Sunday, July 8, 2012

From the film's production notes: 10 things about 'The Dark Knight Rises'

I'm giddy with excitement over The Dark Knight Rises. I've been checking daily but they still aren't selling tickets as I'm writing this. I wanna make sure that I catch it on opening day, which is non-negotiable, by the way.

I've been a fan of director Christopher Nolan's reinterpretation of the Caped Crusader's tale ever since Batman Begins, where I loved how he tried as much as possible to ground everything close to reality. Now this admiration shot up to stratospheric heights when The Joker came out in the sequel. Oh yes, I loved the late Heath Ledger's take on the character so much that I dressed up as the anarchist-clown for Halloween that year.

Why so serious?

Now The Joker is but a distant memory, and it's Bane at the forefront this time. Anyway, the makers of TDKR have recently decided to whet our appetites even more with a downloadable 49-page document containing production notes from the film. Here are a few factual tidbits about the film:

1. Batman is out of shape.
Okay, maybe a little. We all know that TDKR is set eight years after the events in The Dark Knight, when it's peacetime, when crime is at an all-time low, and when Batman is no longer needed. So Bruce Wayne hasn't seen action since.

2. Watch it in IMAX.
Almost half of the film was reportedly shot in large-format IMAX cameras that allowed them to shoot in very low-light conditions and all that technical innovation stuff. Simply put, it's supposed to be a superior experience in IMAX theaters.


3. The catsuit has no cat ears.
Instead, Catwoman has night-vision goggles that flip up onto her head, creating a silhouette reminiscent of cat ears. Of course Nolan had to keep it grounded.

4. Anne Hathaway did not ride the Bat-Pod.
Well, neither did Christian Bale. The Bat-Pod is a real piece of machinery and there was only one guy who could actually ride it: professional stunt rider Jean-Pierre Goy. To double as Selena Kyle, they found a professional motocross racer and stunt rider: Jolene Van Vugt. They also did some adjustments on the vehicle for her.

5. The Bat can't actually fly.
Of course in the film it does. But because Nolan wants to do as much in-camera work as possible before submitting to CGI, they had the 3,000-pound machine supported on wires, suspended from cranes or helicopters, mounted on a specially-constructed vehicle fitted with hydraulic controls and all that stuff. The Bat also has a lot of fully-functioning, moving components.

6. That midair skyjacking scene was just shot in 2 days.
And it wasn't all visual effects. In fact, most of it was actually shot in-camera in midair above Inverness, Scotland. It involved months of coordinated planning so that the C-130 can fly directly above the turboprop from which aerialists can rappel down to the turboprop while Nolan and his crew film all the action from a helicopter flying at the same speed as the planes's. The shoot was originally scheduled for 9 days.

7. The Batcave is back.
Yes, along with Wayne Manor, which Bruce promised to rebuild brick by brick in the first film.

8. Chicago is no longer Gotham City.
Standing in for Gotham this time around are not one, but three cities -- Pittsburgh, Los Angeles and New York. Let's watch out how multiple-location shots make it into one continuous action sequence.

9. Real explosives were used in that collapsing football field scene.
The film's production took advantage of the fact that the turf of the stadium (of the Pittsburgh Steelers) was scheduled for replacement. But the collapsing field and the crater were CGI. The 11,000 people in the stadium, however, were real.

10. In case you were wondering, Joseph Gordon-Levitt is John Blake, Gordon's protégé.
He is the younger, more idealistic contrast to the already-jaded Batman and Gordon. Marion Cotillard is philanthropist Miranda Tate, who also sits in the board of Wayne Enterprises.

Excited yet? Me, I can't wait. But I'll forever miss The Joker, who once boldly declared that Batman completes him. Now who completes Batman?

The Joker crashing/trashing a kid's birthday party.

The Joker with his lovely curls (I didn't have the proper wig), taunting a female version of Two-Face (hidden from view) as Batman uselessly stands in the background.

The makers of the film have also released this 13-minute featurette that only made my excitement shoot up to the high heavens. It's a pretty awesome look into the film and how it was made. We also see Bruce Wayne in a cane! I've mentioned he's out of shape but a cane? Hmn...

The Dark Knight Rises opens July 19 in the Philippines and July 20 in the U.S. Meanwhile, I leave you with the official movie trailer (LOL):

To download the 49-page Production Notes from the film, click here.


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