If you haven’t seen pictures from the upcoming Dark Knight Movie then you’re missing out. You’re missing out on controversial makeup (yes, makeup can be controversial). Apparently the appearance of the deranged Joker is sparking debate. Mostly, some say he’s about as scary as a birthday clown that ran out of funding.
Now, normally I don’t talk a lot about superhero flicks, but Batman is an exception … because he’s awesome. And the Nolan brothers are, too. So is Christian Bale. Awesomeness quotient is definitely fulfilled, proceed with entry.
So the issue is that the Joker’s makeup looks like something out of a movie running on a $2 budget. It’s smudged, it’s vague, it’s … a whole bunch of things that all ring “cheap”. Now, why people don’t find that scary is beyond me. Frankly, the Dark Knight has me geeking out in anticipation, while at the same time wondering whether I’ll get nightmares about Heath Ledger from watching it (there’s something I never thought I’d say).
Let’s imagine a scenario. You’re on your way home from the movies (you saw Spider Man 3), and you’re so frustrated over its kiddy-appeal that you mindlessly take the dark-alley shortcut. Now, who would you rather meet in this dark alley:
The original Joker has makeup that looks as if it were put on 5 minutes earlier by a Swedish blonde makeup artist named Helga who really wanted to become a lawyer but couldn’t find the time because she was too busy watching Neighbors.
Now, Nolan’s Joker on the other hand has a smile that’s described on Wikipedia as follows:
A Glasgow smile (also known as a Chelsea grin or Chelsea Smile) is a nickname for the brutal practice of cutting a victim’s face from the edges of the mouth to the ears: the cut – or its scars – form an “extension” of what resembles a smile. Sometimes to further hurt or even kill the victim, he or she would then be stabbed or kicked, most notably in the stomach (or in case of kicking, the groin), so that the face would be ripped apart when the victim screams.
I got a knot in my stomach just reading that. I’m quoting this to give you a glimpse of the world that sculpted Nolan’s Joker: A realistic one. The $2 makeup is scary as hell because of its touch of realism, which is exactly what hero movies have been lacking. Of course the Joker’s makeup looks cheap Ã¢â‚¬â€ murderous psychopaths don’t read beauty magazines to figure out which makeup can withstand sweating (from slicing people up)!
I’m not saying that Jack Nicholson wasn’t a brilliant Joker Ã¢â‚¬â€ he fit in perfectly with the fantasty-cartoon element of Burton’s movies. And that cartoon element was fun for a while. Then it got kind of tired. Then all hero movies after it mimicked the same toony style.
Not that the show Heroes is comparable to the new Batman movies, but let’s take a look at how the “evil” Sylar is depicted: He’s always pretty. The guy can go without food and water for days, being on the brink of death lying in the middle of an obscure road in Mexico after a surgery that only a few days earlier had made him squirm if he got annoyed … but he’s still pretty! Even the dust looks good! Ugh. I know he cuts open people’s heads, but the scariness of it is lost in his bottomless makeup kit.
I don’t know about you, but I’m excited by the new direction of Batman. I want to see hero movies colored with a hint of realism. I don’t want a cushioned appearance tailored to appeal to all age groups Ã¢â‚¬â€ I want the Joker with the Chelsea grin!
Now, for anyone who wasn’t aware of this new upcoming movie, here is the official teaser:
And here is a fan made trailer: