Spoiler Alert! Don’t read the title unless you’ve seen The Dark Knight Rises. I figure that the movie has been out long enough that I would be safe getting a few things off my chest.
Batman should have died. At the end of The Dark Night Rises, he flies his handy little bat hovercraft over the previously unmentioned giant ocean that sits on one side of Gotham. He does this so that a weapons grade fusion device built by his company, originally meant to power everyone’s refrigerator, doesn’t blow up in the now defunct city and kill all its inhabitants. We get the usual spiel about how it’s the only way to save the city and we all admire Batman for his sacrifice.
Everyone is mourning Batman’s death and revering him for it. Albert’s reaction is more heart-wrenching than I would have anticipated for a film based on a comic book. It should have ended there. The sacrifice makes the hero. Instead, we instead get a crap-lousy, “yay! autopilot!” explanation for the HoverBatMobile and we find that Bruce Wayne is happily trotting around the world with his new friend Cat Woman instead of being vaporized in his devotion to saving the lives of the innocent. And then we find out that the cop who was helping Batman is really named Robin, and he finds the secret bat cave and by all means jizzes his pants right on the spot.
Goddammit, Hollywood. Fuck you. Why did you have to leave it open? You’re just going to use this to build a few shitty sequels that will get everyone excited until they realize you’ve screwed them over once again. This Dark Knight trilogy is the best thing that’s happened to the Batman empire in years, and now you’ve managed to shit on the entire story-line in the last few minutes of the movie in the hopes that you can spew out a few straight-to-DVD sequels. For fuck’s sake, why don’t you just bring back George Fucking Clooney as the Batman? Remember that? Remember how low you sank? George Clooney was the Mother-Fucking Batman. You are dangerously close to this level of putrescence.
Robin was an auxiliary character who never should have made it into this trilogy. The story-line was far enough removed from the traditional characters that they only vaguely resembled the comic books. The reinventing of the characters made them much more believable. Heath Ledger nailed the Joker and, though he existed only in the second film, he made the series. You killed off Two-Face before the week’s end. You could have killed off Batman at the end and sealed the entire series.
Heroes die. That’s one of the things that makes them heroes. When they magically come back to life or don’t die, it’s only done in order to set the stage for more shitty sequels. Tony Stark should have died in the nearly-identical save the world by blowing yourself up ending of The Avengers. Jesus should have stayed dead and saved the world from the worst kinds of sequels, Christianity. In the original Song of Fire and Ice books by George RR Martin, he had the right idea: He killed off main characters left and right with an impunity that only aroused interest; until, eventually, he too forgot how to end a story.
Maybe I’m just morbid. My wife certainly thinks so. She seems to think that I won’t enjoy a movie unless it’s depressing and the main character dies. Not if it serves the story-line. If it’s a story about sacrifice for a greater cause, and the sacrifice is feigned, I just want to knock my popcorn on the floor and storm out like a spoiled little brat.
When you bend the ending of a story enough that it’s blatantly obvious you’re setting yourself up for a sequel, you kill the story. Batman may not be dead, but he is dead to me. Enjoy your time with that harlot, Robin, you back-stabbing son of a bitch. I’m sure you two will have all sorts of fun running around in with your latex outfits and stuffed codpieces, rubbing your rubber nipples together. You are dead to me.
I guess having a name like Black Death should have been enough of a warning. It was set in the plague of the 1300s, but it wasn’t as fun as Monty Python would have us believe. Lots of people were dying and rotting everywhere and there wasn’t a single “not dead yet” in the bunch. The main plot involved a bunch of stab-happy Christians hunting down some Pagan witch who was supposed to be bringing dead folks back to life. I thought these guys were into the whole resurrection scene, but apparently they just wanted to kill her. Everyone’s got to escape boredom somehow, and I guess, in the Dark Ages, that usually involved righteous throat-slitting.
At first, I found myself siding with the Pagan village because they seemed so nice and innocent, with a deliberately cautious attitude about the encroaching Christians. But as countless movies have shown, the happy, quiet towns are the ones you should be concerned about. The Christians blamed the Pagans for the plague, and vice versa. It was all about what gods you did or didn’t pray to, and both sides were equally into torture porn. I’m only surprised that Mel Gibson wasn’t a producer. He loves stabbings and flailings and ripping limbs off more than anyone I know.
So of course, I’m cheering on the Pagans until they start using the Christian’s torture methodology against them in an attempt to appease the earth and ward off the plague. Come on. I expected more out of you guys. The pagans I’ve come across have all seemed to been a fun loving bunch; more into veganism and hand-waving woo than into sledge-hammering some dude’s shins. That’s not going to help get rid of the plague, and neither will the blood of any witch with +10 resurrection power. Spoiler alert: It was the fucking rats. They spread the plague.
Hindsight is 20/20, and both sides be crazy. There was no good guy. The closest they came to a good guy was the young monk, and he eventually goes batshit crazy after whacking his (another spoiler alert) girlfriend he thought was dead and resurrected. He spends the rest of his days torturing and killing women. That’s how the movie ends. No happy ending; no “I made it through the plague and all I got was this lousy religion” t-shirt. It’s just a bunch of depressing events strung together. As soon as you think it’s hit rock bottom and couldn’t possibly get any worse, it does. And then the credits roll, right after you see some poor chick’s toe get ripped off with a pair of pliers. Delightful.
That being said, it’s a great movie. It’s just really depressing. It’s kind of like a History Channel documentary (not involving ghosts or UFOs) mixed with all the worst parts of the Saw movie series. Not all good stories are happy ones.
I was perusing Netflix today, and much to my delight, they had Left Behind II: Tribulation Force on demand. This must be another sign of the apocalypse, and I couldn’t be happier. I managed to watch the whole thing!
If you’re into the whole Christian snuff film genre, where there’s only two classes of people, nihilists and Christians, where curse words don’t exist, where the women are kept around only for encouraging and seducing men, one in which you’re sure to leave as a convert, praise Jesus, then you’re going to love this box office hit. For fuck’s sake, they had fire-breathing Jewish prophets! No shit! They actually had fire come out of their mouths to defeat the evil, trigger happy, United Nations gestapo, right after they got done spewing New Testament verses you see on coffee mugs. It was marvel of a film.
So a little background: in the first film/book, Left Behind, the rapture actually happens. No, not like the fake rapture predicted on all those billboards earlier this year. This is the real deal. There are people-less clothes and driverless automobiles everywhere, or at least in the Midwest and South. All us nonbelievers finally get the comeuppance we deserve. Especially those smug Catholics. You’d think life would be much better without all the fundies, but that’s not what Jesus H. Christ has in store for us. Oh no. He’s just getting started with fucking the rest of us over.
This movie follows the up and coming Antichrist. No, not Obama. It’s some other non-American sleazeball trying to sell world peace, Nicolae Carpathia. He rises to the top of the UN, declares a one-world currency, and everyone loves him. That is, everyone loves him except the Christians who are in on the whole joke. This guy is none other than Satan wearing a human suit, a fact which becomes immediately apparent when a Christian shakes the devil’s hand.
I didn’t edit that picture. That’s exactly what happens in the film while a Christian shakes the Anti-Christ’s hand. The devil is revealed by poor Photoshop skills.
I absolutely adore how they try to convert you around every corner in this movie. There’s an Oscar-worthy scene in which a whiny guy walks out of a church service to go home and spin his old-school revolver around the table, threatening suicide, only to be mentally subdued and converted by the non-Kirk-Cameron star of the film, some guy who’s supposed to be a pilot but reminds me more of David Puddy from Seinfeld.
We’re even blessed to have Kirk Cameron give his Way of the Master spiel where he pins down some random dude, getting him to admit he’s a thief, a liar, and *gasp* an adulterer because he thought girls were pretty. This is all very confusing as throughout the movie, you’ve got Christians gone wild who are constantly lying about their intentions and stealing the Anti-Christ’s secret documents and email. Thievery, when done for Jesus, is good and totally righteous. High five!
And of course, aside from being completely useless in the movie, they give one woman a role in which she sits by some guy with a burnt face, telling him about Jesus until he finally says the prayer and immediately dies, presumably going up to the big G-rated cloud orgy in the sky.
But, by far the best conversion scene was the one where Kirk Cameron and David Puddy stopped time in order to get past the armed UN guards so they could have two vagrants convert a Jewish rabbi. This high ranking rabbi was going to soon announce to the world that this Carpathia chap isn’t only a nice guy, but the messiah they’ve been looking for all these years. Kirk’s not having any of that, so he smuggles this meshuggeneh to the Wailing Wall in Jerusalem, where two homeless men are ranting about the end times and UN guards are shooting anyone who attempts to approach the bums. Some chick in a white dress sings amazing grace and the UN guards freeze in time. Kirk and Puddy stroll through to the homeless men and this rabbi fellow, who has apparently never heard of a New Testament before, hears a few random, cherry-picked verses from the New Testament, and is immediately convinced. Time unfreezes and the UN guards start shooting everything until the climax, where the two homeless men pull an old carny trick and burn them to death by breathing fire on them. WWJD, indeed.
Yes, yes, it sounds confusing. But it’s in the most infallible book ever written. It’s true, trust me.
Of course, the next day, during the big press release, the rabbi pulls a one-eighty on Carpathia and instead of promoting the Anti-Christ, he says that all the bullshit prophecies actually point to the Anti-Anti-Christ. That’s right, he’s talking about our buddy, Jesus! Oh. My. God. You gotta be shitting me. I’m sold.
There’s even a love story. Well, maybe more of a courting story. There’s a whiny grown woman who needs her dad’s and pastor’s approval on everything, especially when it comes to love. If you’re a woman who wants to feel sub-human, you’ll adore this film.
I give this film two upright crucifixes held high. See it now. Before it’s too late.
I turned down the lights and watched Paranormal Activity this weekend with high hopes of being generally freaked out. Overall, it was good, especially given the budget under which they were working.
I’m more drawn to the mindfuck type of movies rather than those that try to frighten through gore or scary monsters. When the enemy is unseen and left to the imagination, the fear is more gripping. When you go through a whole movie with an unseen terror and try to reveal it in the end with a cheap scare tactic, well, that just ruins it. I appreciated the movie right up until the end when they blew it.
I’ll focus on the theatrical ending because that’s the one more people have seen. But to be honest, the alternate (original) ending in which the girl slices her throat feels equally out of place.
There’s a pitifully cheap and overused tactic used extensively in scary movies that goes a little something like this:
- Seemingly normal person standing calmly
- The scene lasts a second too long and the character looks confused
- Oh gods! He/She jumps snarling at the camera, transforming mid-leap to have big pointy teeth and angry eyes
- Instant blackness in which we assume the cameraman is dead
Not cool, Hollywood. Not cool at all. Whether the protagonist is a zombie, vampire (traditional, emo, and/or sparkly), werewolf, or possessed suburbanite, this type of thing is used all over the place in movies and especially in previews. And it isn’t scary in the least.
This is the bread and butter of the haunted house industry and only marginally more frightening in person. At least in that context, the monster is attacking a human being. In Paranormal Activity, the girl gets all snarly and pointy teethy in her lunge at a friggin camera. Come on, how lame is that? Seen from a different vantage point, it has the effect of pouncing upon a Dust Buster. There is no point to it other than to cheapen an otherwise promising horror movie.
I think it’s about time this tactic is retired. I was saddened when Paranormal Activity ended like this. Up until that point, I thought the movie was cool. We only had limited glimpses at the terror and that type of unknown is much more frightening than the cliched ending they chose.