Driven by tragedy, billionaire Bruce Wayne dedicates his life to uncovering and defeating the corruption that plagues his home, Gotham City. Unable to work within the system, he instead creates a new identity, a symbol of fear for the criminal underworld - The Batman.
- Christopher Nolan: « I first became interested in taking on Batman when I heard that Warner Bros. was looking to renew, reinvent the franchise. I’d made my last film at Warner Bros. so I was able to go to them and explain to them the way I saw the Batman franchise being interestingly reinvented.
From the beginning, my interest was in taking on a superhero story but treating it in a realistic fashion. I’ve always been a big fan of the character but I am by no means any kind of comic book expert. I felt I needed a writer on the project who really knew the character inside out, really knew the comic world. »
- The language used by Ken Watanabe is neither Japanese nor Tibetan, nor in fact any known language at all. It's supposedly some gibberish he says he made up himself for the role, though the subtitles list it as Urdu.
- Christian Bale decided early on in the audition process that he didn't want to play Batman straight, but to play him as a rage-filled monster, figuring that it might polarize writer and director Christopher Nolan. To his delight, Nolan was thrilled with his off-kilter interpretation.
- Before shooting began, writer and director Christopher Nolan invited the whole movie crew to a private screening of Blade Runner (1982). After the movie, he said to the whole crew, "This is how we're going to make 'Batman'."
- Writer and director Christopher Nolan decided that there would be no second unit, and so for the whole 129 shooting days, Nolan oversaw every shot of the movie personally.
- Christian Bale lost his voice three times during filming, after altering his voice while playing Batman.
- Due to his part in The Machinist (2004), Christian Bale was vastly underweight (about one hundred twenty pounds on his six foot frame) when he was under consideration for the part. After being cast, he was told to become as "big as you could be" by Christopher Nolan. Bale underwent a six month dietary and exercise regimen, and ending up weighing about two hundred twenty pounds (about forty pounds above his normal weight). It was decided that Bale had become too large (friends of his on this movie's crew dubbed him "Fatman") and he quickly shed about twenty pounds to have leaner, more muscular frame. Bale described the experience as an unbearable physical ordeal.
- Only a few days before the role of Batman was cast, eight actors were asked to audition for the part. They were Christian Bale, Joshua Jackson, Eion Bailey, Hugh Dancy, Billy Crudup, Cillian Murphy, Henry Cavill, and Jake Gyllenhaal. David Duchovny was once again considered to play the part of Bruce Wayne/Batman since he was considered for the latest movie which was Batman & Robin (1997). While Bale won the part, Christopher Nolan liked Murphy's audition so much, he cast him as Dr. Jonathan Crane a.k.a. The Scarecrow. Part of the audition process involved the actors wearing a Batman suit (minus the cape which has been missing for some time) used by Val Kilmer in Batman Forever (1995), which was brought out of storage for this purpose.
- Hans Zimmer named the tracks in the soundtrack after types of Bats. The first letters of tracks 4-9 in the soundtrack, spell "BATMAN". ("Barbastella", "Artibeus", "Tadarida", "Macrotus", "Antrozous" and "Nycteris")
- Writer and director Christopher Nolan generally filmed the fight scenes with the actors doing as many of the stunts as physically possible (in the case of Christian Bale and Liam Neeson, that was pretty much all of them). He would then shoot the same fight sequences with the stuntmen for coverage.
- The house which served as the setting of "Wayne Manor" in this movie was Mentmore Towers, the former Rothschild estate located in Buckinghamshire, England. The mansion served as the O'Connells' house in The Mummy Returns (2001), and has also been featured in such other movies as Brazil (1985), Slipstream (1989), Eyes Wide Shut (1999), Quills (2000), Ali G Indahouse (2002), and Johnny English (2003).
- (at around 19 mins) In a 2012 interview, Christopher Nolan admitted that he invented the line "rub your chest, your arms will take care of themselves", spoken by Henri Ducard (Liam Neeson) after Bruce Wayne (Christian Bale) falls into the frozen lake, and that it has no scientific basis, adding that he imagined "Boy Scouts everywhere freezing to death" because they took the advice literally, thanks to Neeson's convincing delivery.
- Screenwriter David S. Goyer mentioned in an interview that his favorite pre-audition choice for Batman was Jake Gyllenhaal, but that he was won over by Christian Bale after seeing his test. Jake's sister, Maggie Gyllenhaal was later cast in The Dark Knight (2008).
- Ra's Al Ghul is Arabic for "The Demon's Head". This refers to his position at the height of the Brotherhood of the Demon, a.k.a. The League of Shadows. Al-Ghul translates to The Ghoul in Arabic, but generally is summarized as Demon.
- This movie's marketing costs, $100 million, were, at the time, the most ever spent on one movie.
- "Batman" is said only ten times throughout this movie.
- Marilyn Manson, Christopher Eccleston, Ewan McGregor, and Jeremy Davies were considered for the role of Dr. Jonathan Crane a.k.a. The Scarecrow.
- The title went through many changes. First, it was known as "Batman 5". It became "Batman: The Frightening" for a while. To prevent script leaks, they were titled "Intimidation Game" to throw off the public, before settling on "Batman Begins".
- There were five Batmobiles made for this movie.
- Bruce Wayne does not appear in full Batman costume until just over an hour into the movie.
- Early work on the script and the production design was conducted in the back of Christopher Nolan's garage. During the writing process, Nolan and David S. Goyer sometimes took walks near the site of the original Batcave from Batman (1966).
- Christopher Nolan wanted to show Batman from the criminal's point of view, showing less of him. He says, "You would see him as more frightening. There would be more suspense."
- Sir Anthony Hopkins was offered the role of Alfred, but declined.
- Initially, writer and director Christopher Nolan wanted to cast Gary Oldman as a villain, and Chris Cooper as Gordon. Cooper, however, wanted to spend more time with his family, so Nolan hit on the unusual idea of casting Oldman as a character who was not a baddie.
- The wide shot of the house of the League of Shadows was entirely computer-generated.
- When Christopher Nolan asked Hans Zimmer to provide the score, Zimmer asked him if he could also bring James Newton Howard on-board. The two composers had been meaning to work together for some time, and this felt like the perfect project for two composers with its bi-polar lead character.
- Keanu Reeves was considered for the role of Batman, and even expressed interest in the press when the project was in development. He was also considered to play Bruce Wayne/Batman in Batman Forever (1995).
- In each part of the trilogy Batman/Bruce Wayne has either a friend who turns into the villain or vice versa. In this one, Ra's Al Ghul trains Bruce Wayne, then turns against him.
- The Bat Symbol at the beginning of each movie in the trilogy foreshadowed something that happened later. In this case, the Bat Symbol is made up of bats, and it symbolizes Batman using the sonar to call them to distract the cops, while he escapes from Arkham Asylum with Rachel.
- (at around 25 mins) The scene of Joe Chills shooting, if paused at a certain frame, emulates the infamous photo of Jack Ruby shooting Lee Harvey Oswald. The frame is shown in the movie's visual guidebook.
- John Nolan: (at around 1h 45 mins) the uncle of Christopher Nolan plays the birthday party guest who tells Bruce Wayne that "the apple has fallen very far from the tree."
- Lucy Russell: (at around 1h 9 mins) the female lead from Following (1998), writer and director Christopher Nolan's first movie, plays a guest in the restaurant, and has the second most lines of any female in the movie, second only to Katie Holmes (Rachel Dawes).
- The construction of Gotham City on a studio set took 10 months to complete. The sets were built in the Admiralty Hangar No. 2 at Cardington, one of the largest hangars in the world. The floor area is the size of sixteen Olympic-size swimming pools. The No. 2 shed was assembled at the site, in 1928, to house the British airship R100.
- Gary Oldman's depiction of Commissioner Gordon was inspired by the character's appearance in Frank Miller's "Batman: Year One".
- The Tumbler weighed 2 and a half tons.
- Writer and director Christopher Nolan cited Bryan Singer's X-Men (2000) as an influence for this movie.
- The screenplay was so secretive that the executives who were going to greenlight the project were only allowed to read it in Christopher Nolan's garage.
- Joe Pantoliano revealed in an interview that he turned down the role of Detective Flass, citing him as an unimportant character.
- This is the first Batman movie to be shot in a 2.35:1 aspect ratio.
- In 1999, Warner Brothers hired Darren Aronofsky to write and direct Batman: Year One, which was to be the fifth movie in the Batman franchise. Aronofsky brought Frank Miller to co-write Year One with him. Aronofsky collaborator Matthew Libatique was set as cinematographer. Also, he wanted to shoot the movie in Tokyo, doubling for Gotham City. Aronofsky wanted to cast Clint Eastwood for the role of Batman. However, Warner Brothers was not happy with the script, due to the differences from the source material, and did not greenlight the movie.
- This movie was inspired by director Ridley Scott's Blade Runner (1982). Rutger Hauer, who played one of the replicants in Blade Runner (1982), also appeared in this movie as Mr. Earle.
- The key "combination" that Bruce plays on the piano to open the secret entrance to the Bat Cave is comprised of three pairs of notes, starting three octaves above middle-C. The keys he presses are D-E, D-E (up an octave), and G-A. However, the tones heard in the soundtrack are actually a half-step down from the correct tones for the notes he plays. This may simply be a post-production soundtrack adjustment or variance, but could also be that the piano was tuned a half-step down, which is sometimes done on older pianos to reduce the eighteen to twenty tons of string tension stress on their framing.
- Guy Pearce was considered for the role of Henri Ducard, but was deemed too young.
- The average length of a shot is 1.9 seconds.
- Sarah Michelle Gellar and Rachel McAdams were considered for the part of Rachel Dawes.
- (at around 12 mins) The opera that young Bruce attends with his parents is "Mefistofele", composed in the mid 1800s by Arrigo Boito.
Thomas Wayne: And why do we fall, Bruce? So we can learn to pick ourselves up...
Henri Ducard: If you make yourself more than just a man. If you devote yourself to an ideal. You'll become something else entirely. Batman/Bruce Wayne: Which is? Henri Ducard: A legend, Mr. Wayne. A legend.
It's not who we are but what we do that defines us.
— Rachel Dawes
Batman/Bruce Wayne: It's not who I am underneath, but what I do that defines me.
Dr. Jonathan Crane/Scarecrow: There's nothing to fear, but fear itself!
You’re not the devil, you’re practice.
— Bruce Wayne
Does it come in black?
— Bruce Wayne
Alfred Pennyworth : Why bats, Master Wayne?
Bruce Wayne : Bats frighten me. It's time my enemies shared my dread.
I don't have the luxury of friends.
I won't kill you, but I don't have to save you.
Following the highly original Memento ($4.5 million budget) and the excellent thriller Insomnia ($46 million), filmmaker Christopher Nolan is here directing his third major film with a reboot of Batman. And the stakes are now much higher. This time, Nolan gets a budget of $150 million to tell his story.
In many ways, Nolan has learned a lot from his previous films. Memento was a movie with a clear theme told the right way. Insomnia had amazing outside locations that served the story, as well as A-grade actors (Al Pacino, Robin William). Batman Begins will take those lessons and try to go to the next level.
The first thing that comes to mind when starting Batman Begins is the music. There is a sense of grandeur and while the music is more classic in the Hollywood sense, it still fits perfectly. The melancholic synthesizers from composer David Julyan have been replaced with the drums from Hans Zimmer as well as the violins from James Newton Howard, as the score of Batman has been composed by the two artists – Zimmer focusing on the action and JNH on the emotional music.
The result is a tremendous success. The theme is perfect, the emotional music is beyond words. Listen to Macrotus and you'll see what I mean.
There is a clear 2.35 cinematographic sense. There are lots of interesting camera movements.
Visually, the film is more than great. The pictures of the glacier in the first half are wonderful.
While the film is dark, there are some small humor touches and it always works.
The theme of the film is clearly fear. What is interesting, as it is the case in many Christopher Nolan movies, is that there is an introspection.
The flashbacks are hitting all the chords beautifully.
ODD BUT NOT ODD
The film contains many moments that could have been odd, such as the training of Batman, or Batman driving the tumbler on rooftops or Batman hooked to the train at the end.
The primary color palette of Batman Begins is clearly a dark orangy yellow.
There is a lot of energy in the film. One thing that I noticed after a few viewings is that there are lots of cuts to shots that are already moving. The cuts are done just slightly too late, which provides a sense of energy without being a gimmick.
NO OPENING CREDITS
For the first time in Christopher Nolan's filmography, his movie will not open with opening credits. The name of the film will only appear at the very end, which, I think, is very clever and mature.
I think that Batman Begins is a superb film, in a sense that Christopher Nolan brings an excellent and dark vision of Batman. My only concern is that there isn’t such a dramatic sense of grandeur like in the following The Dark Knight and The Dark Knight Rises.
A superb reboot of one of the best trilogy of all time. I give it 8 out of 10.
It's not who I am underneath, but what I do that defines me.
Bruce Wayne is constantly tortured by his childhood memories when he witnessed his parents being murdered. Taken under the wing of The League Of Shadows, a deadly ninja assassin army devoted to erasing crime with their own brand of harsh justice. After completing training, Wayne refuses to join them on account of not agreeing with their methods, he returns to Gotham City to reek his own one man war against crime.
Director Christopher Nolan literally goes back to Batman origins to not just give the dead franchise a kiss of life, but actually to spark it into a sort of triumphant homecoming. Gone is all forms of camp veneer so evident in Joel Schumacher's offerings, and in place we have a darkly rich picture intent on fleshing out Batman's motives, and crucially, his fractured persona.
One of the most pleasing things to me was that Nolan paced this picture to perfection, the build up of character, and then birth of the Bat, dominates for practically the first hour of the piece. This gives Batman Begins some crucial heart, it really helps us to focus on this weird super-hero now that we have some meat on his bones. We then follow Wayne from a Chinese prison to The League Of Shadows monastery, watching his transformation from brawling man of anger into a controlled fighting machine. A machine that still roams with a revenge laden heart.
Then its to Gotham City where he then births Batman and all bad guys are on his agenda. Mob boss Falcone, the mysterious Scarecrow, and also a face from his past that rears its surprising head. Wayne is driven by powerful motives, and it's here in the second part of the film that Batman Begins rewards those who indulged in the character build up. In come the stunts and outrageous sequences, all played out in Nolan's desperately dank Gotham City (a far cry from Tim Burton's dark Oz like scapes). This Gotham is pot boiling to disaster and is crying out for the Bat to sweep all before it, and thankfully Nolan and his cast fulfil all the early promise to deliver a wonderful action fantasy that caters for all ages.
Christian Bale dons the Batsuit and it fits like a glove, his Bruce Wayne may lack the ebullient charisma that Michael Keaton's had, but his Batman is mean and moody and comfortable with the zippy dialogue. Michael Caine plays Alfred the loyal servant to the Wayne family, much heart and emotive drive from Caine ensures the role is a roaring success. Cillian Murphy is Dr Jonathan Crane/Scarecrow who actually scares more as Crane with his piercing eyes and devilishly smirky leer, whilst both Gary Oldman (Jim Gordon) & Morgan Freeman (Lucius Fox) are solid with what little they actually have to do. Liam Neeson gets his teeth into a meaty role as Henri Ducard, and as a character arc he gets the best scenes (Nolan clearly having great fun here).
Minnor let downs to me without hurting the picture are Katie Holmes (pretty but hardly convincing as Assistant D.A. Rachael Dawes) and Rutger Hauer as Earle (a little bit of menace wouldn't go amiss here Rutger old man). Still, as I said they are very minor let downs because as comic book adaptations go, Batman Begins is from the top draw, a franchise re-suited, rebooted and completely reinvigorated. But now the test comes with that all important sequel... 9/10