THE JOKER BLOGS
Available On You Tube
In 2008 movie fans and comic book fans alike were treated to one of the best, if not the best superhero movie made to date. I’m talking about “The Dark Knight” of course. A movie that went on to break box-office records and garnered unprecedented and overwhelmingly positive critical reviews. Even people who said they hated comic book/superhero movies loved “The Dark Knight” And with good reason: it just wasn’t a good superhero movie, or comic book movie or Batman movie. It was a good movie, period.
The movie also was notable for the performance of the late Heath Ledger as the psychopathic, anarchistic mass murdering clown known only as The Joker. Ledger’s interpretation of the character was about as far an actor could get from Jack Nicholson’s or Cesar Romero’s and still stay on this side of sanity. Previously, The Joker’s bleached white face, startling red lips and shocking green hair was the result of an accidental swim in potent chemicals. Ledger’s Joker sported sloppily applied makeup and a Glasgow smile which is implied he gave himself. Or maybe not. He tended to tell different versions of the origin of his smile depending on his mood and who he’s talking to. Indeed, so powerful was Ledger’s performance that it’s inspired a series of video blogs on You Tube collectively called THE JOKER BLOGS and they’re not only a remarkable tribute to Heath Ledger but it stands by itself as a tremendously creative work on its own terms.
Mostly taking place in Arkham Asylum after the events of “The Dark Knight” The Joker is being examined by staff psychiatrist Harleen Quinzell whose unhealthy interest in The Joker will manifest itself in an unusual direction, one well known to fans of “Batman: The Animated Series” Through a series of interviews we get an insight into the mind of this incredibly deranged personality.
There are no credits on these video blogs so I have no idea who’s playing The Joker in these things but this guy is seriously one hell of a talented individual. His performance as The Joker goes beyond a mere imitation of Heath Ledger’s interpretation. This Joker is a logical (one hell of a word to use when discussing Mr. J, huh?) extension and amplification of The Joker we saw in “The Dark Knight” and not just a slavish imitation. These video blogs are of exceptionally professional caliber and its refreshing to see something made by fans who are clearly influenced enough to create something that works as both homage and tribute as well as being able to stand alone.
It’s also interesting to watch for the stripped down nature of the videos. The writers/actors/producers of THE JOKER BLOGS are ambitious when it comes to the writing and the performances but they wisely don’t try to impress with fancy sets, cinematography or visual effects. The sets are bare and only a few props are used. Just enough to enhance the storytelling and no more. Nothing to distract from the story being told and the performances.
THE JOKER BLOGS are not just random incidents strung together but actually tell a continuing story and we get to see The Joker at his best/worst and the question slowly evolves while watching these: who’s really examining who? Several episodes end on what I consider to be punchlines on elaborate jokes The Joker is playing on various staff members such as Dr. Hugo Strange and Dr. Arkham. Jokes that are also mind games that are not just viciously scary but also quite funny as well. I found myself laughing uproariously at the punchline of Episode #5 “Hypnotized” until I got hold of myself and realized exactly what it was I was laughing at.
The writing is sharp and clever and shows that the people involved in this have a solid knowledge of Batman lore in general and The Joker’s background in particular as they draw from the DC comic books, the animated series and the Batman movies, dropping little nuggets here and there that will delight Batfans but don’t interfere with the casual viewer’s enjoyment.
So should you watch THE JOKER BLOGS? I recommend that you do so. Especially if you’re a fan of “The Dark Knight” and of Heath Ledger’s performance as The Joker. It’s an impressive achievement and I can’t stress enough how I appreciate the professionalism of the production values and the actors. The writing is top-notch and it’s simply just a lot of fun to watch. Disturbing fun, indeed but if you don’t mind being infected with the Joker’s madness for awhile, check it out.