Thursday, June 5, 2008

Deconstructing The Dark Knight The Black Mamba

I won't claim I'm the world's biggest Batman fan. That's not to say I don't know every last fucking thing about the Caped Crusader (including enough synonyms for "Batman" that I can write about him for pages without sounding repetitive), but I know it's too iconic a character for there to not be at least a thousand people more insane about him than me. Still, I'm a protective motherfucker when it comes to the Dark Knight, so when I saw this video on Awful Announcing, I was, well, dubious, to say the least...

As someone who has made a Batman Begins mashup trailer myself (out of self-restraint, I won't embed it, but here's the link if you're curious), I feel relatively well-qualified to judge it. So...

The Pros:

1. Tremendous lip-synching on Kevin Garnett. I know this sort of thing is working when I catch myself thinking, "Wait, why did KG say those words?" Although it must have been helpful to have an interview where Garnett appeared to cackle insanely. Wait, that's every KG interview.

2. Good use of game and interview footage. For a millisecond, I thought about trying something similar when I heard about this using the newest trailer (which would be much more difficult due to the extra characters and longer length - although Ray Allen is clearly Harvey Dent), but I realized it would take hours to compile and splice all the relevant archive footage. So yeah, give it up.

3. On a project like this, you've got to hit your free throws, if I may use a basketball metaphor in the midst of a literal, if abstract, discussion of basketball. Yeah...I got confused by that too. Anyway, good work realizing that when the Joker says, "Good evening...Commissioner!", David Stern has to show up. It's the sort of thing that is completely obvious in retrospect, but I was just surprised enough at the connection (because "commissioner" has slightly different meanings in the two contexts, you see) that I laughed when I saw it.

The Cons:

1. Like AA himself said, "I take issue with Kobe being Batman." There's a whole bunch of reasons why Kobe as Batman doesn't really make sense - not that KG really makes much sense either. Sure, KG's demeanor really means he has to be the Joker, but I'm not really sold on Kobe as the Dark Knight. Of course, the trailer tries to address this by changing the title card at the end from "Dark Knight" into "Black Mamba." Yeah, I'm still not sold.

2. I hate the use of still images in trailers. It looks terrible.

3. I'm also not crazy about footage from one of Kobe's previous championship squads. It hurts the consistency of the theme, don't you know. I used "don't you know" there to indicate I'm aware how pretentious that sounds.

So we appear to be split pretty evenly on the merits and demerits of this video. Well, not so fast my friend. I forgot to mention my absolute favorite part of the video. It's at 1:10. I'll give the transcript...

Bruce Wayne/Kobe Bryant: What would you have me do?

Alfred Pennyworth/Phil Jackson: Endure!!!

There's more to the Alfred quote than that, but that's all I care about. It's perfectly lip-synched and combines two of my favorite human beings: Phil Jackson and Michael Caine. Let me break this down for you...

Phil Jackson + Michael Caine + Perfect Lip-Synching + Christopher Nolan's vision of Batman = 5-star YouTube rating

In fact, I just left that very comment.

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