Christopher Nolan’s Batman Trilogy has easily been one of the best cinematic adaptations of a comic book to date. The Dark Knight Rises, the final film in the series, aims to close his run of the Batman films in a grand and epic fashion, but was it as good as the Oscar-nominated The Dark Knight? We’ll get to that in a bit, but let’s talk about the Blu-ray/DVD set itself.
This three-disc set comes with over three hours of extras, of which the most interesting is the one-hour Batmobile documentary. The short film takes you through all of the stages that Batman’s trusty mechanical steed has gone through both in film and in the comics. It’s a fascinating piece, as you get to meet the productions designers, mechanics and artists that all had a hand in creating the Batmobile through the past 60 years.
The rest of the extras are split into three parts: production films, reflections and characters.
If you’re interested in how a film comes together and how such elaborate and complicated sequences, such as the football field scene, are constructed, then you’ll find solace (as I did) in the behind-the-scenes production videos, of which there are plentiful. The opening sequence, the destruction of a football field and the blowing-up of a city block, are particularly enjoyable as movie magic is explained to you in layman’s terms.
Reflections is a two part series in which Christopher Nolan, cast and crew, recount their process in making the film. If you’re a filmmaker, this is the section you’d want to check out first, as Nolan describes the process behind filming in IMAX, along with the nuances of aspect ratio and much more.
The final piece of the extras puzzle is the Characters section, where we explore the three main characters of the film: Bruce Wayne, Bane and Catwoman. This is strong supplemental material after you watch the film to help you understand why and how each actor played their parts, and gives you a bit of background how Nolan, actually both Nolans, constructed these characters as new entities in the Batman-verse (for instance, Bane is not as “fanciful” as he was in the comics).
A second-screen app that you can download on your IPad and IPhone, for free, is a delightful addition to the filmic experience as it provides production screens, notes, and Easter eggs to bolster the Batman lore, and makes watching the film interactive. Of all the second-screen experiences I’ve had with Blu-ray releases, this has been perhaps the most integrative and pleasurable.
As for the film itself? The Blu-ray transfer is a marvel to look at, and although the aspect ratio changes a few times due to the use of the IMAX camera, I didn't find it too jarring. The picture is gorgeous and the sound is magnificent...this is truly a film to be enjoyed in a surround sound, big screen arena.
Also of note is the digital copy of the film that you get with this pack. I've watched TDKR twice on my IPhone, and it was awesome!
No, it's not as good as The Dark Knight, mostly based on the fact that Heath Ledger's performance as The Joker just simply cannot be overshadowed especially when the antagonist in this film has no facial expressions, but, this is a fitting end to the Batman saga, even if some people don't agree with the shocking ending.
"The Dark Knight Rises" available on Blu-ray Combo pack, DVD and for download 12/4!