Author Topic: The Dark Knight: News, Reviews, your Views. "SPOILERS" welcome!  (Read 183249 times)

Offline Ellemeno

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Welcome to the "Spoilers welcome" thread about The Dark Knight.

A similar, but "No-Spoiler" thread can be found in The Culture Tent forum here.


Heath Ledger's transformation left Caine speechless
Shannon Harvey
June 22, 2008 12:00am

THEY say what's done on film can never be taken away. It's there forever - a permanent celluloid record for the world to see.

If that’s true, then from all accounts the world is about to see the crowning achievement of WA’s most successful Hollywood star. Sadly, Heath Ledger’s highly anticipated performance as The Joker in the upcoming Batman Begins sequel, The Dark Knight, will be his last full performance.

The 28-year-old was a third of the way through filming The Imaginarium of Dr Parnassus when he died of an accidental overdose of prescription medication in New York. His role will be finished by Johnny Depp, Jude Law and Colin Farrell.

Since news of Ledger’s death shook the world in January, the actor’s The Dark Knight co-stars have hailed his performance in the role made famous by Jack Nicholson in the original Batman film. Christian Bale, who returns as the Caped Crusader, told Details magazine: “He was incredibly intense in his performance but incredibly mellow and laid-back. I can’t do anything else but hope that it will be an absolutely appropriate celebration of his work.”

Michael Caine, who returns as the butler Alfred, said before Ledger’s death that he was so terrified by the actor’s transformation on set that he forgot his lines.

“You think Jack Nicholson in the role and you can’t imagine anyone topping him,” he said. “But Heath’s just as good in another direction. He’s terrifying. It will frighten the life out of people.”

Director Christopher Nolan has already dedicated the film to the late star’s memory, and is adding a dedication to the end of the film.

With Ledger’s villainous performance as the mass-murdering pyromaniac clown now getting Oscar heat, The Dark Knight has become the most anticipated film of 2008. Not just here in Ledger’s hometown of Perth, but all over the world, with predictions of record-breaking box office results. The odds are it will be the year’s highest grossing film.

Yet Ledger’s shock death has proved a sensitive issue for film studio Warner Bros., which is struggling to market The Dark Knight sensitively, without exploiting the star’s untimely death.
Executives have consulted the family every step of the way about how Ledger will appear in everything from trailers to posters.

It is, after all, a sensitive issue. Ledger’s ghostly looking Joker make-up doesn’t help the cause. There are persistent rumours the actor was haunted by playing such a crazed character, and that he was physically exhausted after a gruelling schedule away from family and friends.

Those and other much-publicised mysteries at the time led some to speculate that Ledger’s death wasn’t as accidental as it appeared.

Yet mystery has surrounded the roguish blonde with the big smile ever since he fled Perth with a few bucks in his pocket and drove his bombed-out car across the Nullarbor to chase fame and fortune in Sydney.

Blessed with good looks, confidence and an abundance of charm, Ledger had already impressed on stage at Guildford Grammar and as a gay cyclist on the local TV series Sweat.

Under the guidance of his business-minded father, Kim, Ledger rejected a long-term contract on Home and Away after appearing in a handful of episodes and landed a breakthrough role in the US series Roar.

His rugged turn had chins wagging in Hollywood and star-making roles followed in 10 Things I Hate About You, Two Hands and The Patriot, in which he co-starred with his boyhood idol, Mel Gibson.

Some choices turned out to be turkeys. Despite his rising stocks, A Knight’s Tale, The Four Feathers and Ned Kelly all flopped, and The Order was so bad it was renamed The Sin Eater in Australia.

Some critics labelled Ledger bland or unappealing. His handling of the media often made matters worse.

Although incredibly shy and uncomfortable in the spotlight, he toed the studio line by doing his share of interviews – where he had a habit of putting his foot in it.

He naively mocked the shark-attack death at Cottesloe beach of WA man Ken Crew, peeled and ate an orange during a TV interview and called then-PM John Howard “a dick”.

He goaded paparazzi with finger signs; they hit back with water pistols. While he often apologised for his faux pas, it was painfully obvious he struggled to deal with the trappings that go with being a young star.

He never really gave a candid, in-depth interview about what made him tick. Perhaps the walls were up. Perhaps he didn’t quite know.

Yet there was a clear sense that Ledger began to feel more at home in his skin during the last few years of his life, especially after his Oscar-nominated role in Brokeback Mountain, where he met Michelle Williams, the mother of his only child.

Ledger has said his favourite role was father to daughter Matilda, but he also became more accepting of his fame and more in charge of his career in his last few films.

And that flowed into his richer, more soulful and nuanced performances in his final films, Candy, I’m Not There and, by all accounts, The Dark Knight.

If Ledger was really coming into his own, then his bold, wild, off-kilter turn as The Joker will be something to see.

Will there ever be another Heath Ledger to come out of Perth? Of course not. He was one rogue cowboy who blazed a trail all the way from the most isolated capital city on earth to the capital of showbiz.

He left a legacy that will live on like his movies. He proved someone from Perth could make it in Hollywood, on their own terms. It’s a legacy currently being fulfilled by rugged Rockingham lad Sam Worthington, who leads the upcoming Hollywood blockbusters Avatar and Terminator 4, and local supermodels Emma Booth and Gemma Ward, who are receiving great reviews after switching from the catwalk to the silver screen.

Maybe there will be many more stars to come, but there will never be another Heath Ledger.

The Dark Knight opens in Perth on July 17.
« Last Edit: July 12, 2008, 10:14:29 am by Elle »

Offline Shasta542

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Re: The Dark Knight: News, Reviews, etc.
« Reply #1 on: June 23, 2008, 10:53:21 am »
Good article. Very sad, as well. Thanks, Elle. I can't wait to see Heath's performance in The Dark Knight.

It is nice that the studio is consulting with Heath's family about things. I'm sure they don't have to do that contractually, so that shows an element of humanity that I'm sure the family and the public appreciate.
"Gettin' tired of your dumbass missin'!"


Offline Ellemeno

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Re: The Dark Knight: News, Reviews, etc.
« Reply #2 on: June 23, 2008, 11:34:09 am »
I saw the trailer for TDK in a theater for the first time yesterday.  I felt a confusing amalgam of feelings, sorrow, pride in Heath, recognition for this trailer I've watched a bunch of times on YouTube, bummed, excited.

Offline optom3

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Re: The Dark Knight: News, Reviews, etc.
« Reply #3 on: June 23, 2008, 11:54:02 am »
I saw the trailer for TDK in a theater for the first time yesterday.  I felt a confusing amalgam of feelings, sorrow, pride in Heath, recognition for this trailer I've watched a bunch of times on YouTube, bummed, excited.

Thanks for posting that article,I thought it was well considered, without being overtly sentimental. It still gave me a massive lump in my throat though.
I actually saw a trailer for TDK on T.V yesterday and was taken aback by my reaction.I ,like you have seen the same clip numerous times on youtube,but to have it on a big screen in my home was too much. I just burst into tears.How silly is that ??
 I don't get it, particularly as I have seen the clip numerous times before. Maybe it was the element of surprise, I had not chosen to watch it, instead it was beamed into my home quite unexpectedly.
I loved that sentence about him being a rogue cowboy, blazing a trail from the most isolated Capital city on earth, to the capital of Hollywood.
It cut quite deep though the author's comments that maybe at last he was comming to terms with his fame.How sad is that? All those years of suffering the press junkets and interviews and then just as maybe he is becoming more at ease, he goes. Very sad.

Offline j.U.d.E.

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Re: The Dark Knight: News, Reviews, etc.
« Reply #4 on: June 27, 2008, 04:18:18 am »
Yesterday on


Batman Tribute For Ledger And Special Effects Genius - 26 June 2008 11:58 PM
Heath Ledger and special effects technician Conway Wickliffe will be remembered in a special dedication at the end of the new Batman film The Dark Knight. After the credits roll on the upcoming blockbuster, a message reading, "In memory of our friends Heath Ledger + Conway Wickliffe" will appear on the screen. Ledger, who plays The Joker in the film died from an accidental drug overdose in January and Wickliffe lost his life in a stunt accident last year.


Top Film Critic: 'Ledger's Joker Is Oscar Worthy' - 26 June 2008 6:36 PM
One of America's most revered film critics has started championing Heath Ledger for a posthumous Oscar in his review of the tragic actor's final completed film. In his critique of The Dark Knight, Rolling Stone's Peter Travers calls Ledger's portrayal of The Joker "mad-crazy-blazing brilliant." He goes on to write, "It's typical of Ledger's total commitment to films as diverse as Brokeback Mountain and I'm Not There that he does nothing out of vanity or the need to be liked. "Ledger's Joker has no gray areas - he's all rampaging id. He creates a Joker for the ages." Ledger, who died from an accidental drug overdose in January, takes on The Joker role which Jack Nicholson portrayed in Tim Burton's 1989 Batman film. The Dark Knight hits cinema screens next month. And Travers in convinced Ledger is bound for Oscar gold: "If there's a movement to get him the first posthumous Oscar since Peter Finch won for 1976's Network, sign me up."


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Offline Fran

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Re: The Dark Knight: News, Reviews, etc.
« Reply #5 on: June 27, 2008, 12:27:06 pm »
As to what happened to Conway Wickliffe, here's what I found:

Hundreds farewell 'movie star'
5:00AM Sunday October 14, 2007
By Michelle Coursey

A special effects expert beloved in the blockbuster movie industry was farewelled by hundreds yesterday, weeks after his death during a Batman stunt car rehearsal.

Conway Wickliffe, 41, was honoured at a tangi in Te Kuiti, following the September 25 accident in England.

He was killed when a four-wheel-drive vehicle he was travelling in crashed into a tree. It was believed to be following a stunt car, possibly the Batmobile, at a Surrey special effects facility while preparing the vehicle for the latest Batman film, Batman: The Dark Knight.

It was the second service held for Wickliffe: a wake in London two weeks ago attracted more than 300 mourners, including Christian Bale, who played Batman in Batman Begins.

Daniel Craig, the new James Bond in Casino Royale - which Wickliffe also worked on - sent apologies he could not attend. Friends laughed that Wickliffe had once put Craig in a headlock while demonstrating a wrestling move at a film premiere.

Wickliffe had worked on several multi-million-dollar films - he made robots for the Tomb Raider films starring Angelina Jolie, worked on the James Bond film Die Another Day, plus Children of Men, Black Hawk Down, and V for Vendetta.

More than 200 people were at his tangi yesterday at Te Tokanganui-a-noho Marae. His whanau and friends, including more than 25 visitors from England, had stayed up all night previously sharing stories about Wickliffe.

The devoted family man grew up in Paeroa, attended Hato Petera College in Northcote, Auckland, then studied graphic design. He loved surfing and had touched many people with his warmth and humour, guests said. During the service, his distraught wife Derryn Chase, whom he met while both were teenagers, held their daughter Eden, 4, and son Sabian, 12, next to their father's coffin.

High-school friend Shane Law said Wickliffe would constantly come up with inventions, - including a breathable watch for underwater diving.

He was passionate about making machines and cars for the blockbuster films he worked on. "He was our superhero," Law said. "He was our own movie star."

Close friend Nick Bonathan worked with Wickliffe for the past eight years, and was wearing a Batman Begins shirt to commemorate one of the films the pair worked on together. "It's going to be a struggle to get the job done, but we have to do it for him now - finish The Dark Knight. Hopefully it will be dedicated to him," said Bonathan.

"This is an extreme loss to New Zealand film, and Maori film-making too," said Chase's cousin, Mihirawhiti Searancke. "He was a Maori boy from Paeroa, who conquered the world doing what he did so well."

Searancke said the family did not want to speculate on the accident, but reiterated it was not Wickliffe's fault. She said the driver of the vehicle would be "going through hell".

A neighbour of Wickliffe and Chase in London, Lee Wilkins, was "dreading going home" after losing one of his best friends. He told how Wickliffe placed a small hangar he had built for Casino Royale in the backyard to watch rugby games in.

All Black legend Colin Meads also attended the tangi, as a close friend of Wickliffe's father-in-law, Mana Chase.

Sad news.

And IMDb erroneously refers to him as "Comway."   ???
« Last Edit: June 27, 2008, 02:16:55 pm by Fran »

Offline Aloysius J. Gleek

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Re: The Dark Knight: News, Reviews, etc.
« Reply #6 on: June 28, 2008, 05:15:28 pm »

From Radar Magazine:

Joker trumps all: Hey you guys! Heath Ledger is TOTALLY going to win the Oscar. And don't let anybody tell you that this Sam Rubin didn't say so first. ANYBODY.

From the KTLA Morning News Blog:
Urgent from Sam -- Heath Ledger in 'The Dark Knight.'

10:27 PM  June 26, 2008

I just returned from a screening and I wanted to commit this to a public forum as quickly as possible. Heath Ledger gives a blockbuster performance in the new Batman movie. His work, as The Joker, will absolutely be nominated for an Oscar, and at this point in the year, Ledger is also a hands-down favorite to win it posthumously. Ledger offers perfect pitch, perfect tone, his Joker hits all the right notes. 'The Dark Knight' is among the better super-hero movies of all time, and Ledger is THE BEST villain in a super hero movie of all time. Really. It will only add to the conversation of all that Ledger could have accomplished had he lived. Amazing work.
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Offline Front-Ranger

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Re: The Dark Knight: News, Reviews, etc.
« Reply #7 on: June 30, 2008, 10:31:58 am »
I propose that we try not to post spoilers (although we all know the story anyway) until after August 10, in deference to our Eurobrokies.

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Offline Artiste

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Re: The Dark Knight: News, Reviews, etc.
« Reply #8 on: June 30, 2008, 10:37:15 am »
An Oscar ?

Which reasons for that ? May I ask ?

Offline Ellemeno

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Re: The Dark Knight: News, Reviews, etc.
« Reply #9 on: June 30, 2008, 05:42:56 pm »
I propose that we try not to post spoilers (although we all know the story anyway) until after August 10, in deference to our Eurobrokies.

While that is thoughtful, Lee, and I think it would be great if people could remember to post spoiler warnings at the top of their posts, if an individual really doesn't want to read about a topic, it would behoove them to steer clear of opening the thread about the topic.  There's lots of other stuff to read here.  :)

I'd rather that people who want to say something about it, can.

I'm going to go put a "possible spoiler advisory" in the thread subject line.

« Last Edit: July 06, 2008, 11:29:21 am by Elle »