Arrested Development star Will Arnett provides the voice of the Dark Knight in Lego Batman. Warner Bros. Pictures via AP
Arrested Development star Will Arnett provides the voice of the Dark Knight in Lego Batman. Warner Bros. Pictures via AP

Film review: Lego Batman starts strong but reverts to more kid-friendly tone at the expense of insight and satire



Lego Batman

Director: Chris McKay

Starring: Will Arnett, Zach Galifianakis, Michael Cera and Rosario Dawson

Three stars

Lego Batman turns back the clock on the caped crusader to a lighter, more fun time before Tim Burton – ­taking his lead from Frank Miller's Batman: Year One and The Dark Knight Returns graphic novels, which helped to redefine the character in the late 1980s – turned Gotham into a gothic-horror hellhole in his 1989 big-screen adaptation.

Since then, the movie (and comics) versions of Batman have largely portrayed the character as austere, alone and wallowing in despair.

This consigned the less serious, camp version of Batman, as played by Adam West in the 1960s TV series and seen in the comics of the time, to the deepest depths of the Batcave.

Lego Batman, a spin-off for the breakout hero of 2014's The Lego Movie, restores some of this kitsch colour – and sense of fun – with initially brilliant results.

Knowledge of the on-screen history of Batman will pay rich dividends, as much of the tongue-in-cheek fun is built on self-referential in-jokes.

Credit must go to Arrested Development star Will Arnett, who provides the voice of Batman and, after his work on TV series BoJack Horseman, is becoming a voice-over king.

Using the same satirical, postmodern, pop-cultural awareness that made The Lego Movie a surprise hit, Lego Batman is likewise a sensory overload.

The Joker (Zach Galifianakis) – and just about every other Batman villain you can think of – attacks Gotham with a kaleidoscope of colour and noise. Yet the clown prince of crime is disheartened at the thought (in a nod towards the recent live-action Batman v Superman) that the Man of Steel might now be Batman's greatest enemy.

The film’s brilliant deconstruction of how the Dark Knight has become the most conflicted of characters reaches its peak when the movie pulls off its masterstroke: using silence to illustrate Batman’s solitude.

As Batman mooches around his mansion, it is clear to all but him that his life has no purpose. This quiet also provides room for character development and unique observations – this is a Dark Knight like none we have seen before.

Yet this does not last long ­because silence is also the enemy of Lego movies. The film falters when explosions return, r­eplacing character development and exposition, and the film reverts to a more kid-friendly tone at the expense of insight and satire.

This is a shame because Batman as a kind-hearted team player is simply not nearly as interesting or fun as the ­alternatives.

artslife@thenational.ae

Uefa Nations League: How it works

The Uefa Nations League, introduced last year, has reached its final stage, to be played over five days in northern Portugal. The format of its closing tournament is compact, spread over two semi-finals, with the first, Portugal versus Switzerland in Porto on Wednesday evening, and the second, England against the Netherlands, in Guimaraes, on Thursday.

The winners of each semi will then meet at Porto’s Dragao stadium on Sunday, with the losing semi-finalists contesting a third-place play-off in Guimaraes earlier that day.

Qualifying for the final stage was via League A of the inaugural Nations League, in which the top 12 European countries according to Uefa's co-efficient seeding system were divided into four groups, the teams playing each other twice between September and November. Portugal, who finished above Italy and Poland, successfully bid to host the finals.

The Cairo Statement

1: Commit to countering all types of terrorism and extremism in all their manifestations

2: Denounce violence and the rhetoric of hatred

3: Adhere to the full compliance with the Riyadh accord of 2014 and the subsequent meeting and executive procedures approved in 2014 by the GCC

4: Comply with all recommendations of the Summit between the US and Muslim countries held in May 2017 in Saudi Arabia.

5: Refrain from interfering in the internal affairs of countries and of supporting rogue entities.

6: Carry out the responsibility of all the countries with the international community to counter all manifestations of extremism and terrorism that threaten international peace and security

Company Profile

Name: HyveGeo
Started: 2023
Founders: Abdulaziz bin Redha, Dr Samsurin Welch, Eva Morales and Dr Harjit Singh
Based: Cambridge and Dubai
Number of employees: 8
Industry: Sustainability & Environment
Funding: $200,000 plus undisclosed grant
Investors: Venture capital and government

Play-off fixtures

Two-legged ties to be played November 9-11 and November 12-14

 

  • Northern Ireland v Switzerland
  • Croatia v Greece
  • Denmark v Ireland
  • Sweden v Italy
The Roundup : No Way Out

Director: Lee Sang-yong
Stars: Don Lee, Lee Jun-hyuk, Munetaka Aoki
Rating: 3/5

COMPANY PROFILE

Name: Haltia.ai
Started: 2023
Co-founders: Arto Bendiken and Talal Thabet
Based: Dubai, UAE
Industry: AI
Number of employees: 41
Funding: About $1.7 million
Investors: Self, family and friends

AIDA RETURNS

Director: Carol Mansour

Starring: Aida Abboud, Carol Mansour

Rating: 3.5./5

Ads on social media can 'normalise' drugs

A UK report on youth social media habits commissioned by advocacy group Volteface found a quarter of young people were exposed to illegal drug dealers on social media.

The poll of 2,006 people aged 16-24 assessed their exposure to drug dealers online in a nationally representative survey.

Of those admitting to seeing drugs for sale online, 56 per cent saw them advertised on Snapchat, 55 per cent on Instagram and 47 per cent on Facebook.

Cannabis was the drug most pushed by online dealers, with 63 per cent of survey respondents claiming to have seen adverts on social media for the drug, followed by cocaine (26 per cent) and MDMA/ecstasy, with 24 per cent of people.

A cheaper choice

Vanuatu: $130,000

Why on earth pick Vanuatu? Easy. The South Pacific country has no income tax, wealth tax, capital gains or inheritance tax. And in 2015, when it was hit by Cyclone Pam, it signed an agreement with the EU that gave it some serious passport power.

Cost: A minimum investment of $130,000 for a family of up to four, plus $25,000 in fees.

Criteria: Applicants must have a minimum net worth of $250,000. The process take six to eight weeks, after which the investor must travel to Vanuatu or Hong Kong to take the oath of allegiance. Citizenship and passport are normally provided on the same day.

Benefits:  No tax, no restrictions on dual citizenship, no requirement to visit or reside to retain a passport. Visa-free access to 129 countries.

From Europe to the Middle East, economic success brings wealth - and lifestyle diseases

A rise in obesity figures and the need for more public spending is a familiar trend in the developing world as western lifestyles are adopted.

One in five deaths around the world is now caused by bad diet, with obesity the fastest growing global risk. A high body mass index is also the top cause of metabolic diseases relating to death and disability in Kuwait, Qatar and Oman – and second on the list in Bahrain.

In Britain, heart disease, lung cancer and Alzheimer’s remain among the leading causes of death, and people there are spending more time suffering from health problems.

The UK is expected to spend $421.4 billion on healthcare by 2040, up from $239.3 billion in 2014.

And development assistance for health is talking about the financial aid given to governments to support social, environmental development of developing countries.

Sugary teas and iced coffees

The tax authority is yet to release a list of the taxed products, but it appears likely that sugary iced teas and cold coffees will be hit.

For instance, the non-fizzy drink AriZona Iced Tea contains 65 grams of sugar – about 16 teaspoons – per 680ml can. The average can costs about Dh6, which would rise to Dh9.

Cold coffee brands are likely to be hit too. Drinks such as Starbucks Bottled Mocha Frappuccino contain 31g of sugar in 270ml, while Nescafe Mocha in a can contains 15.6g of sugar in a 240ml can.

MATCH INFO

Watford 1 (Deulofeu 80' p)

Chelsea 2 (Abraham 5', Pulisic 55')

South Africa World Cup squad

South Africa: Faf du Plessis (c), Hashim Amla, Quinton de Kock (w), JP Duminy, Imran Tahir, Aiden Markram, David Miller, Lungi Ngidi, Anrich Nortje, Andile Phehlukwayo, Dwaine Pretorius, Kagiso Rabada, Tabraiz Shamsi, Dale Steyn, Rassie van der Dussen.

Honeymoonish

Director: Elie El Samaan

Starring: Nour Al Ghandour, Mahmoud Boushahri

Rating: 3/5

How to tell if your child is being bullied at school

Sudden change in behaviour or displays higher levels of stress or anxiety

Shows signs of depression or isolation

Ability to sleep well diminishes

Academic performance begins to deteriorate

Changes in eating habits

Struggles to concentrate

Refuses to go to school

Behaviour changes and is aggressive towards siblings

Begins to use language they do not normally use

Water waste

In the UAE’s arid climate, small shrubs, bushes and flower beds usually require about six litres of water per square metre, daily. That increases to 12 litres per square metre a day for small trees, and 300 litres for palm trees.

Horticulturists suggest the best time for watering is before 8am or after 6pm, when water won't be dried up by the sun.

A global report published by the Water Resources Institute in August, ranked the UAE 10th out of 164 nations where water supplies are most stretched.

The Emirates is the world’s third largest per capita water consumer after the US and Canada.

Squads

India: Kohli (c), Rahul, Shaw, Agarwal, Pujara, Rahane, Vihari, Pant (wk), Ashwin, Jadeja, Kuldeep, Shami, Umesh, Siraj, Thakur

West Indies: Holder (c), Ambris, Bishoo, Brathwaite, Chase, Dowrich (wk), Gabriel, Hamilton, Hetmyer, Hope, Lewis, Paul, Powell, Roach, Warrican, Joseph

Blue Beetle

Director: Angel Manuel Soto
Stars: Xolo Mariduena, Adriana Barraza, Damian Alcazar, Raoul Max Trujillo, Susan Sarandon, George Lopez
Rating: 4/5 

COMPANY PROFILE

Company name: Alaan
Started: 2021
Based: Dubai
Founders: Parthi Duraisamy and Karun Kurien
Sector: FinTech
Investment stage: $7 million raised in total — $2.5 million in a seed round and $4.5 million in a pre-series A round

RESULTS

2pm: Maiden Dh 60,000 (Dirt) 1,400m. Winner: Masaali, Pat Dobbs (jockey), Doug Watson (trainer).

2.30pm: Handicap Dh 76,000 (D) 1,400m. Winner: Almoreb, Dane O’Neill, Ali Rashid Al Raihe.

3pm: Handicap Dh 64,000 (D) 1,200m. Winner: Imprison, Fabrice Veron, Rashed Bouresly.

3.30pm: Shadwell Farm Conditions Dh 100,000 (D) 1,000m. Winner: Raahy, Adrie de Vries, Jaber Ramadhan.

4pm: Maiden Dh 60,000 (D) 1,000m. Winner: Cross The Ocean, Richard Mullen, Satish Seemar.

4.30pm: Handicap 64,000 (D) 1,950m. Winner: Sa’Ada, Fernando Jara, Ahmad bin Harmash.

The five pillars of Islam

1. Fasting

2. Prayer

3. Hajj

4. Shahada

5. Zakat

The five pillars of Islam
COMPANY PROFILE

Name: Kinetic 7
Started: 2018
Founder: Rick Parish
Based: Abu Dhabi, UAE
Industry: Clean cooking
Funding: $10 million
Investors: Self-funded

The specs: 2018 BMW X2 and X3

Price, as tested: Dh255,150 (X2); Dh383,250 (X3)

Engine: 2.0-litre turbocharged inline four-cylinder (X2); 3.0-litre twin-turbo inline six-cylinder (X3)

Power 192hp @ 5,000rpm (X2); 355hp @ 5,500rpm (X3)

Torque: 280Nm @ 1,350rpm (X2); 500Nm @ 1,520rpm (X3)

Transmission: Seven-speed automatic (X2); Eight-speed automatic (X3)

Fuel consumption, combined: 5.7L / 100km (X2); 8.3L / 100km (X3)

The specs: 2019 Jeep Wrangler

Price, base: Dh132,000

Engine: 3.6-litre V6

Gearbox: Eight-speed automatic

Power: 285hp @ 6,400rpm

Torque: 347Nm @ 4,100rpm

Fuel economy, combined: 9.6L to 10.3L / 100km

The specs: Lamborghini Aventador SVJ

Price, base: Dh1,731,672

Engine: 6.5-litre V12

Gearbox: Seven-speed automatic

Power: 770hp @ 8,500rpm

Torque: 720Nm @ 6,750rpm

Fuel economy: 19.6L / 100km

Need to know

The flights: Flydubai flies from Dubai to Kilimanjaro airport via Dar es Salaam from Dh1,619 return including taxes. The trip takes 8 hours. 

The trek: Make sure that whatever tour company you select to climb Kilimanjaro, that it is a reputable one. The way to climb successfully would be with experienced guides and porters, from a company committed to quality, safety and an ethical approach to the mountain and its staff. Sonia Nazareth booked a VIP package through Safari Africa. The tour works out to $4,775 (Dh17,538) per person, based on a 4-person booking scheme, for 9 nights on the mountain (including one night before and after the trek at Arusha). The price includes all meals, a head guide, an assistant guide for every 2 trekkers, porters to carry the luggage, a cook and kitchen staff, a dining and mess tent, a sleeping tent set up for 2 persons, a chemical toilet and park entrance fees. The tiny ration of heated water provided for our bath in our makeshift private bathroom stall was the greatest luxury. A standard package, also based on a 4-person booking, works out to $3,050 (Dh11,202) per person.

When to go: You can climb Kili at any time of year, but the best months to ascend  are  January-February and September-October.  Also good are July and August, if you’re tolerant of the colder weather that winter brings.

Do not underestimate the importance of kit. Even if you’re travelling at a relatively pleasant time, be geared up for the cold and the rain.


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