Thursday, July 06, 2006

The Joker Begins

You have to scroll to the bottom third of the Bleat today to find the movie content.

It's more fun to read it, rather than just scroll, but this post is about the bottom third, in which Lileks deals in brief with Burton's Batman and Kubrick's 2001.

It’s one of those odd-even movies – I watch it, I love it, I watch it again, I’m bored and impatient. ... This time I loved it, because I was seeing it as an Influence on subsequent sci-fi. You can trace everything back to the astro-porn of the early third, I think.
Heheheheh. I tend to agree. (Kubrick, too - check item two on the trivia.) 2001's influence even spreads beyond straight sci-fi: the MST3k movie opens with a spoof of the scene where Frank Poole uses the rotating "Discovery" as a giant inverted treadmill, complete with Gypsy's lantern eye watching Mike Nelson, HAL-style. (Of course, poor Mike's actually on a giant hamster wheel, complete with a giant water bottle for him to swig from.) (Of double-course, being a fellow Minnesotan and a friend of Mike's, Lileks knew that.)

His deconstruction of Batman strikes me as reasonable. (I'm really a movie buff-oon, so my opnion is admittedly underinformed.) Musically I liked Danny Elfman's little waltz, so I'm more forgiving of the scene it attends in the film, and I'm inclined more favorably to Nicholson's Joker - yeah, it's "Famous Jack," but there aren't many other people who could have done anything with the role. He wasn't Cesar Romero's goofball, and that was really the thing. But I will not only amen but hosanna this:
There are rumors Robin Williams might play the Joker in the next Batman movie. My initial instinct is to scream NO; that is also instincts 2 through 74...
In fact, I am so on board with this bit that Lileks' instinct number 75 - with the right director it could work - holds no force for me. Nope. I've only got 74 on this. Sweet creeping jeepers, no Robin Williams. Not even as the Riddler, which he would do much better (albeit slightly fatter). "Batman vs. Mork" is just a first-class Bad Idea. You may as well cast Patrick Stewart as Egghead and be done with it.

No, we have a good field to choose from for the Clown Prince of Crime - someone to capture his cruel madness, as captured in the title of the classic comic arc, "The Killing Joke." Nicholson was right for the role because he could be mean, and dead inside, and not just over-the-top crazy. Who would you like to see take the role?

Ironically enough, I would like to see Michael Keaton do it.

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