The shock of Heath Ledger’s tragic passing increased the excitement for his role as the joker in The Dark Knight ten-fold. What was already set to be a great, iconic performance would now become the actor’s swansong. As the prospect of a post-humus Oscar looms with near-certainty, the quality of Ledger’s performance is difficult to ignore.

Despite this, the film isn’t called The Joker, and leading lad Christian Bale is the guy we should be focusing on. Rightly so, as Bale’s performance, aside from the questionable ‘gravely’ voice, is nothing short of outstanding, bringing more depth to the character than the teenage brooding of Bruce Wayne in Batman Begins.

The story follows on from the teasing ending of it’s prequel, with The Joker’s clowns robbing a mob bank, only to be taken out one-by-one after they’d done their job. The opener owes a lot to Michael Mann’s Heat, which also features William Fichtner in a bank robbery, and sets the tone of the film exquisitely.

Director Christopher Nolan, who also co-writes, has pitched the balance between action and character perfectly, giving the audience just enough explosions and acts of mayhem from The Joker to spice things up, but leave the audience wanting more.
The returning supporting cast enhance their performance, and Aaron Eckhart is masterful as twisted attorney Harvey Dent, but newcomer Maggie Gyllenhaal‘s efforts as childhood friend and romantic interest Rachel Dawes falls short of the mark, and it soon becomes clear that the role was written specifically for Katie Holmes, who donned the dress in Batman Begins.

The film earns its record-breaking reception, delivering one of the most nail-biting comic-book action flicks for a generation, rivalling Richard Donner’s original Superman in terms of impact.

There have been numerous parallels drawn between The Joker and terrorism, none more apparent than in the Gotham Hospital scene, which destroyed the actual building as its climax, but to limit The Joker’s larks as mere reactions to world-wide terror would be unfair, Ledger’s Joker is sarcastic and personal, pushing the Batman’s buttons and providing the most convincing scene of the film with his ‘magic trick’.

Hi-def Blu-Ray does this film the justice it deserves, but this is a film that everyone should own, since it sublimely transcends it’s genres to offer a comprehensive cinematic experience.

James Parry
Entertainment Editor
Pluto Student Newspaper


As an avid fan of C. S. Lewis’ Narnia Chronicles throughout my childhood, I was extremely satisfied with the Hollywood adaptation of the most famous of his seven Narnia books, The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe, after seeing several other screen adaptations from a variety of producers. I was, therefore, eager to see the sequel, and I was in no way disappointed with the end result.

The Chronicles of Narnia: Prince Caspian sees the return of the four Pevensie children, as they struggle to adapt to life back in their own world after their adventures in the mythical, wonderful world of Narnia. The story opens as eldest brother Peter, longing to be back in his kingdom, takes out his frustration in a fight with another boy. Sensible Susan looks on with her ever-constant disdain, while Edmund piles in to help with the brawl. But as always, when teleported back into Narnia, it is passionate, caring little Lucy who finds herself closer to the magic, and to the all-powerful presence of the Lion lord of Narnia, Aslan.

Though all is not as it was when they left. The time passes much quicker in Narnia, and they return to their beloved home, Cair Paravel, when it is in ruins over 1000 years later. Telmarines have invaded, and now control the kingdom they once ruled. It’s up to the four of them to grant Prince Caspian his place on the throne by defeating his uncle, King Miraz, but with tension between Caspian and Peter throughout the battles, things are far from easy, especially since no one but Lucy can see Aslan’s infrequent appearances, and once again the others find it hard to believe their sister.

Honestly… after last time, you’d have thought they would have learnt their lesson!

I was concerned that the sequel would be a disappointment, but I couldn’t be more wrong. For me, there wasn’t a flaw throughout! The acting was perfect, the storyline was tense and engaging, and the effects were just as polished and realistic as they had been in the previous instalment.

The performances of the four children stood out foremost. Georgie Henley continued her outstanding portrayal of little Lucy Pevensie, showing her siblings up for their weaknesses with innocence, unwavering trust, and the ability to follow her heart. William Moseley‘s performance was possibly better than in the previous film, giving Peter a petulant, competitive streak that led to intense rivalry between him and Caspian. Edmund’s role was considerably smaller in this film, but actor Skandar Keynes still held his own, as did Anna Popplewell, playing Susan to perfection as she is given more depth with the introduction of a romantic interest or two.

Other notable performances included Ben Barnes, who almost stole the show as noble Prince Caspian, alongside supporting acting from such names as Liam Neeson (voice of Aslan), Sergio Castellitto (Miraz) and Eddie Izzard (voice of Reepicheep).

If this film is anything to go by, the wait for The Chronicles of Narnia: The Voyage of the Dawn Treader will not be in vain.

Kirsty Watkinson

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