This month, as part of my Best of 2008 coverage, I'm going to look back at some of the entertainment world's big headlines. The first one on my list was the writers' strike. Today I'm going back to the year's biggest hit movie: The Dark Knight.
The release of The Dark Knight was pretty much all people could talk about for months in the film world. It seemed like every week there was another image or clip or new trailer for this thing. I wondered at the time if the movie could live up to all the excitement — and all the positive early buzz. To my surprise, it exceeded all expectations.
The Dark Knight is one of the greatest rarities in Hollywood: Critically adored and fully embraced by audiences. So fully embraced, in fact, it broke all sorts of records at the box office. It's the full package — earning not only an outrageous amount of money, but plenty of award buzz for everyone from composer Hans Zimmer (whose musical creations still make my pulse race whenever I hear them), to director Christopher Nolan, to the actors, particularly Heath Ledger for his disturbing depiction of the Joker. And of course, adding an even deeper level of drama to the whole production was Ledger's untimely death months before the release of the film. His final major performance was of the dark, sinister Joker, which is all the eerier when thinking of the tragic ending of Ledger's young life. His death lends a poignancy to both the role itself and the fact that Ledger received overwhelming praise for this performance — accolades he'll never hear.
The movie as a whole is magnificently entertaining, proved insanely lucrative for the studio, and had real-life drama attached to it — all of which makes The Dark Knight one of the most powerful pieces of pop culture this year.
Photo courtesy of Warner Bros. Pictures