Insiders Worried About Understanding Bane in 'The Dark Knight Rises'
Whether you've taken the time to check out Mission: Impossible - Ghost Protocol on select IMAX screens, shamefully watched a leaked version online, or simply read about the footage itself, many fans anticipating The Dark Knight Rises have already experienced the six-minute prologue introducing Tom Hardy as the bulky and mysterious villain Bane in some form or another. The consensus among those having actually seen the footage is that the masked and muffled villain isn't always easy to understand, and THR has word that insiders at Warner Bros. share this same concern. But is this as big of a deal as it seems? Read on!
Well, according to the trade, one source working on the anticipated conclusion to Chris Nolan's franchise says that executives at Warner Bros. are "scared to death" about this problem and the reception from audiences. Apparently WB has already spoken to Nolan about the problem and while the director plans to make some changes, he will only alter the sound slightly, rather than reworking it completely. One of the anonymous executives says, "Chris wants the audience to catch up and participate rather than push everything at them. He doesn't dumb things down. You've got to pedal faster to keep up." While that seems like he might be ignoring the large portion of the audience having problems understanding Bane, perhaps that's the idea. Nolan has even said it doesn't matter if the audience understands everything he says as long as the general idea is conveyed.
In a way, having the villain difficult to understand gives audiences a different kind of feeling, almost like they're a character stuck in the middle of this chaos. Not knowing what Bane is saying or doing could easily keep people on the edge of their seat. However, at the same time, when watching a movie, people still like to be able to hear what's going on as well. The muffled sound of Bane's voice, not to mention his strange inflection, especially on the viral marketed line "The Fire Rises," could be a part of Hardy's iteration of the character, an unhinged man with some sort of physical problem that doesn't allow him to speak like everyone else, thus making him that much more of a misunderstood outcast.
On the other hand, this could easily be a problem with the audio mix. Surely this isn't the final sound design that will end up in theaters next summer, but perhaps some tweaking will quell executives' and fans' fears. Perhaps the problem even lies with the audio at theaters and this mishap is merely exposing how poorly supervised the technical specs of any given movie theater have become. Personally, I've heard from some seeing the prologue several times that Bane was barely understandable in one theater, but then crystal clear on a repeat viewing. That sounds like a much bigger problem to me.
Either way, if there's one thing good coming from all this, it's the certainty that all eyes are still on The Dark Knight Rises, and despite this issue, you can be sure audiences will still turn out for the movie when it hits theaters on July 20th, 2012. But aside from this small worry about Bane's voice, the question still remains whether Nolan has crafted a franchise conclusion that will live up to the much praised sequel The Dark Knight. The newest trailer for the trilogy's end instills confidence, but there's a lot going on in those two-and-a-half minutes, and we really don't know what to expect. What do you think?