As highly anticipated as "The Dark Knight Rises" is, an unfortunate parenthetical has followed most praise of the six-minute prologue and the first theatrical trailer.
Tom Hardy's voice became the hot topic of Batman conversations as soon as critics saw the first minutes of the film, which focus heavily on the masked villain Bane. Fans complained, too, wishing they could comprehend more from a character they wanted to like so much, but almost every complaint came with a caveat tacked on: "I'm sure Nolan will fix it."
Then, at the height of discussion, an unnamed source "close to the movie" told The Hollywood Reporter that Nolan had no intentions of completely reworking Bane's voice, insisting he would only make slight changes to the sound mix.
Now, Collider has the testimony of a source that claims Warner Bros. sent a new soundtrack for the prologue still attached to select IMAX showings of "Mission: Impossible - Ghost Protocol," making Bane's dialogue "40 to 50 percent" clearer.
Here is the source's full account: "A friend of mine who is an IMAX projectionist told me they received a new soundtrack for the 'Dark Knight Rises' prologue. He said it's now a combo soundtrack with 'Mission: Impossible - Ghost Protocol,' but the cool thing about this is that they've cleaned up the dialogue. They've gone in and lowered the background noise of the plane and other things, thus making Bane's dialogue clearer and more understandable. He asked some people after they left the movie if they could understand Bane and they all said they had no issue understanding him, and were excited for the movie."
Warner Bros. told The New York Times' Dave Itzkoff that there was "no truth" to the rumors, but Collider followed up its initial report with a letter purportedly from IMAX sent to its projectionists. The letter instructs them on how to dub the combined tracks properly and perfectly aligns with the original report.
This is certainly looking like the tweak we've expected from Nolan since The Hollywood Reporter article. If the director is adamant about keeping the gargled effect on Bane's voice and encouraging the audience to participate in the film more, this is the change that needed to be made. Regardless of whether you're part of the camp that insists the voice is comprehendible, the change, however slight it may be, was needed.
Are you looking forward to a cleaned-up Bane? Let me know at @KPSull, and I'll discuss some of your responses over at Splash Page on Wednesday.
Check out everything we've got on "The Dark Knight Rises."
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