I made sure to write this trailer reaction a good three hours after I first saw the trailer to Batkid Begins this morning, otherwise it would have basically been three paragraphs of teary-eyed blubbering. The story was vaguely familiar to me from various news articles, but I didn’t really know too much about it. Presented here, in all its onion-chopping glory, is the Batkid Begins trailer. It tells the story of Miles Scott, a 5-year old leukemia patient, and his Make-A-Wish Foundation wish to become Batman for a day. Produced and directed by Dana Nachman, Batkid tells the story of what transpired behind the scenes of the fulfillment of this wish, and documents how the story propagated around the world, inspired many, and eventually culminated in the entire city of San Francisco banding together to grant Miles’ wish.
Obviously, any story dealing specifically with childhood cancer (or any cancer, for that matter) is going to tug on the heartstrings a little bit, but Batkid Begins appears to add something more worthwhile than sadness, regret, and determination to end cancer to the story. The out pour of support for Miles from the strangers in San Francisco and throughout the world intimates that this particular story was inspiring for people among all walks of life. A line spoken in the trailer addresses this basic point, but perhaps comes across a little heavy-handed: “In helping him to live this dream, we were saving ourselves”. Communities rallying around an inspirational figure are perhaps nothing new, but the sheer scale of this story will likely provide us with a multitude of looks into the lives that were affected by Miles’ wish. The juxtaposition of presenting a five-year-old as an inspirational figure for adults is self-evident, and certainly powerful.
All that being said, I find myself a little cynical with regard to one specific aspect of the Batkid story, and it is something that these filmmakers have little control over, and will probably not even appear in the documentary. This is the fact that Julia Roberts is in early planning stages of producing a fictional account of the story, in which she will also star. I am fairly confident that Roberts simply found herself inspired by the story and wants to tell the story in her own way, but adapting a story from documentary to fictional narrative can come with a number of pitfalls, and certainly feels at least a little exploitative towards the subjects of the original film. I really hope that the proper respect is paid to the story, because if this material turns into a cash-grab, it will look very bad for all those involved. For now, though, Roberts’ project is in the far future and there is little that we know about it definitively; by contrast, Batkid Begins is released in theatres at the end of June of this year.