In honor of the awards being showered upon Christian Bale–and the awards yet to be showered upon him–it is time to re-invigorate this web-log that has sadly sat neglected for the last year. Mr. Bale has proven within the last year (and it has sadly been a year and a day since I last posted on here) that he is truly, without a doubt, the greatest actor that has ever graced this earth.
You might ask yourself, or your peers, or me, “what makes Christian Bale the greatest actor ever?”
Allow me to explain: He can take any film, film franchise, novel, or true story, and bring with him a passion and talent that will turn it into a completely new work.
See the following examples for films or tales that lacked true prestige before Bale stormed in and turned them into works of genius.
Little Women, 1994
had been adapted for the screen four times before 1994, beginning with back-to-back silent versions in 1917 and 1918. The novel was first published (in two volumes) in 1868 and 1869. Not to mention the numerous stage adaptations, comic books, and fan fiction novellas spawned by the novel. But everyone agrees that nothing compares to the 1994 adaptation. Which is the first time Christian Bale’s name was attached. Of course it’s not a coincidence.
Pocahantas, 1995, and The New World, 2005
In 1995, Bale was cast in a role that could unfortunately barely contain his talent, when he lent his voice to “Thomas” in Disney’s Pocahantas. While his turn as the inexperienced young explorer left audiences tearful and critics begging for more, it was clear that the role was too small for him. Which is the entire reason for the first (and, thus far, only) time that Bale did a Bale-Out of one of his own films, remaking the 90-minute Pocahantas into the 150-minute The New World, in which the character of Thomas was traded for John Rolfe. Both prove that Bale will outshine his cast-mates, regardless of whether they are cartoons or the guy from Phonebooth.
Everyone knows Shaft, whether it’s from the 1971 novel, the Richard Roundtree trilogy, or the Isaac Hayes song. But no one can forget the definitive 2000 version of Shaft, in which Bale proves that everyone should be thankful he is not one of those actors who always gets typecast as the good guy. In Shaft, Bale has a chance to shine as a racist, charismatic murderer (a character type he will portray several times more), proving he can be a villain that you really enjoy watching get gunned down at the end by an old woman. It also entirely fits within the definition of a Bale-Out, as it is not a remake of the original Shaft,but is rather a sequel, as Samuel L. Jackson is playing John Shaft’s nephew, John Shaft. Critics and audiences are still anxiously awaiting the second and third films of the new millenium’s Shaft trilogy.Of course, the other Bale-Outs in Bale’s catalogue are almost too obvious to mention. What would Batman be without Christian Bale? He nailed a role at which Adam West, Michael Keaton, Val Kilmer, and George Clooney all failed. As for Terminator, everyone now knows that the previous films had too much time travel and not enough shouting. In I’m Not There, he showed up Heath Ledger, Cate Blanchett, Richard Gere, and that kid with the guitar in history’s greatest Bob Dylan impression contest.Truly, the attention being granted to Bale in 2011 is only the beginning. And I assure you, “What Should Bale Do?” is back, ready to hypothesize about what novel, film, trilogy, or true story Bale has to bring to the screen next.