Joker 2008 vs 2019

Well, I finally got myself to watch the Joker – the one with Joaquin Phoenix, and after the show, it inevitably gets you to compare the performance of Joaquin with the Joker brought to life by Heath Ledger. And to cut out the suspense, Heath Ledger’s performance will never be topped. There I said it. I have had endless discussions on Heath’s portrayal of the Joker, and every time you think of that Joker & his calculated unleashing of chaos, it leaves you scared. I remember watching the movie in the theater and I remember being very disturbed by his antics. Classic quotes like “Some men just want to watch the world burn.” stick with you and resonates when you see and hear some of the stuff that goes on in this world today. While Heath’s Joker was a cruel sadist who enjoyed bringing out the evil within the man for his pleasure, Joaquin’s Joker is just an angry soul who is out to vent it on people. He is not into mindgames, he doesn’t want to test their morals, he just wants to get even. And I think that’s about what I can conclude from this movie. Don’t get me wrong, Joker (2019) is a very good movie, and considering how we are flooded with big bang superhero movies with very less substance, this is levels above its peers.

Also, its a bit unfair to expect anyone to top Heath’s performance. That was a once in a lifetime performance, made even more untouchable for the sheer fact that he never had a chance to reprise it and he actually never even got to a stage where he could give his thought process of how he approached the character and what he aimed for the character to deliver. He never lived to see the cult following that character gained.

To be fair to Joaquin, watching Joker, it clearly shows that he knew what he was up against, and he did put it in his all for the character. He was consistent in his character. But there is only so much he could do within the confines of the script. Heath, in hindsight, had a much superior canvas to play his role and by this I mean, great cast, exceptional talents in Nolan brothers.

In the end, I was left with the feeling of satisfaction, Joker managed to be a respectable second to the Dark Knight, but its that gap between the two that keeps a good movie from being into a timeless classic.

A tale of 2 movies

I watch very few movies in the theatre. I guess its the whole hassle of going to the movie theatre in a city like Bangalore that puts me off. Like book a ticket, get through the traffic, pay the parking, buy the way over priced pop corns, and mostly watch a ‘oh-so-ok’ type movie. No, I don’t really need that.

But it so happened that this past week, I happened to watch two movies – one is a typical cheesy rom-com – Happy Ending and the other – Interstellar. And boy, the contrast in the movies couldn’t be greater. Happy Ending was a typical run of the mill Bollywood movie and Interstellar was just a stellar statement of what movies could be, when done the right way. The incredible world that was created by Nolan brothers just makes you take a step back and acknowledge how far we can push the limits of what can be created on a screen.

Happy Ending was just a like a packet of instant pop corn, that we get at a supermarket. Same ingredients with different flavors – for a price – pop it in a microwave and its ready to eat. it doesn’t matter the brand making it. We all know what we are going to get.

Interstellar, on the other hand, wants its audience to pay attention to everything in the movie and then at the end, it pieces together all of it to give the audience an experience that they will never forget. I did not get all of the movie, but it made me curios to know more about the dimension of time, wormhole and the threat of extinction that we could face in the future.

The big regret was that I paid almost twice for the rom-com than I did for Interstellar. I so gladly wish it was the other way.