by Michael Neelsen
Last night was supposed to be the beginning of a weekend full of excitement, debate and joy. The Dark Knight Rises, the most anticipated movie of the entire film year, was finally out in theaters. I don’t know about you, but here at Reel Fanatics it was hard to stay focused on anything that day but the number of hours left before the midnight showings began.
Unfortunately, some sad, deranged individual in Aurora, Colorado had other plans. He decided he would dress in tactical gear, outfit himself with tear gas and four firearms and launch a bloody massacre in one of the midnight shows. This hits particularly close to home for movie lovers like us. Those are our people in those screenings. They’re people we could instantly connect with over our love of Batman and/or cinema if we had happened to be in the theatre with them. We movie geeks “know” those people in some ways.
At times like this we tend to focus on what’s most important in life. Family. Friends. Loved ones. Movies and entertainment can seem trivial by comparison.
Last night’s events are low-hanging fruit for those who would blame Hollywood and specifically The Dark Knight Rises for inspiring the killer to do what he did. But it’s important not to forget that Hollywood and The Dark Knight Rises are also what put those victims in that theatre. They were full of anticipation and love and yes, even obsession in some cases, for the movie they were about to see. We cannot allow the actions of one idiot to ruin what these people loved so much that they were willing to wait in line all day to see it.
Go see a movie this weekend. Do it because that’s what the victims died doing. Do it as an escape from the constant coverage on the 24-hour news networks. But most of all, do it because you love it. It’s important.
Sentiments from the Cast & Crew of The Dark Knight Rises
DIRECTOR CHRISTOPHER NOLAN: “Speaking on behalf of the cast and crew of The Dark Knight Rises, I would like to express our profound sorrow at the senseless tragedy that has befallen the entire Aurora community. I would not presume to know anything about the victims of the shooting but that they were there last night to watch a movie. I believe movies are one of the great American art forms and the shared experience of watching a story unfold on screen is an important and joyful pastime. The movie theatre is my home, and the idea that someone would violate that innocent and hopeful place in such an unbearably savage way is devastating to me. Nothing any of us can say could ever adequately express our feelings for the innocent victims of this appalling crime, but our thoughts are with them and their families.”
CHRISTIAN BALE, aka BRUCE WAYNE/BATMAN: “Words cannot express the horror that I feel. I cannot begin to truly understand the pain and grief of the victims and their loved ones, but my heart goes out to them.”
GARY OLDMAN, aka COMMISSIONER GORDON: “My prayers and deepest sympathies are with the victims and their families of this horrific act.”
COMPOSER HANS ZIMMER: “We’re all devastated by what’s happened. I was going to send a note to Chris [Nolan] … but I didn’t have the words. Suddenly, words become meaningless because it’s so beyond anything. Devastated, I suppose, is the word. It’s just sad. Here we are, we were trying to celebrate this movie and celebrating that we’d finished it and then this happened. I just feel so incredibly sad for these people.”
WARNER BROS. PICTURES: “Warner Bros. is deeply saddened to learn about this shocking incident. We extend our sincere sympathies to the families and loved ones of the victims at this tragic time.”
SEN. CHRIS DODD, CHAIRMAN & CEO, MPAA: “We share the shock and sadness of everyone in the motion picture community at the news of this terrible event. We extend our prayers and deepest sympathies to the victims, their loved ones and all those affected by this tragedy.”
NATIONAL ASSOCIATION OF THEATRE OWNERS: “On behalf of all the members and staff of the National Association of Theatre Owners, our hearts and prayers go out to the victims of this despicable act and their families. We are grateful for the quick and effective response by police and emergency personnel. Guest safety is, and will continue to be a priority for theater owners. NATO members are working closely with local law enforcement agencies and reviewing security procedures.”