A Tale Of Two Jokers
With the passage of time, it will be interesting to see how film fans will look at Tim Burton’s 1989 BATMAN after witnessing the truly terrific Chris Nolan directed THE DARK KNIGHT. Both movies feature the famed comic book character of the Joker with Jack Nicholson hamming it up in the 89 version and Heath Ledger burying himself under all the make up to create something on a much deeper level in Nolan’s highly praised new movie. Personally I think both films are a product of their time.
When Burton did Batman almost two decades ago we lived in a pre-911 world. The only Batman anyone had really ever seen on screen was the campy Adam West version. Let’s face it, if you include the 1966 movie, based on the TV show, Chris Nolan had six batman films including his own “Batman Begins” plus almost 20 years of time from Burton’s take to learn from. At the time, Tim Burton’s version of the caped crusader was a huge step up in terms of comic book superhero’s being produced for the big screen. While far from perfect, “Batman” still has its many merits. While not in the same league in terms of intensity as Ledger’s performance, Jack’s Joker was fun with Samm Hamm’s script giving him some great lines like “Were does he get all those wonderful toys” and “This town needs an enema.” Hamm’s original script was reportedly edgier but Burton and Nicholson eventually went in a different direction although the movie is far from camp. While I love both Ledger’s take on the famed character and the movie itself, there will always be room to enjoy Nicholson’s take on things in Burton’s entertaining but flawed (mostly in story telling) very important first real serious entry in to the Batman universe! So, in a very big world of vast opinion, I think there’s clearly room to enjoy both interpretations.
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