- Yash Panchal
Idea #118 - The Cry of Gotham City
Today we learned a little about the sound design of Matt Reeves’ The Batman (2022). From its cinematography to its SFX, we continue to be in awe of the genius behind the making of this masterpiece.
Gotham City is drenched in rain that seems to never stop, almost like a premonition, almost like a curse. It is brilliant how the SFX team uses the sole element of rainfall to express different tones and meanings throughout the film - while it sounds sinister and cold in one scene, in a more intimate setting, the same element sounds warmer, more serene. Rain here is not used to simply set the mood but to push the plot towards the intended direction and reinforce the mood.
But it is not only about the rain as much as it is about the concoction and balance between the volume of different sound elements that play together in a single sequence. Several times the predominant sound is given an echo, dissociative tone to let the audience know that they are now, in the shoes of the Batman. This is one of the instances how sound in this movie is given a personality of its own in correspondence with the characters.
Sound is also manipulated here to build anticipation and tension. As soon as we hear Ave Maria, our eyes are already rummaging through the corners of the location to catch a glimpse of him. There is a time, however, when his signature gasp scream turns out to be merely a muffled cough. This play of sounds has been used countless times to both guide as well as trick the audience.
Interestingly, the Botmobile’s sound comes from a bottle rocket! Its sound was extended and edited using the same technique as a Justin Bieber song that was slowed down by 800%! Who would have thought Justin Bieber could inspire the Batmobile theme. Never say never, maybe.
Written and Curated by Arya Kastwar