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8/04/2008

Red Cliff vs. Batman & Joker

Before I go into the biggest Chinese and English movies of the summer, let me just say that Sunday is not a good day for sushi. Of course I know this already, yet I still did it. Inagiku, only known as one of the best in town, was disappointing. I'll give them the benefit of the doubt due to the day for now.

On to the movies.

Red Cliff - I know its difficult to put spectacular history onto the movie screen, so John Woo has indeed done an admirable job. Nonetheless, it didn't satisfy me. Too much dialog that's more cheesy than insightful. The battles were spectacular but cliche. Way too long for its own good. The last 30 minutes were just too much of a drag to keep the movie crisp and efficient. Oh, and there's a part II to this part I, where the main battle is going to take place. I'm still looking forward to it. Final score: slightly recommended only because I love the history too much.

Batman - wow. Where do I even start. It's been a while since Hollywood came out with a Blockbuster that actually stimulated thinking (No Country for Old Men and Michael Clayton don't count as a Blockbuster; Juno and Little Miss Sunshine were indies)... anyway, I suspect you all know which part of Dark Knight I want to highlight.That's right, Prisoner's Dilemma! the Joker puts normal good citizens on one ship and criminals on the other. They are each given a bomb trigger to blow up the other ship. If neither pulls the trigger, the Joker pulls both. While our friend Batman determines that people are good when neither ship pulls the trigger... it is actually the exact opposite. Both wanted to pull the trigger: the good guys didn't because none of them wanted to bear the reputation of the person pulling the trigger; the bad guys just knew that the Joker wouldn't spare either ship so pulling the trigger had no point. Couple that with the depressing end for Harvey two face, The Dark Knight is an intense and dark and slightly depressing movie.

The morale of the movie is that you need Batman, an outlaw who performs justice while disregarding rules and laws, and that the Harvey Dents of the world, those who insist on doing everything the right way while performing justice, cannot persist. And the movie might be right. How's that for depressing.

Highly highly recommended. Oh, and I haven't even talked about the possibility of a postmortem Oscar award for the great performance of Heath Ledger as The Joker. Oh, and don't forget Christopher Nolan, the director who was also behind the great Momento. You know what, I'm going to watch it on Imax...

4 comments:

Faisal said...

Loved the Batman movie - wasn't it great that Chicago was represented in all its glory, and wasn't CGI-ed into oblivion?

I have a slightly different take on the Prisoner's Dilemma boat scene than you do, though. Although both boats wanted to blow the other up, neither do - the fact that they avoid Nash equilibrium, and actually choose the optimal outcome, is hope enough that the city needs saving.

There - I actually used the phrase Nash equilibrium in a sentence, a full year after b-school...

Laughing Man said...

I thought the people and the prisoners ended up making the proper "good" decision. They were not being selfish and I doubt they thought the Joker would blow up the remaining boat (it would be much more fun for the Joker if the remaining boat had to live with their decision).

I can see why it took so long for both sides to come to their decision. The difficult decision would certainly require deliberation. Some decided to blow up the other boat out of fear, but not malice.

During the movie, I was thinking that maybe there was a twist: the bomb on each boat was rigged to its own trigger, so whoever decided to blow up the other boat, would in fact blow themselves up, and the other boat would be blamed for it anyways. Chaos indeed!

Josekin said...

Hm... interesting. Sounds like I'm in the minority who think The Joker won. Will have another post.

Laughing Man said...

I think the Joker defeated Harvey Dent, and defeated Batman (by turning them both into villans).

For the boat ordeal, yes, the keyword is hope.