Batman Begins: Dark Cut
- NTSC DVD-5
Or you can wait for the DVD audio commentary.
Abbreviated Cut List:
-Cut out the forced humor and reduced the cheesier dialogue throughout.
-Batman does not use explosives wantonly (i.e. the mini mines on the prison doors at Arkham or the ones dropped from the back of the Tumbler) nor does he use guns on anyone, even by proxy (helping shoot the thug in the foot)
-There is a major change to the character of Rachel Dawes.
-Joe Chill’s assassination plays out differently
-Removed Batman’s encounter with the kid outside of Crane’s apartment
-There is no rooftop Tumbler. Batman jumps from the roof to the freeway.
-Gordon does not drive the Tumbler to Wayne Tower. It navigates itself via onboard GPS and targets the monorail support itself.
-New end credits
Full Cut List:
Cut young Bruce waving at young Rachel after the funeral. Way too goofy looking, plus now he seems more isolated.
Big Change: the adult Rachel has a new voice- I digitally pitched down Katie Holmes’ voice throughout the entire film. I was amazed at how much this changed the performance and her “believability factor”. She actually sounds like an adult now. It really was a game changer for this FE.
Cut around Katie Holmes’ preposterous off look while delivering the line “She misses this place”
Cut Joe Chill taking a seat during the trial. In the next shot, he is standing again.
A big one here: Chill’s assassination scene has been re-cut. Now he is shot by an anonymous sniper rather than the blond woman. Even if Falcone is above the law, why risk sending someone to march right up to Chill (in front of the DA and a dozen cops) and implicate himself in the killing (“Falcone says hi!”). I mean, clearly he fears prosecution on some level, otherwise why kill Chill before he testifies? Wouldn’t this simply add more fuel to the fire? Plus it just raises too many questions. Who is the woman, and why would she go to jail for murder on Falcone’s behalf? Of course, there could be a reasonable explanation for this, perhaps he holds something over her powerful enough to make her do it, but we never know. Having him killed by a sharpshooter makes more sense to me. For this I used footage from the Bourne Ultimatum (heavily color corrected), audio from Full Metal Jacket, and added music from the Batman Begins soundtrack.
Cut out some of the meeting between Bruce and Falcone. Falcone does not say “Now that’s power you can’t buy”, “Bang”, and does not mention that Chill told him that his Father “begged, like a dog”. Um, Bruce was there! He knows that’s not true. Also cut Falcone’s bizarre look around the restaurant after Bruce is tossed out.
Cut out the Homeless Guy’s additional “It’s a nice coat” mutterings, as it is an obvious set-up for the lame gag that comes later (and that has also been removed).
Removed Ken Watanabe’s (Ras Al Ghul) eyebrow movement during the delivery of the line “The city has become a breeding ground for suffering and injustice.” It just screamed: “Hello, I’m dastardly!”
Cut Ras Al Ghul’s (over)reaction after smacking Bruce in the face during the swordfight. More dastardliness.
Reworked Lucius Fox’s dialogue in the Tumbler test sequence. Instead of “During combat, two of these would jump over a river towing cables” he says “During combat, SHE would jump over a river towing cables”, indicating a single Tumbler exists. Otherwis/e, where is the other Tumbler? It is not shown or mentioned anywhere in this or the Dark Knight, even after the Tumbler self-destructs. If a second one shows up in the third movie, I’ll stand corrected, but as it is now it seems like an oversight. Maybe that’s why they could never get the damn bridge to work.
Re-cut Batman’s first appearance at the docks. Added a metal banging noise as “Stice” is pulled into the container by Bats. If he pulled him at that velocity to disable him, there would have been some sort of impact noise. Also removed the “Jumpy Thug”. Worst. Thug. Ever. Reduced the amount of time Falcone sits in the limo before Bats yanks him out. Cut out the Homeless guy reappearing just for the “Nice coat” gag. Stupid, stupid, stupid. The same guy, 7 years later, just happens to be there casually eating out of a can while all this goes down. Sure.
Heavily re-ordered Rachel and Batman’s meeting. Added a “Thwack” as she hits the first goon with her purse. Removed “That’s right you better run” line, removed her startled yelp. Also reordered the dialogue between her and Bats.
Cut Batman encountering the kid outside of Crane’s apartment – for obvious reasons. Batman happens to rescue the same kid later? Lame setup, plus I don’t believe Batman would give the kid a piece of his gear. It’s evidence. Plus I hate that kid. Deep down I think we all do really. After my mom watched Batman Begins she said: “I bet that kid grows up to be Robin.” I said: “I don’t know you, lady.”
Cut out Batman attaching his gun and grapple line to his belt as he escapes from Crane’s apartment. The footage re-appears later in the film. Keep reading.
Cut Rachel’s line “You enjoy your party Bruce, some of us have work to do”. Seriously, what does she expect him to do, come with her? Needlessly bitchy. Now she just says “Happy Birthday”, and leaves.
Cut out Earle’s Line to Fox “Didn’t you get the memo?” Too much of a setup for a dated gag.
Took out shot of Rachel’s car approaching Arkham. Unnecessary, except perhaps to show Arkham’s proximity to a bridge, which isn’t that important. Besides, she appears to be in the building 5 seconds later. And it flows better from the previous scene this way. So there.
Altered Katie Holmes’ dialogue with Crane to make her delivery a little less stilted. Also cut out the bits about “in here only the mind can grant you power”, and “I do what I do to keep thugs like Falcone behind barsâ€�whatever, whatever”. We get it. Crane’s a nut. Rachel’s a do-gooder.
Cut Rachel’s scream in the elevator after Crane blasts her with the fear toxin. Well, somewhat. It now blends in with the high-pitched string attack in the soundtrack. Also cut her subsequent scream when Crane yells “Who knows?”
Reworked the thug dialogue. Trimmed the head off the line “You want the cops here” so he doesn’t draw out the “you” so much. Cut out the crap about “can he really fly?” and so forth. The thugs are meant to be a little dim, not retarded.
Batman no longer twists the one thug’s arm to shoot the other in the foot. Batman doesn’t shoot people, even by proxy.
Cut Batman blowing open the cell door to escape Arkham. First of all, he found a way in without blowing anything up, he would have had his escape route planned a little better. Second, he just uses explosives way too much in general in this movie. It would always be his last resort.
OK, this is a big one: the Batmobile chase. There are a few major changes here. The biggest is the rooftop chase. It’s gone. The Tumbler jumps from the roof to the freeway ramp. Also cut a few little things on the way: No “Hold on” line. No smashing through the building. No “What are you doing” “Shortcut” and the stupid parking attendant looking in his stupid Starbucks coffee cup as the Tumbler goes by. It was funny in Superman 2. Not here. Also, Batman does NOT drop explosives to deter the cops. Again, last resort and WAY too dangerous. Cut the “At least tell me what it looks like” and “Never mind.” lines. The “Black tank” gag was funny. This one: not. Plus, that’s the same cop on the rooftop who says “turn off your engines, step away from the car.” Seriously. Check it out. Same guy. Another big change is I tweaked Batman’s voice when you hear it from Rachel’s perspective, so that you feel more like she is freaking out from the toxin. And I added some visual hallucination effects when he turns to her and says “Stay with me”. Everything else looks distorted to her, why not Batman? Lastly, cut the Tumbler smashing through the structure after he ditches the cops, so he seems to leave less of a trail. The edits in this scene (I hope) put more focus on Rachel?s condition and make the chase seem much more urgent.
Cut the shot of the technician at the end of the “must be a compound that has to be absorbed through the lungs” line to eliminate some of the annoying facial expression that makes me want to punch him in the face.
In the Batcave following the chase, I replaced Christian Bale’s “How do you feel” line with a slightly growlier reading to match his next line. He kind of says it in his natural voice, which is odd. He gets less growly as the scene goes on anyway, but now it’s more of a progression. Also altered Rachel’s line from “it was, it was Dr. Crane” to simply “It was Dr. Crane”.
Cut Alfred’s line about his preference for Taiwanese prostitutes. Just seeing if you’re paying attention.
Cut the nebulous explanation of the League of Shadows using “economics” to attack Gotham previously. It was pointed out to me by an economist that there is no real way for one group to run a specific city into the ground using economics. Plus it seems like kind of a cheap way to tie Bruce’s parents back into the story.
Cut Alfred’s line “Master Wayne, Master Wayne” now he just says it once.
Cut Rachel’s “I’m a Gotham District Attorney, let me pass” line. Sure thing, killer!
Put the scene of Batman suiting up a little earlier, so it seems like he has more time to get where he needs to be.
Reordered the interaction between Gordon and Loeb. Cut Loeb’s line “Come on, somebody talk to me. COME ON!”
The Tumbler does not jump across the river and Batman and Gordon do not have their expository conversation. Batman does not let Gordon drive the Batmobile, and the bridge does not come back down.
Trimmed a little off the scene where Crane finds Rachel and the kid. There was too much of a gap between her telling the kid “no one’s going to hurt you” and Crane saying “of course they are” – he would have been out of earshot. This scene plays continuously now as Crane chases them down since the shots of Gordon and the Batmobile have been removed. Same with Batman swooping down and grabbing Rachel and the kid. Added a shot of the rooftops to breakup the shot of them zipping up to the roof and the shot of them on the roof.
Removed Rachel’s line ” you could die”. Also, she does not say “Bruce?” right before he jumps. She purses her lips and you get the idea she is going to say it, but he jumps before she gets it out.
Added dialogue from the Batman Begins videogame as Bats glides to the monorail platform. Now, as he flies, he has the following conversation with Alfred via communicator:
I’m going after the microwave emitter.
Of course sir. And the Batmobile?
Shot of the Batmobile roaring to life and zooming offscreen.
The Batmobile’s my failsafe.
Very sensible sir.
Another shot of the Batmobile heading towards Wayne Tower. The Batmobile’s female computer voice says “GPS Online”
The next scene, with Batman fighting the League of Shadows ninjas now plays as a continuous fight scene. Batman does not lose his grapple gun in the fight, instead he drops to the street with the last ninja, the crowd comes at him, he shoots the grapple gun at the departing Monorail, and as the crowd is grabbing at him, he zooms off to safety. (this is where I used the earlier footage of Bats attaching the grapple gun and wire to his belt) From this point on, I cut out any shots of Gordon in the Batmobile, so now it appears as if it drives itself (via its onboard GPS) to Wayne Tower while Batman is fighting Ras in the monorail car.
Removed the dreadlocked guy: “Nice ride!” What. The. Hell.
Batman does not smash through the metal sign or whatever it is.
Reduced some of the Water Board technician’s presence. Sorry Shane Rimmer! I gave you a credit at the end to make up for it.
More of the fight between Ras and Bats is played continuously. When Batman says “Who said anything about stopping it”? Ras looks up at the damaged monorail controls and we hear the Batmobile?s computer voice say “Weapons system activated”, followed by a shot of the Batmobile’s missles engaging. Then I added a new HUD display inside the Batmobile which shows it targeting the monorail support. Then the Batmobile shoots a missile into the Monorail supports, which causes the track to collapse. I also inserted a shot of the minimine activating in Batman’s hand. Thos footage came from the scene where he blows open the cell door at Arkham. Since I cut that, I was free to use it here. I was happy about this, since it wasn’t really too clear that he used one on the back of the monorail car. A tiny change, but one of my favorites.
Added more dialogue from the videogame after the monorail explosion. This was necessary because without the added length of the shots of Gordon getting out of the Tumbler and waving at Batman etc, it felt rushed into the next scene of Earle coming into Wayne Enterprises the next day. Wayne Enterprises being involved and the idea of dealing with the mess “tomorrow” is brought up by Alfred and helps bridge the scenes. As the toxin dissipates, we hear Alfred over Batman’s communicator:
Why do I have the feeling that Wayne Enterprises will be writing a check tomorrow to the Gotham Water Authority for steam damage?
Batman replies as he glides away from the builidng:
Just leave me a blank place to sign.
Cut out Lucius’ “Didn’t you get the memo” retort. It plays well enough with “Right you are, Mr. Wayne” and Earle’s expression.
This final section was interesting. In my first version, as Rachel apologizes to Bruce in the ruins of Wayne Manor, I had originally cut right to their kiss after she delivers the lines “I never stopped thinking about you. And when I heard you were back I started to hope” and cut her lines after that about “this is your mask, blah blah blah”. The look on her face as they ended the kiss I felt was sufficient to show she knew they wouldn’t be together. It worked OK. But when I recut it for widescreen, I started wondering if I couldn’t improve on it. I came up with the concept of taking her line to Bruce at the restaurant “Deep down you may still be that same great kid you used to be” and inserting it into the scene somehow. It ended up syncing over her lip movements better than I could have ever expected, especially given the difference between the new and original lines. So now she says “Deep down you may still be that same great kid you used to be”, they kiss, then she says “Maybe someday when Gotham no longer needs Batman, I’ll see him again.” It works very, very well if I do say so myself. It’s absolutely my favorite cut of the whole thing. It calls back to her earlier line and gives a definite closure.
Added new end credits.
Years after discovering this edit, I STILL recommend it to anyone. This is a text-book example of fanediting at its finest. JMB had lofty goals and I will say he pulled it off completely. Character motivations are clearer, annoying dialogue is gone, Rachel's voice is now tolerable, and this has one of the best 3rd act endings I have ever seen from this site. I do wish an HD version would be made available though. This film is just THAT good!
I don´t like Batman Begins but JMB made me like it with his fanedit! The 15 min in cuts made a lot of difference and other small stuff like Rachel´s new voice, the dialogue from the videogame, the small insert of bomb in the final fight on the train... Such small and effective things! It was a great job and improved the movie a lot. If someday I rewatch Batman Begins it will be this version and not the official.
A wonderful edit that does exactly what it sets out to do.
Altering Rachel's voice is ingenious. Nothing sets this edit apart more than her change in character. Such a small thing, yet a great effect. Overall, the audio editing is perfect. Adding the video game-lines works fine and helps sell the self-driving Batmobile. A slight change in audio fidelity is noticeable when the video game-lines are inserted, but if one is not listening for it...
The visual editing is great and all the inserted shots works fine, from the sniper to the HUD. All the trims feel justified and are not done for the sake of trimming.
I think Batman Begins is a good movie, but JMB's Dark Cut tightens and makes it great.
WARNING: I have not seen this movie in about a year, I don't normally watch this movie as I don't really like it that much
This edit makes the movie significantly better, the changes made to the film are very subtle but improve the story drastically. The edit is called "the dark cut" and it does exactly what you would expect: it makes the movie darker. By removing campy humour, silly lines, and strange writing/directing-related decisions (looking at Gordon driving the batmobile). JMB also has done a great job at changing Rachel's voice in order to improve her (awful) acting.
Video/Audio quality was fine, nothing wrong that I noticed. Visual editing was great, cool effects with the batmobile's GPS/AI interface. Audio editing was superb, Rachel's voice was amazing and video game lines were perfectly integrated into the film. The narrative is now much better and flows quicker with more developed and less goofy characters making the story way more interesting.
I really enjoy this version of Batman Begins, it is now my go-to version of the movie if I ever feel like watching the movie. Good work, JMB! :)
Foreword: I haven't seen the original in sometime, which prefer for watching edits and I also didn't review your changes ahead of watching, which I also prefer. I looked at the edit list back when I downloaded the edit, but I like to not know exactly what I'm walking into so I don't watch an edit for a few months or more after downloading them.
What I liked: It did feel darker, but I wouldn't say it felt more batman. There are so many version of batman, that, yes it felt more like a dark batman but not the "true" batman. I really thought everything flowed after the first 30 or so min. I Also, like how you repeat the childhood scenes throughout the movie, much better than I remember the original doing this. I also, thought batman seemed more put together with your version than what I remembered the first time watching.
What I didn't: I think my only complaint coming into this not familiar with the original (meaning I hadn't seen it in years) was that the beginning felt a little rushed and jumpy compared to the remaining 3/4 of the movie which I thought was overly clear. I also thought some of the humor left in felt more out of place than it did in the original since I remember one liners being through the movie. And my last thing is I had thought the movie would be streamlined a little more down to say 90, not a big deal, I just remembered a lot of filler in from the original that I thought wasn't needed, so this last thing is more me than necessary.
Overall: I really liked this, but I think it might have made the point more to put things in more linear, start with this childhood (you did some), then flash forward to the court room stuff, and then after he disappears start with him in prison and such.
Extra: This edit would benefit from a re-encode from the source material, also you should include the commentary on the avi, as extra audio tracks are very easy to embed.