Saturday, January 24, 2009

The Dark Knight: Limited Edition with Batpod

Actors: Christian Bale, Heath Ledger
Format: AC-3, Color, Dolby, Dubbed, Limited Edition, Subtitled, Widescreen
Language: French (Dolby Digital 5.1), English (Dolby Digital 2.0 Stereo), English (Dolby Digital 5.1), English (Dolby TrueHD 5.1), Spanish (Dolby Digital 5.1)
Subtitles: English, French, Spanish
Aspect Ratio: 2.40:1
Number of discs: 3
Studio: Warner Home Video
DVD Release Date: December 9, 2008
Run Time: 153 minutes

On the Blu-ray disc
The Dark Knight on Blu-ray is a great home-theater showoff disc. The detail and colors are tremendous in both dark and bright scenes (the Gotham General scene is a great example of the latter), and the punishing Dolby TrueHD soundtrack makes the house rattle. (After giving us only Dolby 5.1 in a number of big Blu-ray releases this fall, Warner came through with Dolby TrueHD on this one.) One of the most interesting elements of The Dark Knight was how certain scenes were shot in IMAX, and if you saw the movie in an IMAX theater the film's aspect ratio would suddenly change from standard 2.40:1 to a thrilling 1.43:1 that filled the screen six stories high. For the Blu-ray disc, director Christopher Nolan has somewhat re-created this experience by shifting his film from 2.40:1 aspect ratio (through most of the film) to 1.78:1 in the IMAX scenes. While the effect isn't as dramatic as it was in theaters, it's still an eye-catching experience to be watching the film on a widescreen TV with black bars at the top and bottom, then seeing the 1.78:1 scenes completely fill the screen. The main bonus feature on disc 1 is "Gotham Uncovered: The Creation of a Scene," which is 81 minutes of behind-the-scenes footage about the IMAX scenes, the Bat suit, Gotham Central, and others. You can watch the film and access these featurettes when the icon pops up, or you can simply watch them from the main menu. A welcome and unusual feature is that in addition to English, French, and Spanish audio and subtitles, there's an audio-described option that allows the sight-impaired to experience the film as well.

Disc 2 has two 45-minute documentaries on Bat-gadgets and on the psychology of Batman, both in high definition. They combine movie clips, talking heads, and comic-book panels, but aren't the kind of thing one needs to watch twice. More engaging are six eight-minute segments of Gotham Central, a faux-news program that gives some background to events in the movie, plus a variety of trailers, poster art, and more. The BD-Live component on disc 1 is more interesting than on some earlier Blu-ray discs, which could be simply a matter of the content starting to catch up with the technology. There are three new picture-in-picture commentaries, by Jerry Robinson (creator of the Joker), DC Comics president Paul Levitz, and Senator Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.--he's a Batman fan who's made some movie and TV cameos), plus you can record your own commentary and upload it for others to watch. There are also three new featurettes ("Sound of the Batpod," "Harvey Dent's Theme," and "Hans Zimmer and James Newton Howard") and two motion comics ("Mad Love," featuring Harley Quinn, and "The Shadow of Ra's Al Ghul"). Last, there's a digital copy of the film compatible with iTunes and Windows Media (standard definition, expires 12/9/09). --David Horiuchi

From the Back Cover
The follow-up to Batman Begins, The Dark Knight reunites director Christopher Nolan and star Christian Bale, who reprises the role of Batman/Bruce Wayne in his continuing war on crime. With the help of Lt. Jim Gordon and District Attorney Harvey Dent, Batman sets out to destroy organized crime in Gotham for good. The triumvirate proves effective, but soon find themselves prey to a rising criminal mastermind known as The Joker, who thrusts Gotham into anarchy and forces Batman closer to crossing the fine line between hero and vigilante. Heath Ledger stars as archvillain The Joker, and Aaron Eckhart plays Dent. Maggie Gyllenhaal joins the cast as Rachel Dawes. Returning from Batman Begins are Gary Oldman as Gordon, Michael Caine as Alfred and Morgan Freeman as Lucius Fox.

Blu-ray features:

Limited-edition Batpod
Movie with Focus Points (picture in picture)
Explore your favorite movies through BD-Live™, an interactive gateway to exclusive content
2.40:1 aspect ratio, with IMAX sequences in 1.78:1
Gotham Uncovered: Creation of a Scene: Director Christopher Nolan and creative collaborators unmask the incredible detail and planning behind the film, including stunt staging, filming in IMAX®, and the new Bat-suit and Bat-pod.
Batman Tech: The incredible gadgets and tools (in HD)
Batman Unmasked: The Psychology of The Dark Knight: Delve into the psyche of Bruce Wayne and the world of Batman through real-world psychotherapy (in HD)
Gotham Tonight: 6 episodes of Gotham Cable's premier news program
The Galleries: The Joker cards, concept art, poster art, production stills, trailers and TV spots
Digital Copy of the feature film

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