The 2012 grand-scale epic about Batman's struggle to overcome the terrorist leader Bane, as well as his own inner demons.
apw wrote:THE CROWD ROARS. August 6, 2011, and Empire is peering out of the press box nestled high in Pittsburgh's Heinz Field football stadium. We take in a vast arena wrought from 12,000 tons of steel, home (appropriately) to the Pittsburgh Steelers, many of whom are today out on the pitch in old-school-Batman black and yellow to portray fictional team The Gotham Rogues. Across from us, on the home side, around 11,000 extras wave self-crafted Rogues placards and yell deliriously, as instructed by megaphone-waving assistant director Nilo Otero.
It's an oppressively humid day, pushing 100 Fahrenheit; yet in Gotham it's midwinter. Which means the assembled throng, most of them Pittsburgh locals here voluntarily, are sweltering in thick jackets and scarves. The potential ordeal is leavened by an ongoing prize raffle, and during the lunchbreak three desert-camouflaged Tumblers — those bespoke Lamborghini-Hummer-hybrid attack vehicles introduced and sprayed none-more-black in Batman Begins — trundle out. One performs a few speedy circuits. Atop another sits Steelers star player Hines Ward, waving and smiling. The third is cannon-mounted. It fires off a blast. The crowd roars.
And soon after, it screams. People scramble out of their seats and struggle for the exits. From Empire's (thankfully air-conditioned) God's-eye perspective, it looks like someone's just dropped a neatly packed box of marbles. Panic is orchestrated. Something terrible is happening. The 'terror' comes later. First we see stuntmen-footballers sprinting across the field and falling into crashmat-lined craters, which pock a jagged-edged, raised-platform section laid over roughly a quarter of the pitch.
Next come the detonations. BAM BAM BAM BAM. More than 50 dirt-piles explode in seven blasts, leaving the air writhing with dark smoke. Heavily armed mercenaries storm the area. And then, striding in his fur-lined greatcoat, face swathed in a metal, snarling-baboon-maw mask and trailed by some strange, trolley-mounted, spherical doomsday device, arrives Tom Hardy's Bane, powerhouse antagonist of The Dark Knight Rises. "This is the moment where Bane makes his plans known," explains producer Emma Thomas, also Christopher Nolan's wife. Big plans...
Empire has never before seen filmmaking on this scale. This is indisputably jaw-dropping. Huge. And it's no boast to say that to witness such a spectacle is a precious rarity in the early 21st century. This stadium set-piece is more reminiscent of the genuine cast-of-thousands era of Ben-Hur — and we're thinking as much of the 1925 version as William Wyler's Chuck Heston-fronted '59 one. These days we're more used to scale segments built on studio lots or in cavernous, green-walled soundstages with digitally cloned CG extras in the stalls. It's funny how for years we were all so impressed by Hollywood's new digital, reality-replicating flourishes when, all along, they were nowhere near as extraordinary as, well, reality. Nobody makes movies like this anymore. Or rather, nobody else...
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