Posted on Tuesday, December 20th, 2011 by Russ Fischer
There have been two basic reactions to the first few minutes of The Dark Knight Rises. The first is “holy crap, that was awesome!” and the second is “…but what the hell was Bane saying?” Christopher Nolan decided to use a mouth-covering mask for Tom Hardy‘s villain character, whose strength comes from an inhalable drug, and while the mask looks ominous it has the effect of really muffling the character’s speech.
The trailer drop for the film showed that this might not be as big a problem as some people feared, as Bane’s one big line in the trailer was affected by the mask, but still intelligible. Fans are still calling for some adjustment to be made to the film, however, seemingly out of fear that Bane’s garbled dialogue will ruin the experience.
Christopher Nolan’s reaction seems to be essentially “chill out. I got this,” and one report says that he plans to make only minor changes to the film’s sound mix.
THR says that there are some at Warner Bros. who are taking complaints about Bane’s voice to heart, and want Nolan to tweak the sound mix. The site says one source on the movie is “scared to death” about Bane’s voice.
Reportedly, however, Nolan plans only a slight alteration to the film’s sound mix. Another unnamed exec had the following to say — and take this with a grain of salt, as it is someone paraphrasing what they think Nolan’s intent is:
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.
I haven’t seen the prologue yet (there is no 70mm IMAX theater in or near Atlanta that plays commercial studio films) so I can’t comment directly on the sound mix. I actually found Gary Oldman’s dialogue in the teaser trailer more difficult to understand at first listen than I did Bane’s dialogue in the full trailer.
The complaints about Bane’s dialogue are pervasive, but whether the film will have the same issue throughout is impossible to gauge at this point. I can say that Christopher Nolan has had a pretty good handle on the series so far, so there’s reason to trust that he knows what he’s doing with this one, too.