Those wonderful folks over at UGO.com have gotten an early Christmas present.
They have seen The Dark Knight prequel that will be shown before I Am Legend in a few short weeks in IMAX theaters. The prequel is actually the first six minutes of the film itself, but Nolan shot it as a stand alone ‘short film’ exclusively for this purpose.
Less talk from me, more reading about what they saw:
Heath Ledger’s Joker is THE definitive Joker.
A bank heist is really the only way to introduce the Clown Prince of Crime.
It starts off with a breathtaking shot of Gotham City in broad daylight. The camera swoops into this big glass skyscraper the way only an IMAX movie can. It was stunning. Then BOOM! One of the windows in this big glass skyscraper is blown out. It then cut to two thugs in ugly clown masks (the ones we saw in the first publicity stills that were released months ago) shooting a zip line down to an adjacent rooftop.
Cut to the street as we see another thug waiting on a street corner with his clown mask in his hand. We’re looking at him from behind and can’t see his face. A van pulls up and the thug puts on his mask and jumps in to join the rest of the clowns. The clown who’s driving is bitching about how this Joker guy who planned the heist didn’t even bother to show up and questions why they should cut him in on any of the loot. There’s an awesome line from one of the clowns about The Joker and how he wears make-up as “war paint” to scare the crap out of people. Very cool stuff.
The two clowns in the skyscraper dramatically swing down to the rooftop while the clowns in the van enter the bank guns a blazing.
One of the rooftop clowns disables the silent alarm and comments that the alarm isn’t going to the cops. Once the alarm is halted, his partner shoots him dead.
Cut to William Fichtner.
I was so amped to see Fichtner’s creepy mug. He’s the new Brion James. He’s in everything the way Brion was back in the 80s and he’s as badass as ever. Brilliant casting, Mr. Nolan. Fichtner is the bank manager and he looks pissed.
Then cut to two clowns cracking the safe. Once the one clown gets the safe door open, his partner shoots him dead. We start to see a pattern here. The remaining clown starts to fill the gym bags with cash.
As the clowns in the bank lobby control the crowd, Fichtner goes to work. The bank manager pulls out a shotgun and starts hunting clowns. It was unexpected and super-freakin-awesome. Crazy-ass Fichtner is enraged and ranting on about how these clowns have no idea who they are messing with. You learn that much like the rest of Gotham City this bank is corrupt and run by the mob. Nice twist. Of course the silent alarm doesn’t go to the cops.
Too bad Fichtner runs out of shells and the remaining clowns shoot his angry ass. He’s down, but not dead.
Then the clowns start to argue with each other. One clown asks the other, “So, I guess the Joker told you to shoot me once we had the money?”
The other clown tells him, “No, I’m supposed to shoot the bus driver.”
“Bus driver?” WHAM! A school bus crashes through the front of the bank, running over the first clown.
The back of the bus opens and the bus driver clown jumps out and helps load up the loot. Then bus driver clown gets capped. One clown left.
Fichtner bank manager then mutters something about there once being honor in the underworld of Gotham and this gets the clown’s attention. The clown shoves a grenade in Fichtner’s mouth with a string attached to the pin. The clown takes off his mask and we get an 80-foot IMAX Heath Ledger Joker face telling us “whatever doesn’t kill us makes us stranger.” It’s chill inducing. People are going to lose their minds.
The Joker jumps into the school bus, closes the back door on the string, and drives off. The pin on the grenade is pulled as the bus pulls away. Instead of an explosion, pink gas is released. The school bus pulls into the street and joins a convoy of school buses loaded with children. The Joker escapes into Gotham City.
We were then treated to a montage of Batman shots before the lights went up.
I can’t wait to see this movie. We have to wait a long time before it comes out, and I’m already amped up as hell about it.
I am seriously considering taking the drive to an IMAX theater in a few weeks just to see this.