The Dark Knight
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Dark Knight: 2-disc Special Edition (DVD)
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 DVD
Unlike the Blu-ray disc, The Dark Knight on DVD is completely in 2.40:1 aspect ratio. You can, however, watch the six IMAX scenes separately. Also on disc 2 are "Gotham Uncovered: The Creation of a Scene," which is behind-the-scenes footage about the Bat suit, the Bat pod, and the music; 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. Last, there's a digital copy of the film compatible with iTunes and Windows Media (download code expires 12/9/09). --David Horiuchi
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Top customer reviews
Also like the Steelbook packaging, adds a new dimension over the cardboard and plastic.
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Ledger's performance as the Joker was brilliant! He is sullen, mad and drunk by the potential to bring total chaos to Gotham City. Truly sad that we lost him to substance abuse and future roles on the big screen. As the Joker unwinds his seemingly random acts of disruption to the city, the usual suspects of criminal warlord corruption are in scatter due to Batman's grip. Visions of opportunity, the Joker squeezes out the confused standards. His psychosis deepens, yet he has goals and monumental methods. Ledger offers us insight into the dark corners of the mentally disturbed mind. While he shows some underlying humor, he is spot-on as to a personality unchecked, sick and in need of those padded rooms.
To try to deal with this mental monster, Bruce realizes what he must allow Batman to become. Drive himself deeper into his own darkest places he resides. The very places that he fears most that conjured the Batman initially. Fully crossing the line himself, Batman, trained by the "The League of Shadows", is now the anti-hero. Sought by the law too, Batman reaches down to the Jokers' level and plays by his rules, one who has no rules.
In the middle of the struggle, is both Rachel Dawes, Bruces' lifelong friend and love, and Harvey Dent. Gotham's "White Knight." Dent, who had rounded up most of the scum Gotham spit out, did so without a cape or cowl. Batman considers folding the cape for good as he believes in Dent's honor. But this is a very dark and gritty film from the Frank Miller storyline. Nothing good lasts forever or for long.
Once the Joker plays his cards on Dent, the bet is "Two-Face." Telling lies about his facial scars, the Joker is believable about every lie. Seemingly innocent as he claims, "just a dog chasing cars", he quickly turns Dent/Two-Face against all he once stood for. Loosing Rachael, both Dent and Bruce have lost love, forever. The Joker's not so planed, plans, work to his advantage. In the ultimate and proverbial battle of good over evil, the Joker and Batman duel using Gotham and it's citizens as weapons.
Now Commissioner Gordon, Gary Oldman continues to maintain his belief that Batman is attempting to bring justice to Gotham. Even if the means are cruel and punishing. Oldman is a fantastic actor with a career of award winning performances! He keeps Commissioner Gordon humble, just, honorable and quirky. Most of all, faithful to the character in true form. An old fashioned cop with values and principals, he is a family man first and foremost. Uniquely acted out in the final scenes as the three, Gordon, Dent and Batman face off with a loaded gun pointed at his family.
In this showdown, the revelation of what is about to transpire is like the "gunfight at the O.K. Coral." Of course Batman cannot be hurt via bullet, he takes the shot from Dent. Then the gun turns to Gordon's son. Batman leaps into action one last time and both he and Dent fall to Dents' death. With Gordon's son watching, Batman makes his final moral choice. So as to not allow the scum back onto Gotham's streets, letting Dent's "Two-Face" half come to light, both Bruce and Batman decide to become the hunted. He can be the "bad guy" for now. Because he and Gordon know Batman stand for something greater. Morality, ethical values and a stance for justice. For the time being, Gotham will see Batman as the "Ultimate Outsider."
I understand that many didn't appreciate the direction that Chris Nolan took the Batman and Joker characters. Saying they were too dark and disconnected. I disagree. I rather like the Frank Miller stories. A darker Batman, a Dark Knight is exactly what we were ready for. The time for the campy versions had been done time and again. This is a grown-up Batman. A man with serious, unresolved issues, who seeks shelter and comfort under a cowl. He has the wealth to hide himself away and use it to do what the present law force cannot or will not. The Joker symbolized, with stylized elegance, how little attention is paid to mentally disturbed. Given the slimmest opportunity, a patient slips out of Ayrkham and creates a monster of devastating proportions. An equally devastating monster under the guise of a Bat is born to reel him in. Maybe some felt uncomfortable with this film because it wasn't "comic-booky" enough.
Sure, there were many plot loop-holes and storyline drop offs. Much was left to the imagination and strictly movie magic. An adaptation based on some hard-core Dark Knight graphic novels that were best sellers! By far, these first two films (and The Dark Knight Rises) are the best trilogy of any Superhero or anti-hero, hands down! Be it from DC or Marvel. I think those who give this film 5 Stars DID get it!
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