Sunday, December 25, 2011

[DVD] The Dark Knight (2008)

There He Goes

With all the recent hype surrounding The Dark Knight Rises with the release of the prologue, a new trailer and countless of official photographs to augment the series of leaked videos and photos of filming on location, I thought it was probably apt to relive some of the adventures of The Dark Knight in rewatching what is arguably the best comic book hero adaptation at this point in time, and waiting with anticipation whether The Dark Knight Rises, Christopher Nolan's final Bat-film, can top this one.

And as with any film you revisit there are countless of things you'd notice for the first time, and in my case starting with how intricate The Joker's plot actually is, and provides for greater appreciation and how the entire film got plotted, serious in tone and relentless in its pacing, that one can only hope The Dark Knight Rises doesn't disappoint as it caps off what would be a trilogy that would be hard to beat.

You can read my review of The Dark Knight here.

The Region 1 DVD by Warner Bros Home Entertainment is presented in a Two-Disc format, with Disc One being the movie disc that autoplays with an anti-piracy message (1:00), a Blu Ray ad for Warner Bros films (1:09) and a Batman Begins Trailer (1:13)., followed by more trailers (3:44 in total) in letterbox format for the game Batman: Arkham Asylum, Watchmen and an anti-smoking campaign. The film is presented in a pristine anamorphic widescreen transfer with audio in English, French and Spanish language tracks in Dolby Surround 5.1, and subtitles in English (for the Hearing Impaired), French and Spanish. Scene selection is available over 39 Chapters.

Disc Two is the Special Features Disc, which is presented in English with subtitles in English and French. The disc autoplays with trailers for Batman: Gotham Knight (1:35) in the letterbox format, before presenting an ad in widescreen for The Dark Knight Motion Picture Soundtrack (0:32). The features here do not encompass a traditional Making Of documentary film, and neither is there a commentary track which I believe is something any fan would like to listen in for Christopher Nolan's thought process. Perhaps an anniversary release some time in future may have this feature included. Known for his economical shoots, there are no deleted scenes included unlike directors who shoot and decide to omit stuff later; Nolan knows exactly what he wants from the onset.

What we have instead is a section called Gotham Uncovered: Creation of a Scene that contains various voiceovers from the crew and creators of the film, professionals in their own right discussing and talking about their involvement, without any talking heads styled interviews to detract you from the stock of stills from the film, and other behind the scenes look which is limited. In The Sound of Anarchy (6:25) we see how Hans Zimmer decides on the sound of the Joker's theme tune, and have the pleasure of peering into Zimmer's studio and a look into the conception of the tune from the get go. With the longer The Evolution of the Knight (17:35) we get to delve into the technical aspects of the film, starting with the change in the suit's design (I realize now the Batman Begins suit is used in the beginning before it got changed to a more flexible design), the development of the Batpod and my new found respect for the vehicle's design and functionality, and about the much touted IMAX format and the inevitably larger expectations that brought about on all the crew departments from sound to set design to special effects to try and live up (successfully so I may add) to the large film format.

And thankfully the studio didn't pressure the filmmakers into adopting 3D technology, as I personally feel at this time IMAX is the format of choice for scale and spectacle. I'm curious though that there's a section in the special features for The Dark Knight IMAX Sequences because no home theatre can match up nor duplicate the technical aspects of viewing the following segments, but I thought it got included so that we know where the IMAX cameras were used to capture the action, beginning with The Prologue (6:23) with the mob bank robbery, Hong Kong (3:51) with the Batman extraditing Lau (Ng Chin Han), The Armored Car Chase (8:28) that introduces the Batpod, The Lamborghini Crash (7:56) culminating with the Joker demolishing an entire hospital, The Prewitt Building (7:22) with the Batman battling both the Joker's goons and Gordon's cops before meeting the Clown Prince of Crime himself, and the epilogue with The Dark Knight (2:42).

A series of faux pas Gotham City News clips got made as part of the wider marketing efforts for the film got included in the Gotham Tonight section, that includes a Play All option for all the six clips included. You can see that Nolan pulled out all the stops in preparing an audience for the film, with these clippings serving as the bridge between events in Batman Begins and The Dark Knight, especially with the news ticker at the bottom of the screen, and its invited guests for its interviews and talk shows. GCN will play a larger role in the film proper when the Joker sends in his video threats.

Episode 1: Election Night (7:58) centers around Harvey Dent's winning of the District Attorney election.
Episode 2: Billionaire Without a Cause (9:41) profiles Bruce Wayne, his family and impact of Wayne Enterprises on Gotham City.
Episode 3: Escalation (7:52) deals with the crime of late in the city 6 months into the appearance of the Batman, examines the cause and effect to the vigilante's appearance, the sightings of Scarecrow and events in Batman Begins.
Episode 4: Top Cop (6:14) profiles Jim Gordon and his appointment to head Gotham City Police's Major Crimes Unit.
Episode 5: Cops and Monsters (7:06) features the televised debate between Police Commissioner Loeb (Colin McFarlane) and mobster Sal Maroni (Eric Roberts) of the Falcone Crime Family.
Episode 6: Gotham's White Knight (7:40) interviews Harvey Dent as a studio guest and got interrupted by breaking news of the prologue's bank robbery.

The Galleries consists of the Poster Art of 12 posters designed for the film's release, as well as a total of 88 Production Stills as photographed by Stephen Vaughn, and comes with a Play All option. Rounding up the special features are the set of 3 Trailers that present the teaser (0:56) and two theatrical ones (2:07 and 2:30).

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