- Batman Begins
name = Batman Begins
Emma Thomas Larry J. Franco
writer = Screenplay:
David S. Goyer
David S. Goyer
Bob Kane Bill Finger
Christian Bale Michael Caine Liam Neeson Katie Holmes Gary Oldman Cillian Murphy Morgan Freeman Tom Wilkinson Rutger Hauer Ken Watanabe
James Newton Howard
editing = Lee Smith
released = June 15, 2005
runtime = 140 min.
country = United States
language = English
budget = $135 million
gross = Domestic:
followed_by = "The Dark Knight"
website = http://batmanbegins.warnerbros.com/
amg_id = 1:289465
imdb_id = 0372784
"Batman Begins" is a 2005 American
superhero filmbased on the fictional DC Comicscharacter Batman, directed by Christopher Nolan. It stars Christian Baleas Batman, along with Michael Caine, Gary Oldman, Liam Neeson, Katie Holmes, Cillian Murphy, Morgan Freeman, Ken Watanabe, Tom Wilkinson, and Rutger Hauer. The film reboots the "Batman" film series, telling the origin storyof the character and begins with Bruce Wayne's initial fear of bats, the death of his parents, and his journey to becoming Batman. It draws inspiration from classic comic bookstorylines such as ', ', and "".
After a series of unsuccessful projects to resurrect Batman on screen following the 1997 critical and commercial failure of "Batman & Robin", Nolan and
David S. Goyerbegan work on the film in early 2003 and aimed for a darker and more realistic tone, with humanity and realism being the basis of the film. The goal was to get the audience to care for both Batman and Bruce. The film, which was primarily shot in England and Chicago, relied on traditional stunts and miniatures— computer-generated imagerywas used minimally. A new Batmobile(called the Tumbler) and a more mobile Batsuitwere both created specifically for the film.
"Batman Begins" was critically and commercially successful. The film opened on June 15, 2005 in the United States and Canada in 3,858 theaters. It grossed US$48 million in its opening weekend, eventually grossing $370 million worldwide. The film received an 84% overall approval rating from
Rotten Tomatoes. Critics noted that fear was a common theme throughout the film, and remarked that it had a darker tone compared to previous "Batman" films. A sequel titled "The Dark Knight" was released in July 2008 and also saw the return of both Nolan and Bale to the franchise. The film has also popularized the notion of reboots in Hollywood.
Eight-year-old Bruce Wayne falls into a cave, where he encounters a swarm of bats. Later, he accompanies his parents to an opera, which features actors dressed as bats. Having developed a
fear of bats, he urges his parents to leave the opera. Outside the theater, they are mugged by Joe Chill, who proceeds to kill the parents. Although Chill is later arrested, Bruce blames himself for his parents' murders.
Years later, Bruce returns to
Gotham Cityfrom Princeton University, intent on killing Chill, whose prison sentence is being suspended in exchange for testifying against mobster Carmine Falcone. Before he can act, a woman posing as a reporter kills Chill for Falcone. Bruce tells his childhood friend Rachel Dawesabout his plan, and she expresses disgust for his disregard for justice. Bruce confronts Falcone, who tells him that he is ignorant of the nature of crime, so Bruce decides to travel the world to understand the criminal mind. After nearly seven years, he is detained for theft in a Bhutanese prison, where he meets Henri Ducard. Ducard invites Bruce to join an elite vigilante group, the League of Shadows, led by Ra's al Ghul. Bruce is freed and travels to a mountaintop to begin his training with the League. Bruce overcomes his childhood fear of bats in the process. When he is ordered to execute a criminal and learns of Ra's intention to destroy Gotham, he refuses and escapes by lighting the League's temple on fire, killing Ra's in the process. Bruce rescues an unconscious Ducard from the wreckage and leaves him at a village.
Bruce returns to a Gotham City ruled by Falcone, and plots his war against the city's corrupt system. He seeks the help of Rachel, now an assistant
district attorney, and police sergeant Jim Gordon, who consoled him after his parents' murder. After reestablishing his connections to Wayne Enterprises(now run by William Earle) Bruce acquires, with the help of former board member Lucius Fox, a prototype armored car and an experimental armored suit. In his first night, he disrupts a drug shipment, and leaves Falcone tied to a searchlight, forming a makeshift Bat-Signal. He also disrupts an assassination attempt on Rachel, leaving her with evidence against a judge on Falcone's payroll. While investigating the drugs in the shipment, Batman is stunned by psychopharmacologist Dr. Jonathan Crane, who sprays him with a powerful hallucinogen. Bruce's butler Alfred Pennyworthrescues him, using an anti-toxin developed by Fox to save him. Crane later poisons Rachel after showing her that the toxin, which is harmful in vapor form, is being piped into the city water supply. Batman saves her and attacks Crane with his own poison. When the police arrive at Arkham to arrest Crane, Batman escapes with Rachel in the Batmobile. After administering the antidote to her in the Batcave, he gives her two vials of it for Gordon – one for inoculating himself and the other for mass-production.
Wayne Manor, Bruce is confronted at his birthday celebration by a group of League of Shadows ninjas led by Ducard, who reveals himself to be the real Ra's al Ghul, and that the man killed earlier was a decoy. Ra's, who had been conspiring with Crane the entire time, plans to destroy Gotham by distributing the toxin via the city's water supply, and vaporizing it with a microwave-emitter stolen from Wayne Enterprises. Bruce dismisses his guests by insulting them while pretending to be drunk, and fights briefly with Ra's while the League set fire to the Manor. At the last minute, Bruce escapes the inferno with Alfred's help. Batman arrives at the Narrows section of Gotham to aid the police in battling psychotic criminals, including Crane, now calling himself "Scarecrow", whom the League set free. Rachel is briefly confronted by Crane, but quickly wards him off with a taser before being chased by more inmates. After saving her, Batman reveals his identity to her, and leaves Gordon in control of the Batmobile to stop the elevated trainused to transport the weapon to the city's central water-hub. Batman battles Ra's aboard the train, then escapes just as Gordon topples the elevated line using the Batmobile's missiles, leaving Ra's to crash to the ground and perish in the explosion.
Following the battle, Batman becomes a public hero. Bruce gains control of Wayne Enterprises and installs Fox as the new CEO, firing Earle. However, he is unable to hold onto Rachel, who cannot reconcile her love for Bruce with his dual life as Batman. Newly Lieutenant Gordon unveils a
Bat-Signalfor Batman. Gordon mentions that they will have their hands full finding all of the psychopaths released from Arkham by Ra's, and in particular notes a criminal who also has "a taste for the theatrical" and leaves Joker playing cards at all of his crime scenes. Batman promises to investigate it and leaves.
Christian Baleas Bruce Wayne / Batman: A billionaire industrialist whose parents were killed by a mugger when he was eight years old. Traveling the world for several years to seek the means to fight injustice, he returns to Gotham. At night, Bruce becomes Batman, Gotham City's vigilante protector. Bale was cast on September 11, 2003, having expressed interest in playing Batman since Darren Aronofskywas planning his own film adaptation.cite news|author=Smith, Adam|title=The Original American Psycho|work=Empire|date=July 2005|pages=74–80, 82, 84, 87] Nolan was also considering Billy Crudup, Jake Gyllenhaal, Hugh Dancy, Joshua Jackson, Eion Baileyand Cillian Murphyfor the role.cite news|first=Cathy|last=Dunkley|coauthors=Bing, Jonathan|url=http://www.variety.com/article/VR1117891989.html?categoryid=1019&cs=1|title=Inside Move: New dynamic for WB duo|work=Variety|date=2003-09-07|accessdate=2006-11-02] Bale felt the previous films underused Batman's character, overplaying the villains instead. [cite news|title=A crash but no tickets for Bale's Batmobile in Chicago|work=Chicago Sun-Times|date=2004-11-19|author=Pearlman, Cindy] To best pose as Batman, Bale studied graphic novels and illustrations of the superhero.
Director Nolan said of Bale, "He has exactly the balance of darkness and light that we were looking for." [cite news|author=
Warner Bros.|url=http://www.superherohype.com/news/batmannews.php?id=113|title=Official: Christian Bale is "Batman"!|publisher= Superhero Hype!|date=2003-09-11|accessdate=2006-11-02] Goyer stated that while some actors could play a great Bruce Wayne or a great Batman, Bale could portray both radically different personalities. Bale described the part as playing four characters: the raging Batman persona; the idiotic playboy façade Bruce uses to ward off suspicion; the vengeful young man; and the older, angrier Bruce who is discovering his purpose in life. [cite news|author=Hutchins, John|title=Christian Bale|work= UGO Networks|year=2005|url=http://batman.ugo.com/movies/batman_begins/bale.asp|accessdate=2007-08-29] Bale's dislike of his costume, which heated up regularly, helped him get into a necessarily foul mood. He said, "Batman's meant to be fierce, and you become a beast in that suit, as Batman should be – not a man in a suit, but a different creature."
Since he had lost a great deal of weight in preparation for his role in "
The Machinist", Bale hired a personal trainer to help him gain convert|100|lb in the span of only a couple of months to help him physically prepare for the role. He first went well over the weight required and created concern over whether he'd look right for the part. Bale recognized that his large physique was not appropriate for Batman, who relies on speed and strategy. He managed to lose the excess muscle by the time filming began. The role of Bruce Wayne at age eight was portrayed by Gus Lewis. [cite web|accessmonthday=July 13|accessyear=2008|url=http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article.cgi?file=/chronicle/reviews/movies/BATMANBEGINS.DTL&type=movies|title=The caped crusader has come back. He's brawnier, but he still has brains.|work=San Francisco Chronicle|date=2005-06-14|author=LaSalle, Mick] Michael Caineas Alfred Pennyworth: The trusted butler to Bruce Wayne's parents, who continues his loyal service to their son after their deaths. He is Bruce Wayne's closest confidante. Nolan felt Caine would effectively portray the foster fatherelement of the character. Although Alfred's family is depicted in the film as having served the Wayne family for generations, Caine created his own backstory, in that before becoming Wayne's butler, Alfred served in the Special Air Service. After being wounded, he was invited to the position of the Wayne family butler by Thomas Wayne because, "He wanted a butler, but someone a bit tougher than that, you know?" [cite news|title=Alfred the Butler|work=Empire|date=July 2005|page=79] Liam Neesonas Henri Ducard: In reality the true Ra's al Ghulin disguise, Ducard trains Bruce in ninjutsu, a form of martial arts. Writer David Goyer said he felt Ra's was the most complex of all the Batman villains, comparing him to Osama bin Ladenas, "He's not crazy in the way that all the other Batman villains are. He's not bent on revenge; he's actually trying to heal the world. He's just doing it by very draconian means." [cite news|author=Ryan, Tom|title=In defence of big, expensive films|work= The Age|date=2005-07-14|url=http://www.theage.com.au/news/film/defending-the-blockbuster/2005/07/14/1120934352863.html|accessdate=2007-08-26] Neeson is commonly cast as a mentor, so the revelation that his character was the main villain was intended to shock viewers."The Journey Begins: Creative Concepts" [DVD, 2005] ] Katie Holmesas Rachel Dawes: A childhood friend of Bruce who serves as Gotham City's assistant district attorney, fighting against the corruption in the city. Nolan found a "tremendous warmth and great emotional appeal" in Holmes, and also felt "she has a maturity beyond her years that comes across in the film and is essential to the idea that Rachel is something of a moral conscience for Bruce". [cite web|accessdate=2008-07-13|url=http://www.timeout.com/film/newyork/news/488/batman-begins-press-conference-part-two.html|title='Batman Begins' press conference, part two|work=Time Out – New York|date=2005-06-16] Gary Oldmanas Sgt. James Gordon: One of the few uncorrupted Gotham City police officers. He was the officer on duty the night of the murder of Bruce Wayne's parents. In this way, he shares a special bond with the adult Bruce and thus with Batman. Nolan originally wanted to cast Oldman as one of the film's villains, [cite news|author=Thompson, Anne|title=Dark Knight Review: Nolan Talks Sequel Inflation|work=Variety|date=2008-07-06|url=http://weblogs.variety.com/thompsononhollywood/2008/07/dark-knight-rev.html#more|accessdate=2008-07-07] but when Chris Cooper turned down the role of Gordon to spend time with his family he decided that it would be refreshing for Oldman to play the role instead. [cite news|author=Adler, Shawn|title=Chris Cooper On His ‘Batman Begins’ Near Miss|work= MTV|date=2008-03-04|url=http://moviesblog.mtv.com/2008/03/04/chris-cooper-on-his-batman-begins-near-miss/|accessdate=2008-03-04] "I embody the themes of the movie which are the values of family, courage and compassion and a sense of right and wrong, good and bad and justice," Oldman said of his character. Oldman filmed most of his scenes in Britain. [cite news|title=More Mr Nice Guy|work= Daily Telegraph|date=2007-06-23|url=http://www.telegraph.co.uk/arts/main.jhtml;jsessionid=DSLWKGIFDVJIHQFIQMGSFF4AVCBQWIV0?xml=/arts/2007/06/23/smoldman23.xml&page=1|accessdate=2007-06-25] Goyer said Oldman heavily resembled Gordon as drawn by David Mazzucchelliin "". Cillian Murphyas Dr. Jonathan Crane / The Scarecrow: A psychopharmacologist who works at Arkham Asylumand has developed fear-inducing toxins. He takes on the persona of the Scarecrow to intimidate others and further his study of fears and phobias. Nolan decided against Murphy for Batman, before casting him as Scarecrow. [cite news|first=Michael|last=Fleming|coauthors=Dunkley, Cathy|url=http://www.variety.com/article/VR1117896986.html?categoryid=13&cs=1|title='Batman' bags a baddie|work=Variety|date=2003-12-10|accessdate=2006-11-02] Murphy read numerous comics featuring the Scarecrow, and discussed making the character look less theatrical with Nolan. Murphy explained, "I wanted to avoid the Worzel Gummidgelook. Because he's not a very physically imposing man he's more interested in the manipulation of the mind and what that can do." [cite news|author=Smith, Adam|title=The Scarecrow|work=Empire|date=July 2005|page=77] Morgan Freemanas Lucius Fox: A high-ranking Wayne Enterprisesemployee who was demoted to working in the company's Applied Science Division, where he conducts advanced studies in biochemistryand mechanical engineering. Fox supplies Bruce with much of the gear necessary to carry out Batman's mission and is promoted to CEO when Bruce repossesses the company by the end of the film. Freeman was Goyer's first and only choice for the role.
Other cast members include Tom Wilkinson as
crime boss Carmine Falcone, ruler of the Gotham underworld; Rutger Haueras William Earle, the CEO of Wayne Enterprises who takes the company public in the long-term absence of Bruce Wayne; Ken Watanabeas Ra's al Ghul's decoy; Mark Boone Junioras Gordon's corrupt partner Detective Arnold Flass; Colin McFarlaneas Police commissioner Gillian B. Loeb; Linus Roacheand Sara Stewartas Thomas and Martha Wayne, Bruce's parents; Richard Brakeas Joe Chill, the Waynes' killer; and Rade Šerbedžijaas a homeless man, who is last person to meet Bruce when he leaves Gotham, and the first civilian to see Batman.
In January 2003,
Warner Bros.hired "Memento" director Christopher Nolanto direct an untitled "Batman" film, [cite news|first=Michael|last=Fleming|url=http://www.variety.com/index.asp?layout=story&articleid=VR1117879566&categoryid=13&cs=1|title='Batman' captures director Nolan|work=Variety|date=2003-01-27|accessdate=2006-11-02] and David S. Goyersigned on to write the script two months later. [cite news|first=Claude|last=Brodesser|url=http://www.variety.com/index.asp?layout=story&articleid=VR1117883691&categoryid=13&query=%2A&cs=1|title=Inside Move: WB jump starts Batmobile|coauthors=Dunkley, Cathy|work=Variety|date=2003-03-26|accessdate=2006-11-02] Nolan stated his intention to reinvent the film franchise of Batman by "doing the origins story of the character, which is a story that's never been told before". Nolan said that humanity and realism would be the basis of the origin film, and that "the world of Batman is that of grounded reality. [It] will be a recognizable, contemporary reality against which an extraordinary heroic figure arises." Goyer said that the goal of the film was to get the audience to care for both Batman and Bruce Wayne.cite news|first=Marc|last=Graser|coauthors=Dunkley, Cathy|url=http://www.variety.com/article/VR1117899714.html?categoryid=13&cs=1|title=The bat and the beautiful|work=Variety|date=2004-02-08|accessdate=2006-11-02] Nolan felt the previous films were exercises in style rather than drama, and described his inspiration as being Richard Donner's 1978 "Superman", in its focus on depicting the character's growth. Also similar to "Superman", Nolan wanted an all-star supporting cast for "Batman Begins" to lend a more epic feel and credibility to the story.
Nolan's personal "jumping off point" of inspiration was ', a short story about Bruce's travels throughout the world. The early scene in "Batman Begins" of young Bruce Wayne falling into a well was adapted from "The Man Who Falls".cite video | people=DiDio, Dan (Vice President of DC Comics), Goyer, David S. (Co-writer), Levitz, Paul (President -
DC Comics), Nolan, Christopher (Director), Schreck, Bob (Batman Editor - DC Comics)|year=2006|url=http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0485650/|title=Genesis of the Bat | medium=DVD featurette] ', written by Jeph Loeband drawn by Tim Sale, influenced Goyer in writing the screenplay, with the villain Carmine Falconeas one of many elements which were drawn from "Halloweens "sober, serious approach". The writers considered having Harvey Dent in the film, but replaced him with the new character Rachel Daweswhen they realized, "we couldn’t do him justice".cite book|title=Absolute |author=Nolan, Christopher; Goyer, David S.|year=2007|isbn=1401212824|page=§Introduction] The sequel to "Halloween", ', also served as an influence. [cite news|author=Vineyard, Jennifer|url=http://www.vh1.com/movies/news/articles/1494981/12172004/story.jhtml|title='Batman Begins' Scribe: 'We're Telling A Story That Has Never Been Told'|work= VH1|date=2004-12-17|accessdate=2006-12-13] The character was later portrayed by Aaron Eckhartin the 2008 sequel "The Dark Knight". Goyer used the vacancy of Bruce Wayne's multi-year absence presented in "" to help set up some of the film's events in the transpiring years. [cite news|author=Stax|url=http://comics.ign.com/articles/593/593571p1.html|title=The Influences of "Batman Begins"|publisher= IGN|date= 2004-09-24|accessdate=2006-12-13] In addition, the film's Sergeant James Gordon was based on his comic book incarnation as seen in "Year One". The writers of "Batman Begins" also used Frank Miller's "Year One" plot device, which was about a corrupt police force that led to Gordon and Gotham City's need for Batman.
As with all his films, Nolan refused a
second unitto keep his vision consistent.cite web|title=Batman Begins Production Notes - About the Production|publisher= Warner Bros.|url=http://www2.warnerbros.com/batmanbegins/productionnotes/#|accessdate=2007-02-24] Filming began in March 2004 in the Vatnajokullglacier in Iceland(standing in for Bhutan). The crew built a village and the front doors to Ra's temple, as well as a road to access the remote area. The weather was problematic, with convert|75|mph winds, rain, and a lack of snow. A shot Wally Pfisterhad planned with a crane had to be done with a handheld camera.
In seeking inspiration from "Superman" and other blockbuster films of the late 1970s and early 1980s, Nolan based most of the production in England, specifically
Shepperton Studios. [cite news|title=`Batman Begins' goes to the source|work=The Kansas City Star|date=June 25, 2004] A Batcaveset was built there and measured convert|250|ft long, convert|120|ft wide, and convert|40|ft high. Production designerNathan Crowley installed twelve pumps to create a waterfall with convert|12000|impgal, and built rocks using molds of real caves.cite book|author=Kalindjian, Claudia|title=Batman Begins: The Official Movie Guide|publisher=Time Warner International|year=2005|pages=144-45|isbn=1-932273-44-1] In January 2004, an airship hangar at Cardington, Bedfordshirewas rented by Warner Bros. for filming in April 2004. [cite news|url=http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/uk_news/england/beds/bucks/herts/3506175.stm|title=Airship hangar is home to Batman|work= BBC News Online|date=2004-02-20|accessdate=2006-11-02] There, the Narrows and the feet of the monorails filled the convert|900|ft|m long stage. Mentmore Towerswas chosen from twenty different locations for Wayne Manor, as Nolan and Crowley liked its white floors, which gave the impression of the manor as a memorial to Wayne's parents. The building chosen to represent Arkham Asylum was the National Institute for Medical Researchbuilding in Mill Hill, north west London, England. [cite news|first=Alex|last=Kasriel|url=http://www.edgwaretimes.co.uk/display.var.606532.0.0.php?utag=8269|title=From leafy suburbs to silver screen|work=Edgware & Mill Hill Times|date=2005-06-16|accessdate=2007-05-05] The St. Pancras railway stationand the Abbey Mills Pumping Stationswere used for Arkham's interiors. The University College Londonwas used for courtrooms. Some scenes, including the Batmobile pursuit, were filmed in Chicago at locations such as Lower Wacker Driveand 35 East Wacker.cite web|url=http://www.emporis.com/en/wm/bu/?id=35eastwackerdrive-chicago-il-usa|accessdate=2007-05-14|year=2007|title=35 East Wacker Drive|publisher= Emporis] Authorities agreed to raise Franklin Street Bridgefor a scene where access to the Narrows is closed.
Despite the film's darkness, Nolan wanted to make the film appeal to a wide age range. "Not the youngest kids obviously, I think what we’ve done is probably a bit intense for them but I certainly didn’t want to exclude the sort of ten to 12-year olds, because as a kid I would have loved to have seen a movie like this." Because of this, nothing gory or bloody was filmed. [cite web|accessdate=2008-07-13|url=http://www.timeout.com/film/news/488/|title='Batman Begins' press conference, part two|publisher=Time Out London|date=2005-06-16]
Nolan used the cult
science fiction film" Blade Runner" as a source of inspiration for "Batman Begins". He screened "Blade Runner" to cinematographer Wally Pfisterand two others to show the attitude and style that he wanted to draw from the film. Nolan described the film's world as "an interesting lesson on the technique of exploring and describing a credible universe that doesn't appear to have any boundaries", a lesson that he applied to the production of "Batman Begins". [cite news|first=Pat|last=Jankiewicz|title=Dark Knight Resurrected|work= Starlog|date=August 2005|accessdate=2006-11-06]
Nolan worked with production designer Nathan Crowley to create the look of
Gotham City. Crowley built a model of the city that filled Nolan's garage."Gotham City Rises" [DVD, 2005] ] Crowley and Nolan designed it as a large, modern metropolitan area that would reflect the various periods of architecture that the city had gone through. Elements were drawn from New York City, Chicago, and Tokyo; the latter for its elevated freeways and monorails. The Narrows was based on the slummish nature of the (now demolished) walled city of Kowloon in Hong Kong. [cite news|first=Jeff|last=Otto|url=http://movies.ign.com/articles/622/622719p1.html|title=Interview: Christopher Nolan|work= IGN|date=2006-06-05|accessdate=2006-11-06]
Crowley started the process of designing the Tumbler for the film by model bashing. Crowley used the nose cone of a
P-38 Lightningmodel to serve as the chassis for the Tumbler's jet engine. Six models of the Tumbler were built to 1:12 scale in the course of four months. Following the scale model creation, a crew of over 30 people, including Crowley and engineers Chris Culvert and Annie Smith, carved a full-size replica of the Tumbler out of a large block of Styrofoamin two months.cite web|first=Marshall|last=Brain|url=http://auto.howstuffworks.com/batmobile.htm/printable|title=How the Batmobile Works|work= HowStuffWorks|accessdate=2006-11-05]
The Styrofoam model was used to create a steel "test frame", which had to stand up to several standards: have a speed of over convert|100|mph, go from 0 to convert|60|mph in 5 seconds, possess a
steeringsystem to make sharp turns at city corners, and withstand a self-propelled launch of up to convert|30|ft|m. On the first jump test, the Tumbler's front end collapsed and had to be completely rebuilt. The basic configuration of the newly designed Tumbler included a 5.7-liter Chevy V8 engine, a truck axle for the rear axle, front tires by Hoosier (which are actually dirt racing tires used on the right rear of open wheel sprint cars), rear 4x4 mud tires by Interco., and the suspension system of Baja racing trucks. The design and development process took nine months and cost several million dollars.
With the design process complete, four street-ready race cars were constructed, with each vehicle possessing 65
carbon fiberpanels and costing $250,000 to build. Two of the four cars were specialized versions. One version was the flap version, which had hydraulics and flaps to detail the close-up shots where the vehicle propelled itself through the air. The other version was the jet version, in which an actual jet engine was mounted onto the vehicle, fueled by six propanetanks. Due to the poor visibility inside the vehicle by the driver, monitors were connected to cameras on the vehicle body. The professional drivers for the Tumblers practiced driving the vehicles for six months before they drove on the streets of Chicago for the film's scenes.
The interior of the Tumbler was an immobile studio set and not actually the interior of a street-capable Tumbler. The cockpit was over-sized to fit cameras for scenes filmed in the Tumbler interior. In addition, another version of the Tumbler was a miniature model that was 1:5 scale of the actual Tumbler. This miniature model had an electric motor and was used to show the Tumbler flying across ravines and between buildings. However, the actual Tumbler was used for the waterfall sequence.
The filmmakers intended to create a very mobile
Batsuitthat would allow the wearer to move easily to fight and crouch. Previous film incarnations of the Batsuit had been stiff and especially restricted full head movement. Costume designer Lindy Hemmingand her crew worked on the Batsuit at an FX workshop codenamed "Cape Town", a secured compound located at Shepperton Studios in London. The Batsuit's basic design was a neopreneundersuit, which was shaped by attaching molded cream latex sections. Christian Bale was molded and sculpted prior to his physical training so the team could work on a full body cast. To avoid imperfections picked up by sculpting with clay, plastiline was used to smooth the surface. In addition, the team brewed different mixtures of foam to find the mixture that would be the most flexible, light, durable, and black. The latter presented a problem, since the process to make the foam black reduced the foam's durability.cite web|url=http://www2.warnerbros.com/batmanbegins/productionnotes/#|title="Batman Begins" Production Notes - The Batsuit & Gadgetry|publisher= Warner Brothers|accessdate=2006-11-06]
For the cape, director Christopher Nolan wanted to have a "flowing cloak... that blows and flows as in so many great graphic novels". Hemming's team created the cape out of their own version of parachute nylon that had electrostatic flocking, a process shared with the team by the British Ministry of Defence. The process was used by the London police force to minimize night vision detection. The cape was topped by a cowl, which was designed by Nolan, Hemming, and costume effects supervisor Graham Churchyard. The cowl was created to be thin enough to allow motion but thick enough to avoid wrinkling when Bale turned his head in the Batsuit. Churchyard explained the cowl had been designed to show "a man who has angst", so his character would be revealed through the mask.
For "Batman Begins", Nolan preferred using traditional stuntwork over
computer generated imagery. Scale models were used to represent the Narrows and Ra's al Ghul's temple."Journey to Discovery" [DVD, 2005] ] There were, however, several establishing shots that were CG composite images; that is, an image composed of multiple images. Examples include Gotham's skyline, exterior shots of Wayne Tower, and some of the exterior monorail shots. The climactic monorail sequence mixed live action footage, model work, and CGI."Saving Gotham City" [DVD, 2005] ]
The bats were entirely digital, as it was decided directing real bats on set would be problematic. Dead bats were scanned to create digital models. Locations and sets were recreated on the computer so the flying bats would not be superfluous once incorporated into the finished film.
The score for "Batman Begins" was composed by
Hans Zimmerand James Newton Howard. Nolan originally invited Zimmer to compose the music, and Zimmer asked Nolan if he could invite Howard to compose as well, as they had always planned a collaboration.cite news|author=Graydon, Danny|title=A Little Knight Music|publisher=Empire|date=July 2005|page=87] The two composers collaborated on separate themes for the "split personality" of Bruce Wayne and his alter ego, Batman. Zimmer and Howard began composing in Los Angeles and moved to London where they stayed for twelve weeks to complete most of their writing. [cite news|author=D., Spence|url=http://music.ign.com/articles/624/624382p1.html|title=Batman Vs. Hans Zimmer & James Newton Howard Part 1|work= IGN|date=2005-06-10|accessdate=2006-12-01] Zimmer and Howard sought inspiration for shaping the score by visiting the "Batman Begins" sets.cite news|author=D., Spence|url=http://music.ign.com/articles/624/624641p1.html|title=Batman Vs. Hans Zimmer and James Newton Howard Part 2|work= IGN|date=2005-06-13|accessdate=2006-12-01]
Zimmer wanted to avoid writing music that had been done before, so the score became an amalgamation of orchestra and electronic music. The film's ninety-piece orchestra was developed from members of various London orchestras, and Zimmer chose to use more than the normal number of cellos. Zimmer enlisted a boy soprano to help reflect the music in some of film's scenes where Bruce Wayne's parents tragic memories are involved. "He's singing a fairly pretty tune and then he gets stuck, it's like froze, arrested development," said Zimmer. He also attempted to add human dimension to Batman, whose behavior would typically be seen as "psychotic", through the music. Both composers collaborated to create 2 hours and 20 minutes worth of music for the film. Zimmer composed the action sequences, while Howard focused on the film's drama.
Comic book writer and author Danny Fingeroth argues that a strong theme in the film is Bruce's search for a father figure, saying " [Alfred] is the good father that Bruce comes to depend on. Bruce’s real father died before they could establish an adult relationship, and Liam Neeson’s Ducard is stern and demanding, didactic and challenging, but not a father figure with any sympathy. If Bruce is anyone’s son, it is Alfred’s. [Morgan] Freeman’s Lucius is cool and imperturbable, another steady anchor in Bruce’s life."cite news|author=Fingeroth, Danny|title=Batman Begins: Redefining the Dark Knight|work=VFXWorld|date=2005-06-15|url=http://vfxworld.com/?atype=articles&id=2523&page=1|accessdate=2007-10-13] English professor Mark Fisher of the
University of Floridastates that Bruce's search for justice requires him to learn from a proper father figure, with Thomas Wayne and Ra's al Ghul being the two counterpoints. Alfred provides a maternal figure of unconditional love, despite the overall lack of focus on a mother figure in Bruce's life. [cite paper|author=Fisher, Mark|title=Gothic Oedipus: subjectivity and Capitalism in Christopher Nolan's Batman Begins|work=English Department, University of Florida|year=2006|url=http://www.english.ufl.edu/imagetext/archives/v2_2/fisher/#13|accessdate=2007-10-13]
Fingeroth also argues that a major theme in the film is fear, which supports the story of Bruce Wayne becoming a hero. Director Christopher Nolan stated that the idea behind the film was "a person who would confront his innermost fear and then attempt to become it". Fingeroth referred to this film's depiction as "the man with fear – but who rises above it". The theme of fear is further personified by the choice of antagonist, the Scarecrow. The film depicts how fear can affect all creatures regardless of might. Allusions to fear are seen throughout, from Bruce's conquering of his demons, to becoming Batman, to the Scarecrow and his deadly fear toxin. The macabre, distorted images presented in the Scarecrow's toxin-induced hallucinations also express the idea of terror to an extreme.cite web|accessdate=2008-07-13|url=http://english.ohmynews.com/articleview/article_view.asp?menu=c10400&no=231718&rel_no=1|title=Thrilling 'Batman Begins' Rebuilds Franchise|publisher=OhmyNews|date=2005-06-14|author=Orndorf, Brian]
Critic Brian Orndorf considered "Batman Begins" "fierce" and "demonstrative in brood", giving the film an abundance of gravitas and energy. It strays away from the lighter fare of
Joel Schumacher's 1997 Batman film, "Batman & Robin", which contained camp and one-liners throughout. The theme of fear is intensified with the help of the musical score by Zimmer and Howard, which also "eschews traditional heroic themes". Also contrary to previous Batman films, a psychological investigation of Bruce Wayne's split personality in the bat suit is only lightly touched upon. Orndorf noted that Bruce is a "character constantly striving to do the right thing, not worn down by incessant reexamination".
Based on 250 reviews collected by "
Rotten Tomatoes", "Batman Begins" currently garners an 84% "fresh" rating. [cite web|url=http://www.rottentomatoes.com/m/batman_begins/|title=Batman Begins|publisher= Rotten Tomatoes|accessdate=2008-02-02] The film's reception was more ambivalent within the 40 reviews in Rotten Tomatoes' "Cream of the Crop" subset, reaching a 62% positive consensus. [cite web|url=http://www.rottentomatoes.com/m/batman_begins/?critic=creamcrop|title=Batman Begins: Rotten Tomatoes' Cream of the Crop|work= Rotten Tomatoes|accessdate=2007-09-09] By comparison, Metacriticcalculated an average score of 70 from the 41 reviews it collected. [cite web|url=http://www.metacritic.com/film/titles/batmanbegins|title=Batman Begins (2005): Reviews|work= Metacritic|accessdate=2007-09-09] Common criticism focused on the realism behind the character, and certain character portrayals that hindered the film. James Berardinelliapplauded Nolan and Goyer's work creating more understanding into "who [Batman] is and what motivates him", something Berardinelli felt Tim Burton's film lacked; at the same time, Berardinelli felt the romantic aspect between Bale and Holmes did not work because the actors lacked the chemistry Christopher Reeveand Margot Kidder("Superman"), or Tobey Maguireand Kirsten Dunst("Spider-Man") shared in their respective roles. [cite news|author=Berardinelli, James|url=http://www.reelviews.net/movies/b/batman_begins.html|title=Reel View's review of "Batman Begins"|work=Reel Views|accessdate=2007-08-28] According to " Total Film", Nolan manages to create such strong characters and story that the third-act action sequences cannot compare to " the frisson of two people talking", and Katie Holmes and Christian Bale's romantic subplot has a spark "refreshingly free of Peter Parker/Mary Jane-style whining". [cite web|url=http://www.totalfilm.com/cinema_reviews/batman_begins|title=Batman Begins - Film Review|work= Total Film|accessdate=2007-09-13]
Los Angeles Times" ' Kenneth Turan, who felt the film began slowly, stated that the "story, psychology and reality, not special effects", assisted the darkness behind Batman's arsenal; he noted that Neeson and Holmes, unlike Bale's ability to "feel his role in his bones", do not appear to fit their respective characters in "being both comic-book archetypes and real people". [cite news|author=Turan, Kenneth|url=http://www.calendarlive.com/movies/turan/cl-et-batman14jun14,0,4819786.story|title=Los Angeles Times reviews "Batman Begins"|work= Los Angeles Times|date=2005-06-14|accessdate=2007-09-04] " The New Yorker" 's David Denbydid not share Berardinelli and Turan's opinion. He was unimpressed with the film, when comparing it to the two Tim Burtonfilms, and that Christian Bale's presence was hindered by the "dull earnestness of the screenplay", the final climax was "cheesy and unexciting", and that Nolan had resorting to imitating the "fakery" used by other filmmakers when filming action sequences. [cite news|author=Denby, David|url=http://www.newyorker.com/archive/2005/06/13/050613crci_cinema|title=Aiming Low|work= The New Yorker|date=2005-06-05|accessdate=2007-08-27]
Michael Wilmington of the "
Chicago Tribune" believed Nolan and Miller managed to "comfortably mix the tormented drama and revenge motifs with light hearted gags and comic book allusions", and that Nolan takes the series out of the "slam-bang Hollywood jokefests" the franchise had drifted into. [cite news|author=Wilmington, Michael|url=http://chicago.metromix.com/movies/review/movie-review-batman-begins/159537/content|title=Movie review: 'Batman Begins'|work= Chicago Tribune|accessdate=2007-09-13] Comic book scribe and editor Dennis O'Neilstated that he "felt the filmmakers really understood the character they were translating", citing this film as the best of the live-action Batman films. [cite news|author=Bray, Greg|url=http://www.batman-on-film.com/interview_dennyoneil_gbray_2006.html|title=Interview: DENNY O'NEIL|work=Batman On Film|date=2006-10-18|accessdate=2007-08-27] In contrast, J.R. Jones, from the " Chicago Reader", criticized the script, and Nolan and David Goyer for not living up to the "hype about exploring Batman's damaged psyche". [cite news|author=Jones, J.R.|url=http://www.chicagoreader.com/movies/archives/2005/0605/050617.html|title=Who's Afraid of the Big Bad City?|publisher= Chicago Reader|accessdate=2007-08-27] Roger Ebert, who gave mixed reviews to the previous films, wrote this was "the Batman movie I've been waiting for; more correctly, this is the movie I did not realize I was waiting for". Giving it four out of four stars, he commended the realistic portrayals of the Batman arsenal—the Batsuit, Batcave, Batmobile, and the Batsignal—as well as the focus on "the story and character" with less stress on "high-tech action". [cite news|author=Ebert, Roger|url=http://rogerebert.suntimes.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20050613/REVIEWS/50525003/1023|title=Ebert reviews "Batman Begins"|work= Chicago Sun-Times|date=2005-06-13|accessdate=2007-08-27]
Like Berardinelli, "
USA Today" 's Mike Clark thought Bale performed the role of Batman as well as he did Patrick Bateman in "American Psycho", but that the relationship between Bruce Wayne and Rachel Dawes was "frustratingly underdeveloped". [cite news|author=Clark, Mike|url=http://www.usatoday.com/life/movies/reviews/2005-06-13-batman-begins_x.htm|title=Batman role fits Bale, but 'Begins' wears thin|work= USA Today|date=2005-06-13|accessdate=2007-08-28] Kyle Smiththought Bale exhibited "both the menace and the wit he showed in his brilliant turn in "American Psycho", and that the film works so well because of the realism, stating, "Batman starts stripping away each layer of Gotham crime only to discover a sicker and more monstrous evil beneath, his rancid city simultaneously invokes early ’90s New York, when criminals frolicked to the tune of five murders a day; " Serpico" New York, when cops were for sale; and today, when psychos seek to kill us all at once rather than one by one." [cite news|author=Smith, Kyle|url=http://kylesmithonline.com/?p=349|title=Kyle Smith review of "Batman Begins"|work=KyleSmithOnline|date=2007-03-10|accessdate=2007-09-09] In contrast, Salon.com's Stephanie Zacharek felt Nolan did not deliver the emotional depth expected of "one of the most soulful and tortured superheroes of all"; she thought Bale, unlike Michael Keaton who she compared him to, failed to connect with the audience underneath the mask, but that Gary Oldman succeeds in "emotional complexity" where the rest of the movie fails. [cite news|author=Zacharek, Stephanie|url=http://dir.salon.com/story/ent/movies/review/2005/06/15/batman_begins/index.html|title=Salon reviews "Batman Begins"|work= Salon.com|date=2005-06-15|accessdate=2007-09-09] However, Tim Burtonfelt Nolan "captured the real spirit that these kind of movies are supposed to have nowadays. When I did "Batman" twenty years ago, in 1988 or something, it was a different time in comic book movies. You couldn't go into that dark side of comics yet. The last couple of years that has become acceptable and Nolan certainly got more to the root of what the Batman comics are about." [cite news|author=Ramey, Bill|title=Tim Burton Talks Batman|work=Batman on Film|date=2008-04-13|url=http://www.batman-on-film.com/burton-talks-batman-in-amsterdam_4-13-08.html|accessdate=2008-04-16]
"Batman Begins" opened on June 15, 2005 in the United States and Canada in 3,858 theaters,cite web|url=http://www.boxofficemojo.com/movies/?id=batmanbegins.htm|title=Batman Begins (2005)|work=
Box Office Mojo|accessdate=2006-11-04] including 55 IMAXtheaters.cite news|author=Gray, Brandon|url=http://www.boxofficemojo.com/news/?id=1837&p=.htm|title='Batman Begins' in the Shadows|work= Box Office Mojo|date=2005-06-20|accessdate=2008-01-25] The film ranked at the top in its opening weekend, accumulating $48,745,440, which was seen as "strong but unimpressive by today's instantaneous blockbuster standards". The film's five-day gross was $72.9 million, beating " Batman Forever" (1995) as the franchise high. "Batman Begins" also broke the five-day opening record in the 55 IMAXtheaters, grossing $3.16 million. Polled moviegoers rated the film with an A, and according to the studio's surveys, "Batman Begins" was considered the best of all the "Batman" films. The audience's demographic was 57 percent male and 54 percent people over the age of 25.
The film held its top spot for another weekend, accumulating $27,589,389 in a 43 percent drop from its first weekend. [cite news|author=Gray, Brandon|url=http://www.boxofficemojo.com/news/?id=1841&p=.htm|title='Batman' Sweeps 'Bewitched,' Swats Bug|work=
Box Office Mojo|date=2005-06-27|accessdate=2008-01-25] "Batman Begins" went on to gross $371,853,783 worldwide. It is the third-highest grossing Batman film to date, behind Tim Burton's "Batman", which grossed $411,348,924 worldwide and "The Dark Knight" which has currently grossed $988,004,670 worldwide. In comparison to the previous Batman films, "Batman Begins" averaged $12,634 per theater, the least of all the Batman films. It was released in more theaters, but sold fewer tickets than any of the others, with the exception of "Batman & Robin". [cite web|url=http://www.boxofficemojo.com/franchises/chart/?id=batman.htm|title=Batman Movies|work= Box Office Mojo|accessdate=2006-12-01] "Batman Begins" was the eighth-highest grossing film of 2005 in the US. [cite web|url=http://www.boxofficemojo.com/yearly/chart/?yr=2005&p=.htm|title=2005 Yearly Box Office Results|work= Box Office Mojo|accessdate=2006-12-01]
DVDof "Batman Begins" was released on October 18, 2005 in both single disc and two-disc deluxe editions. [cite web|accessdate=2008-07-13|url=http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2005/10/17/AR2005101700863_pf.html|title='Batman': A Decent, If Not Heroic, DVD|work=The Washington Post|date=2005-10-18|author=Chaney, Jen] In addition to the film, the deluxe edition contained featurettes and other bonus materials. The edition contained a small paperback booklet, the first "Batman" story " Detective Comics" #27, as well as ' and an excerpt from '. [cite web|url=http://www2.warnerbros.com/batmanbegins/synopsis.html|title=About the DVD|publisher= Warner Bros.|accessdate=2006-12-13] "Batman Begins" achieved first place in national sales and rental charts in October 2005, becoming the top-selling DVD in the fourth quarter of 2005. The DVD grossed $11.36 million in rental revenue. [cite news|title=Top renters: week ended October 30, 2005.|publisher=Video Business|date=November 7, 2005] The DVD held its position at the top of the sales chart for a second week, but fell to second place behind "Bewitched" on video rental charts. [cite news|title='Begins' has 2nd a win under its utility belt|work=The Hollywood Reporter|date=November 3, 2005]
"Batman Begins" was released on
HD DVDon October 10, 2006. [cite web|url=http://www.highbeam.com/doc/1G1-151857341.html|title=Batman flies to HD DVD.|publisher= Video Business|accessdate=2008-04-04|author=Ault, Susanne] A "Limited Edition Giftset" of the film was released on DVD and Blu-rayon July 8, 2008, to coincide with "The Dark Knight" which hit theaters July 18, 2008. [cite web|accessdate=2008-07-13|url=http://dvd.ign.com/articles/887/887198p1.html|title=Batman Begins Limited Edition Giftset Blu-ray Review|publisher=IGN|date=2008-07-08|author=Monfette, Christopher] Because of the box office performance of "The Dark Knight", the Batman Begins DVD has seen an increase in both sales and rentals. [cite web|accessdate=2008-08-21|url=http://www.marketwatch.com/news/story/dark-knight-record-breaking-box/story.aspx?guid=%7B027AB2A5-8B56-4C01-B8D7-666B686B08F6%7D&dist=hppr|title=Batman Begins DVD Sells More and More|publisher=MarketWatch|date=2008-07-24|author=Amanda Bartz]
Wally Pfisterwas nominated for Best Cinematography at the 78th Academy Awards, receiving the film's only Oscar nomination. The film received three nominations at the 59th BAFTAAwards. Just months after its release, "Batman Begins" was voted by "Empire" readers as the 36th greatest film of all time. [cite news|title=The 201 Greatest Movies Of All Time|page=95|work=Empire|date= 2006-01-27] In 2006, the American Society of Composers, Authors and Publishershonored James Newton Howard, Hans Zimmer, and Ramin Djawadiwith an ASCAP award for composing a film that became one of the top grossing films of 2005. [cite web|url=http://www.ascap.com/eventsawards/awards/filmtv/2006/boxoffice.html|title=ASCAP award|publisher= American Society of Composers, Authors and Publishers|accessdate=2007-09-09] The film was awarded three Saturn Awardsin 2006 as well: Best Fantasy Film, Best Actor for Christian Bale, and Best Writing for Nolan and Goyer. [cite web|url=http://www.locusmag.com/SFAwards/Db/Saturn2006.html|title=2006 Saturn Awards|publisher=Locus Mag|accessdate=2007-09-09] Christian Bale would go on to win an MTV Movie Awardfor Best Hero. [cite web|url=http://www.chiff.com/art/movies/MTV-movie-awards.htm#MTV_movie_winners|title=2006 MTV Movie Awards|work= MTV|accessdate=2006-12-01] However, Katie Holmes's performance was not well received, and she was nominated for a Razzie Award for Worst Supporting Actress. [cite web|url=http://www.razzies.com/history/05nomSActr.asp|title=26th Annual Razzie® Award Nominees for Worst Supporting Actress|publisher= Golden Raspberry Awards|accessdate=2006-12-01] "Batman Begins" won the fan-based " Total Film" award for Best Film. [cite news|title=Total Film readers' awards|work= Total Film|date=2005-10-31|url=http://www.totalfilm.com/movie_news/total_film_readers_awards|accessdate=2006-11-19]
Shawn Adler of "
MTV" stated after "Batman Begins", a trend of darker genre films, that either retold back-stories or rebooted them altogether, began. Examples he cited were "Casino Royale", as well as the in-development " RoboCop", " Red Sonja" and " He-Man". [cite news|author=Shawn Adler|title=‘He-Man’ Movie Will Go Realistic: ‘We’re Not Talking About Putting Nipples On The Trapjaw Suit’|work= MTVMovies Blog|date=2008-08-14|url=http://moviesblog.mtv.com/2008/08/14/he-man-movie-will-go-realistic-were-not-talking-about-putting-nipples-on-the-trapjaw-suit/|accessdate=2008-09-03] Filmmakers, screenwriters and producers who have mentioned the film to describe their projects include; Jon Favreauand "Iron Man"; [cite news|author=Vespe, Eric|title=Quint goes one on one with Jon Favreau about IRON MAN at Comic-Con!!!|work= Ain't It Cool News|date=2007-07-28|url=http://www.aintitcool.com/node/33483|accessdate=2007-07-29] Edward Nortonand "The Incredible Hulk"; [cite news|title=Edward Norton|work= Total Film|date=2008-03-07|url=http://www.totalfilm.com/features/world_exclusive_edward_norton_talks_incredible_hulk|accessdate=2008-03-19] Joseph McGinty Nicholand " Terminator Salvation" (which also stars Bale); [cite web|author= Joseph McGinty Nichol|title="Terminator Salvation" Official Blog|url=http://rss.warnerbros.com/terminatorsalvation/2008/06/|date=2008-05-22|accessdate=2008-06-04] Damon Lindelofand "Star Trek"; [cite news|author=Clayton Neuman|title=Masters of SciFi - Star Trek and Lost Producer Damon Lindelof on Entertaining the Masses|work=AMC|date=2008-09-01|url=http://blogs.amctv.com/scifi-scanner/2008/09/damon-lindelof-interview.php|accessdate=2008-09-03] Lorenzo di Bonaventuraand '; [cite news|author=Robert Sanchez|title=IESB Exclusive Interview: A Chat with G.I. Joe Producer Lorenzo di Bonaventura!|work=IESB|date=2008-01-08|url=http://www.iesb.net/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=4061&Itemid=99|accessdate=2008-02-23] and even Hugh Jackmanand '. [cite news|author=Larry Carroll|title=Hugh Jackman Looks Towards ‘Batman Begins’ For ‘Wolverine’ Inspiration, Talks Sequels|work= MTVMovies Blog|date=2008-04-29|url=http://moviesblog.mtv.com/2008/04/29/hugh-jackman-looks-towards-batman-begins-for-wolverine-inspiration-talks-sequels/|accessdate=2008-09-03]
* [http://batmanbegins.warnerbros.com/ Official site]
* [http://www2.warnerbros.com/batmanbegins/productionnotes/ Official production notes]
* [http://comics.ign.com/articles/626/626762p1.html Film analysis] at
* [http://www.sequart.com/columns/index.php?col=2&column=500 Scene-by-scene annotations of "Batman Begins"]
* [http://comics.ign.com/articles/624/624890p1.html Comic Vs. Film analysis] at
*imdb title|id=0372784|title=Batman Begins
*mojo title|id=batmanbegins|title=Batman Begins
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