The trailer itself is nothing short of dazzling, an impressive combination of whiz-bang effects and deft character touches. Batman rides his new motorcycle through the streets of Gotham; a truck overturns on a crowded street; and the Joker is in custody, taunting his captors with a devilish smirk. The opening sequence of ‘The Dark Knight’ trailer immediately grabs the audiences’ attention. But just how does this trailer do it so well? Instantaneously, we see Bruce Wayne from a High angle shot, looking vulnerable and alone. He stands high up on a building looking down on Gotham City, which he is isolated from.
The utter darkness creates a sinister and menacing atmosphere, which as far as first impressions go, gives the audience the impression that Batman is an outcast. The camera then zooms round to emphasize that Batman is the main focus and shows the audience how lonely he is. Shot three is a high angle shot of Gotham City. This shot shows the audience the enormity of Batman’s task. Through the trailer so far there has been a heartbeat, but in this shot the sound a risen considerably. Suddenly Batman appears and the sounds have been his fear building up to this point. Batman jumps.
With him goes his fear, but it brings anticipation to the audience because they want to know what is going to happen to him. As he opens his arms and jumps there is a wind rush and the audience indulges in the moment. This clever tilt of the camera makes the action all seem to pass very quickly. Just as Batman goes out of eyesight, the next shot cuts in – an explosion. The audience are kept in suspense and they now want to know what really happened to the anti-hero. In the explosion are three logos, all skilfully merged together and symbolise how Warner Bros. ; Legendary Pictures and DC comics work together in unity.
It also cunningly has the bat logo in the mist of the explosion. ‘The Dark Knight’ trailer gets us all on the edge of our seats within the first fifteen seconds. Anyone who still has doubts about Heath Ledger’s Joker won’t after watching the footage. “where do we begin? “, well the first words said are those of the Joker’s. His voice is constantly popping up and overpowering the images. In scenes from the trailer, Ledger inhabits the character – the way his posture is just a bit cockeyed and his voice takes on the sing-song quality of a schizophrenic, slightly high-pitched in places, always playful.
Along those lines, it is also clear from the trailer what direction they’re taking the Joker’s motivations, which, barring a big reveal in the film itself, seem rooted in nothing less than pure, citywide anarchy. Does he want money? Does he seek revenge? Perhaps. Does he want power, fame and glory? It’s possible – but if so, he wants them all as merely a means to an end. The trailer indicates his true goal is just causing chaos for Batman. There’s a scene in which citizens run wild in the street (one even smashes the Bat Signal with an axe! ).
There’s the way he walks into a crowded fundraiser spraying bullets and then heads immediately toward Rachel. “And now for tonight’s entertainment” is an ironic phrase used to contrast the screams in the background that are heard as soon as the Joker appears. Also, the explosions in the film don’t seem surgical. If anything, they seem designed to inflict the most possible damage. Most terrifying of all for Batman (and audiences, of course) is the way Ledger’s Joker seems determined to laugh in the face of death. But were the Joker’s real intentions to “Kill the Batman”?
The phrase defeats all others. It stands out in the crowd, silence surrounding the immortal words. His manical laughter afterwards shows us all just how psychotic and real he actually is. Ghoulish observation of Ledger shouldn’t obscure the brilliance of the other performances, notably Aaron Eckhart as the avenging prosecutor Harvey Dent. Like Batman, he journeys plausibly from the light side to the dark. When he talks to Alfred the Butler, one side of his face is light and the other dark. This implied that he was two-faced. This is evident throughout the trailer.
Harvey says at the end “you either die a hero or you live long enough to see yourself become a villian” which plays on the idea that he is talking about Batman but really, he’s talking about himself. The trailer shows him to be ‘revealed’ to the public and shown in the light, whereas Batman is the opposite: isolated from the world. Harvey is first intoduced by Rachel Dawes. A ‘love triangle’ has now been introduced with Rachel in the centre of it. Rachel and Bruce take a romantic walk outside and you begin to wonder that when Rachel said “we’d always be together.
Did you mean it? . It confirms to anyone who hasn’t seen the previous films, that they did have a relationship once. Symbolically, after talking with Bruce, Rachel walks into the light (restaurant) leaving Bruce in the dark. Alfred knows Batman’s background better than anyone else, so when Harvey asks about “any psychotic boyfriends”, it plays on the idea that Alfred is implying that the psychotic ex-boyfriend is Batman. Michael Caine has lots of shots in the trailer that advetise him. But the real question is… How does it get across the main plot without giving too much away?
In many trailers, they tell you the best lines from the film and other than that, nothing else really happens! But this trailer is different from the rest. From the opening shots, we are kept in suspense; what is going to happen to Batman this time? Does the Joker actually suceed in his evil plans to kill Batman? Will Harvey Dent ruin Bruce Wayne’s chances of ever getting back together with Rachel? If you want to know the answers, you really do have to watch the film because this trailer isn’t giving away anything. It gets the main genres across within the first fourty-five seconds: action; romance and comedy.
The trailer even plays on the idea that Bruce Wayne is a “psychotic ex-boyfriend” of Rachel’s, even though we have just been introduced to a psycho: the Joker. You may have noticed that dissimilar to other trailers, the ‘voice-over-man’ isn’t featured in the trailer. He is replaced by the Joker, who’s voice is heard throughout the trailer; having control and power over everything else. His voice is very distinctive and we can always tell that it’s him when he speaks even though it may not show him. But what stands out in the trailer is the range of sounds. From the quiet, mellow sound of the restaurant, to the loud explosion of the gunshot.
The music links with their development of the plot. It tells you a bit about the Joker, then Batman and continues to switch between the characters. The opening sequence has very tense and sinister music to go with the images. We are all kept in suspense and wait for the next thing to happen. We all want to know is Batman gonna jump or not? The pace is built up and the action is starting with trumpets. Suddenly there is a dramatic drop in pitch and the music sinks down to the level of the Joker, just before he comes on-screen. When the Joker is on-screen, the music is very unpredictable.
Whereas when the Batman is on-screen, the music stays at a steady beat. Christian Bale reprises the role of Batman/Bruce Wayne in his continuing war on crime. Batman sets out to destroy organized crime in Gotham for good. The first fifteen seconds create an omnious atmosphere and keeps us all waiting to see what Batman’s future will turn out to be like. Bruce Wayne’s alter-ego, Batman, keeps popping up in his ‘normal life’. The trailer flashes between shots of Bruce and Batman frequently showing how close his two identities are, yet how distant they are at the same time.
Batman/ Bruce’s life issues crop up into the trailer as well. It shows how his love life is in turmoil, how ‘criminals’ want him dead and how he has to become the lesser of two evils to defeat the greater evil. Whereby he’s “seen what he has to become to defeat men like him” (a. k. a. Joker). The ‘Dark Knight’ trailer shows us how the compelling story of the alter-ego Batman has to make a decision to change the way criminals operate in Gotham city forever. He could “die a hero or live long enough to see himself become the villian”. He makes the decision for himself, but ultimately for the future of Gotham City.