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Early Bats and Wonka reviews!

05.16.2005

Two movies both at the top of my "Must See" list this summer are BATMAN BEGINS and CHARLIE AND THE CHOCOLATE FACTORY. They're also both Warner Bros. films. They also both were screened recently and they both have reviews online. First up, a JoBlo.com reader got to check out BATMAN BEGINS in London where the film was screened for some press and exhibitors in an intimate setting. Here's a highly positive but VERY spoiler-filled review (I did put the biggest spoilers in swipe-to-read format but I still have to warn you, there are some whoppers below and I advise you to proceed at your own risk):

The version i saw this morning was unrated with a runtime of 140 mins. I think this will change though due to some violence being cut (i.e 2 headbutts) to keep the certificate down.

To start off, I went into this film with high expectations and it certainly delivered. 'Batman Begins' is the Batman film i've been waiting for.

It ditches the tongue-in-cheek element that the previous installments had and focuses a lot on the character of Bruce Wayne as he comes to terms with his parents murder through his life, and using Batman as his "symbol" of justice against the growing crime wave that is slowly destroying gotham. However there's certainly enough Batman kicking some booty along the way to satisfy.

We're shown plenty of flashbacks of the significant moments in Bruce Waynes life from Bruce as a child falling down the well and his first encounter with the bats to Bruce witnessing the murder of his parents. I also couldn't help but smile when Bruce re enters the well to face his fear (the bats) and discovers....the Batcave.

Onto the cast. Bale is superb. He's a cool and suave Bruce Wayne as well mean and aggressive Batman. Liam Neeson, Gary Oldman, Morgan Freeman (who manages to bring some humour to the role) and Rutgar Hauer are alway very watchable actors, and they are no exception here.

Katie Holmes is also nice presence on screen, (but sorry guys, there's no gratuitous boobage shot if you've been....curious). Last but not least Michael Caine. He excels himself in the role of Alfred, a role he seemed to really enjoy playing and fit into seamlessly.

As the villians go I was just very very very slightly disappointed. Ra's Al Ghul was pretty good...

******SPOILER********** and actually turns out to be Liam Neeson if you didn't know (Ken Wantanabe is Ra's Al Ghuls "decoy" and only has about 5-10 minutes of screen time near the beginning which was a shame)

**********END SPOILER************ The Skarecrow, played brilliantly by Cillian Murphy, was extremely well done and at times extremely creepy, although i felt that needed a bit more screen time and although making short appearances throughout the film he comes into his own briefly on horseback at the end. However they have left it open for the Skarecrow to return, so hopefully the team have plans for him. Some of my favourite parts of the film was when the skarecrow unleashes his hallucinagen gas upon someone and they trip out and see what the fear most. That's a crappy description i know but i assure you it's very well done.

I think i've covered the important parts of the film. It's all all round fantastic job and Gotham City looks great. Very dark and gritty. I was a bit dubious of this "tank" of a batmobile they went for, but watching it in action it is, well quite frankly, awesome. Lastly in regard to the rumours that have been circulating. The Joker does not appear in the film but is however referenced to at the very end.

(Batman talks with Gordon on a roof top. Gordon informs Batman that " a masked murderer and armed robber is on the loose and he left us his calling card", thus handing over a "joker" playing card, whilst Batman replies "i'll look into it"). Very exciting.

The film is rounded off very well setting up the future to the Batman Legacy. Hopefully this is the first installment in a long series to come.

Sounds pretty good, eh? I tried to post that without reading a lot of the spoilers myself but I picked up a few words that piqued my interest. I can't wait until WB starts screening this thing for writers. Speaking of films I can't wait to see, there's CHARLIE AND THE CHOCOLATE FACTORY, which also had a screening recently. We'll get our next glimpse of the film in about two weeks when the full trailer debuts in front of MADAGASCAR but for now, here's an excerpt from a review that popped up online: "Once we enter the chocolate factory, the film will seem quite familiar. The screenplay by John August (who previous worked with Burton on Big Fish) follows closely to the structure of the original film, with a few important changes. Veruca's scene has been changed and is hilarious. You'll never think of a squirrel's nuts in the same way again. The film also focuses more on Wonka's origin, designed as a series of funny flashbacks that seem to keep happening at the most inappropriate times during the factory tour. Christopher Lee, the oldest and hardest working man in show business gives an inspired performance in an extended cameo as every chocolateer's worst nightmare, an overbearing dentist as a father. "

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