One of the most interesting panels at SXSW Interactive 2006 was The Future of Darknets, moderated by JD Lasica. And while the concept of Darknets - communities using private subnetworks to communicate and collaborate out of view of the larger internet - is indeed fascinating, the panel was not interesting because of the intended topic. In fact, we never actually got to hear much about DarkNets, much to my disappointment, because the panel was hijacked the moment one panelist said, "Hello, my name is Kori Bernards, and I'm from the Motion Picture Association of America."
What followed was an hour-long firing squad as one audience member after another directed angry questions her way. The feeling of pent-up frustrations with the movie biz was palpable, especially as her claims of flexibility and excitement within the MPAA to find "creative new solutions" to the problems raised by the audience rang more and more hollow, the more times she repeated them.
I had low expectations, but it really is that good.
I've excused so many plot holes, crap dialog, and spandex with the phrase, "well, it's just a comic book movie," I'd forgotten how comics, real comics, could be dark, emotionally intense, psychological affairs.
Batman has no superpowers. He was not bitten by a radioactive spider, not touched by magic space gas, not fallen from a distant planet. What he has is rage. Guilt. Anger. And, to be honest, a whole lot of money. Which, ya know, helps.
Batman Begins sheds the skin of the dopey Tim Burton movies (yeah, the first one was great, the rest got worse and worse) and pays absolutely no heed to the campy 60s TV series. If it's like anything, it's the brilliant animated series from a few years ago. But even that is a faint reference.
The movie has totally reborn the character and the storyline. It's characters are real and the performances brilliant. And unlike the first Batman movie, the best parts aren't already in the trailers.
For the first time in a long time, it's a comic book movie that's not "just a comic book movie." Go see it. You won't be disappointed.
Lemony Snicket's A Series of Unfortunate Events is fantastic. It's better acted, more beautifully stylized, more captivating storytelling, and just more of a joy to behold than any of those wretched Harry Potter movies. And be sure to stay until the very end, the movie has the most beautiful ending credits I've ever seen.
Just one thing: If your child is not old enough to READ, then just leave them home, okay? It's a dark movie, so if your kid's too young to read, they're probably too young for the movie. And there's jokes in text, so if your child asks you, "what does that say?" over and over again, eventually the bitter couple sitting in front of you will turn and say something ... unfortunate.
This section is called Just a Thought. It's a blog where I post little pieces of what I'm thinking about at the moment. This page shows thoughts about Movies, including:
SXSW to MPAA: STFU
15 March 2006
18 June 2005
23 December 2004
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Working the web since 1995, Derek Powazek is the creator of many award-winning websites, a couple of which still exist. Derek is the cofounder of JPG Magazine and the CCO of 8020 Publishing. Derek lives in San Francisco with his wife, two nutty Chihuahuas, a grumpy cat, and a house full of plants named Fred. More »
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SXSW to MPAA: STFU 15 March 2006
Batman Begins 18 June 2005
Unfortunate 23 December 2004