I just got an email from Warner Bros directing me to Collider, the site that broke the 'They changed the audio mix on the Dark Knight Rises prologue' story which burned up the internet earlier this week. It turns out that Collider has redacted their story and claimed full responsibility for the error.
Does Bane hold Steve's loved ones hostage? Has he been forced at muffled maskpoint to make this correction? Or is this the actual truth, and was Collider's piece of paper with a letter to IMAX projectionists a terrible hoax?
The funny thing is how little of this matters. I've been covering this stuff with a lot of snark because it's really funny, and it's fascinating to see what a PR headache this has become for Warner Bros. The Dark Knight Rises is a slam dunk movie, and will almost certainly be the #1 film of 2012; they didn't really need to do this preview at all. I suspect they did it because NOT doing it might be seen as a sign of a lack of faith; in many ways they're repiicating the hugely successful campaign for The Dark Knight. They showed the preview last time, so they're showing the preview this time.
I think this highlights the danger of early footage presentations. Out of context, possibly unfinished (films get tweaked right up to release) segments of movies make effective marketing tools, but can muddy the waters in other ways. Right now the waters are as muddied as Bane's dialogue (rim shot!), and so Warner Bros is dealing with a nerd discourse that is less 'How awesome is this!' and more 'Let's fight about comprehensibility.' Unfortunately the reach of nerd debates is bigger than ever; the Bane stuff has been covered on lots and lots of more mainstream sites. This isn't what Warner Bros wanted people talking about.
What I believe will stick with me about this whole thing (and we're totally gonna forget about it once The Dark Knight Rises is out and dominates the box office for weeks) is the way the hardcore fans reacted. There were two mutually exclusive lines of attack from fans - one was that Nolan intended it to be this way, and it's exciting that a blockbuster doesn't condescend to feed you every line of dialogue, and the other is that they had no problem hearing every single word. I liked when people used both lines of defense at once.
This is the stuff that doesn't matter. It's funny, and it's fun to make jokes about it, but in the end the movie is the thing. And while I don't find Nolan to be the messiah-like figure many of his fans make him out to be, I do believe that he's a director who has fully earned the benefit of the doubt, and the real discussion about Bane's voice shouldn't begin until after the full film has been seen.