Tuesday, July 22, 2008

The Dark Knight: If Heath Ledger Hadn't Died

If Heath Ledger hadn't died:

The Dark Knight still would have made hundreds of million of dollars.

Maybe it wouldn't have broken all the records it did, but it's still be ridiculously successful.

Nicholson supporters wouldn't have to hide from fear of fanboy !!!OMGz!!! and FUK U's.
There would still be a debate as to who was the better Joker, instead of a one-sided hype machine.

The ending would have worked better.
TDK became the Heath Ledger movie the moment he passed. So why leave The Joker hanging from the side of a building for the SWAT Team to take care of? Why have the movie go on for another twenty anti-climatic minutes? Granted, the VERY end, was rad, but the third act left a bad taste in my mouth.

No one would be screaming "GIVE HIM THE OSCAR" like a bunch of maniacs.
His performance was great, but by the time award ceremony season rolled around, we'd all be distracted by something else, forgetting about the superhero movie that got released half-a-year ago.

But if I'm being honest, if Heath Ledger hadn't died, I wouldn't have been half as excited about The Dark Knight.

He was a fine actor (with more bad movies in his past than people care to remember) but the fact that people are freaking out about this movie like they (we) are says more about humanity than any of the messages found in The Dark Knight.


Anonymous said...

I disagree. Personally, I was sold on the film before he died.

Ryan McNeil said...

I'll grant you the Oscar talk as being too much too soon. I loved the film, and Heath's contribution to it, but I still want to wait until at least early December before beating any "Heath for Supporting" drums.

PS - Thanks for giving my blog a link on your sidebar...but there's no "Side" in my blog title ;)

Nageoire said...

I agree that Heath's death made TDK a martyr's film. It seems that whenever people die at the height of their success, they USUALLY become immortalized. Examples: FDR & WWII, JFK & Civil Rights Movement, MLK Jr. & Civil Rights Movement, Abraham Lincoln & Ending Slavery, Joan of Arc & French Identity, John Belushi & successful comedies, even Buddy Holly, Ghandi, or Jesus Christ could be argued on to this list (there are exceptions to this rule).

I guess Heath Ledger got lucky, in a sick twisted sort of way (at least career wise). Granted this movie and his performance still would have done much for his career, the fact that he sealed this movie with an untimely death seems to inject magic into it. Deaths like Ledger's make something a person did which was good into something that is gold merely because (like you said) the masses choose to perceive it that way.

Big Mike Mendez said...

I think that this movie is showing that it has to legs to stay relevant all the way to Oscar season and do not doubt the muscle of Warner Bros. as a studio to push the film and use all the great reviews it got.

And Hatter, maybe you should put a 'side' in your title, as everyone seems to subliminally put one there anyways.


Keith said...

I dunno man... I never gave two shits about Heath Ledger before OR after he died, and I also never gave two shits about Nolan making another Batman movie, but I still loved Dark Knight and loved Ledger in it. I think it's important to not buy the hype, but it's also just as important to not knee-jerk against it. (I'm not saying you're doing that, but I've spoken to plenty of people who are.)

Not that I wasn't tempted to write a blog post entitled "Heath Ledger Totally Blows Ass and I Don't Care What You Say" just to see what kind of response I'd get...

Now that I think about it, wasn't I'm Not There in theaters right after Ledger died? That's when I saw it, anyway. People went crazy for that too, but not over him. And I straight up didn't like it at all.

Unknown said...

The movie was already finished shooting and in post-production by the time Ledger died, therefore there wasn't anything to be done about leaving him hanging off the side of the building.

They were leaving room for the Joker in the third act, which would have been totally awesome... but is now very unfortunate because I believe no one can fill those empty shoes.

Once Ledger died, they couldn't really "re-shoot" those scenes and change the script around, etc.

elgringo said...

I totally agree with you Leah, it's just too bad that once the movie became all about Ledger, it shifted focus around, and too late for anything to be done about it.

Don@PetalumaFilms.com said...

I hope by your comment that Ledger "made more bad movies than anyone cares to remember" you aren't impugning A KNIGHTS TALE pal. One of my faves EVER.

And I wrote similar thoughts on all the lameness surrounding TDK earlier this week and agree with you:

All in all (and I'm no fanboy per se) THE DARK KNIGHT is the best movie of the year so far and I don't really see anything on the horizon that's really got me excited...

Daniel said...

I'm with hatter about the Oscar talk as being the real mystery with this one. Apparently there was word about it even before his death, but it really took off afterwards. Ironically, he died the day last year's Oscar noms were announced.

brian said...

i wrote a surf movie for heath ledger. that was years ago.

mwhitlock said...

Creative professionals are always esteemed higher after they die.

Random Conspiratorial Thought: You know that guy in America's Sweethearts who "jokes" about having Eddie commit suicide at the premere to raise publicity? One might wonder if similar wishes about TDK's publicity didn't come true.