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Popcorn & Prejudice: A Movie Blog

Seattle Times writer Moira Macdonald muses on moviegoing. Email Moira: mmacdonald@seattletimes.com.

December 20, 2011 at 10:40 AM

Some “Dark Knight Rises” mumblings — and a new trailer

Interesting scuttlebutt in the Hollywood Reporter today about Christopher Nolan’s “The Dark Knight Rises,” which apparently has an unexpected problem: Audiences can’t understand Bane, the villain played by Tom Hardy. After viewing an 8-minute prologue that screened in many IMAX theaters this weekend (in front of “Mission: Impossible – Ghost Protocol”), audience members have gone online to complain about the sound, specifically Bane’s dialogue, which is muffled and garbled (due to a mask he wears over his face). Two comments unearthed by The Hollywood Reporter:

“A fantastic action sequence hurt by the fact that you cannot understand the villain at all,” commented one fan on Twitter. Others poked fun at the seven-minute prologue. “The Dark Knight Rises prologue was really great, especially when Bane spoke the soon-to-be-classic line: ‘Mmrbl ffrmrff hmrbblfmm,'” wrote one.

Unnamed “sources” at the studio, Warner Bros., say that it’s a known problem, but that Nolan does not intend to significantly rework the sound. “Chris wants the audience to catch up and participate rather than push everything at them. He doesn’t dumb things down,” says an unnamed studio exec. That’s certainly commendable, but just how garbled is Bane? I’d love to hear from anyone who saw the 8-minute preview in theaters this weekend. In the meantime, here’s the new trailer (including one line from Bane, more or less understandable, and a very nice hat for Anne Hathaway):

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