The Dark Knight: Trilogy (Batman Begins / The Dark Knight / The Dark Knight Rises)
DVD + Blu-ray | Box Set
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Batman Begins explores the origins of the Batman legend and the Dark Knight's emergence as a force for good in Gotham. In the wake of his parents' murder, disillusioned industrial heir Bruce Wayne (Christian Bale) travels the world seeking the means to fight injustice and turn fear against those who prey on the fearful. He returns to Gotham and unveils his alter-ego: Batman, a masked crusader who uses his strength, intellect and an array of high tech deceptions to fight the sinister forces that threaten the city.
The Dark Knight:
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 Rises:
It has been eight years since Batman vanished into the night, turning, in that instant, from hero to fugitive. Assuming the blame for the death of D.A. Harvey Dent, the Dark Knight sacrificed everything for what he and Commissioner Gordon both hoped was the greater good. For a time the lie worked, as criminal activity in Gotham City was crushed under the weight of the anti-crime Dent Act. But everything will change with the arrival of a cunning cat burglar with a mysterious agenda. Far more dangerous, however, is the emergence of Bane, a masked terrorist whose ruthless plans for Gotham drive Bruce out of his self-imposed exile. But even if he dons the cape and cowl again, Batman may be no match for Bane.
Batman Begins discards the previous four films in the series and recasts the Caped Crusader as a fearsome avenging angel. That's good news, because the series, which had gotten off to a rousing start under Tim Burton, had gradually dissolved into self-parody by 1997's Batman & Robin. As the title implies, Batman Begins tells the story anew, when Bruce Wayne (Christian Bale) flees Western civilization following the murder of his parents. He is taken in by a mysterious instructor named Ducard (Liam Neeson in another mentor role) and urged to become a ninja in the League of Shadows, but he instead returns to his native Gotham City resolved to end the mob rule that is strangling it. But are there forces even more sinister at hand?
Cowritten by the team of David S. Goyer (a veteran comic book writer) and director Christopher Nolan (Memento), Batman Begins is a welcome return to the grim and gritty version of the Dark Knight, owing a great debt to the graphic novels that preceded it. It doesn't have the razzle dazzle, or the mass appeal, of Spider-Man 2 (though the Batmobile is cool), and retelling the origin means it starts slowly, like most "first" superhero movies. But it's certainly the best Bat-film since Burton's original, and one of the best superhero movies of its time. Bale cuts a good figure as Batman, intense and dangerous but with some of the lightheartedness Michael Keaton brought to the character. Michael Caine provides much of the film's humor as the family butler, Alfred, and as the love interest, Katie Holmes (Dawson's Creek) is surprisingly believable in her first adult role. Also featuring Gary Oldman as the young police officer Jim Gordon, Morgan Freeman as a Q-like gadgets expert, and Cillian Murphy as the vile Jonathan Crane. --David Horiuchi
The Dark Knight:
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
The Dark Knight Rises:
Of all the "most anticipated" movies ever claiming that title, it's hard to imagine one that has caused so much speculation and breathless expectation as Christopher Nolan's final chapter to his magnificently brooding Batman trilogy, The Dark Knight Rises. Though it may not rise to the level of the mythic grandeur of its predecessor, The Dark Knight Rises is a truly magnificent work of cinematic brilliance that commandingly completes the cycle and is as heavy with literary resonance as it is of-the-moment insight into the political and social affairs unfolding on the world stage. That it is also a full-blown and fully realized epic crime drama packed with state-of-the-art action relying equally on immaculate CGI fakery and heart-stopping practical effects and stunt work makes its entrée into blockbuster history worthy of all the anticipation and more. It deserves all the accolades it will get for bringing an opulently baroque view of a comic book universe to life with sinister effectiveness.
Set eight years after the events of The Dark Knight, TDK Rises finds Bruce Wayne broken in spirit and body from his moral and physical battle with the Joker. Gotham City is at peace primarily because Batman took the fall for Harvey Dent's murder, allowing the former district attorney's memory to remain as a crime-fighting hero rather than the lunatic destructor he became as Two-Face. But that meant Batman's cape and cowl wound up in cold storage--perhaps for good--with only police commissioner Jim Gordon in possession of the truth. The threat that faces Gotham now is by no means new; as deployed by the intricate script that weaves themes first explored in Batman Begins, fundamental conflicts that predate his own origins are at the heart of the ultimate struggle that will leave Batman and his city either triumphant or in ashes. It is one of the movie's greatest achievements that we really don't know which way it will end up until its final exhilarating moments. Intricate may be an understatement in the construction of the script by Nolan and his brother Jonathan. The multilayered story includes a battle for control of Wayne Industries and the decimation of Bruce Wayne's personal wealth; a destructive yet potentially earth-saving clean energy source; a desolate prison colony on the other side of the globe; terrorist attacks against people, property, and the world's economic foundation; the redistribution of wealth to the 99 percent; and a virtuoso jewel thief who is identified in every way except name as Catwoman. Played with saucy fun and sexy danger by Anne Hathaway, Selina Kyle is sort of the catalyst (!) for all the plot threads, especially when she whispers into Bruce's ear at a charity ball some prescient words about a coming storm that will tear Gotham asunder. As unpredictable as it is sometimes hard to follow, the winds of this storm blow in a raft of diverse and extremely compelling new characters (including Selina Kyle) who are all part of a dance that ends with the ballet of a cataclysmic denouement. Among the new faces are Marion Cotillard as a green-energy advocate and Wayne Industries board member and Joseph Gordon-Levitt as a devoted Gotham cop who may lead Nolan into a new comic book franchise. The hulking monster Bane, played by Tom Hardy with powerful confidence even under a clawlike mask, is so much more than a villain (and the toughest match yet for Batman's prowess). Though he ends up being less important to the movie's moral themes and can't really match Heath Ledger's maniacal turn as Joker, his mesmerizing swagger and presence as demonic force personified are an affecting counterpoint to the moral battle that rages within Batman himself. Christian Bale gives his most dynamic performance yet as the tortured hero, and Michael Caine (Alfred), Gary Oldman (Gordon), and Morgan Freeman (Lucius Fox) all return with more gravitas and emotional weight than ever before. Then there's the action. Punctuated by three or four magnificent set pieces, TDKR deftly mixes the cinematic process of providing information with punches of pow throughout (an airplane-to-airplane kidnap/rescue, an institutional terrorist assault and subsequent chase, and the choreographed crippling of an entire city are the above-mentioned highlights). The added impact of the movie's extensive Imax footage ups the wow factor, all of it kinetically controlled by Nolan and his top lieutenants Wally Pfister (cinematography), Hans Zimmer (composer), Lee Smith (editor), and Nathan Crowley and Kevin Kavanaugh (production designers). The best recommendation TDKR carries is that it does not leave one wanting for more. At 164 minutes, there's plenty of nonstop dramatic enthrallment for a single sitting. More important, there's a deep sense of satisfaction that The Dark Knight Rises leaves as the fulfilling conclusion to an absorbing saga that remains relevant, resonant, and above all thoroughly entertaining. --Ted Fry
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Disregard all the naysayers claiming this is a money grab. No, it's called having a choice. Not everyone wants the Super Duper Ultra Rare Limited Collector's Edition, that's often filled with a bunch of useless physical items. Some people just want to have the trilogy and nothing more. For $30 (currently), you get just that, and even a little bit more.
You get the following in the Blu-ray edition:
Disc 1: Batman Begins Feature Film
Disc 2: The Dark Knight Feature Film
Disc 3: The Dark Knight Special Features
Disc 4: The Dark Knight Rises Feature Film
Disc 5: The Dark Knight Rises Special Features
PLUS you get a 64 Page excerpted (i.e. shortened) version of the wonderful book: "The Art and Making of The Dark Knight Trilogy"
That is tremendous bang for your buck! Not only with the movies, but there are hours and hours of special features included too, including a documentary about the Batmobile. The Ultimate Collector's Edition, which won't be released for another year will no doubt cost at least twice as much. The only thing I have a problem with here is the cover art. It just doesn't look anything like Nolan's Batman.
The DVD version of the Trilogy is a 3-disc set and lacks many of the extras found in the Blu-ray set, but it does look nicer. It has a lenticular cover featuring the Batman sign from all 3 movies. It looks really cool compared to the cover used for the Blu-ray edition.
All in all, this is a wonderful set to get if you don't own any of the movies yet. Heck, even if you do, it's still a great value if you just want The Dark Knight Rises. Consider TDKR sells for around $20-25, for just a few bucks more you get the 2 preceding films, and a book. You really can't go wrong here!
Here is a list of the Special Features that included. The list may not be all-inclusive. The set has no exclusive features, but rather, the same ones that come with the individual releases
BATMAN BEGINS SPECIAL FEATURES
■ In-Movie Experience: Christopher Nolan, David S. Goyer, and others reveal the movie's backstory as you watch
■ The Dark Knight IMAX Prologue (in high definition)
■ Tankman Begins: A Batman Begins spoof
■ Batman: The Journey Begins: Concept, design, and development of the film as well as the casting of Batman himself
■ Shaping Mind and Body: Observe Christian Bale's transformation into Batman
■ Gotham City Rises: Witness the creation of Gotham City the Batcave, Wayne Manor, and more
■ Cape and Cowl: The development of the new Batsuit
■ Batman: The Tumbler: The reinvention of the Batmobile
■ Path to Discovery: A look at the first week filming on rugged and remote Iceland locations
■ Saving Gotham City: The development of miniatures, CGI, and effects for the Monorail chase scene
■ Genesis of the Bat: A look at the Dark Knight's incarnation and influences on the film
■ Reflections on Writing Batman Begins: with David S. Goyer
■ Digital Batman: The effects you might have missed
■ Batman Begins Stunts: Confidential Files: Discover facts and story points not in the film
■ Stills gallery
■ Theatrical trailer
THE DARK KNIGHT SPECIAL FEATURES
■ Movie with Focus Points (picture in picture)
■ Explore your favorite movies through BD-Live(tm), an interactive gateway to exclusive content-
■ 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 high-def)
■ 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 high-def)-
■ 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
THE DARK KNIGHT RISES SPECIAL FEATURES
■ THE BATMOBILE" DOCUMENTARY: Witness all five Batmobiles together for the first time in history. Dive deep into every aspect of the most awe-inspiring weapon in Batman's arsenal as you journey through the birth and evolution of this technological marvel and cultural icon. (01:00)
■ ENDING THE KNIGHT: A comprehensive look into how Director Christopher Nolan and his production team made "The Dark Knight Rises" the epic conclusion to the Dark Knight legend.
- The Prologue: High-Altitude Hijacking
- Return to the Batcave
- Beneath Gotham
- The Bat
- Batman vs Bane
- Armory Accepted
- Gameday Destruction
- Demolishing a City Street
- The Pit
- The Chant
- The War on Wall Street
- Race to the Reactor
- The Journey of Bruce Wayne
- Gotham's Reckoning
- A Girls Gotta Eat
- Shadows & Light in Large Format
- The End of A Legend
■ Art Galleries
But have no worries. This set is good enough for you if you're like me: like the movies, want above average packaging, and a little bit of fancy artwork that sets it apart from regular DVDs. As mentioned above, this DVD edition only comes with the three movies and no special features, except for BATMAN BEGINS (which is like the regular, individual DVD edition, where this "special feature" is simply a trailer of the actual movie, lol). So yeah, don't be fooled. But the box is wonderfully done: pleasant feeling texture, a fantastic 3D holographic cover showcasing the three movie wallpapers (yes! it isn't only on the Blu-ray edition!), on the back it has the Dark Knight bat-symbol in black with a dark grey backround; when you open the flaps, your eyes are greeted by the three movies with awesome disc cover work: each disc has the Bat symbol, but with the correlating theme for that movie. It's nice, because it looks like a Trilogy, like it should.
The inside of the box has nice artwork. You know, behind the plastic part that holds the discs in those kinda sets? Real nice. It is the Bat symbol like on the cover of the box, blown up in proportion. In the inside flaps, it has a wide panel view of Batman on the "Batpod", as seen in The Dark Knight. One last detail that might be of interest to some of you guys out there: each disc now has the new "DC Comics" logo; this is pretty cool, because separately, only The Dark Knight Rises dvd has this new DC logo, which makes the other two not quite matching.
And one last thing: in case ya'll are wondering, on this DVD edition (I don't know about the Blu-ray edition), when you play each movie on the computer or tv, everything plays exactly like the normal DVDs. Basically, it doesn't come with a "special" version of the Main Menu or anything. But trust me, as a DVD user, I was totally satisfied.
But for pure story telling, for action for just plain fun, get this trilogy!