Picks and Pans Review: Heath Vs. Jack: Jokers Wild!

updated 07/28/2008 AT 01:00 AM EDT

originally published 07/28/2008 AT 01:00 AM EDT

Back in 1989 Jack Nicholson played the Crown Prince of Crime for laughs. Heath Ledger's take on the role is no joke.

THE LOOK: Natty Nicholson's whiteface was immaculate, while Ledger's angrily applied makeup accentuates the hideously creepy scars carved into his cheeks.

THE PRANKS: Nicholson was a merry, scary jokester, frying a foe with an electrified joy buzzer. Ledger's gags, like making a pencil "disappear" into a victim's skull, are even darker.

THE HOBBIES: His love of balloons and Prince music made Nicholson's Joker seem clownish. Ledger's baddie craves nothing but chaos—and is positively chilling.

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