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Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
THE DARK KNIGHT RISES - BEST BUY EXCLUSIVE STEELBOOK (Blu-ray; Warner Bros.)

PLEASE NOTE: The official title of this thread has changed from "preview" to review of THE DARK KNIGHT RISES - BEST BUY EXCLUSIVE STEELBOOK EDITION (Blu-ray; Warner Bros.)


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Title/Release Version: The Dark Knight Rises Blu-ray + DVD + Digital Copy Best Buy Exclusive Combo Pack
Studio(s): Warner Bros./DC Comics/Legendary Pictures/Syncopy
Disc Release Date: December 4
Rating: PG-13
Running Time: 165 Minutes
Disc/Transfer Information: Region “A” (U.S.) Disc Tested;1080p High Definition 2.40:1 plus IMAX Sequences in 1.78:1
Video Codec: MPEG-4 AVC
Tested Audio Track: English DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1
Director: Christopher Nolan
Starring Cast: Christian Bale, Tom Hardy, Michael Caine, Gary Oldman, Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Anne Hathaway, Morgan Freeman







NOTE: THE DETAILS BELOW IN THE PLOT ANALYSIS SECTION CONTAIN PLOT SPOILERS OF VARYING INTENSITY. PLEASE CONSIDER THIS IF YOU HAVE NOT YET SEEN THE FILM.


THE LEGEND ENDS.


PLOT ANALYSIS:


A bit controversial to diehard fans of Tim Burton’s original Batman while eagerly anticipated by enthusiasts of the darker run of the character in the comics, Chris Nolan’s reboot of this franchise with his Batman Begins explored some elements of the character, backstory and even a villain – the legendary “Scarecrow” – we had never been exposed to before. Unlike Burton’s contemporary take on the character and his story – which had questionable plot holes to begin with, such as the Joker backstory regarding his “Jack Napier acid accident” – Nolan’s Batman Begins delved into Bruce Wayne’s training at the hands of the League of Shadows, which, depending on what series of comics you look back into, turned him into the master ninja assassin who cleans up Gotham’s streets once returning home after his training on a different continent. And, Nolan also explored, to the delight of diehard fans, Wayne’s childhood at the Manor, his relationship with his doctor father, his connection to Rachel as well as going into the death of his parents in a little more detail. Some questions still remained, though, when comparing Burton’s film with Nolan’s – first, who was it that actually killed Bruce’s parents…was it this “Joe Chill,” or was it “Jack Napier” who eventually becomes the Joker, as Burton explains it? From all the research I have done, and from my past memory with regard to the comic’s run, the Joker’s existence and origins have been vague and open to interpretation; it’s widely accepted that this character didn’t have any past, didn’t have any specific method of infiltrating Gotham and its criminals and had various “explanations” for his horrendous facial scars. As told by Burton, this “Jack Napier” character – played brilliantly by Jack Nicholson in the ’89 film – is involved with the mobster running the criminal underground in Gotham (Jack Palance) and in a scuffle with Batman at the AXIS Chemical Plant is thrown into a vat of acidic solution, which turns him mad and destroys his facial tissue, giving him the horrendous appearance of always walking around with a scarred smile. In Nolan’s The Dark Knight, Heath Ledger’s Joker comes from out of nowhere, with no previous aliases, no prints, no background – he arrives on Gotham’s crime scene and takes over like a mysterious wildfire…which leads to the next controversy between these two franchises.

In Burton’s Batman, we are thrown right into the chaos and darkness of Gotham life, as we witness Michael Keaton’s Bruce Wayne/Batman taking out some thugs who just robbed a family in an alleyway – no backstory, no training sequence, nothing. Burton introduces us to perhaps Batman’s most popular and formidable foe, the Joker, in this original film, later introducing Penguin (Danny De Vito) and Catwoman in the sequel. Nolan, on the other hand, did a smart thing, much like Marc Webb did with his Spider-Man reboot: He introduced a villain no one had seen on the screen yet, Scarecrow (Cillian Murphy) for his original Batman Begins, while delving deeper into the Wayne training/beginnings story. While I thought the Scarecrow character was hokey, not threatening or menacing in the least or really that interesting, it was good to see a new character and villain introduced and explored – the fact that Nolan brought Murphy back for The Dark Knight and The Dark Knight Rises was a totally different issue, and one I thought better left on the back burner.

While visually and genuinely interesting, the training sequence involving Wayne’s roots with the League of Shadows in Nolan’s first film also dug up questions about how true those scenes were with regard to the comic authenticity – when Bane arrives in Dark Knight Rises, there’s yet another connection to the League of Shadows and their outcasts/members, but again the question becomes how authentic was this in comparison to the books? Don’t get me wrong – I loved Liam Neeson’s portrayal of Wayne’s quasi-mentor and senior trainer, developing him to be a killer ninja never seen before, but the whole thing regarding the Shadows’ intentions of “destroying” a civilization before it can doom itself always rubbed me the wrong way, lending a certain air of disappointment once the end of Batman Begins comes. Although the hand-to-hand combat sequence between Christian Bale and Neeson was awesome aboard the speeding train.

Then, there’s the issue of role portrayal and who did it better – for what it’s worth, I have always been, and always will be, most likely, more of a fan of Burton’s take on this material as well as his choices for character actors. While at the time of Batman’s release a big gamble and a questionable selection by worldwide fans and critics, Michael Keaton’s portrayal in the lead role I thought was great. Further, I always thought no one who ever played this role – whether it was Christian Bale, George Clooney or Val Kilmer – ever got what I like to call the “Batman sneer” down as perfectly as Keaton. Recall the sequence in Burton’s first film when the Caped Crusader is holding Napier (Nicholson) up over the vat of chemicals at the AXIS plant…when Napier’s right hand henchman, “Bobby,” puts a gun to Gordon’s head and demands the Bat release Napier, he puts him down slowly while Napier says “Nice outfit.” It is at this point Keaton gives this blood-chilling smirk from beneath the cowl that was simply perfect – in all, I thought Keaton looked fantastic behind the mask. Let’s forget the jokes that were Joel Schumacher’s neon-drenched later sequels in the original franchise and the utterly horrific decisions to cast Val Kilmer and then George Clooney in the lead role of the Bat and Wayne, as these were some of the worst examples of casting-gone-wrong in the history of cinema – however, Batman and Robin did have a connection to Dark Knight Rises in the form of Bane, which I will get to. Still – Christian Bale looks good beneath Nolan’s darker take on the iconic suit, if the gravely, overdone voice when he “becomes” Batman is a bit off-putting after three films. With regard to who played the iconic Joker better, boy has this been a topic of severe controversy – I have always held a spot in my heart for Nicholson’s portrayal of the demented character, but I see where Nolan was going with Ledger’s rendition of him…more mysterious, perhaps more deadly, definitely grittier as a more fitting place in Nolan’s Gotham. Both actors poured their souls into this role, and it shows in both films – Burton’s Batman and Nolan’s Dark Knight. In summary, Burton's Joker, as played by Nicholson, was the more "cartoonish" of the two renditions and takes, while Nolan's variant, through Ledger, was the more "real world grounded" per the different way in which Gotham and its world is portrayed in the franchise's reboot.

Of course, then there’s the differences between the takes on the Batmobile – again, I was a fan of Burton’s wildly finned and out-there car in his two films, and I even liked the way the vehicle evolved to become some rolling neon monster in the later awful Schumacher sequels. When Nolan’s “Tumbler” came along, I didn’t know what to make of it – I still say Bale should have been driving some “proper” Batmobile instead of a war-ready buggy of some kind, but as Nolan’s trilogy went on, the technology got a bit more “comic like” in my opinion, until we had flying machines and other new weapons in Dark Knight Rises. And here yet again – we must explore which of these visions were more closely connected to the original source material…did Wayne ride around the streets of Gotham at night in a big-wheeled Tumbler, or was it more like the TV show’s large-finned, sleek-bodied car?

Let’s skip to the conclusion of Nolan’s Dark Knight – unlike the end of Batman Begins, which hinted at the Joker being the next villain, Dark Knight Rises didn’t have any tip-offs to suggest Bane would be coming next. The villain choices was always something else that kind of bugged me in Nolan’s trilogy; from what I understand, the filmmaker didn’t want to go with “clichéd, tired and goofy” Batman foe characters like Riddler or Penguin, instead concentrating on darker, more hardened criminals. But when you know you’re only doing three films for a franchise, there’s so much material that must be stuffed in there it’s difficult to pick what should be included and what shouldn’t – Nolan ended up going with Neeson’s Ducard, Murphy’s Scarecrow, Ledger’s Joker, Eckhart’s Dent/Two-Face and Hardy’s Bane. I always thought he should have somehow squeezed legendary adversaries like Penguin (though who else was going to play this like De Vito?) and Riddler (curiously, one would have thought Jim Carrey would have been born to play this role…unfortunately, it didn’t really turn out that way), but from rumors I have read and heard, there is yet another plan for re-booting this franchise now that Nolan has completed his take on it, so maybe we’ll see different takes on Riddler and Penguin and some others (though this second re-boot seems like a desperate attempt by Warner Bros. and DC to get a new Batman in place for their always-delayed Justice League project). Nolan’s decision to bring in Bane as the final villain, though, was a smart one in that here is the character that was Batman’s physically toughest adversary – in fact, he’s the ones that literally broke the Bat’s back in one of the darker spins on the comics. Here’s what bothered me about Nolan’s choice to have Tom Hardy play this role: From all accounts, the filmmaking team was pondering the idea of bringing in some super-hyped, muscular, ridiculously huge and shredded guy from the likes of perhaps the WWE or a boxing circuit; after all, Bane in the comics was an unstoppable muscle machine the likes of which Bruce or Gotham had ever seen before. Instead, they decided to go a more humble, human-grounded way, with a pumped-up Tom Hardy playing the role without the use of muscle prosthetics, CGI or anything else. While commendable, I personally think this would have worked better with an over-the-top wrestler or fighter in the role, someone with beyond-believable muscular elements to better match the visuals of Bane in the books. Still, Tom Hardy’s rendition of this character was probably the most terrifying of all comic-to-film adaptations.

And so let’s get into the meat and veggies surrounding Nolan’s latest – and, presumably last – entry of his franchise, which is the focus of this preview. Disturbingly, we never learn what happens to the Joker at the end of Dark Knight; we know he’s not dead, as Batman spared him on the building, but we don’t know where he is (we have to assume Arkham Asylum…but isn’t he too smart and dangerous to be kept alive?). The events depicted at the end of that film suggest that the Dark Knight (Bale) has taken the blame for Harvey Dent’s crimes (Aaron Eckhart’s portrayal of Harvey “Two-Face” Dent always bothered me, too; first, this character wasn’t given nearly enough screen time development as he was a brutal iconic criminal in the comics, and I am unsure if I “bought” Eckhart as I did Tommy Lee Jones in the over-the-top role in Batman Forever) and is now on the run as a true outlaw vigilante. But in the midst of Wayne Manor being rebuilt from its destruction at the hands of Liam Neeson’s character at the end of Batman Begins, Wayne is now in hiding, nursing some injuries that left him limping and nearly lifeless. Nolan re-introduces us to the “Catwoman” character (Selina Kyle), this time played by Anne Hathaway (who looks great in the short black dresses she tramps around in during the film), who turns out to be a cat burglar of the highest degree. Instead of Michelle Pfeiffer’s “supernatural” rendition of the Catwoman character in Burton’s Batman Returns, in which she’s “bitten” magically by cats after being thrown to her death out a window by boss Max Shreck (Christopher Walken) waking up to suddenly have cat-like powers and abilities, Nolan introduces Selina Kyle as a criminal that simply has extra-ordinary abilities to fight, kick, flip and climb like a feline…without explaining how she obtained these abilities. Further, while starting out as one of the Dark Knight’s enemies, she ends up teaming up with him towards the end of Dark Knight Rises against Bane and his army. Here yet again, we must ask which was the more accurate following of the source material…

So in one of the opening frames, Selina Kyle (Hathaway) poses as a gorgeous, curvy housekeeper, complete with a frilly French maid costume on, working at the still-under-construction Wayne Manor in order to steal the pearl necklace that belonged to Thomas Wayne's wife/Bruce's mother -- as well as obtain Bruce's fingerprints for the criminal organization she's working with, who, in turn, are working with Bane and his army and who have given them the resources to come to Gotham. We get our first glimpses of the injured Wayne here, limping around the shadows of the Manor using a cane and sporting a great deal of facial hair growth. It’s clear Batman has gone into hiding – but he still has his intellectual instincts about him, evidenced when he catches Kyle breaking into a safe in one of the rooms. From there, we meet the film’s archenemy: the seemingly indestructible Bane (Hardy), a terrorist with supposed ties to the League of Shadows, who requires a specialized mask to breathe due to severe injuries he sustained at the hands of rogue warriors years earlier (explained in a flashback sequence in this film, but which became a subplot that got way too thick and deep for the average viewer's own good) and who is reportedly impervious to any kind of pain so long as this mask is pumping an anesthetic chemical into his blood. Hardy’s rendition of Bane can be paralleled to the rather goofy take on the character in Schumacher’s Batman and Robin, which portrayed him as a chemically-hyped-up superbeing who ran around with Poison Ivy (Uma Thurman) committing her every act of crime with her each time she pressed a turbo-like button on his chestpiece…absolutely ridiculous and laughable, but it’s interesting to compare to an actor playing this iconic villain years later. Anyway, Bane escapes a prisoner transfer in a plane with his henchmen, finding their way to Gotham where they plan on continuing the plot the League of Shadows had for this city years before – utter chaos, self-destruction and ultimately non-existence. It isn’t until Bane and his men start receiving news coverage of their crimes -- and a visit from Gordon-Levitt's Gotham PD character who tips him off to an abduction attempt by Bane and his men of Commissioner Gordon (Gary Oldman) in which Gordon ended up babbling the name "Bane" in his hospital bed -- that Wayne sits up and takes notice, deciding to ignore his doctor's assessment of his rapidly decaying physical condition and get back into shape so Batman can resurface and stop them. Of course, Bane knows who the Caped Crusader is from his ties and history with the League of Shadows, and all arrows point to a classic face-off between the two martial arts masters.

Before they clash, Bane’s army's aforementioned attempt to capture Gordon leads to the police chief’s hospitalization and the death of many of his men; meanwhile, Batman demands Kyle take him to Bane's lair beneath Gotham's sewers and streets (the connection she has with Bane's organization and how she came to "know" of them before Wayne or any of his associates is still baffling), and underestimating Bane’s strength, our hero is double-crossed by Kyle and finds himself trapped in a no-way-out scenario against the monster, instead deciding to go punch-for-punch with him. This first fight sequence has been the hoopla of every online fan site and discussion forum on The Dark Knight Rises, and for good reason – it’s harrowing and even difficult to watch. Making it even more terrifying is Nolan’s decision to leave any background score out of the scene – Bane and the Dark Knight square off with blowing punch after punch, but of course due to his lack of any sensation having to do with pain, Bane gains the upper hand as we witness a page right out of one of the darker comics dealing with the Batman character…the infamous “back breaking” moment. We hear Hardy beneath his mask seethe “Ahhh yes...I was wondering what would break first…your spirit...or your body” as he brings the Bat above his head like he’s a sack of potatoes. As I said, it was one of the more difficult-to-watch moments in comic film adaptations. Never before, I will go so far to say, has a hero character been manhandled and had his rear end handed to him by a villain as witnessed in this scene. And that’s taking into consideration that the Green Goblin (Willem Dafoe) absolutely wiped the floor with Spider-Man (Tobey Maguire) in Sam Raimi’s first film, before Spidey, of course, got his second wind and turned the tables.

Batman is stripped of his Bat costume by Bane, left to rot and die (well, as Bane puts it, to dish out punishment for him that must be "more severe" than death which entails torture, but not of Wayne's body -- of his soul, as he watches on a screen Bane's unleashing of hell on Earth in Gotham) in a cold, dark cell within the "pit" this vicious terrorist was supposedly raised in, Wayne learning then what Bane's plans are for Gotham – but over time, Wayne, with the help of gritty cell neighbors, regains his strength and even learns how to fix his own broken spine before retraining right there in his confines. After multiple failed attempts to climb up a wall and jump to a ledge to escape -- something no prisoner in this pit has reportedly ever been able to do -- Wayne finally achieves it and returns to Gotham to don the black cape once more (the notion that he has multiple Bat battlesuits at the ready was something else that bothered me, but this is an element of the comic that is common and also seen throughout the Burton and later films). At this point, the overtly long running time of The Dark Knight Rises splinters into multiple subplots regarding Bane's plans for the city -- which are thicker and more daunting than Liam Neeson's character's was at any point during Batman Begins -- before setting up the inevitable second and final fight sequence between the now-angry and more in-shape Batman and Bane; the terrorist who has seized Gotham by its neck by sheer intimidation first nearly blows up a football stadium, traps most of Gotham's police force underground with this explosion and then informs the spectators of his intentions: A weapon originally designed by Wayne Enterprises to yield sustainable energy (but which is now under the control of a woman who has taken over Wayne Enterprises from Bruce and his board because the company went bankrupt) has been altered by Bane and a scientist he has under his control (and who was assisted by Morgan Freeman's Fox character unwillingly) to become a ticking nuclear time bomb to destroy the entire city. Why? According to Bane, this goes back to the League of Shadows' original plan for the town -- it must be "destroyed" in order to be "saved" (a concept that was completely and utterly lost on me in Batman Begins as well) -- but Bane is taking it to a whole other level, releasing the prisoners in Gotham's most dangerous jail to "reclaim" their streets and allowing the citizens to rampage, loot, revolt and pretty much become savages; to be completely honest, this entire notion in the plotline went over my head, as we see citizens being "tried" in a makeshift court within an abandoned downtown Gotham building presided over by none other than the "Scarecrow" (Murphy)...I just didn't get the last 45 minutes or so of this film.

The remaining cops in the city gather to make one last stand against Bane's men in the desolate streets of Gotham, while Batman arrives to have his final hand-to-hand slugfest with the monster and attempt to beat the location of the nuclear bomb's detonator out of him (in an interesting sequence, the Caped Crusader initiates a "new Bat Signal" in which the top of one of the remaining bridges in the city becomes engulfed in flame in the shape of the hero's legendary symbol, which causes Bane, when he sees it, to say "It isn't possible!"); this final fight sequence is every bit as exciting and nail-biting as any comic-to-film adaptation and for the first time, we even see the Dark Knight fight his way through a gang of thugs in broad daylight (albeit with snow falling around them) – without the protection of the night’s darkness to conceal him. From here, the blow-by-blow punches between the two begin again, with Bane simply not believing how strong the Bat has become in his hiding. Eventually, the Dark Knight finds a way to dislodge Bane’s weapon of strength – the anesthetic mask – and cuts into it with his ninja armor, leaving the criminal nearly defenseless and beaten. We can’t help but sit up in our chairs and cheer the hero on, as he channels all his rage and strength at Bane, now lifeless and crumpled on the floor of a building Batman has kicked him into. Wow, was the end of this fight sequence exciting as Batman delivers punch after punch upon Bane's face, bellowing in a maddening rage at him "WHERE'S THE TRIGGER?? WHERE IS IT? WHERE IS IT? YOU'D NEVER GIVE IT TO AN ORDINARY CITIZEN!! WHERE IS IT?? WHERE'S THE TRIGGER?? WHERE IS IT??? TELL ME WHERE THE TRIGGER IS....THEN....YOU HAVE MY PERMISSION TO DIE..." Awesome. A plot twist comes at the climax of this scene involving the woman who supposedly took over Bruce's company -- but I will not divulge that in case there are some who still have not seen this. Further, what I found interesting and uplifting even was the fact that Nolan left the very end sequence of Dark Knight Rises completely open and possibly ready for a continuation of these characters even perhaps by Nolan himself – despite the claims that this was the “end of the trilogy.”

The ending also brings up yet another debatable element, and that has to do with Joseph Gordon-Levitt’s Gotham police character – Nolan suggests, through visuals and dialogue references, that he may in fact become the famous “Robin” sidekick of Batman’s. But this doesn’t mesh with Nolan’s view on ignoring the Robin character altogether, which he has stated he wanted to do on several occasions, nor does it explain the “end” of Batman, which all the marketing materials for this film suggested takes place; I mean, if Batman is gone, why would Robin be here? Is there going to be a Robin spinoff film, like Catwoman or Elektra? Furthermore, if you do some research on these characters within the Batman comic universe, you’ll find that Levitt’s character actually becomes, in some renditions, the “Nightwing” sidekick, but at this point, it’s uncertain if he is going to carry this character by himself in a new film, if he is in fact going to become “Robin” or if the whole thing is going to be dropped for a new director to reboot.


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VIDEO QUALITY ANALYSIS:

Yes, indeed. The Dark Knight Rises switches aspect ratios almost more aggressively than its predecessor did -- still, the visuals here were pretty top-notch...at least on par with the Dark Knight Blu-ray transfer. What I found interesting, however, was that the previous film's 1080p video encode seemed to be just a tad bit sharper and dimensional -- not that the quality here was a slouch in any way. It seemed to me, though, that this transfer was a slight bit softer, darker and more film-like than the "jumping into your face" visuals on the Dark Knight disc. Dimly-lit interior shots were, as I noted, soft and gauzy, rendering some images off to the sides of the main characters being focused on to appear hazy and somewhat indistinguishable, while facial skintones appeared, on my display, to be somewhat oversaturated and exhibiting a nearly orange push to the coloring -- I noticed this immediately during the opening Harvey Dent memorial scene at Wayne Manor, in which Gary Oldman speaks and then the action switches to the tents where Gotham police and others are talking. Matthew Modine's cop character, in this sequence, had a somewhat orange-y tinge to his face, as did other characters, and this seemed to continue as the film went on to my eye. Additionally, like I found with The Dark Knight transfer, the IMAX sequences here, which open up the frame to fill a normal widescreen display with no letterboxing, were definitely sharper and more pleasing to look at than the 2.40:1 shots -- but these differences were very subtle.

Outside of that issue, the transfer exhibited clean characteristics, and the image remained rock-solid throughout the ridiculously long running time (or so it felt like). Again -- I found the visuals on the Dark Knight Blu-ray to be slightly sharper and more "high-def-like" than this film's Blu-ray transfer; weird, I know...but something I also found regarding the audio, which I will get to now...

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AUDIO QUALITY ANALYSIS:

The first thing that struck me about The Dark Knight Rises' 5.1 DTS-HD Master Audio track (in English) was the sheer volume -- refreshingly, this track didn't require ridiculous amounts of master volume goosing in order to come alive and appear dynamic. The sequence towards the beginning involving Bane's escape on the plane was pounding, loud and set the tone for the rest of the film -- LFE was here in spades, as most reviewers have reported, and wall rattling will definitely be a problem if you have your volume levels up too high. Surround activity was aggressive, proper and wildly panning; there really was nothing wrong with this mix from beginning to end. Interestingly, I still think the English Dolby TrueHD track on The Dark Knight Blu-ray was slightly more aggressive and wall-shakingly dynamic than this film's DTS-HD MA track; in terms of sheer dynamics, that mix gets the edge for raw sonics alone. On my system, it's difficult to raise the master volume while watching Dark Knight up very far at all before my wife tells me the walls are crumbling and it's just way too loud -- of course, Dark Knight Rises has moments like this, too, but the previous film had a slight edge to it that made it a bit more aggressive and satisfying in my opinion. Also, with regard to Tom Hardy's voice as Bane beneath his special mask -- while controvertial from the start in all the teaser trailers (in which everyone was complaining how downright difficult it was to make out what he was saying in any scene), Hardy's somewhat bizarre voice for this character comes across powerfully and crystal clear on this Master Audio track. Every so often, it was difficult to make out what he was saying for a line or two, but for the most part, Bane's growling seething from beneath the mask boomed cleanly from the center channel.

One nitpick I noted: Dialogue (outside of the aforementioned Bane sequences) was sometimes very difficult to discern; the scene in which Bruce is talking with Alfred inside the Manor on the staircase and Alfred tells him about Rachel and her letter (from the previous film) was so ridiculously low on my system, we couldn't even hear what Bale was saying during his dialogue delivery, and this was without touching the system's master volume at all prior to the scene arriving. This happened a few times during my viewing, but that sequence stands out -- there were these "dynamic sweep" issues in which action would pound the soundstage and then dialogue-driven sequences would get hushed to the point you couldn't hear what was being said, or would have great difficulty hearing dialogue.

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SUMMARY/RECOMMENDATIONS:

This is a no-brainer purchase. As I previously mentioned in my "preview" of this title, Warner is also releasing a Dark Knight Trilogy box with all three Nolan films for those who don’t own the previous two. There were other elements I didn’t get around to exploring in the preview’s Plot Analysis above, such as Morgan Freeman’s Lucius Fox character never explored before by Schumacher or Burton, and the comparisons between Michael Caine’s Alfred Pennyworth and Michael Gough’s Alfred Pennyworth...but I must say, after watching this film last night, boy does this play like a very long and overtly drawn out motion picture -- I honestly don't know how often I am going to pull this off the shelf to revisit out of sheer length alone. It's just difficult to sit through (in that way).

On somewhat of a side note, I would still like to know what happened to the Joker character; of course, Heath Ledger isn't with us any longer, but what happened to his Joker character in the storyline? He's not even mentioned or hinted at by Nolan in any aspect of the conclusion of Dark Knight or in Rises; I can't believe a criminal this smart and dangerous would just "go quietly" to the Asylum or a maximum security prison...does anyone have any theories?
 

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Thanks for the review Osage. I normally wait for the Blu-ray release but I was unable to refrain on this one. We enjoyed this one at IMAX and it was spectacular. I personally prefer Nolan's version of the series and this was by far the best. Not in a comic book comparative way but simply pure entertainment. I never got into the comic book thing. From beginning to end I never left my seat and by the end all I could say was wow! I can't wait to watch this at home and I'll be picking up the BB tin version on Tuesday.
 

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Maybe I'm in the minority, but I would have preferred that this release didn't switch between aspect ratios... For me, watching on a 2.40:1 screen, it's kind of annoying when it switches.


Great movie, btw, and I agree Jbrax, it was awesome in the IMAX theater!
 

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Hey Osage, I think that Nolan's take on Batman is the best! This was a great trilogy! Definitely will be picking this up. As for the Robin character, according to the movie he will be picking up the mantle next. He will be the next batman. As said in batman begins, batman can be anyone.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 · (Edited)
Thanks for the review Osage. I normally wait for the Blu-ray release but I was unable to refrain on this one. We enjoyed this one at IMAX and it was spectacular. I personally prefer Nolan's version of the series and this was by far the best. Not in a comic book comparative way but simply pure entertainment. I never got into the comic book thing. From beginning to end I never left my seat and by the end all I could say was wow! I can't wait to watch this at home and I'll be picking up the BB tin version on Tuesday.
Hey Brax,

Thanks for the input; this wasn't actually an "official review," but more of a discussion of the film and the franchises prior to being able to analyze Warner's video and audio presentation of the highly-anticipated Blu-ray. :T

Do you mean you normally view films at home on Blu-ray, and not in the theaters? We too saw this at an IMAX if I am not mistaken; unfortunately, the BD release will have that "back-and-forth" aspect ratio thing going on to reflect Nolan's filming vision/style as did Dark Knight, which I totally didn't care for -- however, Nolan's storytelling is so compelling during that film, you begin not to notice the aspect changes...

Yes, it seems I am always the minority when it comes to comparing Burton's 1989 film with Nolan's reboot/revision -- for whatever reason, probably because I grew up on a diet of Batman, Batman Returns, Batman Forever and Batman and Robin, I always liked Burton's take on this material better; I always thought it was more "cartoonish" and less "real world" grounded than Nolan's...but, this is definitely a good thing for Nolan's franchise, so it's a weird situation (the last two of the old franchise were of course not helmed by Burton, but I'm just sayin'...).

As for not getting into the comic aspect of these pictures, I wish I could relate, but...these are comic story adapations! I always have high expectations of these comic-to-film variants in terms of staying true to the book's origins and storylines, but the problem is over the years, so many artists and writers make changes to the characters, their powers, their stories, etc. that filmmakers have to decide which of these they want to go with, and ultimately leave some fans cold because they were expecting a different kind of take on the material...

Which version will you be picking up on Tuesday?
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
Maybe I'm in the minority, but I would have preferred that this release didn't switch between aspect ratios... For me, watching on a 2.40:1 screen, it's kind of annoying when it switches.


Great movie, btw, and I agree Jbrax, it was awesome in the IMAX theater!
Hey nast,

No, I don't think you're in the minority about the ratio switching; it annoyed the crud out of me when I first saw it on Dark Knight, but over time, I got used to it when I popped in the Blu-ray to watch. Being that I don't have a "proper" 2.40:1 screen with the theatrical masking system in place, rather just a TV display, I preferred when the IMAX sequences opened up the frame, taking up all that screen real estate with no letterboxing...on my particular screen, at my seating distance, 2.40:1 and 2.35:1 films look real narrow with very little viewing area due to the aggressive letterboxing.

Unfortunately, Dark Knight Rises will exhibit this switching ratio phenomenon...:hissyfit:
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
Hey Osage, I think that Nolan's take on Batman is the best! This was a great trilogy! Definitely will be picking this up. As for the Robin character, according to the movie he will be picking up the mantle next. He will be the next batman. As said in batman begins, batman can be anyone.
Hey bxb,

Thanks for your opinions; are you picking up the trilogy box, or just this on Blu come tomorrow?

What do you mean by "according to the movie?" Do you mean what Nolan suggests at the end of Dark Knight Rises? If so, this doesn't necessarily mean he will become the next Batman; as hinted at earlier in the film, this character goes by the name -- or it may have been a middle name, I can't recall -- "Robin" and so this suggests he would become Batman's sidekick, not the Caped Crusader himself. If you read some info online, you'll find where this Gotham PD character Levitt plays actually became "Nightwing" in some variants of the books (a name hinted at by Chris O'Donnell's Robin character in Batman Forever) -- so some are speculating (and I discussed this in the Plot Analysis) that whoever picks up the direction mantle next, Levitt (or someone else) will be portraying the Bat's sidekick; also, I am uncertain as to what you mean by "as said in Batman Begins, batman can be anyone"...:huh:
 

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Osage, yes I meant we hardly ever go to the theaters anymore. We had family in town visiting and they wanted to go to the movies so of course I jumped all over the IMAX experience with this one. I'll be picking up the tin Best Buy version. By the way I haven't been called Brax since high shcool so that brought back some memories. :)
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
Osage, yes I meant we hardly ever go to the theaters anymore.
I know what you mean; with my wife's crazy work schedule and a very sick dog, we don't get around to it much either -- but I always manage to see the big comic adaptation films, like Dark Knight Rises, theatrically. :T

Because of a great deal of stuff going on in our lives, we have also been forced to blind-buy a couple of titles that we missed in theaters but really wanted to see, as we assume we would want to own them, including Taken 2 and Skyfall.

I'll be picking up the tin Best Buy version.
Yeah; I think that's gonna be the one for me too...though Target is much closer to us than Best Buy, the steelcase packaging looks too good to resist...but, I have to say, the Target exclusive digibook versions don't look too shabby either...

By the way I haven't been called Brax since high shcool so that brought back some memories. :)
I meant totally no disrespect -- what do you prefer to be called? I was only going by your screen name...:wave:
 

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No offense taken in any way Osage. I just hadn't heard it in awhile. It's all good and it was what my friends called me.
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
No offense taken in any way Osage. I just hadn't heard it in awhile. It's all good and it was what my friends called me.
Understood; was there anything else you would like me to refer to you as? Is "Brax" okay or do you want me to call you "J"?
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·

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Oh yes. If it's a blockbuster type I've seen it. MIB3 was better than 2 but fell short of the original. Still a good watch.
 

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Discussion Starter · #15 ·
Oh yes. If it's a blockbuster type I've seen it. MIB3 was better than 2 but fell short of the original. Still a good watch.
Oh, okay, because I didn't hear from you in my review thread for the title, which I normally do, so I was just asking -- your sentiments summed up my feelings of the film perfectly, that is, it was better than the sequel but still fell flat compared to the original, and is what I conveyed in the Plot Analysis...let me know if you agreed with my findings by checkin' out the review and commenting in that thread! :T
 

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I just picked up my Best Buy tin version. I'm looking forward to my second viewing at home. Is the aspect ratio switching only affect projectors?
 

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I just picked up my Best Buy tin version. I'm looking forward to my second viewing at home. Is the aspect ratio switching only affect projectors?
What is the "tin" version?

I believe it would only affect projectors - but do not quote me on that. It has been a while since I watched The Dark Knight so I cannot recall for certain if it switches.....
 

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The tin version is a Best Buy exclusive that comes in a metal case. Basically it just means they charge you more for cool packaging.
 
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