Once again inspired by emulating the very excellent Cleolinda Jones I’ve now added to my cumulative attempts at summarising the plot of various movies I like into 15-minute shortened versions. So far, this list includes Star Wars as a 15minute movie, Transformers as a 15minute movie (288 views and no comments yet – eek!), and JJ Abrams’ Star Trek as a 15 minute movie
This time, I’m doing Chris Nolan’s “Batman Begins” as a 15 minute movie. As I recall, it goes a little something like this:
A Briefing Room at Warner Bros
Studio Executive : Mister Nolan, welcome. We hear you want to talk about a Batman franchise reboot?
Director Chris Nolan : Yes. I’m thinking dark. REAL dark. So dark that it’s ALWAYS nighttime. Actually, effectively, it’s set in a city of eternal midnight!!
Studio Exective : I love it
Chris Nolan : And the flashbacks will feature daytime, but it will always be overcast!! At best it will be a dark kind of shady sunlight!! In other words : DARK!!
Studio Exective : I like it
Chris Nolan : And it will be humourless. Nobody will smile for any reason, ever!!
Studio Executive : I ….am still optimistic
Chris Nolan :… DARK!!!
Studio Executive : Eh, it’s not like we have any fan goodwill left after Batman & Robin. Do it!
The Start of the movie
Location : Wayne Manor. The past
[A young Bruce Wayne, pasty and aged about ten, runs through the gardens of his parents’ mansion. Although it is daytime, it is also DARK!! There are about two flashbacks and a flash forward before we get the full story, but the essence of it is that he falls down a well and sees some bats. Hence, Batman. You’d do the same if it happened to you, ya know?]
Bruce Wayne : I’ve fallen down a well!
Bats : Shriek!!
Bruce Wayne : Shriek!!!!
Rachel Dawes : Are you okay?
Bruce Wayne : Hey, you look like a very young girl they hired because she bears an uncanny resemblance to actress Katie Holmes!
Rachel Dawes : … whereas you don’t really look like Christian Bale at all. You know, unless you lose quite a bit of baby fat…
Bruce Wayne : Hey!!!!!
Location : Asia. Sometime later. But still in the past
[We flash forward an indeterminate amount of time, where we see Christian Bale is now an angsty twenty-something in some rundown Asian country which is somewhat overcast, but not really DARK, per se. He’s run away from his life of privilege because of something we still need to see in a forthcoming flashback.]
[Hungry and seemingly homeless, he steals from a fruit cart, but it’s okay because he also teaches a hungry little kid to steal an apple, and if you teach a kid to steal you feed him for a lifetime or something. He then decides to start stealing all sorts of stuff but it will all be stuff from Wayne Enterprises which means he’s really stealing from himself which also makes it okay…. It’s, like, totally freaking MORALLY EDGY, man!!]
[And then…. he’s arrested the first time he even tries (because he has his finger on the pulse of how the criminal mind works) and now he’s in jail.]
Liam Neeson : [shows up] I know you are Bruce Wayne. You wanna get out of this jail?
Christian Bale : Meh.
Liam Neeson : Hey, Angsty Emo kid. You can either stay in jail or you can do something that actually has some meaning and focuses all your angry behaviour
Christian Bale : Meh.
Liam Neeson : Fine, be that way. I hope you keep getting all that fresh prison outdoor air and sunlight during exercise period, and get a good tan so all your lame Emo friends laugh at you and kick you out of their stupid band.
Christian Bale : Meh…?
Liam Neeson : Did I mention my mountaintop ninja training facility is a lot DARKER than this place?
Christian Bale : [Gets up] You… uh… got money for bail or bribes or something to get me out of here?
Liam Neeson : Dude I just walked into this place and I intend to walk right out again. This isn’t much of a prison…
[Rather than getting a lift with Liam Neeson who is RIGHT THERE and heading in the SAME DIRECTION, Christian Bale opts to take the long way round, past glaciers and mountains and strange foreign lands. It’s the start of a ten minute extended montage on a vaguely Tibetan glacial mountaintop DARK wooden temple building filled with ninjas and training and violence.]
A short (?) time later, at a mountain temple/dojo/thing
Liam Neeson : Excellent, young Bale. In the last ten minutes of screentime, which might have occurred over the course of anywhere from four years to two days to the amount of time it took you to get a slightly shorter haircut, you have become the best and most talented ninja we have ever trained
Roomful of Ninjas : Lame!!
Liam Neeson : Yeah, but true. And here is Ra’s Al Ghul, the head of our secret order, to provide you with your commemorative graduation t-shirt and mug.
Ra’s Al Ghul : Young one. Now you’ve graduated, you’ll return to your home town and hasten its descent into a stinking cesspool of violence so that we can destroy the world with it and bring forth a new order!
Christian Bale : ???
Ra’s Al Ghul : Yeah, totally. We’ve been doing this for years, man. First with armies and violence and now we’re going more subtle with politics and economics and stuff.
Christian Bale : So, the ninjas…?
Ra’s Al Ghul : I hadn’t thought of the ninjas within the context of our new methods. But be that as it may, your final task to earn your commemorative t-shirt and mug is to kill this guy…
[A criminal / farmer dude is brought out, whimpering pathetically]
Christian Bale : What?? No!
Ra’s Al Ghul : To what? Joining us or killing him?
Christian Bale : Pretty much the whole thing
Ra’s Al Ghul : Kill him – he’s a bad guy!
Christian Bale : No!
Ra’s Al Ghul : Then we’ll kill you!
[Christian Bale grabs a flaming piece of wood or his commemorative mug or something and sets the place on fire, and in the process also incinerates the criminal he didn’t want to kill, but hey…]
The Ninjas : flee in panic
Liam Neeson : Worst freaking ninjas EVER! [ then he faints from exhaustion or conniptions or the vapours or something]
Christian Bale : I’ll save you, master who wanted to kill me. Because when we meet again some time later, it will provide additional resonance to your decision to try to kill me twice more and my inability to kill you because I never really embrace the dark side I profess to be associated with. Further..
Liam Neeson : [Is so very glad he’s unconscious for all of this]
[Christian Bale’s speech goes on long enough that the fire reaches some kind of gunpowder barrel and he and everything is blown out of the exploding ninja training school. Fortunately, he manages to slide down a short slope to a cliff and at the last second grab hold of the overhang of a convenient glacier, clutching his unconscious master while the wooden school collapses in on itself and its enigmatic leader]
Ra’s Al Ghul : Cough I always wondered…. whether we should …. tell candidates our plans FIRST,…. and only when they say YES,.. cough THEN train them to be ninjas… and [cough] not the other way round… cough
[Or does he?]
[Yes he does]
[But DOES he…?]
[Yes. He does.]
A short (?) time later somewhere else, but, like still in the past
[Escaping from the destroyed mountaintop ninja training ground, Christian Bale heads for the nearest airport where a private jet with his butler Alfred is already waiting for him. Or has been waiting for him for four years. Or maybe a week. Or maybe even less. It’s hard to say.]
Back in Gotham City, Bruce Wayne is reunited with an old friend
Christian Bale : Hey, you look just like Katie Holmes now!
Katie Holmes : Thanks- and you’ve lost weight and now look like Christian Bale
Christian Bale : Thanks!
Katie Holmes : So while you obviously checked yourself into some kind of health and fitness clinic for a couple of years, I’ve grown up and have finished a law degree and am single-handedly taking on crime in this DARK and horrid town
Christian Bale : A couple of years??? But Alfred hasn’t aged at all over the time I was gone! And the ninja training couldn’t have been longer than a couple of days and I was only in prison for a couple of days before that! And I stole, like, one apple and got arrested on my first major theft so it couldn’t have been longer than a week since I left Gotham!
Director Chris Nolan : Look, it’s very simple. There are three different flashbacks AND a present day taking place. There’s young Bruce Wayne; there’s post-Princeton but pre-exile Bruce Wayne; there’s Ninja Training Bruce Wayne; and finally there’s present-day Bruce Wayne
Fanboys : You want us to buy HOW MANY Bruce Wayne action figures??
Director Chris Nolan : [facepalm]
Another flash…. back/…forward?
[We now flash back from the ‘present’ to Gotham City in the ‘past’, where the man who killed Bruce Wayne’s parents in a prior flashback that took place previously is about to be sentenced in the present day. Which is technically in the past because Bruce has just returned from exile in the future/present. Remember]
[So, also possibly due to time travel paradox implications, it is deemed too risky for this ‘dark’ script to let Bruce Wayne kill the man in the past who causes him to become Batman in the future, so conveniently, somebody else kills him.]
Outside the courthouse
Young(er) Bruce Wayne : [shows his gun to Katie Holmes] I was totally going to kill him with this gun…
Katie Holmes : [Slaps him] Vigilantism is bad, man!
Bruce Wayne : Vigilantism is Batman?
Katie Holmes : What?
Bruce Wayne : Nothing. Just drive me to the main Gotham City Crime Lord’s place.
Katie Holmes : ? I’m the only person in this city other than my probably-dead boss trying to bring this guy down via a corrupt legal system, which this guy has influenced all levels of, or killed anybody who stood up against him, and you want ME to drive you right up to his PRIVATE CLUB so you can have a chat
Bruce Wayne : …. Please?
Katie Holmes : [sigh] Fine.
[Bruce Wayne is dropped off at what would appear to be an underground pub. Somehow, Bruce manages to talk his way to an audience with crime lord Falconio, while Rachel presumably stays outside and waits to get killed]
Falconio: Bruce Wayne? Can I help you?
Bruce Wayne : [Sits down at the table] You’re bad, man!
Falconio : I’m Batman?
Bruce Wayne : What? No… you’re just bad
Falconio: … your point being?
Bruce Wayne : .. I’m not sure
Bruce Wayne : …
Bruce Wayne : …
Falconio: You’re wasting my valuable time. ..
Bruce Wayne : [Leans back in chair and gets a distant look in his eye]. You know… I think I might go travel overseas for a while.
Bruce Wayne: You know, get away from things…
Falconio: Uh…. Yeah….. I… did that when I was your age. It really helped give me a broader perspective on life. You should really do that.
Bruce Wayne : I think that would really help. Thanks for lending an ear. Catch ya later, I guess.
Falconio : I’m really not sure what that was about, but if he ever comes back, kill him.
[Bruce gives his jacket to an old man outside in exchange for money or something and heads off in the direction of the nearby subterranean boat harbour, kind of hoping the ship goes to Ibiza but not really caring. He doesn’t know when or even if he’ll come back…].
Katie Holmes : [three hours later]. Bruce? Wtf! I’m still waiting here! You a55hole!!
Gotham City. Present Day. (I think)
[We now flash forward one more time to Gotham City, present day, after the training and the ninjas and the sentencing and the boating and the crime boss and stuff. Things are DARK, needless to say]
Christian Bale : Well Alfred, I’ve showered and shaved. I assume I can now go directly to the Gotham City Bank and make a withdrawal of a couple million dollars from my trust fund so I can buy some hookers and some cocaine and a Lamborghini?
Alfred : … ?
Christian Bale : And because I assume that Wayne Enterprises has a weapons manufacturing and development programme, due to my newfound determination to begin a life as a massively armed vigilante I’ll just drop by the head of R&D and introduce myself and place a few private discreet orders for myself.
Alfred : … ?
A short time later, at Wayne Enterprise Headquarters
[Christian Bale finds a subterranean basement / filing room / research laboratory / underground go-kart track in the basement, along with a single lone employee, Lucius Fox]
Christian Bale : Morgan Freeman!?
Morgan Freeman : Uh… okay.
Christian Bale : Right. So what I need is a stealth-function armoured tank/car hybrid (with an interior motorcycle escape pod which I’ll need for the sequel); light but permeable bullet-proof armour and a variety of capes; gliding equipment both powered and unpowered; and a wide array of non-lethal piercing and puncturing weapons, crossbows and ninja throwing stars and the like. Oh, and it’s all got to be designed to have a vaguely…. Hmm…. Let’s say ‘Bat-like’ look to it.
Morgan Freeman : Dude, you’re not even wearing a NAME BADGE identifying you as an employee of this company, and you want me to outfit you with enough firepower to run a small army?
Christian Bale : Please?
Morgan Freeman : Oh, very well.
[While waiting for his armaments order to be fulfilled, Bruce Wayne next turns his attention to creating a hideout for his planned vigilante alter ego. This is so he can have a secret identity separate from his day-to-day job as a wealthy layabout.]
The Bat Cave
[Awesomely, he decides to build his secret hideout UNDERNEATH his OWN HOUSE.]
Alfred : Master Bale, what are you doing??
Christian Bale : Well, I’m thinking of pulling down that stone foundation, blowing down that wall over there and tearing down a couple of these stalactites. Then we’d have ourselves a nice open cavern to put the banks of supercomputers, surveillance equipment, the bat-car, the bat-boat, the bat-helicopter, the bat-motorbikes and bat-themed disco-o-rama bowling alley.
Alfred : I’m not an engineer, but I think those might be load-bearing stalactites which support the house above. Also, are you sure you wouldn’t rather have your secret hideout located away from your residence?
Christian Bale : Wait… how did you know I was building a secret hideout?
Alfred : [Rolls Eyes]
[Batman’s next task is to introduce himself to Detective Gordon, whom we know to be the only trustworthy policeman on the Gotham force. Also, it appears that if you’re starting out as a vigilante who operates outside the law, it is vitally important to register with the police first. And then…]
A Short time later, at a DARK shipping container depot, something Evil is going down
Criminal 1 : What was that noise?
Criminal 2 : We’re at a dockyard. Care to be more specific?
Criminal 1 : A kind of whooshing, swooshing sound, as if somebody were more interested in frightening us than using the element of surprise they might otherwise have had…
Criminal 2 : Well, I might just fire my automatic weapon wildly anyway
Criminal 1 : We should also split up, rather than stay together, so that we lose any advantage in numbers we might have
Batman : [Realises spending millions of dollars on outfitting himself as a superhero in a stealth suit, and wasting valuable years/days to become a trained ninja might have been unnecessary]
Falconio: There is no reason why a crime boss like me would ever come to the docks to oversee a shipment like this, yet here I am. Sitting in my car. Waiting for… what?
Falconio : Oh, damnit…
The next day, at Wayne Enterprises HQ
[The caretaker CEO of Wayne Enterprises pays a visit to Morgan Freeman in the basement of the Wayne building, looking slightly panicked]
CEO : Umm.. Mr Freeman? Do you have any information on a kind of Device that has been lost at sea in suspicious circumstances that will become vitally important later?
Morgan Freeman : OMG! You don’t mean the Plot Device??
CEO : Officially- no comment. Oh, and you’re fired for asking that question. Oh, and could I have the detailed specs on that device? And… wait… is that a GO-KART TRACK over there???
Morgan Freeman : No comment.
[Meanwhile, Gotham city crime boss Falconio makes it to trial yet incredibly doesn’t pay off the judge or the jury or the witnesses to get the case dismissed. The best his lawyer can do is raise the possibility that he may be insane, which in view of him not using any of his powers of influence, seems plausible enough. Subsequently, he is taken to Arkham Asylum.]
Arkham Asylum : [Is DARK].
[Katie Holmes decides to go there. She learns that the head of Arkham is himself insane, and moonlights as a shadowy character known as SCARECROW who uses hallucinogenic drugs derived from a flower Bruce Wayne was exposed to in Tibet to spread mad panic among his patients. Moreover, on behalf of some shadowy organisation, he is busily dumping mass quantities of the drug into the Gotham water supply – which when vaporised via the Wayne Enterprises Special Plot Device will cause untold panic-induced hysteria and destruction in Gotham City. DARK times]
Katie Holmes : [Panics and tries to escape]
Scarecrow : [Sprays her with panic drug]
Katie Homes : [Panics. Like, Even More]
Scarecrow : Hmmm… to provide some sense of urgency for later, I need to tell somebody that I sprayed her with a dose of the drug large enough to kill her, but it will probably take about twenty minutes to half an hour to do so, any time during which she can recover if somebody can manufacture an antidote. Hey, you there!
Minion : Hmm?
Scarecrow : I sprayed her with enough drugs to kill her if she doesn’t get an antidote within twenty to thirty minutes
Minion : Umm… okay?
Scarecrow : All right, you may go now.
[Moments later, after Batman has beaten up half a dozen minions in the room without raising a sweat]
Batman : I overheard that!
Scarecrow : And do I get a “thank you”?
Batman : Thank you. Now, who do you work for?
Scarecrow : His name is Ra’s Al Ghul
Batman : But he’s Dead!!
Scarecrow : …Or is he?
Batman : Yes. He is.
Scarecrow : …. Or IS HE?
Batman : YES. HE. IS.
Scarecrow: Yes, but…?
Batman : Okay, now you’re just irritating me. Here’s a spray of your panic drug large enough to render you completely insane.
Scarecrow : Argh! Oh, by the way, the police are on their way
Batman : You called the police to your own crime scene
Scarecrow : Eh. I figured this would end more or less like this.
[Moments later, the whole asylum is surrounded by Police who don’t storm a building that’s filled only with jailed inmates, and instead hold back at a perimeter. Perhaps they are waiting for a massive swarm of bats to answer a signal from a pocket keyring button which Batman has just pressed?]
Police : … It’s been ten minutes already! How far away are these bats and how long do they need to get here?
Gordon: I’m going in…
Police : Whatever, man. We’re ordering out for Pizza.
[Gordon finds Batman inside the building, carrying a semi-conscious Katie Holmes]
Batman : Gordon! You need to get her out of here. Meanwhile…
Gordon : ….what?
Batman : I have no idea. I mean, I have a myriad of ways to get into and out of a building. But we need the swarming bat scene for inclusion in the trailer, and then I have to show you my car that I’ve parked outside so you can provide a soundbite for the trailer, and that’s easier to do if I have an excuse to drive right by you to pick up Rachel which I wouldn’t have if I carried her out myself
Gordon : Umm…very well. How long til she dies?
Batman : Oh, we’ve got another good seven or eight minutes before the music gets really insistent
[The massive swarm of bats which have flown all the way from the batcave now enter the building, blasting out windows and freaking out all the inmates who were already safely in their cells. The rest of the building, which is devoid of police activity, is otherwise empty. Batman exits via a side entrance and meets up with Gordon, who is holding the still semi-conscious Rachel]
Gordon : [panting] I’ve carried your girlfriend down nine flights of stairs for you. Happy now?
Batman : Yes. And yet she was in the basement when I found her, a point I choose not to ponder too heavily. Instead, I shall drive her to my place where I’ve kept the antidote…
Gordon : …. instead of bringing it with you??
Batman : Erm… yes. Anyway, check out my car.
[The Batmobile snarls into life, an amorphous black stealth-material car/truck hybrid apparently made to resemble a bat-tank]
Gordon : I’ve got to get me one of those
Chris Nolan : Cut! That’s a wrap. Print it and put it in the trailer
Gotham City Streets
[Batman then drives off and basically tears the night of the city apart as he’s pursued by and attempts to evade the police, in the process destroying building roofs and police cars and roads which are probably not rated to carry an unregistered six ton tank-like vehicle. He blows up part of a parking garage too, and drops metal spikes on the road in a tunnel and realistically amasses a citywide damage bill even he with his immense wealth would have trouble repaying, if he were thus inclined. And you can’t tell me the police officers involved in some of those crashes got out of their flipped and smashed vehicles unhurt…]
Director Chris Nolan : DARK!!
Police Radio : All units – we’ve got a giant black tank heading East in the vague direction of Wayne Manor
Batman : Oh, crap!
Alfred : Hello? Just saying
Rachel : [Hyperventilates violently]
Batman : Rachel! Although there’s gunfire and explosion and jumping and smashing and rapid acceleration and bombs going off and helicopters and you’re in a car with a masked vigilante you don’t know, DON’T PANIC!!
Rachel : [Closes her eyes and tries to stay calm]
Batman : Rachel! Even more importantly you MUST NOT FALL ASLEEP OR YOU’LL DIE!!
Rachel : [Hyperventilates even more violently]
Batman : RACHEL!!!
[Incredibly, Rachel survives this. Thankfully, in the midst of the growing danger, there’s always a birthday party to attend….]
Christian Bale’s Birthday Party
Alfred : They’re all here for you, Master Bale
Lady at Party : And there’s a guy here just waiting to meet you. He calls himself Ra’s Al… Ghul, is it?
Christian Bale : He’s Dead!
Some Asian Guy : … or IS HE?
Christian Bale : Yes, he’s freaking dead! When I last saw him he had a wooden girder sticking out of his chest
Liam Neeson : [behind Bale] … or is he just a symbol?
Christian Bale : Former master who tried to kill me! Wait…oh… yeah. I do seem to remember you had a plan to destroy Gotham City. It’s just that when I refused to be a part of it and you tried to kill me and failed, I kind of assumed you wouldn’t follow through on those plans.
Liam Neeson : What an odd assumption. However, since you burned down my place and rescued me, I shall return the favour by burning down your place and…
Christian Bale : [hopeful] … rescuing me?
Liam Neeson : No. Just leaving you here to die.
Christian Bale : ??
Liam Neeson’s cane : [thud]
Christian Bale’s Head : [thud]
Christian Bale’s Body : [slump]
Wayne Manor : [is on fire]
Liam Neeson : Okay, now let’s go and destroy this city. You there! Make sure nobody leaves this building
Ninja : Or I could just kill him while he’s lying there?
Liam Neeson : Eh… not sure. I’ll let you know. [Exits the burning building]
Ninja : ???
Alfred : [Thud to back of ninja’s head]
Ninja : [Thud]
Alfred : Master Bale! Let’s get you out of here
[Christian Bale comes to, gets changed, hops into the Batmobile and… well he can’t really know the full plan of the bad guys at this stage. But he knows it’s probably going down near Arkham Asylum because that’s where things last went down]
At Arkham Asylum
Liam Neeson : Free the inmates of Arkham! Load the Plot Device… and… stuff!
Ninja : Done!
Liam Neeson : And now… let’s get out of here.
Ninja : Party Time?
Liam Neeson : No, I need to take the plot device to the Wayne Enterprises Building and detonate it there…
Batman : Not if I stop you first!
Liam Neeson : Arghh!! How did you escape? Worst freaking ninjas EVER!!
Batman : Yeah, he was beaten up by my ninety year old butler, heehee!
Liam Neeson : Don’t just stand there, Ninjas – attack!!
The Ninjas : [Attack]
Batman : [Beats up all the ninjas]
Liam Neeson : Arghh!!! Worst freaking ninjas EVER! [Jumps on the train towards Wayne Enterprise Building which is carrying the Plot Device]
Batman : [Jumps on the train as well]
[In order to provide a backup in case he fails (as well as introduce a chance for light comedy relief) Batman has given the keys to the Batmobile to Gordon, who has never driven a car/tank hybrid before and has no idea how to use it. The plan is that Batman will destroy the plot device on the elevated train. But if that fails, Gordon can shoot the elevated track just prior to it getting to Wayne Plaza by using the weapons onboard the Batmobile, and cause the train to crash. It goes without saying that Gordon has never driven this vehicle before and has no idea of the offensive capabilities of it]
Batman : [Beats up Liam Neeson]
Liam Neeson : [Beats up Batman]
Batman : [Wins!!!]
Batman : And now, to turn off this plot device and cement my victory.
Liam Neeson : Yes, well. Since I’m the only semi-intelligent person in my evil empire, I remembered to disable the shutoff so you can’t I’m afraid. Harharhar!!!
Batman : NOOOoooo! Well, I guess it’s all down to whether Gordon can blow up the elevated track, thus causing the machine to detonate safely a couple of metres away from the target.
Liam Neeson : You’d better hope he’s better trained than all the minions I had helping me.
Batman : Actually, it now occurs to me that prior to this he’s never actually driven my personal one-off design custom tank/car hybrid and has no idea of its offensive capabilities or where any of the controls are
Liam Neeson : In that case, I remain confident in my plan working!
Meanwhile, in the Batmobile parked right across the road from Wayne Enterprise HQ
Gordon : Maybe if I press this button…?
[Takes out train track]
Liam Neeson : Oh, F&%&ing weak!
Batman : Woohoo!!!
[The train Batmand and Liam Neeson are on is now rushing towards a chasm in the track, fifty metres above the road below. Are Batman and Liam Neeson about to die?]
Liam Neeson : Well, if I’m going, at least you’ll die with me
Batman : No chance. Watch me use my suit’s wings to glide gracefully from this carriage to the safety of the streets below [Does so]
Liam Neeson : Oh, F&%&ing weak!!!
[The train crashes and explodes]
Liam Neeson : [Dies]
The Wrap-Up to the Movie
[Luckily, Gotham’s water supply is not infected, however all the dangerous prisoners in Arkham are still loose in the city, which is still filled with considerable panic and destruction]
Batman : Well… it’s been a busy day. I might head on home…
Director Chris Nolan : DARK!!!
Batman Begins, reduced to 15(ish) minutes of runtime, for your summary reading pleasure