The Dark Knight Rises, the epic conclusion to Christopher Nolan’s Batman Trilogy is hitting store shelves today, just in time to satisfy every geeks Christmas list this holiday season. Warner Home Video was nice enough to send me a copy of the Blu-ray/DVD/Digital Copy Edition to check out and while this set is definitely worth picking up, there are a few things missing that hard-core batfans like myself might miss.
I still stand by my original review of the film and think it’s a worthy end to the trilogy. After re-watching the film for the third time honestly, I can also say it definitely holds up on multiple viewings as well. The extras included on the set is enough to satisfy almost any question you would have about the film’s production and the choices made in trying to come up with a fitting end to one of the greatest super-hero trilogies ever filmed.
I still remember seeing The Dark Knight on Blu-ray in Circuit City (Remember those?) and that being the disc that really sold me on the format. The IMAX scenes on the disc were just gorgeous and to me really showed me how great of an image the format was capable of, and this disc does not disappoint.
An entire 50 gig Blu-ray on this set is committed to only the film and what that means is every inch of space on the disc going to be to giving you the best picture humanly possible. I honestly feel this film looked even better than The Dark Knight. The color palette here is much truer to the original film shown in theaters and the contrast in the lights and darks in the film are nearly perfect.
Also of note if you pick this up on DVD you will be missing out on the scenes shot in IMAX. On the Blu-ray the aspect ratio of the image changes during the film on the scenes filmed in IMAX to show you the entire image. This is a big deal since 70 minutes of the film was shot using the format.
If I had any questions about this film audio-wise, they were all answered within the first 10 minutes after I hit play on the disc. The DTS-HD master track was flawless and that plane heist scene was exactly as I remembered it in theaters. The bass in that scene alone was vibrating my entire house with the low hum of plane engines.
The sound mix is pitch perfect and the definition of what you would expect from a big summer movie. This is definitely a disc folks will be using to show off their home theater setup when they have friends over this holiday season.
While the main movie disc offers no extras to speak of, you do get another blu-ray packed to the brim with special features. There are about 2 hours of featurettes on the film that cover almost every aspect of pre-production, characters and reactions on ending the trilogy and also a one hour documentary on the evolution of the Batmobile.
While all the interviews are pretty much by the book, I think it was great to see all the behind the scenes footage that really put into perspective most of the images and video leaked over the 18 month production period. The pre-production stuff to me was probably the most interesting, since they discussed in depth why they made a lot of the choices they did with Bane and Catwoman.
There is also a great documentary on the disc called simply The Batmobile. This is a great look at the evolution of the Batmobile in not only film but comics and television as well. It was fascinating to watch how all these incarnations were influenced and why the all looked they way they did. Of special note is the insanity that was Joel Schumacher’s vision of the Batmobile in his entries in the Batman franchise.
My only complaints would be the lack of deleted scenes that were rumored to have been cut from the finished film and have been mentioned in various interviews online. These scenes supposedly filled in some of Bane’s back story on how he came about the breathing apparatus he uses to survive.
Also strangely absent is the original IMAX prologue, which inspired the internet debate over Bane’s voice and led to a slightly different mix of the voice in the finished film. Other than those two small things I think this is a great release that will definitely be under a lot of trees this holiday season, if they didn’t buy it for themselves first.