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flick pick | Batman Begins 2005
Directed by: Christopher Nolan
Written by: Bob Kane (characters), David S. Goyer (story and screenplay), Christopher Nolan (screenplay)
Starring: Christian Bale, Michael Caine, Liam Neeson, Katie Holmes, Gary Oldman, Cillian Murphy
Language: English
Look for it at the video store under: action/adventure
Watch it when you’re in the mood for something:  action-packed
The critic says: / 5 the rating system explained
Fun factor: /5 

Plot synopsis As a small child growing up in Gotham City’s oldest and wealthiest family, Bruce Wayne falls into a well on his family’s palatial estate one afternoon while playing with his best friend. Huddled in the dark, he notices an opening in the side of the well – from which a cloud of shrieking bats suddenly comes bursting forth, surrounding the young boy. He cowers in terror until his father comes to rescue him -- and from that day on, bats become synonymous with fear in the boy’s mind. When his parents take him to the theatre one evening, the production reminds him of his experience with the bats, and he begs his parents to leave early. As the family exits the theatre and step into the deserted alley outside, they find themselves held up at gunpoint by a mugger. Both his father and mother are shot dead in front of Bruce’s eyes. Emotionally scarred and all alone, the orphaned boy grows into an angry young man determined to take vengeance on his parents’ murderer. When that opportunity is snatched away from him, he disappears from Gotham City to the Far East, where he ends up falling in with a semi-mystical, martial arts group led by the charismatic Ra's Al-Ghul. Bruce Wayne returns home with ninja-like strength and agility, and a determination to fight the corrupt powers that have plunged Gotham City into a pit of crime and poverty. Remembering how bats were once the creatures he feared most in the world, Bruce Wayne molds himself into Batman, a hero whose efforts will strike terror into the hearts and minds of Gotham City’s evildoers.

Review A few years back, in a desperate last-minute attempt at throwing together fun Halloween costumes, the boy and I decided to go as made-up (uh, made-up by us) superheroes. My friend Barrett, a long-standing comic book collector, was delighted, as he oohed and ahhed over the little details of our costumes and laughed at our superpowers. So what’s your origin story, he proceeded to ask. Our what? -- we answered. You know, how you came to be superheroes? – he pressed. As we stared at him blankly, he insisted, But the origin story’s the best part! Watching the latest installment of the Batman movie franchise, I have to agree that Barrett was right. By focusing on the back-story leading up to an ordinary person’s transformation into something greater, the origin story is the bit of the tale that makes superheroes feel human, and thus allows us mere mortals to connect with these characters when they later go on to accomplish extraordinary deeds. Director Christopher Nolan [Memento] isn’t your typical action movie director, and proves to be exactly the right choice to bring the Batman origin story to screen. As told by Nolan and screenwriter David S. Goyer, this is a broody and pensive tale, and the fight between good guy and bad guy plays definite second fiddle to the real battle -- the one waging within Bruce Wayne as he grows up and decides whether he’ll let fear and anger eat away at him fruitlessly, or use those feelings to make a difference in the world. As the young Batman facing inner demons galore, Christian Bale seems made for the role -- perhaps the only one of the movie Batmans who’s as convincing playing slick billionaire Bruce Wayne as he is portraying the dark, tortured do-gooder in the superhero suit. With Bale, you buy that there’s a lot going on beneath the perfect chiseled exterior; his Batman is clever, and mysterious, and intriguing, and you want to get inside his head. Batman Begins isn’t your typical superhero action flick so much as a compelling character movie that just happens to feature cool sets, good fights, fun costumes and wow-awesome toys. Yes, the Batmobile does seriously rock (unlike incarnations in Batman movies past), but in the end, it’s the intelligence of this Batman that makes this superhero flick a cut above the rest. —reviewed by Yee-Fan Sun

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