Yesterday afternoon, a call comes in on the Gilster's hotline, from MovieWeb headquarters. Apparently, the Joker had a cake delivered to HQ, with all kinds of fun stuff crammed in it. Read that story here.
BB at HQ calls me on the DL (heh, sorry), saying he can't make it to The Bridge (a theater here in LA), so I have to go in his place. We assumed it was to catch the first 6 minutes of The Dark Knight, which some people had seen earlier in the week, but I was thinking that maybe it was that, PLUS a preview screening of I Am Legend.
Alas, I was only half right.
Around 2pm, we meet at the rendezvous point, I grab my "Gotham Times" press pass, and head to The Bridge Theater. A line had already formed, as I guess this event was open to people who responded to some online promotion. Luckily, my pass got me to the front of the line, and with the event not starting for another few hours, I took the time to meet up with a buddy, and smoke a stogie (CAO Mx2, a nice maduro, that's both bold and smooth, if you're wondering).
(At this point, you're probably saying "Get on with the fucking 1st 6 minutes already!" If you are, good. Some people were waiting since 11am to see this, so I think you can wait the minute it takes you to read a couple of paragraphs, right?)
6pm rolls by, and I hop in front of the line. Strangely enough, only one other person with the pass I had showed up- a nice girl from Suicide Girls (no, not a naked model, you pervs). I guess The Joker ran out of eggs for more cakes. Anyway, I thought I saw one other person with a pass, but maybe he bailed when he heard it was only 6 minutes of the film.
Too bad for him.
I know it seems like a lot to go through for such a short clip, but I got to tell you- if you can make it to an IMAX showing of I Am Legend next week, you're going to be in for a treat, even if you end up hating that film.
The well-oiled machine that was the event's security ushered all 300+ of us into the theater, and before long, the lights went down, and the screen lit up with logos for WB, DC, etc., in sort of a long widescreen bar, then BAM! Full IMAX!
Here we go. Some spoilers ahead!
We're in the air, soaring over a very real looking Gotham, like in the majority of Batman Begins. The camera starts in the direction of a building, but before we get too close, one of the windows explodes at us. Inside the building, we see two clown mask-adorned thugs, setting up a grapple gun, and shooting it to the roof of a building below.
Cut to a shot of a man standing on the corner of a street, from behind. We see he's holding a clown mask in his left hand, and perhaps there's a hint of green in his hair. A van pulls up, with two more thugs (more clown masks), and the man puts on his mask (we don't see his face as he does this) as he jumps in the van.
Back to our two thugs with the grapple gun, as they slide down on the cable they had just shot out the window. Now this is where the IMAX really shines. As they go out the window, the camera follows them, and then seems as if it's going to take us down to the street below. The 70m film not only gives you an image that is bigger and more vertical, but it also gives you a greater depth of field, so that when something like the aforementioned shot happens, you really get a sense of vertigo. I love it.
Inside the van, the three thugs are going over their plan, talking about how they're going to split the money 5, no, 6 ways, with the 6th person being the guy who hired them all, but is not present- The Joker. It cuts back and forth between the van thugs, and the roof thugs, as they discuss who the Joker is. Supposedly he's crazy? Supposedly he wears make up?
The van thugs pull up to a bank, go in with guns blasting in the air, as the roof thugs open a power box, and start fudging around. The van thugs start rounding up the bank's patrons, tying live grenades to their hands, saying they don't want the people doing anything those hands.
Back to the roof thugs, as one of them fixes a device to some of the wires in the box, and says "there goes the silent alarm. Got it!" But then he looks at the device, and comments on how the out-going alarm wasn't going to 911, but to a private number instead. The other thug behind him asks if it's going to be a problem, gets "no" for an answer, and then shoots the other thug!
If you haven't read any other description online of this scene, I recommend that you don't. I'm not going to spoil too much next, but I can tell you there's all sorts of double crossing that happens really fast, showing that not only is the Joker insane, but a criminal genius as well. This all builds up to the Joke making his presence known, with the great line (which will surely be EVERYONE'S myspace headline next year):
"What doesn't kill you, only makes you stranger!"
When the scene ends, we get a montage of scenes from the film, showing the new bat suit, the Batmobile, the Batpod (Batman's motorcycle), clips of the Joker firing an automatic gun, and LOTS of explosions. The last shot is of Jim Gordon, hesitating before he smashes the Bat-signal with and axe, then it cuts to Batman's bat icon.
Then we got kicked out of the theater.
If the bank scene is any indication of how well the movie is going to flow, then we're in for an intense film next year. A lot happens in the 1st six minutes, and it's great that it moves so fast, yet one is still able to pick up on every little thing as it happens. Fast, tight, and intense. That's my catchphrase for this bit.
This has been Gil Brooks reporting.