The Dark Knight Rises on DVD and Blu-ray
Christopher Nolan’s ‘Dark Knight’ trilogy has truly come to an end with the release of the home video edition that includes a collection of great bonus material.
With the release of The Dark Knight Rises on DVD and Blu-ray recently, Christopher Nolan’s Batman trilogy is finally complete. If you’re a fan of the previous movies and own them on video, you’ll definitely want to pick up the new release … or perhaps go for the special trilogy pack if you’ve been holding out for a complete collection. I won’t review the film itself here, but you can have a look at a collection of reviews on the CliqueClack site from Jeremy Fogelman and An Nicholson, and an essay on the film’s shortcomings. My own take was a bit more positive than these, but with the passage of time I’ve started to rethink my initial reaction to the first advance screening that I attended.
Looking back while going through the Blu-ray, and after reading more and more reactions to the film, it doesn’t seem as great as I had thought initially, with nagging questions about the plot and characters (how does Bane eat?), and the distinct lack of Batman or touches of humor the previous films had. About the only real bright spot is Anne Hathaway’s Catwoman … excuse me, Selina Kyle. She at least brought a little lightness to the proceedings whenever she was on screen which was very welcome with all of the other heavy drama unfolding. Good or bad, I’m a completest so owning a copy of the Blu-ray was never a question.
And it definitely is a nice addition to any video library, particularly if you go for the Blu-ray edition. The film looks and sounds stunning in high definition, with the IMAX scenes represented nicely on the Blu-ray version (you will notice aspect ratio changes at first but you get used to it). The image is sharp and clear with nice contrast and black levels, which is important for a film that has many scenes that take place in dark areas. The sound is presented in English DTS-HD Master Audio, and it will have your subwoofer pounding out the bass. Other options include English 2.0, French, Spanish, and Portuguese audio tracks (sorry, Nolan doesn’t do audio commentary). Subtitle options include English for the hearing impaired, French, Spanish, and Portuguese. The three disk Blu-ray/DVD combo features the movie itself on a single disk with a Second Screen app (only for iPad, apparently, as I could not locate the app in the Google Play store) which allows you to sync your tablet with the movie to see additional bonus material.
The second disk contains the Special Features with English only audio and the same subtitle options as on the first disk. The first of the bonus features is a documentary on The Batmobile — which runs almost an hour — and features Adam West, Tim Burton, Joel Schumacher, Christopher Nolan and others talking about the origin and evolution of the Batmobile from the original comics to the 1940s serials to the current movies that takes a surprisingly heart-tugging turn at the end. It’s a very enjoyable and informative piece, with a fun look at the original sedan the comic and movie serial Batman rode around in, with a finish shot at an exhibition of every Batmobile from the 1960s version to the latest iteration. That must have been something to behold.
The second bonus feature on the disk is Ending the Knight which is comprised of several chapters under the headers Production, Characters, and Reflections. “The Prologue” is one of the most interesting segments as it details the film’s hijacking scene and how Nolan and his crew were able to shoot as much of the scene using real people and props with just a little bit of CGI to tie it all together. Knowing Nolan is famously insistent on shooting as much as physically possible, it’s pretty amazing to see that he really had four stunt men dangling out of the back of a plane on cables, and flying around over Scotland on a piece of fuselage connected to a helicopter. It certainly adds a lot of realism to the scene, even when CGI is employed. Other segments in the Production section include “Return to the Batcave,” “Beneath Gotham,” “The Bat,” “Batman vs Bane,” “Armory Accepted,” “Gameday Destruction,” “Demolishing a City Street,” “The Pit,” “The Chant,” “The War on Wall Street” and “Race to the Reactor.” Most of these run less than 10 minutes, but are all pretty informative and entertaining looks at what went into the making of the film, from stunts to set construction to Hans Zimmer’s score.
In the second section, Characters, we have “The Journey of Bruce Wayne,” “Gotham’s Reckoning,” and “A Girl’s Gotta Eat.” All are entertaining, but I enjoyed the behind-the-scenes looks at both Bane and Tom Hardy’s work in the film, and Catwoman and what went in to designing her mask and goggles so that they didn’t scream “cat.” The third section, Reflections, includes “Shadows & Light in Large Format” and “The End of a Legend.” While short, both are very good pieces on how Nolan decided to shoot what in the IMAX format and the challenges involved, and a very heartfelt look at the cast and crew talking about how the films have affected their lives. Unfortunately, there is no Play All feature, and there are no deleted scenes (another thing Nolan doesn’t believe in).
The Special Features are rounded out with a Trailer Archive and a Print Media Art Gallery. All of the features are presented in full HD. The third disk in the combo pack is the DVD of the film presented with English 5.1, English 2.0, French and Spanish audio, and English, French and Spanish subtitles. There is only one bonus feature, “The Journey of Bruce Wayne.” If you loved the movie or just want to complete your collection, you really can’t go wrong with the Blu-ray presentation of the movie. With a big enough TV and sound system, it’s almost like being at the movies! The set also include an UltraViolet version of the film that allows you to stream it to almost any device, anywhere you may be.
This review was based on a retail copy of the Blu-ray/DVD/UltraViolet package provided to CliqueClack by Warner Home Video.