Nolan Shares Influences Behind “The Dark Knight Rises” “Chris Nolan’s Dark Knight Rises Movie Influences”, by Jim Vejvoda

The five films that influenced Nolan’s TDKR are: Fritz Lang’s Metropolis; The Battle of Algiers; Sidney Lumet’s Prince of the City; David Lean’s Doctor Zhivago; and Ridley Scott’s Blade Runner, a movie Nolan has long cited as important influence on him as a filmmaker.

Nolan supposedly revealed this background to Yahoo!

I didn’t catch the influence of Blade Runner on TDKR, but I am not a fan of that 80s punk film or whatever you might call it. I’ve never heard of these other movies, so I wouldn’t know if this info is accurate.

The IGN article mentions also that A Tale of Two Cities was an influence, but what of the comics? Was not The Dark Knight Returns a direct influence? I guess it is a direct source, so it must be taken for granted, and yet TDKR is not a movie replica of the graphic novel.


Christopher Nolan Bids Farewell to the Batman Franchise in Must-Read Letter

HT Sean O’Connell

Alfred. Gordon. Lucius. Bruce . . . Wayne. Names that have come to mean so much to me. Today, I’m three weeks from saying a final good-bye to these characters and their world. It’s my son’s ninth birthday. He was born as the Tumbler was being glued together in my garage from random parts of model kits. Much time, many changes. A shift from sets where some gunplay or a helicopter were extraordinary events to working days where crowds of extras, building demolitions, or mayhem thousands of feet in the air have become familiar.

People ask if we’d always planned a trilogy. This is like being asked whether you had planned on growing up, getting married, having kids. The answer is complicated. When David and I first started cracking open Bruce’s story, we flirted with what might come after, then backed away, not wanting to look too deep into the future. I didn’t want to know everything that Bruce couldn’t; I wanted to live it with him. I told David and Jonah to put everything they knew into each film as we made it. The entire cast and crew put all they had into the first film. Nothing held back. Nothing saved for next time. They built an entire city. Then Christian and Michael and Gary and Morgan and Liam and Cillian started living in it. Christian bit off a big chunk of Bruce Wayne’s life and made it utterly compelling. He took us into a pop icon’s mind and never let us notice for an instant the fanciful nature of Bruce’s methods.

I never thought we’d do a second — how many good sequels are there? Why roll those dice? But once I knew where it would take Bruce, and when I started to see glimpses of the antagonist, it became essential. We re-assembled the team and went back to Gotham. It had changed in three years. Bigger. More real. More modern. And a new force of chaos was coming to the fore. The ultimate scary clown, as brought to terrifying life by Heath. We’d held nothing back, but there were things we hadn’t been able to do the first time out — a Batsuit with a flexible neck, shooting on Imax. And things we’d chickened out on — destroying the Batmobile, burning up the villain’s blood money to show a complete disregard for conventional motivation. We took the supposed security of a sequel as license to throw caution to the wind and headed for the darkest corners of Gotham.

I never thought we’d do a third — are there any great second sequels? But I kept wondering about the end of Bruce’s journey, and once David and I discovered it, I had to see it for myself. We had come back to what we had barely dared whisper about in those first days in my garage. We had been making a trilogy. I called everyone back together for another tour of Gotham. Four years later, it was still there. It even seemed a little cleaner, a little more polished. Wayne Manor had been rebuilt. Familiar faces were back — a little older, a little wiser . . . but not all was as it seemed.

Gotham was rotting away at its foundations. A new evil bubbling up from beneath. Bruce had thought Batman was not needed anymore, but Bruce was wrong, just as I had been wrong. The Batman had to come back. I suppose he always will.

Michael, Morgan, Gary, Cillian, Liam, Heath, Christian . . . Bale. Names that have come to mean so much to me. My time in Gotham, looking after one of the greatest and most enduring figures in pop culture, has been the most challenging and rewarding experience a filmmaker could hope for. I will miss the Batman. I like to think that he’ll miss me, but he’s never been particularly sentimental.

The Dark Knight Rises

Spoiler alert!

Do not continue reading unless you have seen the movie already.

Official Website for The Dark Knight Rises

Spoiler alert!

Do not continue reading unless you have seen the movie already.

Here are my initial thoughts and reactions to the movie and its critics.

I went into the movie believing that it would not be as good as The Dark Knight (DK). I personally felt that the Joker is the pinnacle of Batman villains, so it could not be topped in subsequent films. I was pleasantly surprised not with Bane but with The Dark Knight Rises (DKR) on the whole. While the main villain was not as intriguing as the Joker from DK, Bane was still menacing and terrifying. But this movie had a complete package. It was dark yet humorous, serious and sad, action with drama; these features carried throughout the entire trilogy. But now it tied together the previous two movies while presenting its own unique story.

I’ve read that the danger driving the plot, the nuclear time bomb, was unoriginal. I disagree. It wasn’t a nuclear time bomb, but, rather, a makeshift time bomb derived from a fusion reactor meant to provide clean energy. Now that’s an important twist, and it is indeed original as far as I can recall. It’s not like Bane stole a nuclear bomb and planned to set it off in the city. No, he acquired the scientist capable of dealing with the reactor and forced him to make it into a bomb. I don’t ever recall this plot before. It was original and fresh to me, anyway, and it was much more alarming than anything the Joker did. At best, the Joker would have killed about 1,000 people across two ferries. He didn’t kill anyone in the hospital, but if he had, what, maybe 3,000 people would have been killed? At best we are talking 4,000 people. The Joker was a menace to be sure, but not nearly as threatening and menacing as Bane, who, at best, would have destroyed the entire city, probably killing about one million people initially. And let’s not forget that Bane beat Batman in hand to hand combat even if morphine strengthened, after all, Batman had his other gadgets to assist him. Brutal. Bane. Is. Brutal. And scary. So, the ultimate driving force of the movie, Bane and his plot, I felt was much improved in DKR over DK. Feel free to disagree.

I admit, I did not see Talia coming. I didn’t read it at all. I thought that Miranda was under duress, but we found out that she was actually the daughter of Ra’s al Ghul, seeking to avenger her father’s death with the help of Bane, her protector, her lover (perhaps), but her pawn nonetheless. So, Bane’s plot is not his own. This might cheapen him a bit, but the deadly plan to set off the nuclear time bomb in the middle of the city is no less dangerous and threatening simply because it seems to have been Talia’s scheme and not Bane’s.

The Talia-Bane nuclear time bomb was much more satisfying and grand–a fitting feat for Batman to overcome in his final act as the Dark Knight. I was right that the Joker could not be topped, but this is true only in character depth, as my friend Chris Rawlings would likely say. It was the plot that did top the film’s predecessors.

But wait, there is more. Catwoman, known only as Salina Kyle in DKR, is very interesting. No whip. No cats. No milk. But she has strong gymnast and martial arts skills with a strong propensity for theft and deception. Still more, John Blake, the uniform cop who was an orphan and did meet Bruce Wayne as a young boy while also admiring Batman even as an adult, becomes a detective and ultimately aids Batman, as does Catwoman. So, the point of Batman as stated in Batman Begins (BG), to provide an immortal symbol of justice, that anyone could become Batman, comes to fruition in DKR. While Catwoman ultimately leaves the country and ends up with Bruce in Florence, Blake takes the reigns of the Batman symbol; he unveils that his real, legal name is Robin, which is a nice nod to incorporate the Boy Wonder without the mask and suite. In theory, Blake could become Nightwing, but the trilogy is over.

And I liked the ending. Batman seemingly flies The Bat with nuclear time bomb in toe out over the sea to sacrifice himself but save the city. The nuclear bomb explodes off shore, Batman purportedly incinerated, and Gotham saved. Alfred, Gordon, Blake, and Fox have a funeral for Bruce at Wayne Manor, seemingly making the death of Batman official. But when Alfred goes to Florence, he sees Bruce with Selina at a table. I deeply appreciated this simulated death. As it turns out, Bruce had repaired the autopilot of The Bat, and he was somehow able to let his flying vessel take the nuclear time bomb out to sea without him being on it. This ending was a nice nod to the graphic novel, The Dark Knight Returns, in which Batman fakes his death in a battle with Superman. He uses a chemical to simulate a heart attack, leading doctors to declare him dead as he had no pulse. But Superman figures it out later, leaving Bruce to his own agenda–to train pseudo-replacements for the Batman role. Say what you want about the ending, but I thought it brilliant.

What is incredibly striking about this film is the way it ties everything together from BG to DK to DKR. In fact, in a lot of ways, it fits better in the trilogy than DK. I love how Ra’s al Ghul was brought back into it, a vision for Bruce in The Pit. I love the way it started with Gordon’s funeral speech and then carried forward. I love that Bane was an exiled member of the League of Shadows, putting him no less than an equal with Batman in terms of hand to hand combat. [EDIT 7/22] I love how Bane’s mask is styled after Ra’s al Ghul’s from the end of BG. [/EDIT] The connections help give the trilogy a seamless narrative from start to finish, masterfully binding them all together.

I am wondering, what was the key line in DKR? Batman Begins had the one from Rachel Dawes: “It’s not who you are inside; it’s what you do that defines you.” And from DK, Harvey Dent: “You either die a hero or you live long enough to see yourself become the villain.” But what was the line in DKR? Was there one? If so, I didn’t catch it. I’m sad in either case, because it was a nice signature of each predecessor, so if it is missing, then the movie is lacking the signature phrase, but if it was present, it was so forgettable that I completely overlooked it.

Another problem with DRK was the voice of Bane. While many people were disgruntled over Batman’s grunting and hoarse voice in DK, many people are getting their briefs in a bunch over Bane’s masked voice. I admit, I couldn’t understand half of what he said. I feel that I may have missed out on a lot as a result. Maybe the difficulty was due to the bass being turned up too high in the theater. Maybe it was something else. But I couldn’t understand him at all in some instances.

Now, if Talia was the child who escaped The Pit, why did Bane say that he was born there in the darkness? I didn’t understand that part. Was he lying? Was he speaking metaphorically? I just don’t know. Also, how did everyone seem to know who Batman’s real identity was? Did Ra’s al Ghul tell Bane and Talia? That’s the only explanation I can come up with, unless maybe Riley from DK leaked the information at some point.

Well, no movie can be air and water tight with respect to every plot schematic, and I am not detracting from the movie’s quality with these qualms. I just find them interesting. I really loved DKR. I’m not sure yet if I love it more or less than DK, but I am certain of being pleasantly surprised, since I thought it was not going to give the 2nd movie of the trilogy a run for its money.

For another time, I should talk about the trilogy in comparison to others. How does it stack up against Star Wars (4, 5, 6), Lord of the Rings, The Matrix, Indiana Jones, Spider-man, X-men, and the like? But that is for another time.

The Dark Knight Rises, by Hans Zimmer

The Dark Knight Rises, by Hans Zimmer, free streaming via AOL Music today, 7/17/2012

Hear the brooding score from the upcoming conclusion to Chris Nolan’s Batman trilogy.

Surely this album will be better than the Zimmer-Howard tag team effort of The Dark Knight, right?

This Zimmer-solo effort carries a lot of the tones and themes from the first two scores over quite nicely. Is it as good as the legendary Batman Begins score?

The first song, A Storm is Coming, carries the basic Batman theme from Batman Begins. It is quite noticeable, and it ties the score in with its predecessors very well.

Then it transitions to On Thin Ice. It is a dark and eerie sounding song.

Things pick up in Gothams Reckoning, the album’s most popular iTunes Store track, carrying with it a kind of irksome sound like that of Why So Serious, but not nearly to the same degree. Still, it is dark, only to be cut by some sort of percussion snare accents. Seventy-five percent of the way through, it really crescendos and drives. There’s nothing particularly gripping here, however, as it does lack the capacity to captivate its audience.

The fourth song, Mind if I Cut in, does utilize stringed instruments to draw in the listener. Tempered with some sort of bell or chime with the piano, this song is rather nice yet ominous. It is completely unique and unlike any of the tracks from the previous albums.

Underground Army sounds just like something from the previous album, but it feels new.

Born in Darkness carries the feel from the Batman Begins score, but now a bit more open in some regards. Ultimately, it’s too open and yields itself empty.

The score really picks up in The Fire Rises. It is a turbulent track filled with sixteenth notes, and it is very entertaining. I love how it carries some of the previous album’s themes but works it into this turbulent roller coaster. But then, suddenly, out of nowhere, it decrescendos like it’s nobodies business, and it becomes dreary though familiar. The last 25% picks up turbulence again, so this song is very dynamic. It’s a great song.

Nothing Out There comes in sounding like it’s going to be an awesome track with some strings, and then it takes an odd turn before arriving at the familiar and beloved piano trail introduced in Batman Begins. The odd turn nearly ruins the whole track if it were not for the Batman Begins influence that washes it clean.

Now, Despair contains a familiar Batman theme from the first film with a nice set of strings and horn combination. It masterfully works in the turbulent themes of this new film. And then that pesky and irksome “Why so Serious?” influenced sound comes in, which is annoying. But the song finishes well, utilizing other good themes from the previous two albums.

There may not be a more turbulent track on the album than Fear Will Find You. It still incorporates previous themes, but it works them really well with the current feel of the new film.

Why Do We Fall? This title comes straight from Batman Begins, bringing the trilogy full circle and to a fitting close. The track, however, lacks the piano trail associated with this scene from what I remember, which was utilized earlier in this score, and I would have appreciated it here.

Death By Exile was, I’m sorry, brief and forgettable.

Imagine the Fire was, in stark contrast, original and memorable. I love the strings in contrast with the percussion amidst the familiar themes. Exceptional track. That is until it incorporates some of the themes from Pirates of the Caribbean in slightly different rhythmic form. Yuck. Oh, Hans Zimmer, why must you recycle your works so? Well, once the song gets passed the Pirates theme, it crescendo’s really nicely.

The regular album ends with Rise, the second most popular track on the iTunes Store. At 7 minutes 15 seconds long, it seeks to combine the beloved themes from all three albums. It does a decent job, but it spends too much time bringing out the themes from The Dark Knight, which tended to drag out.

I think AOL’s description of this album is quite apt: “Hear the brooding score . . .” (emphasis mine). It’s certainly not better than Batman Begins, but it is a far cry better than The Dark Knight. Hans Zimmer did well all by his lonesome here as he worked in themes from the predecessors into this one with fresh ones of his own too. But, ultimately, it carried too many Dark Knight pitfalls, reducing its overall quality and appeal. It didn’t help that Zimmer did as Zimmer does by recycling material from his other scores either. Still, it’s worth a listen in my estimation. Go check it out on AOL Music while it’s still available for free streaming.

The Great Escape

If you haven’t seen The Great Escape, you might be missing out. It’s a reality TV show on TNT, but each episode contains different contestants, so every week sees new winners who receive $100,000. It requires puzzle solving skills, ninja skills, and weight-lifting skills, as it combines a series of puzzles throughout a guarded labyrinth that requires stealth and strength to navigate, which makes it suspenseful and interesting. Three teams compete—the red, blue, and green teams—with 2 people per team. Episodes started at Alcatraz first, the USS Hornet second, and now, most recently, The Institution third. Thus far, it has been filmed entirely in Northern California from what I can tell. My favorite one so far was Alcatraz, since I have been there, but I think the coolest one so far has been The Institution. I thought that the puzzles were pretty challenging and very intriguing in this episode.

Have you seen The Great Escape? Have you been to its website? Are you using the phone app to earn points?

#MustangCustomizer vs The Purist

After having customized over 100 Mustangs at, I have realized that I like the simpler style. I always have, but it just seems more concrete now. And so, I must ask myself, do I even want the 3d Carbon Fiber front bumper? Or the custom decklid? Or even the GT500 spoiler? How about the Roush rims? The purist in me says emphatically, “No.” The realist in me says the same but for different reasons. I’ve had a Saleen—a production tuner car. I’ve had a Cobra—a factory tuner car. I realize I may be splitting hairs here between production and factory tuner car definitions, but let me explain.

The Cobra was tight. Everything fit seamlessly. No cricks, creeks, or annoyances. The previous owner had broken a few things when he ran over an animal, but that aside, the car was solid. The Saleen was rickety. The sideskirts didn’t fit right, the center caps on the rims would disappear periodically, and the rear bumper was slightly uneven and even partially bubble-warped. While the Saleen may have been supercharged and quicker, it had these non-factory faults. The Cobra was a better car even if it wasn’t as fast. It was better because it was a well built machine straight from Ford.

The realist in me says, “Why get aftermarket parts when you know that you will have a similar experience to that of the Saleen?” Yes, I know, but it would still look good, unique, and Ford would build it for me. It is the purist that breaks the tie: the GT’s raw form is so good, I really do want it straight from Ford how it was designed for 2013.

You be the judge.



Vote above, but state why in the comments below!