By Drew Taylor | The Playlist July 28, 2012 at 10:07AM
If there's one thing we unapologetically love about the ambitious and occasionally irksome "The Dark Knight Rises," it's Tom Hardy and his deliciously evil voice as Bane, the muscular zealot behind much of the movie's jumbo-sized mayhem. While some audience members still claim that his voice was indecipherable, this was a much bigger problem a few months ago, when the IMAX-shot aerial prologue was shown attached to select prints of Brad Bird's "Mission: Impossible – Ghost Protocol." Now someone has done a compare-and-contrast, while details of a brief deleted scene have also emerged.
Thanks to a Reddit post on the topic, we were pointed towards a brief Dailymotion video where someone has taken (admittedly bootleg and therefore inherently crummy) audio from both the IMAX presentation and the theatrical release, playing them side-by-side. It's true that the new audio is both louder and clearer, emphasizing the old school James Bond villain tone Hardy was clearly going for, but there's one huge difference that this cut-up example doesn't showcase. One of the reasons the original IMAX footage was harder to understand was that there was a kind of wheezy respirator noise that was threaded through the dialogue. It made Bane's dialogue even creepier and, on a narrative level, helped to explain what exactly his instantly iconic mask actually, you know, did.
While Christopher Nolan initially denied reports that he would be changing Bane's voice after complaints during the prologue screenings saying it would make sense in context, it's clear some major ADR and/or channel mixing was done. Something tells us that the original Bane voice vs. new Bane voice will be a debate (enthusiastically) carried on in nerd circles for some time. We love what Hardy was doing with the character/voice and it comes across in both examples, but there is something slightly more menacing and off-putting in the original conception. Still, we understand that Nolan and company would want people to actually understand what the evil genius is up to and we have a hard time imagining longer, talkier scenes, like when Bane addresses the city outside of the Black Gate prison, with the more mangled, crunchier, respirator-interrupted dialogue.
Elsewhere on the world wide web, the Comic Book Movie site has compiled dialogue from the official screenplay book and a screenshot from a making-of feature to give a brief look at a small deleted scene. The scene is a conversation between Morgan Freeman's Lucius Fox and Marion Cotillard's Miranda Tate about the fate of Wayne Enterprises stock (it comes just before Christian Bale's Bruce Wayne shows up in Fox's office). It's pretty insubstantial and goes over already-established plot threads about a possible hostile takeover of the company and if there's one thing the movie didn't need more of, it's people in suits talking about stock options. Wisely deleted. And while Nolan has never been big about putting deleted scenes on his DVDs, maybe this will make the home video edition (Blu-ray anyone?)