There is one factor which has distinguished buildup for The Dark Knight Rises from its superhero movie peers, and that’s less pre-release footage. When you break it down, maybe 10 minutes from the Batman trilogy finale has been unveiled (out of a nearly 3-hour runtime). By comparison, about twice as much Avengers footage was previewed, while there were enough pre-release Amazing Spider-Man clips to cobble together a 25-minute outline of the film.
Warner Bros. keeps its cards close to the chest with a new 13-minute making-of featurette for TDKR. It compiles trailers and TV spots, screenshots, and soundtrack samples – then, mixes them together with previously-unseen behind the scenes clips, plus interviews where the cast/crew offer a vague breakdown of the film’s storyline, themes, and big set pieces. The end result: we remain largely unspoiled for Christopher Nolan’s “true conclusion” to his Caped Crusader saga (and are grateful for that).
Meanwhile, Chris Nolan has joined the ranks of showbiz legends whose prints are displayed at Grauman’s Chinese Theater. Nolan and his brother/co-screenwriter Jonathan Nolan later attended a press conference where the duo revealed that Charles Dickens’ “A Tale of Two Cities” heavily influenced the themes and story for TDKR (wherein Bane leads a terrorist campaign against Gotham City, disguised as a social revolution meant to expose the false history which ushered in an era of stability for the metropolis).
The following was offered in response to question about how Dickens’ masterpiece – set during the 18th century French Revolution, where peasantry revolted against the aristocracy – shaped the themes and plot of Dark Knight Rises (via Coming Soon):
Christopher Nolan: “When Jonah showed me his first draft of his screenplay [for ‘The Dark Knight Rises’], it was 400 pages long or something. It had all this crazy stuff in it. As part of a primer when he handed it to me, he said, ‘You’ve got to think of ‘A Tale of Two Cities’ which, of course, you’ve read.’ I said, ‘Absolutely.’ I read the script and was a little baffled by a few things and realized that I’d never read ‘A Tale of Two Cities’. It was just one of those things that I thought I had done. Then I got it, read it and absolutely loved it and got completely what he was talking about… When I did my draft on the script, it was all about ‘A Tale of Two Cities’.”
Jonathan Nolan: “Chris and [David S. Goyer] started developing the story in 2008 right after [‘Dark Knight’] came out. Before the recession. Before Occupy Wall Street or any of that. Rather than being influenced by that, I was looking to old good books and good movies. Good literature for inspiration… What I always felt like we needed to do in a third film was, for lack of a better term, go there. All of these films have threatened to turn Gotham inside out and to collapse it on itself. None of them have actually achieved that until this film. ‘A Tale of Two Cities’ was, to me, one of the most harrowing portrait of a relatable, recognizable civilization that completely folded to pieces with the terrors in Paris in France in that period. It’s hard to imagine that things can go that badly wrong.”
The initial report that Dark Knight Rises boasts 100 minutes of action prompted a noteworthy number of fans to express concern that the film will sacrifice the careful attention to character development and storytelling featured in Nolan’s first two Batman films – in favor of dazzling, but ultimately hollow, spectacle. That marked a turnaround, after a significant portion of the hardcore Batman fanbase had shown concern that the film would be too much of a dismal superhero drama, based on the low-key theatrical trailers (a conclusion that still puzzles this writer, but moving on…).
Suffice it to say: these comments from the Nolan siblings should serve as comfort for anyone experiencing such doubts, and offer assurance that Dark Knight Rises is poised to deliver all the visceral and emotional payoff that one could hope for (from the conclusion to one of the most critically-acclaimed blockbuster trilogies in film history).
The Dark Knight Rises in theaters on July 20th, 2012.
Source: Warner Bros. Pictures, Coming Soon