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Taken For A Thrill-Ride

"Never start with the head, the victim gets all fuzzy. " - The Joker

batman sucksI saw Batman: The Dark Knight this past weekend. The more I think about the experience the more annoyed I get. Let me explain:

Suppose you decided to pleasure yourself to the accompaniment of your favorite pictures of Jennifer Alba playing "hide-the-carbohydrate" with a large, unripened mango. (To each his own, right?) And what if in the midst of fervored calisthenics your mother suddenly appeared out of nowhere and was suddenly standing right beside your bed? Even though your door was locked, and she lived miles away and she was confined to an iron lung.

That's how I felt every time the Joker (or Batman) made an appearance in the Dark Knight, and it happened almost every time he was on screen. It was completely, totally, unbe-fucking-leivably unlikely and, yet, there he was, right where he couldn't possibly be. And we were all supposed to sit there and go "Ooooh!".

This technique is exactly the kind of thing that was entertaining when your dad played peek-a-boo with you when you were still in diapers. I played along for the first couple of entrances but then the closing credits rolled and I realized we'd been played for total saps. Again.

This bullshit technique was first popularized for the cinema in "Halloween" when Michael Myers seemed to be everywhere and nowhere at the same time. It was kinda cool the first hundred thousand or so times it happened but it's just annoying now. Hollywood, unfortunately, hasn't yet lost the woody that movie gave them once they learned how gullible an audience could be for such "thrills".

You know what else I hated? Sit down, this could take a while:

(1) Batman's Total Population Surveillance Device. Yes, I know it mirrors eactly what Homeland Security is currently up to but the movie posits that it's okay to use such devices "when the need arises". No person in government is ever that noble. Let's give no one the idea this is ever acceptable. Besides, superheroes have always shown up, like magic, exactly when the crime is being committed, no explanation needed. Let's not have to midi-chlorian-ize how that process works.

(2) The thing with the C130 transport? Yeah, I'm sure the Chinese government lets American warplanes cruise over their major cities ail the time.

(3) Four different endings. All in the same film. That's not a roller-coaster, that's a series of head-on collisions. And there's still no "ending" as it's pretty much ends right back where it started. I'll lay anyone decent odds that Harvey Dent isn't dead, either.

(4) The worst thing? Any 13-year-old could legally stroll into this movie and see throats being slit, humans exploding, people shot time and again, hundreds of people killed and maimed in various fashions, a woman blown to smithereens, dogs killed (presumably), a man slaughtered and fed to his dogs (presumably), gratuitous potato-peelers, children threatened with mutiliation, a general glorification of death and the idea that violence is the answer to all our problems. But, that young person would not see a realistic portrayal of blood as that would mean an "R" rating. Lesson? Violence: Good. Blood: Bad.

There's more. So much more, but you get the idea.

I am defintely not a prude. I love films that deal with the dark side of the human mind (Go rent Peter Jackson's earliest films) and there are plenty of movies that can tweak both sides of the brain along with the better parts of the central nervous system. But this movie is the hillbilly heroin of films, a nasty little ball of sadism that puts the hypothalamus in a headlock and carves away at your decency until you're numb to the pain.

I've said it before and I'll say it again, most films today are written by 11-years-olds for the pleasure of 12-year-olds. The Dark Knight doesn't disappoint in that regard.


Raging Pencils is a minor personal conceit of:

Mike Stanfill, Private Hand
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Today's Google Chow.
Later, in his notes, Professor Scoggins would elaborate on how the lowland gorilla can be a really sarcastic bastard at times.
"We'd just like to say hoe happy we are to have you studying us. After all, what better way to learn how to survive in the wild after the oil is all gone."