The Dark Knight: Two-Disc Special Edition

DVD Reviews | Dec 9th, 2008

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Starring Christian Bale, Heath Ledger, Aaron Eckhart, Gary Oldman, Maggie Gyllenhaal, Morgan Freeman, Michael Caine
Written By: Christopher Nolan, Jonathan Nolan
Directed By: Christopher Nolan
Studio: Warner Bros.
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The best movie of the year is finally out on DVD and Blu-Ray Disc! No more trips to the theater and seeing The Dark Knight for the 20th time, now you can watch it all the time in your own home. Well, unless you want to help the movie’s chances of beating Titanic for Box Office crown. The Dark Knight is a must-own movie, just from Heath Ledger’s performance as The Joker. The rest of the movie is quite fantastic as well!

The Dark Knight seems to take place a few years after Batman Begins. Batman is working along with Gordon and still catching criminals. Gotham City has a new white knight and his name is Harvey Dent, the new district attorney. He vows to clean up the streets of crime and joins forces with Jim Gordon and Batman. Meanwhile, Bruce Wayne isn’t with Rachel anymore, she’s with Dent. Bruce contemplates hanging up the cap and letting Dent take over, but he wants Rachel by his side when he leaves the crime fighting. Gotham is one step closer to being a cleaner city, but things get ugly when a new mastermind criminal shows up. First The Joker takes on the mafia, and makes them work for him; then he turns his attention to The Batman & Harvey Dent. In the city of Gotham, nothing is easy and things get quite dark. It’s up to Batman, Gordon and others to take down the Joker and put a stop to crime & violence in the streets.

I saw The Dark Knight twice in theaters; once in regular theaters and once on IMAX. Seeing it on IMAX was great because there are at least 6 scenes that were filmed with IMAX cameras. It’s the best way to see a movie. Dark Knight was truly a summer blockbuster that lived up to all the hype. Great acting, the direction was outstanding, the action was cool and the story was really interesting. The most stand-out thing of course is the late Heath Ledger as The Joker. I’ll admit I was skeptical when I first heard he was cast as the Joker. But man, did he prove me wrong. He was simply astonishing and deserves a lot of awards for this performance. I was rooting for Daniel-Day Lewis for There Will Be Blood last year, and I’ll be rooting for Heath Ledger this year. What better way to pay tribute to the actor than to give him a bunch of awards. He took the role of the Joker and added all these little quirks to the character. The licking of the lips, his love for gasoline and knives, the hilarious one-liners, the psychotic look in his eyes; all of this was created by Ledger. With the music from Hans Zimmer and the performance of Ledger; I was terrified for the people on the screen. The Joker was so erratic, that you didn’t know what he was going to do next. If that’s not a memorable performance, I don’t know what is!

Besides Ledger, Aaron Eckhart and Gary Oldman were excellent as well. It’s sad to say that Batman seemed to play a secondary character this time around. It’s not that Christian Bale is a bad actor or anything, it’s just the other actors outshined him. But the only negative thing about the movie is Bale’s Batman voice. Is it really necessary to talk that way all the time? I can see talking that way to people that don’t know hens Batman, but to talk that way to Fox (who knows hens Bruce Wayne)? That seems a little silly to me. I loved what Nolan did with Dent’s character. The Dark Knight almost seemed like the film was about him. It was to show his rise to fame and his downfall. Or as Dent puts it You either die a hero or you live long enough to see yourself become the villain. Gary Oldman’s storyline was great as well, and thankfully they didn’t kill him off like I thought they were doing. It was a nice twist in the middle of the movie that drew the bigger applause from the crowd. Oldman’s story was realistic side of the movie and it was tough to watch when the cops showed up at his house to inform the news to wife about his death. One can’t forget Morgan Freeman and Michael Caine, who shine every time they are on the screen. Perhaps they’ll get more screen time next time around?

The bonus features for the 2-disc special edition are weak. Don’t be fooled into getting the 2-disc special edition because it’s really abbreviated. You can clearly see things being rushed and you just get the sense Warner Brothers is going to release a 3-disc ultimate edition of the DVD. They would be dumb not to, since this is the biggest movie of the decade. Now with that out of the way, there are 2 featurettes on here worth looking at until something better comes along. There’s a featurette about Hans Zimmer creating the haunting theme to The Joker and I’m glad that was included on the DVD. He wanted to make it sound so scary and nerve wracking every time you heard that Joker motif. It certainly worked for me! The other featurettes is your standard behind the scenes featurette. It mainly focuses on the re-creation of the bat suit and the creation of the bat pod. That was cool to see, and really cool that the bat pod is actually a workable motorbike. Of course, if I decided to ride that thing Ind fall right off. Finishing off the extras is the 6 IMAX scenes, episodes of the fake program Gotham Tonight, galleries and trailers. I wish they had some tribute to Heath Ledger but maybe they are saving that for a new Edition?

The Dark Knight is an amazing movie for comic and non-comic book fans alike. I think it’s one of the best films of the year and Christopher Nolan and company have now raised the bar on how comic book movies should be made. But to me, this doesn’t feel like a comic book movie to me. All I have to say is if Heath Ledger doesn’t win an Oscar for his performance, the Academy clearly have their heads up their asses. Obviously you’ve seen this movie, and you’re going to get this on video. So there’s no sense in trying to convince you to buy this DVD or Blu-Ray. Ind get the Blu-Ray version if I had the capabilities, because it will look nicer and probably have more features on it as well.

Disc 1: Movie
Features Not Specified

Disc 2: Special Features
– Gotham Uncovered: Creation of a Scene: How Christopher Nolan and His Team Developed the New Bat-suit and the Amazing Bat-pod, and Composer Hans Zimmer on Musically Characterizing the Joker’s Reign of Chaos
– The Dark Knight IMAX Scenes: View these 6 action-packed sequences – shot on the largest format possible – in their original IMAX framing, just as they were intended: Prologue, Hong Kong, Armored Car Chase, Lamborghini Crash, Prewitt Building and Final Montage
– Gotham Tonight: 6 Episodes of Gotham Cable’s Premier News Program
– The Galleries: Poster Art, Production Stills, Trailers

ENGLISH: Dolby Digital 5.1
SPANISH: Dolby Digital 5.1
FRENCH: Dolby Digital 5.1

Widescreen 2.40:1 Color (Anamorphic)

English, Spanish, French

Favorite Scenes: Opening sequence, Batman and the Joker in the integration room, Hong Kong, Bat pod sequence, Hospital explosion
Rating: PG-13
Running Time: 153 minutes
Extras Rating:
Overall Rating:


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