Christopher Nolan’s The Dark Knight released 10 years ago. Looking back at it, it seems like a far cry from today’s superhero movies, with their alien villains, god-like superheroes, universal-level stakes and so forth. Indeed, even after having one of the most popular superheroes in the world, the Batman, and his iconic archnemesis, the Joker, along with well-known supporting characters found in comics like Harvey Dent/Two-Face and James Gordon, everything about The Dark Knight screams action-crime-drama and not comic books.
The Dark Knight presented an incredibly grounded Batman. Although the DC superhero is just a man in comics too, he has fought villains like Darkseid (he was the Thanos of DC Comics before Thanos existed) and has accomplishments that are plain impossible for a normal man. In The Dark Knight, however, Nolan took the superhero to his roots and focused on the human part. So he is just a man but at the natural pinnacle of human development and perfection.
The motif that being a superhero takes its tolls on individuals is something that’s common now (last time it was done well was in Logan last year), but The Dark Knight first explored how and why being such a symbol of hope could be a double-edged sword. The Joker, who came alive thanks to a transcendental, career-defining performance by the late Heath Ledger, is often considered the polar opposite of the Batman.
But in The Dark Knight, Nolan and his co-writer David S Goyer, reimagined the Caped Crusader and the Joker as Yin and Yang – two opposing, complementary forces of nature who are not so different after all. Batman, too, is a psychopath – he just doesn’t know it. There is even a nice piece of dialogue to that effect that the Joker speaks towards the end. “This is what happens when an unstoppable force meets an immovable object.”
While the film was centred on Batman and his befuddlement in the face of an enemy unlike any other, it is really about the relationship between the Batman and the Joker. Alfred warns Bruce Wayne that the Joker is a man he does not understand fully. “Some men aren’t looking for anything logical, like money. They can’t be bought, bullied, reasoned, or negotiated with. Some men just want to watch the world burn,” he says. Just like Batman, the Joker is not simply a man. He is a symbol of chaos.
For most of the film, the Joker unleashes a wave of violence upon Gotham city. But his biggest achievement comes when he manages to bring out the second, uglier face of Harvey Dent. It is established in the very beginning that Harvey has two personas. Mostly he is a calm, soft-spoken man. But he does have extreme anger issues and when he’s angry there emerges a darker persona. We see that before he gets a literal two-face when he almost kills one of Joker’s accomplices.
The Joker, devilishly smart, realises that and somehow convinces Dent that everybody except him is responsible for his fate and the death of his girlfriend. In the last scene in the movie, when the Joker is defeated and captured, the real plan of the Clown Prince of Crime comes true. Harvey Dent, previously called the White Knight of Gotham and thought to be incorruptible and pure, has killed a bunch of people and has James Gordon’s wife and adolescent son at gunpoint.
The Joker, probably on the way to prison, must have been laughing. He may be locked for the rest of his life, but he brought down the Batman. To uphold Harvey Dent as a symbol of justice and goodness, the Batman takes the blame on himself and disappears into oblivion. At least, until Bane storms the Gotham City with his army of mercenaries.
The Dark Knight is often accused of glorifying the Joker. Sure, he is given easily the best lines in the film, but ultimately, he is proven wrong. The clown is annoyed to find out in the end that his theory that people are only as nice as the world allows them to be does not pass the criteria of truth. The people on the two boats (one of which is filled with convicted criminals) refuse to blow each other up, even to save themselves.
The Dark Knight was a humdinger of a movie. It has a lot of stunningly mounted set-pieces, there are car-chases, explosions, bazookas, fancy vehicles, and almost every action-crime genre staple. But it speaks volumes about an action-crime movie when its best scene is propelled by only sharp dialogue and the brilliant delivery of it.
Batman, still confused as to who the Joker is, simply asks him, “…why do you wanna kill me?” To which the Joker replies with an eerie, high-pitched laugh. “I don’t wanna kill you! What would I do without you? No, no, you complete me.” And later, “Don’t talk like you’re one of them. You’re not. Even if you’d like to be. To them, you’re just a freak…like me! They need you right now, but when they don’t, they’ll cast you out, like a leper! You see, their morals, their code, it’s a bad joke. Dropped at the first sign of trouble. They’re only as good as the world allows them to be. I’ll show you. When the chips are down, these… these civilized people, they’ll eat each other. See, I’m not a monster. I’m just ahead of the curve.”
Oculus Rift S VR Headset With Higher-Resolution Display and Built-In Tracking Announced
Oculus VR has launched its next-generation Rift virtual reality headset. The new Oculus Rift S features an inside-out tracking which eliminates the need for any external sensors. The Rift S also offers a higher-resolution screen compared to its predecessor. Oculus has announced that the Rift S head-mounted display will ship this Spring at a price of $399 (roughly Rs. 27,300). The company hasn’t revealed an exact launch date yet.
Oculus says it has collaborated with electronics giant Lenovo to develop the Oculus Rift S. The Rift S isn’t quite a major upgrade over the previous headset but aims to offer a higher quality VR experience and better ergonomics.
The Oculus Rift S and its predecessor still share the same core platform, which means users can access VR content created for either of the headsets. Oculus has also maintained the same PC requirements for the new Rift S as the original Rift.
Oculus will also enable cross-buy and cross-play features, enabling users to upgrade their hardware and still have their library accessible as it is.
Oculus Rift S virtual reality headset features a new high-resolution display with improved Fresnel lenses. The display panel offers a resolution of 2560×1440 (1280×1440 per eye) with a refresh rate of 80Hz. For audio, the Rift S includes a headphone jack and near-ear speakers.
The Rift S comes with an inside-out tracking system called Oculus Insight, confirming previous reports. This removes the need to have external cameras for a full-body movement. Oculus Insight will also be included in the company’s upcoming Quest virtual reality headset.
Oculus is also bringing a new feature called Passthrough Plus to the Rift S platform. The feature will enable users to view real-world surroundings as they set up their virtual reality space using the Oculus Guardian tool. Users will be able to switch between the Home Launcher and a real-world feed of their surroundings quickly, thanks to the new inside-out tracking system.
Due to the collaboration, the Oculus Rift S will feature both Oculus and Lenovo branding. It will also ship with a new halo strap. While the company hasn’t specified an exact release date yet, Oculus could launch the Rift S along with the Quest during Facebook’s F8 developer conference which is scheduled for April 30 this year.
Google Stadia Game Streaming Platform, Stadia Controller Announced
At GDC 2019, Google announced Stadia, its game streaming platform. Stadia will work across devices from smartphones, tablets, TVs, laptops, and PCs via Chrome. It integrates YouTube as well, allowing developers to add a Play button to game video on YouTube and lets users immediately play the game on Chrome. Stadia will leverage Google’s data centres that are present in 200 plus countries and territories. Google’s Phil Harrison took to stage to show off Assassin’s Creed Odyssey working across a Chromebook, Pixel 3, and TV via Chromecast in a seamless fashion. Furthermore, you can use your own controllers or keyboard and mouse on Stadia on your PC or laptop.
In addition to this, Google revealed the Stadia controller. It links to data centres directly via WiFi. It features two new buttons — a Capture button that allows players to share to friends, themselves or the world via YouTube. There’s also a Google Assistant button to assist players in-game.
Stadia’s architecture has been built on Google’s data centre tech which also powers its search results. It’s been infused with gaming-focussed hardware to keep up with the task of streaming heavy games. Powering the data centres is the Stadia GPU from AMD which is at 10.7 teraflops. This is nearly double of what the Xbox One X and PS4 Pro has, making it possible to play games like Doom Eternal running at 4K 60fps in HDR on Stadia.
The company claims that it has been testing Stadia’s tech internally for years and plans to allow for 4K 60fps gameplay with HDR in surround sound when it’s available for all. Eventually Stadia will also scale up to 8K too. Users will also be given the option to share Stadia gameplay footage to YouTube at 4K 60fps as well. Developers can create multiple points of purchase and play for games on Stadia through Gmail, YouTube, and search, going as far as to let players click a link on a game trailer and get right into a game. YouTubers could use it to send custom challenges to their fans and players can even create and share their own links to let others get in a game at the exact location they’re in.
However Stadia won’t be restricted to single-player games. Google confirmed that multiplayer games will be supported as well. These would include battle royale and couch-based co-op experiences.
And in a refreshing move, Harrison confirmed that Stadia will support cross-platform play as well. A concrete release date and price point hasn’t been confirmed yet and we don’t know what Internet connection would be needed for it, though Harrison said Stadia will launch in the US, UK, Canada, and Europe later this year.
Nubia Red Magic 3 will be powered by Snapdragon 855 processor, confirms company
Nubia has apparently started working on its third iteration of its gaming smartphone, dubbed Nubia Red Magic 3. Nubia’s general manager, Ni Fei, has made a post on Weibo confirming six key features of the upcoming Nubia Red Magic 3.
To recall, Nubia recently launched its Red Magic in India at Rs 29,999 and is yet to launch its successor, the Nubia Red Magic Mars in India. Currently, only a handful of smartphone manufacturers like Asus, Black Shark and Razer offer consumers dedicated gaming smartphones.
In the Weibo post, Ni Fei confirmed that the device will be powered by the Qualcomm Snapdragon 855 processor paired with an Adreno 640 GPU. It will come with 12GB of RAM and will have a comparatively higher display refresh rate than most gaming PCs.
The device will come packing a 3,800mAh non-removable battery with support for fast charging. It will also come with a liquid and air dual cooling system paired with a new 4D shock vibration motor and DTS 7.1 3D Surround Sound for a better gaming experience.
According to a recent report, the company will soon be launching its Red Magic Mars in India to compete with brands like OnePlus and Asus ROG, followed by its recently announced Nubia Alpha foldable smartphone. The report also mentioned that both the devices will be priced between Rs 40,000 to Rs 30,000.
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