Tuesday, January 3, 2012

Follow the bouncing bat! A simple way to deal with that pesky "What the hell did Bane just say?" Dark Knight Rises issue...

There have been rumblings in the blogosphere today that Warner Bros. may or may not have stealthily replaced the Dark Knight Rises IMAX prologue audio tracks with a new mix of said sequence, one with allegedly cleaned-up audio.  This follows two weeks of breathless debate among the geek-squad about whether Chris Nolan should or shouldn't alter the vocal performance of Tom Hardy's Bane (presumably with Hardy's ADR-assistance) in order to appease fans who were unable to hear the primary villain's astute monologuing.  Nolan's position is that the muscle-bound cult leader/terrorist/Mary Sue was always intended to be slightly difficult to understand, so paying audiences can  suck it.

As the ire rises (pun damn-well intended!) among the rabid faithful and the man who runs Warner Bros, hundreds, if not thousands are awaiting the final decision with arguably more concern than tonight's Republican caucuses in Iowa (because, let's be honest, no matter who wins tonight, the GOP nominee is going to be Mitt Romney come July) allow me to offer a most modest proposal.  No, I'm not saying Bane should eat babies, although it does bring up a question left unanswered by the exposition-filled prologue: If taking off the mask causes incredible pain, how does Bane eat?  Or drink?  Or brush his teeth before and after meals?

No, the proposal most moderate is simply this: Come July 20th, consumers will have the choice to see The Dark Knight Rises in three formats.  They can watch it in Nolan's approved 35mm version, the equally director-approved IMAX Experience, or an alternate 35mm "I'd Like to Be Able to Hear What the Hell the Primary Antagonist Is Saying!  Is That Really Too Much To Ask?!" edition.  Viewers opting for this version will be able to hear a clean, articulate, correctly seperated sound-mix that does not sound like a first-generation Warner Bros DVD.  Heck, if the May/June summer blockbusters disappoint, there might even be room in theaters for a fourth option, which presents the film as Nolan intended, but with subtitles complete with bouncing bats whenever Bane and/or McGruff the Crime Bat speaks.

What do you think, dear readers?  Should audiences be able to actually understand important plot exposition and conversational dialogue from the main supporting character in the film, or is the fact that the characters in the film can here Bane good enough for you?  Sound off below!

Scott Mendelson  


Christopher Lopes said...

I believe Christopher Nolan should show the film how it was intended to see, while receiving input from all creatives around him. But at the end of the day, all blame and praise will be put on him and no one else. So he should make his art exactly as he wants it to be.

While Warner Brothers did finance it, they got a lot more because of his vision and direction of all the creatives involved in the last film. If the film fails to live up to expectations, it will be on him. If it fails to have long legs in the BO because of the audio issue, it will be on him. And that will affect how he can move on from this film.

Christopher Lopes said...

Correction: Intended to be seen, while still receiving..

FilmLover82 said...

I'm too busy rolling my eyes to answer your question.

Janusz said...

You're kidding me, right? The film is six months from release. How about you just wait and see what the final audio sounds like? The kind of "suggestion" you make here reeks of both snark and arrogance. How about you spend your time writing something constructive abou film instead of continuing to feed the fire of rabid fans to get hits?

Scott Mendelson said...

Pretty much. I think it's a little silly that Nolan is basically claiming that people not being able to hear a chunk of his movie is 'no big deal', but I'm also enjoying the fiery debates that have propped up, which is what this post was intending to address, albeit in a tongue-in-cheek fashion.

Scott Mendelson said...

Snark, absolutely! Arrogance, I'm not sure why that comes across. I'm sorry that I neglected to put 'HUMOR' in the title. I figured that my reference to Bane eating babies and the possibility of bouncing-ball type subtitles was enough to signify that I was merely amusing myself in between the relatively lengthy '2011 in box office trends' pieces I've been doing.

Christopher Lopes said...

That's the great thing about film, and art overall, is that it can bring great passion out of people. And like most things, people take it over the top saying that The Dark Knight is the greatest film ever and if a critic has an issue with it or doesn't like it, they should be fired and hung from a tree. Or say it's overrated and doesn't like it. But at the end of the day by saying it's overrated, they are taking other people's opinions into account and punishing the film on a certain level because of it's praise.

I didn't think the final mix of Metallica's Death Magnetic or ...And Justice For All was the best it could have been, but that is what the final album is and should be as intended. I'd rather have that than the Star Wars stuff.

And a critic and his/her work is the same. You take it for an expression of her/his personality and you take it or leave it, but it shouldn't bend to people's wishes or wants.

obthavariable said...

For the longest time I would always watch DVDs with subtitles because it was a peeve of mine that I HAD to know what everyone was saying. Now I don't feel that way so much, not only because I can live with some un-heard words from the dialogue, but it should be a given, I assume, that it will be something I can figure out as the movie goes on. But if all of the dialogue happens to be unintelligle... "Subtitles, please!" And how much more fun will it be if it pops up with a bouncing bat? LOL


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