The Dark Knight
From talkies to Technicolor, change has been part of the film industry. However, it is now dealing with something like never before: computer animation. For years companies such as Disney, Warner Bros., and Universal have tried to outdo each other in making the best use of computer animation in their movies. Although computer graphics can be useful, Hollywood has been known to overuse them. Many times famous moviemakers think computer graphics are the leading way to capture the viewers. They also seem to believe that their audience cannot tell the difference between computer graphics animation and raw filming. Nevertheless, when computer graphic animation is overused, the end result is an unsatisfied audience. Although computer graphics have created spectacular movies, they are also able to put a sense of unreality into the film. In Christopher Nolan’s The Dark Knight computer graphic animation as well as green screen software could have been an ideal option. However, Nolan chose to use real footage whenever possible.
Nolan’s preferences in the film industry have made him one of the greatest producers of all time. When Jeffrey Ressner interviewed him Nolan stated:
I believe in an absolute difference between animation and photography… If you put a lot of time and effort into matching your original film elements [to the CGI, you] can really trick the eye. The problem for me is if you don’t [base the shot with camera footage] the visual effect is going to stick out if the film you’re making… I prefer films that feel more like real life, so any CGI has to be very carefully handled to fit into that.
Nolan’s films are set apart from most action adventure movies because of his realistic view. It is surprising that in The Dark Knight Nolan still only used CGI as a last option. In fact, in one scene (when The Joker is chasing Dent and Batman comes and crashes into a garbage truck) he used large-scale miniatures of the garbage truck and the bat mobile, instead of using CGI. That is proof of his whole-hearted dedication to style.
Since green-screen software and CGI are barely used in The Dark Knight, there is a clearer, more realistic picture that is present. However, there were a couple occasions where Nolan was forced to use CGI in his film. Renee Dunlop gives an example of this in her article titled The Dark Knight, “the Jokers’ henchmen ensnare the police helicopter as it pursues the Joker’s semi-truck… ‘though Chicago was very happy to let us do all sorts of crazy things in the street, they weren’t that keen on us crashing a helicopter into a building.’” Instead, Nolan morphed footage of the helicopter with the CGI helicopter crashing into a building, which was part of a green screen background. Nolan was able to make an amazing scene by merging his standard techniques with that of CGI.
During the making of The Dark Knight, Nolan decided that in order to have a convincing Two-Face, he needed to use CGI. This was a smart decision considering that his other options (either makeup or a mask) could have made the movie flop. By using CGI, Nolan was able to create a realistic version of DC comic’s surreal character, Two-Face.
The Dark Knight had a noticeably large effect on its audience. Nolan decidedly used everything in his power to make the film as realistic as he could. By using very little CGI and green screen, he created an effect that is almost bewildering. An image of a childhood comic brought to life. This life helps to define the battle that takes place between good versus evil as well as the characters inner struggles. By incorporating different lighting as well as background, Nolan was able to enhance the sacrifice Batman made to shift Gotham’s hatred from its White Knight to The Dark Knight.
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Ressner, Jeffrey. "The Traditionalist - DGA Interview with Christopher Nolan." The
Traditionalist - DGA Interview with Christopher Nolan. The Director's Guild of America, Spring 2012. Web. 15 Mar. 2014.