I’ve never been to a midnight, opening night showing of a movie. I’ve gone to premieres, though, and I do know what cinematic anticipation feels like. There’s just something about seeing something before almost anyone else that provides an unusual sense of satisfaction. Your view of the film is not colored by what everyone else says.
If I were to have gone to a recent midnight showing, The Dark Knight Rises would not have been it. While I’ve seen Batman movies starring Michael Keaton, Val Kilmer and even Adam West, I passed on the George Clooney iteration, Batman and Robin, and I just haven’t seen any of the Christian Bale films, Batman Begins (2005), The Dark Knight (2008), or, obviously, the new one.
Of course, the shootings at the opening of TDKR in Aurora, Colorado were awful. I watched a bunch of news shows, trying, and failing, to make sense of it all. That often happens for me with tragedies, from the JFK assassination to 9/11. At some point, I find that I just had to stop. Not incidentally, read what Ken Levine wrote, especially about a movie trailer showing before the film; yikes.
Ideally, this would be an opportunity for people to come together in their common grief. Instead, and all you need to read is a half dozen comments on just about any news site, that devolve into a debate about something divisive and snarky; Thom Wade addresses this. So we need to ban guns. No, everyone should have been packing heat, and they would have stopped this guy, in a darkened room, after a gas canister had been set off; maybe they would have, if they were Navy SEALS, or something. The shootings are the President’s fault because the alleged shooter was apparently on the dole, and the Obama welfare state encourages crazy behavior; no, I couldn’t follow that one either. It’s a continuation of the attack on Judeo-Christian beliefs; what?
(And don’t get me started on the pre-tragedy Rush Limbaugh’s “connection” between the movie villain Bane, created in 1993, and Mitt Romney’s Bain Capital, as some sort of liberal political plot; well, maybe retroactively.)
I think, though, that inappropriate fan response to negative reviews, which forced the review aggregator Rotten Tomatoes to disable user commentary for the film, is a form of the same maddening mindset I find so disturbing in this country. Some so-called fans threatened violence against movie critics who did not think the movie was a perfect 10, threatening to crash critics’ websites.
My thoughts are with the family and friends of the victims, their community, and indeed, all of us.