Raise The Dead/The Dark Knight

On Phantom Planet’s fourth studio album, Raise The Dead, they make the leap from Caliifornia power pop band to legitimate meaningful indie rock band. Their first studio effort for Fueled By Ramen Records makes it easy to forget that the talented Jason Schwartzmann aka Coconut Records, used to be the backbone of this band on drums. The standout track, Leader, puts you in a melodic rock trance and just kind of almost inspires you to actually follow the leader and join this melancholy cult they speak of. Do The Panic, the first single, is a bit of a throwback mix of Motown sound and mellow Weezer-esque rock. Other tracks, and the album in general, have a Modest Mouse This Is A Long Drive For Someone With Nothing To Think About feel especially on I Don’t Mind. The title track, Raise The Dead, is the hardest song on the album and just inspires you (or me at least) to go to the garage and jam with friends. As much as Phantom Planet has been pigeonholed by California, if there is a chance of them breaking out of the shadow of The OC theme song, this is their chance. This album gets a 6 on the Kyle scale of rating or an 8.5 out of 10 if given the chance to do things like a normal human being.

On to more pressing matters.

It’s been approximately 3 weeks since The Dark Knight came out, which has given it ample time to sink it to me. Yet, it hasn’t and won’t. I won’t ever fully be able to appreciate the lengths to which Heath Ledger went to deliver his finest, career defining performance which redefined cinema villain for me. My list of movie icons is short but just added a member to it’s ranks. Atticus Finch and RP McMurphy are forced to make room for the Joker in my book (and also Jim Gordon). The movie itself, an action packed thriller with amazing cinematography was admittedly nowhere near the level of Heath Ledger. In addition to this, the same sentiments are echoed for me with Gary Oldman and his faith inspiring portrayal of Comissioner James Gordon. So within one movie, I gained two movie icons, in addition to two career defining roles. The Joker proves that things aren’t really clear cut and black and white. Some people don’t play by logic and live for the fear they instill in others. On the other side of the spectrum, Jim Gordon proves that it is possible to be a good man in indecent times. Of the plot, I’m not very happy that the Two-Face storyline developed as fast as it did, as I was hoping to believe in Harvey Dent throughout this movie, but it was not meant to be. I’m also worried since the Joker was not resolved. That is not to say the portrayal means any less to me, but is more of a fear that they may try to replace Heath Ledgers Joker or have a poor explanation as to where he has wandered off to, as he is clearly still alive. The supporting cast is as good as any can be, considering you have Michael Caine and Morgan Freeman, two of the greatest actors of their generation. Also, Maggie Gylenhaal steps in flawlessly for Katie Holmes as Rachel Dawes. In my mind, Batman has taken a backseat in this film to the evolving story of Jim Gordon, as he remains Gothams true White Knight in my eyes, and the Joker also steals the show, just wanting to watch the world burn. When reflecting, this movie was good, but not great. Great performances were given, but the movie itself is not great. So The Dark Knight gets a 6 on the Kyle Scale Of Rating while Heath Ledger and Gary Oldman give performances deserving of 7’s.

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11 responses to “Raise The Dead/The Dark Knight

  1. I agree with you — Ledger and Oldman are greats! (I also fully respect your short list of screen icons).

    The Dark Knight currently holds a place in my top 5. The reason is this: there is nothing extra in the movie — nothing that doesn’t need to be there. Yes, I agree that the Dent/Two-Face storyline is a bit rushed. But when you look at the difficult questions that this comic book movie asks, it really is interesting. While Jim Gordon is Gotham’s “White Knight” in your eyes, look at the lengths to which he goes to try and rescue Gotham. He alienates and sacrifices his family. He trusts the wrong people. Etc. In the end, how different are he and Batman? I’d say not very much at all.

  2. He doesn’t sacrifice his family. He does whats best for them. The Joker can’t know he’s alive or he would go for his family. He was protecting them. As hard as it was for them, it was the right thing. Also, he shouldn’t be held accountable for misguided trust. The girl was a good cop who fell behind on her mothers hospital bills. She still had aspirations of being a good cop. And when half of the public servants in the city are crooked, it’s hard to blame him for misplacing his trust. that’s my take.

  3. All true. But, we’ve got to agree that he puts his family in danger by making crime-fighting his crusade. As Alfred says to Bruce (paraphrasing): “Did you not expect them to retaliate?”

    It also irks me that he does not rush out to go save his family when he receives the phone call.

    Bottom-line: James Gordon is not a family guy. I would call that sacrificing his family.

  4. Well yes, in a world where there are superheroes and villains such as the Joker he does indeed put his family at risk. I was of the impression he left when he got the call? Maybe not. I’ll have to look again. But also, Jim is the first to tell Harvey he is responsible just as much as anyone for what happened to him and to let his boy go. At one point Batman and Gordon tell Harvey how we was the best of the three of them, and I just flat out disagree with that. In my mind, Gordon is the least flappable.

  5. I think the reason that Dent was the best of the three, in the minds of Gordon and Batman, may have had something to do with the fact that he had the power to clean up the streets, but also had the ability to lead a normal life at the same time.

    The lives of Gordon and Batman are not normal at all. Whereas Dent has a girlfriend, is trying to get married, etc.

    I dunno. Just a thought…

  6. But Gordon has a wife and kids. And Bruce Wayne absconded with the entire Russian Ballet! And Batman also wants to pass on the mantle of guardian to Harvey so he could have Rachel.

  7. Multiple things to say here. First off, I wouldn’t put Atticus Finch down as a MOVIE icon, I wasn’t particularly impressed with the movie, I would definetely put down his character as a litterary icon (also who is RP McMurphy, enlighten me). Secondly, why are you downing the Kyle Scale of Rating? Finally, I wouldn’t at all say that “Batman has taken a backseat in this film to the evolving story of Jim Gordon.” Yes there was an impassioned scene with him at the end, but the movie certainly revolves more around Bruce, and Bruce’s character certainly develops more than Jim Gordon’s throughout the movie. While Ledger is the crowd favorite, Christian Bale, once again, did an excellent job in his role as Batman. And if any character is focused on and developed more than Bruce it would be Dent. Oldman does a wonderful job, but the character of Jim Gordon is very static.

  8. First, literary not litterary. Second, Gregory Peck gave the performance of his life in that role in my opinion (I also loved him in Roman Holiday). Third, RP McMurphy was Jack Nicholson’s character in One Flew Over The Cuckoo’s Nest. Fourth, I wasn’t downing it, I just didn’t feel I had the capacity to rate accordingly. Fifth, I think Gordon developed as much as anyone except obviously Harvey Dent but that’s because Harvey Dent was just introduced in this movie. I would say Jim Gordon is the most solid character in my opinion.

  9. I still haven’t ever seen One Flew Over…, I really should, I’ve heard such wonderful things.

  10. It’s a beautiful, perfect indictment of everything that was wrong with the medical field in the 50’s/60’s.

  11. i still wish Katie Holmes had stayed on board as Rachel Dawes for the Dark Knight; it was like the time spent getting familiar with her character in Batman Begins was wasted…

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