You’re all gonna wonder how you ever thought you could live so large and leave so little for the rest of us
Gotham City is really not a very good place to be a woman. Gothamites who happen to be female have very few options beyond being a damsel in distress, a sex object and/or dead. With the possible exception of Batgirl and officer Anna Ramirez all the women on this list fit into one (or more) of these narrow categories. Plus, of course, Ramirez ends up as a traitor whose life is only spared via a random coin toss.
There are a few other women who briefly appear in the Batman movies (including the five unnamed women who hang on Bruce Wayne’s arms in the Nolan films) however since their roles are so minor and unimportant to the plot I’ve elected not to included them on this chart.
As Elisa Kreisinger recently pointed out on her blog the stereotypical Hollywood roles for women coupled with the male gaze behind the camera poses a big problem for video remixers wishing to create alternative visual stories. Because there is so little to work with in the original source its extremely difficult to re-imagine stronger or more complete female characters in a Batman Universe remix. That said I’m carefully searching the filmographies of both Uma Thurman and Michelle Pfeiffer looking for creative ways to include them in this project without all the sexist tropes.
Film stills of The Joker, The Penguin, The Riddler and Catwoman taken from Batman: The Movie (1966). Don’t worry I will not be using any source material from this übercheesy Batman incarnation in my remix project. It is worth noting however that 1960s era Batman reruns were my very first exposure to the Batman Universe, in fact the show was one of the only things I was allowed to watch as a child. Growing up in an extremely religious and conservative household, TV was all but banned until I was about 10 years old. After that it was still severely limited, monitored and restricted throughout my tween years. Batman reruns were one of the few things on the approved list - largely because my Mom had been a fan of the show when it originally aired. Other shows deemed to have the appropriate “family values” were Family Matters, Star Trek, The Cosby Show, The Disney Afternoon and then later in 1992 Batman: The Animated Series.
The remix will borrow actor Christian Bale’s portrayal of Batman from the Christopher Nolan franchise to transform Bruce Wayne into a villainous plutocrat. The reason for this choice is partially due to Bale’s extended filmography, which offers some fantastic villains, but also because I find Michael Keaton, Val Kilmer and George Clooney to be unconvincing in the original role. In addition, since Bale began his acting career as a child in films like Empire of the Sun, there are some intriguing possibilities for flashback elements in the new narrative. Lastly Bale’s current popularity has produced a wide variety of high-resolution press images and magazine covers - which will become a key aspect of this project (more on that later). Stay tuned for updates on the alternative universe re-cast.
Here’s a preliminary example of the Photoshop + After Effects work for the upcoming Batman Reimagined kickstarter trailer. This is a shot from the movie Bruce Almighty starring Jim Carrey (The Riddler) where the messages on the signs have been altered to fit the new narrative. There are many similar scene transformations in the works for this project. Stay tuned, much more to come…
Frank Miller is Really Gonna Hate this Remix
If you somehow didn’t already think that Frank Miller, comic-book creator of 300 and The Dark Knight Returns, was a misogynist right-wing reactionary prick here’s the proof. In a recent blog post he shows his true cryptofascist colors by ranting against Occupy Wall Street protesters and calling them pond scum, louts, thieves, and rapists. Frank writes:
“In the name of decency, go home to your parents, you losers. Go back to your mommas’ basements and play with your Lords Of Warcraft.”
Well, Frank, sentiments like that put you squarely in the villains category (along with Bruce Wayne himself) in my alternative remixed Batman universe. I might just have to find a way to include a Frank Miller cameo in the remix.
Comic-book writer Alan Moore, creator of V for Vendetta, on the other hand has a decidedly different option. He has this to say about the recent occupy-related protests and those appropriating his Guy Fawkes mask design:
“Voice of the people…I think that if the mask stands for anything, in the current context, that is what it stands for. This is the people. That mysterious entity that is evoked so often – this is the people.”
- The Guardian - Frank Miller calls Occupy protesters thieves & rapists
- The Guardian - Frank Miller and the rise of cryptofascist Hollywood
- The Guardian - Alan Moore, meet the man behind the protest mask
Organization is key to any big remix video project and keeping track of the huge number of movie sources for this remix has been challenging to say the least. So I’ve started a listal.com list divided into sub-sections for each potential character. As I work building the new narrative out of these sources I will be adding/subtracting more films to/from the list.
This is a looks at first round of media sourcing for this project. More films might follow (and a few may be dropped) depending on how the narrative is progressing but hopefully it gives you an idea of the scope and complexity of the remix I’m trying to build. You’ll notice that all the above films star either Christian Bale or an actor who once played a Batman villain.
Today a handful of global conglomerates own and control the telling of all the stories in the world. They have global marketing formulas that are imposed on creative people telling them to put in more action and cut out complicated solutions. They apply this formula because it travels well on the global market and of course the leading element of that formula is violence.