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The Dark Knight (+ BD Live) [Blu-ray]
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Dark Knight, The (Dbl BD)
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.]]>
The Dark Knight arrives with tremendous hype (best superhero movie ever? posthumous Oscar for Heath Ledger?), and incredibly, it lives up to all of it. But calling it the best superhero movie ever seems like faint praise, since part of what makes the movie great--in addition to pitch-perfect casting, outstanding writing, and a compelling vision--is that it bypasses the normal fantasy element of the superhero genre and makes it all terrifyingly real. Harvey Dent (Aaron Eckhart) is Gotham City's new district attorney, charged with cleaning up the crime rings that have paralyzed the city. He enters an uneasy alliance with the young police lieutenant, Jim Gordon (Gary Oldman), and Batman (Christian Bale), the caped vigilante who seems to trust only Gordon--and whom only Gordon seems to trust. They make progress until a psychotic and deadly new player enters the game: the Joker (Heath Ledger), who offers the crime bosses a solution--kill the Batman. Further complicating matters is that Dent is now dating Rachel Dawes (Maggie Gyllenhaal, after Katie Holmes turned down the chance to reprise her role), the longtime love of Batman's alter ego, Bruce Wayne.
In his last completed role before his tragic death, Ledger is fantastic as the Joker, a volcanic, truly frightening force of evil. And he sets the tone of the movie: the world is a dark, dangerous place where there are no easy choices. Eckhart and Oldman also shine, but as good as Bale is, his character turns out rather bland in comparison (not uncommon for heroes facing more colorful villains). Director-cowriter Christopher Nolan (Memento) follows his critically acclaimed Batman Begins with an even better sequel that sets itself apart from notable superhero movies like Spider-Man 2 and Iron Man because of its sheer emotional impact and striking sense of realism--there are no suspension-of-disbelief superpowers here. At 152 minutes, it's a shade too long, and it's much too intense for kids. But for most movie fans--and not just superhero fans--The Dark Knight is a film for the ages. --David Horiuchi
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"). No longer available is the digital copy of the film (compatible with iTunes and Windows Media, standard definition, download code expires 12/9/09). --David Horiuchi
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.
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Top Customer Reviews
After a silent period following these Tim Burton and Joel Schumacher efforts, director Christopher Nolan introduced us again to the dizzying possibilities of this character in 2008's Batman Begins, a sort of reinvention of our hero for a younger generation. But it is this film, The Dark Knight, that provides us with the virtual high point of the genre in my view. And it's escalation is powerfully brought about by the astounding performance of the late Heath Ledger as the immensely disturbed Joker.
Yes many of these earlier versions of series have carried an updated depiction of this depraved character (Jack Nicholson being noteworthy) but it is in this film that the Joker literally boggles the mind. I think I can truly say that I've never witnessed a better performance on screen than what Heath Ledger presents here. I found myself speechless at the end; Ledger's ability to sink into this outlandish psychopathic role just blew me away...yes I'd seen him in "Patriot" and "Brokeback Mountain" and admired his abilities in those excellent films but he literally overwhelms us here.
His perfectly demented dialogue is only a small representation of his talent here though...the facial expressions, the tone, the licking of his scarred lips, his perfection of timing and his insanely "disguised as a nurse" walk out of the Gotham Hospital near the end of the film is just pure genius.
I almost despised his posthumous Academy Award because I felt that it was a "sympathy" statement rather than a true recognition of his abilities in this film. I seriously wonder whether he would have received it had he lived...and this is one of the many problems that I have with "the Academy." They've routinely taken an overtly emotional approach to the awarding of these prizes in lieu of the serious academic scrutiny that this art requires. My belief is that Ledger would have been bypassed had he lived and THAT would have been the disgraceful pictorial that these "critics" too often display.
Whining aside, you MUST see this film...the Batman role has never been better (Christian Bale brings home the performance of his life) and the Joker's fit into this rather cerebral plot is simply amazing. This is one of the more outstanding films you will ever see.
A lot of this films success is down to the perfect casting, Christian Bale reprising his role as the best Bruce Wayne / Batman to date in my opinion, Heath Ledger taking on the Joker in what can be described as one of the best on screen performances in history all the way down to Michael Caine as Alfred Pennyworth, Morgan Freeman as Lucius Fox and Gary Oldman as James Gordon, although the last 3 characters are supporting, they truly do make the film and give you the heart of the movie.
What Christopher Nolan did when making this movie was redefine a genre, every comic movie since has tried to do what he did with this movie but just hasn't been able to capture the same spark. There will always be Batman but I truly believe this will be the one everyone looks to for many years as the greatest of all.
The Dark Knight truly is a cinematic masterpiece.
Also like the Steelbook packaging, adds a new dimension over the cardboard and plastic.
Thanks for reading.
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