Nolan Ices Next Batman For 'Inception'

by Paul William Tenny

On the one hand, I've got to congratulate Chris Nolan for working his ass off and finding the kind of success that allows him to pretty much do anything he wants in Hollywood. Even though that power is easier to get as a director, and even easier to get as an actor -- it's nearly impossible to get for writers -- it's still something to envy and appreciate.

On the other hand, it's also kind of disgusting and probably a waste of time.
I don't think The Dark Knight was all that well written. It was too long, had too many indistinct climaxes, too little character development, not enough focus on the hero of the story, and wasn't terribly creative.

Rather than spend time criticizing it, I think it's enough to say that the even if you disagree with my opinion on quality -- which is fine -- I think the contrast between The Dark Knight and Batman Begins in style and quality is stark, revealing, and undeniable. It's hard for me to know how much script input Nolan had without being an insider or somebody who worked on the film, but I think it's safe to say that with Nolan's rise in power, his input on Dark Knight was far more significant.

It's easy enough to tell that even with many of the same people contributing, the different levels of input resulted in two very different films. David S. Goyer, who wrote Begins, clearly understands the finer points of story telling. He knows how to develop character, start things off slowly so that the audience can get comfortably lost in the fictional world, and then build tension with conflict and emotion (which is how you get story). Goyer may not be a master storyteller and I may not be the best judge of such things, but I know enough to be able to tell that Goyer at least understands these concepts.

Christopher Nolan does not.

While Begins isn't a masterpiece by any means, Dark Knight, frankly, feels colorless by comparison.

I think the success of Dark Knight had more to do with the success of Begins and the death of Heath Ledger than it did the actual film. The hype around that movie was ridiculous but not unprecedented. I'm not sure that either of the Spider-Man sequels were as good as the first film, and the same could definitely be said for Pirates of the Caribbean, but the hype and culture (strong on the cult) was going to insure they were both attended into the stratosphere.

So now that Nolan is both rich, and powerful, he's actually going to put the third Batman sequel (of the Bale era) on ice while he goes off and shoots his own script. It might be a great script and a really successful film, but the chances of that are really horrific. If Nolan was that kind of writer, he wouldn't have needed the success of Begins in order to go off on his own like this.

Yes, I know, he's shot his own stuff before like Momento, but that film had a more limited budget and surely was subject to more studio interference than Dark Knight was. This time, it's different.

I'm also weary of the nepotism involved. Nolan's wife, Emma Thomas, has been producing most of the films that Nolan has directed, but little else.

I find that disconcerting.

Writing partnerships I can understand, but directing is so incidental most of the time, and producing even more so, that it seems more like a cheap ploy to keep his wife employed. Maybe that isn't the case and she really contributes to the process in positive ways, but it doesn't look good either way. If she's got talent, why hasn't she done anything other than movies her husband has directed?

According to Scifi Wire, "Inception is described as 'a contemporary sci-fi actioner set within the architecture of the mind.'".

I've never herad of a "contemporary sci-fi actioner" before which makes me think it's probably going to be garbage. I loved Momento, for whatever that's worth after sitting here trashing Nolan, but science fiction is the hardest genre to pull off. Action is probably the easiest because there's very little creativity involved. It's probably the worst lure of all for someone with the power to shoot their own material, it's an invitation to be the worst kind of lazy.

Sci-fi forces you think, action actually punishes you for it. The two don't mix well and when they do, that's usually because the movie is really one or the other, not both, and you're just too entertained (or disgusted) to notice.

Besides, most good sci-fi tends to be drama that happens to be set in the future, anyway (meaning it's not even sci-fi.) Nolan showed his skill for writing action when he did Dark Knight, a movie which I think Michael Bay probably appreciates -- which is a bit of an insult. If he has any designs on writing intelligent drama or true science fiction, he'll be pushing beyond his own skillset so far that he might as well dedicate himself to writing it, or directing it, but not both.

All a "contemporary sci-fi acionter" is going to get you is a $150 million budget, a $15 million opening, and a lot of really bad reviews because Christian Bale isn't in it.

Good luck with that, I want none of it.
in Film


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There is no doubt that more people went to the because of Heath Ledger but that only made up for a small amount of the movies success. People might go to watch a movie once because of a novelty like a main character dying but they won't go back and the only way a movie makes as much as the dark knight did is a lot of people seeing it more than once.

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