But what they never showed is how did he become so good at kicking ass? Why did he choose a bat as his symbol? Where does he get his costumes and gadgets? And no, it isn't Wal Mart. This movie does that.
Directed by Christopher Nolan who made the superb "Memento "it's not surprising that this amount of attention to detail has been incorporated into the script written by Nolan and Davis S Goyer (who wrote the "Blade" movies and Dark City" so we know he does shadowy and gothic well) I'm certain they took their cue from Frank Millers superb "Dark Knight Returns" who realised that Batman and the characters he fought had more in common than was entirely comfortable.
Suffused with anger over his parents death, their killers subsequent light treatment and the escalating degradation of his beloved Gotham City into a corrupt crime ridden hell hole Wayne wanders the world consorting with nefarious types in order to learn their mindset. Then he is recruited by a mysterious stranger (Liam Neeson) into the shadowy errrr "League of Shadows", a group of idealistic fighters who want to purge Gotham of its undesirable elements. And not be very nice about. Aided by his chirpy butler Alfred (Michael Caine) Wayne returns home to find it in the grip of a crime lord Falcone (Tom Wilkinson) who is somehow connected to psychiatrist Dr Crane (Sly nod to Frazier there, though this guy is even more fruit loop, what with donning a scarecrow mask and all) who runs the local asylum and has foul deeds of his own to perform. He can also rely on the help of his friend in the District Attorneys office Rachel ( Katie Holmes) though whether that's a good thing is open to debate, and cop Lt Gordon ( An admirably restrained Gary Oldman) In a nice cameo by Morgan Freeman he also has his own version of "Q" dispensing his numerous gadgets. Bale is terrific, portraying the conflict of his character with seething intensity as he struggles between his role as the affable Wayne and his brooding alter ego. One slight disappointment is that we don't get to see much of Batman's everyday fight against injustice as it concentrates on his struggle to free Gotham of Falcone. Happily there is a riveting finale that shows the Summers other super hero blockbuster "The Fantastic Four" how it's done. Murphy is superbly creepy as "The Scarecrow", Neeson, Caine and Wilkinson bring their usual gravitas to their supporting roles with only the bland and inconsequential Holmes letting the side down. Not really liking her as much as Tom Cruise I was rather hoping she'd cop it in some unfeasibly unpleasant manner but she just hangs about slowing things down.
The great thing about Batman for me is the fact he really isn't a superhero at all. He can't fly. He doesn't have Spidey sense or bizarre mutant powers. But he's motivated and extremely pissed off, and that makes him far more interesting. In an age where everywhere seems to be on the verge of a Gotham style meltdown (If you believe the media) Batman is the most believable, empathetic and desirable superhero of them all. A more get up and go version of the decent citizen in most of us.
This is a review of both the film and the Blu-ray - specifically the 'Limited Edition Steelbook' I ordered.
This steelbook case is an attractive item, depicting Batman in fine detail. It is, unfortunately, a rather costly version of the film (as I review, it's priced at £29.99) so I don't recommend it ... the ordinary Blu-ray is a good buy. The picture and audio quality are superb, and there are lots of bonus features.
The film ... this movie re-boots the Batman franchise. Directed by Christopher Nolan, and starring Christian Bale, this film effectively defined the live-action Batman character for a decade. This is an origin story, exploring the genesis of Batman. We get to see Bruce Wayne suffer the loss of his parents, and his gradual distancing from normality, slowing becoming more than a man ... becoming Batman! The villains of the film are, for the most part, criminal gangsters - although two 'super-villains' from the rogue's gallery are included: the Scarecrow and Ra's al Ghul.
This movie, and the legacy it established, sought to place Batman in a recognisable world - depicting a sense of realism, as omitted from the earlier films. And so, for example, Batman's gadgets and his vehicle are given explanations and backstory (rather than simply just being there). Of course, having a near-immoral enemy - in Ra's al Ghul - does detract from this realism!
When the film was released, it was great to see the origin of Batman thoroughly explored - as it had only been seen in momentary flashbacks in earlier movies. Here, we understand how he's able to engage in martial arts, etc., as we see him train. All the major pieces and elements that are involved in Batman as a character - from Alfred to Wayne Enterprises, from Lucius Fox to the Batmobile - are included here. The film draws on the long history of DC comics, and seeks to create a movie that genuinely reflects how Batman is conceived in the original source materials. Of course, there are deviations - as the director has taken creative licence. Nonetheless, at its core this film does adhere to the comic books.
While I thoroughly enjoyed this movie - and have seen it several times since it's cinematic release - I still feel that it wasn't quite as good as it ought to have been. It lacked that special quality which makes movies truly great. And, in this case, I think that what was lacking was a singular sense of magnificent villainy ... yet what was absent here, in the first of Nolan's Batman film's, was more than made-up for in the sequel - with the arrival of the Joker. The sense of dread created by the Joker, in "The Dark Knight", is simply not apparent in "Batman Begins".
Still, this is a really good film. I thoroughly recommend it. It's suitable for children and adults alike, and serves as family entertainment (although there is quite a lot of violence).
This movie is an important instalment in the Batman saga ... and things go from being 'good' to 'great'. Well worth watching.
on 25 August 2005
Near the big-bang finish of ''Batman Begins,'' the title avenger, played by the charismatic young British actor Christian Bale, scoops up a damsel in distress, played by Katie Holmes, and spirits her away to his lair. Watching this scene, it was hard not to think how nice it would have been if Batman had instead dispatched the infernally perky actress, whose recent off-screen antics have threatened to eclipse this unexpectedly good movie. As it happens, the most memorable rescue mission in ''Batman Begins'' isn't engineered by the caped crusader, but by the film's director, Christopher Nolan.
''Batman Begins'' is the seventh live-action film to take on the comic-book legend and the first to usher it into the kingdom of movie myth. Conceived in the shadow of American pop rather than in its bright light, this tense, effective iteration of Bob Kane's original comic book owes its power and pleasures to a director who takes his material seriously and to a star who shoulders that seriousness with ease. Until now, Mr. Bale, who cut his teeth working with Steven Spielberg on ''Empire of the Sun'' almost two decades ago, has been best known for his scarily plausible performance in ''American Psycho,'' an intellectual horror movie that now seems like a prelude to this one: think American Psycho redux, this time in tights.
As sleek as a panther, with cheekbones that look sharp enough to give even an ardent lover pause, Mr. Bale makes a superbly menacing avenger. His Batman is leagues away from Adam West's cartoony persona, which lumbered across American television screens in the mid- and late-60's with zap and pow, but never an ounce of real wow. Mr. Bale even improves on Michael Keaton, who donned Batman's cape both in Tim Burton's 1989 ''Batman'' and its funhouse sequel three years later, and gave the character a jolt of menace. What Mr. Keaton couldn't bring to the role, and what Mr. Bale conveys effortlessly, is Bruce Wayne's air of casual entitlement, the aristocratic hauteur that is the necessary complement of Batman's obsessive megalomania.
What Mr. Nolan gets, and gets better than any other previous director, is that without Bruce Wayne, Batman is just a rich wacko with illusions of grandeur and a terrific pair of support hose. Without his suave alter ego, this weird bat man is a superhero without humanity, an avenger without a conscious, an id without a superego. Which is why, working from his and David S. Goyer's very fine screenplay, Mr. Nolan more or less begins at the beginning, taking Batman back to his original trauma and the death of his parents. With narrative economy and tangible feeling, he stages that terrible, defining moment when young Master Wayne watched a criminal shoot his parents to death in a Gotham City alley, thereby setting into motion his long, strange journey into the self.
The story opens with the adult Bruce in the middle of that journey, in the far reaches of Asia, where he first rubs shoulders with ''the criminal fraternity,'' then a clandestine brotherhood called the League of Shadows. Lead by a warrior sensei, Ra's al Ghul (Ken Watanabe), and his aide, Henri Ducard (Liam Neeson, at his lethal best), the league invites Bruce into its fold, an offer he violently declines. Thereafter, he returns to Gotham City, where he assumes a dual identity as both the city's wealthiest citizen and its avenging angel. Intrigue ensues involving a crime lord played with brio by Tom Wilkinson, a headshrinker brought to skin-crawling life by Cillian Murphy and the last honest cop in Gotham, James Gordon, given expressive poignancy by a restrained Gary Oldman.
It's amazing what an excellent cast, a solid screenplay and a regard for the source material can do for a comic book movie. Unlike Robert Rodriguez, whose faithfulness to Frank Miller's comic sucked the juice out of ''Sin City,'' Mr. Nolan approaches Batman with respect rather than reverence. It's obvious that Mr. Nolan has made a close study of the Batman legacy, but he owes a specific debt to Mr. Miller's 1980's rethink of the character, which resurrected the Dark Knight side of his identity. Like Mr. Miller's Batman, Mr. Nolan's is tormented by demons both physical and psychological. In an uncertain world, one the director models with an eye to our own, this is a hero caught between justice and vengeance, a desire for peace and the will to power.
That struggle gives the story its requisite heft, but what makes this ''Batman'' so enjoyable is how Mr. Nolan balances the story's dark elements with its light, and arranges the familiar genre elements in new, unforeseen ways. Weaned on countless comics and a handful of movies, we may think we know the bat cave like we know the inside of our childhood bedroom. But to watch Bruce Wayne stand in the atmospheric gloom of this new cavern, surrounded by a cloud of swirling bats, is to see the underground refuge for the first time. Likewise the Batmobile, which here resembles a Hummer that looks as if it had been gently flattened by a Bradley tank, then tricked out for some hard street racing with fat tires and gleaming black paint.
As is often the case with movies about toys and boys, ''Batman Begins'' drags on too long, but even the reflexively Bruckheimer-like finish can't diminish its charms. Mr. Nolan needs to work on his action: Fred Astaire made sure that he was filmed so that you could see the entirety of his body, advice this director should have heeded when shooting his superhero. Still, what makes ''Batman Begins'' the most successful comic-book adaptation alongside Terry Zwigoff's ''Ghost World'' isn't the noisy set pieces, the nods to ''Blade Runner'' or the way a child's keepsake, an Indian arrowhead, echoes the shape of a bat. It's the way Mr. Nolan invites us to watch Bruce Wayne quietly piecing together his Batman identity, to become a secret sharer to a legend, just as we did once upon a time when we read our first comic.
on 24 June 2009
I love that movie! Great soundtrack by Hans Zimmer.
Dolby true HD: English 5.1
Dolby Digital: English, Spanish, French, German, Italian
English, Spanish, Danish, Dutch, Finnish, French, German, Italian, Novewegian, Portuguese, Swedish
on 30 June 2013
If you are a huge fan of the Christopher Nolan Dark Knight Trilogy like me then this is an easy buy as it is the first time in the UK that we have received single film editions of all 3 of the films. Batman Begins the start of the extraordinary trilogy that spread across 7 years is an extremely well written and directed film it fully restored Batman to his Dark, gritty comic book counterpart but also added a realistic type world twist making this film very unique. The locations, costumes, props etc. are all amazing in this film the bat suit in Batman Begins has become my favourite bat suit of all time. The performances from Christian Bale, Katie Holmes, Liam Neeson, Gary Oldman, Michael Caine, Cillian Murphy and Ken Watanabe are superb and really enhances the movie's overall look and feel as a Batman film. The steelbook is a very welcome edition to any steelbook collectors, collection. The artwork on the steelbook is stunning with a nice matte finish and really nice gold, orange tinted shine that really highlights the incredible image on the front and back of the steelbook, there is also inside artwork which also matches the stunning artwork on the back and front of the steelbook. Overall the Batman Begins blu-ray steelbook is a very nice steelbook for collectors and it would a very welcome edition to any blu-ray collection if you have a blu-ray player but do not own the film and you wish to own the film this is a great way to own it as the disc is exactly the same as the standard blu-ray edition and for a little extra money you can have this extraordinary limited edition steelbook