The first thing you’re going to want to do when you open up The Dark Knight Rises’ Blu-ray Combo Pack on Tuesday is take out the DVD. Throw it on your coffee table, use it as a coaster, and get ready to enjoy one of the best looking Blu-ray discs ever made. The Dark Knight Rises is Christopher Nolan’s epic conclusion to his Batman trilogy and the Blu-ray release features stunning visuals and extensive behind-the-scenes special features. Read on for my full review.
Video and Audio
As I mentioned in my opening, The Dark Knight Rises’ Blu-ray video quality is simply stunning. Avoid watching the DVD version at all costs. Blu-ray players can be purchased for around $60 these days, so if you own a HDTV and still haven’t invested in 1080p, now is the time. Just as with The Dark Knight, The Dark Knight Rises’ Blu-ray features IMAX scenes that fill your screen, and while I’m sure you don’t have a 70ft tall TV, this as close as you can get to enjoying The Dark Knight Rises the way Christopher Nolan intended. As most home theater enthusiasts will agree, video is just half the battle. The Dark Knight Rises features an impressive 5.1 audio mix that will really show off your surround sound setup.
If you were unhappy with The Dark Knight’s lackluster special features, you’ll be pleased to know that The Dark Knight Rises delivers with a ton of behind-the-scenes content.
The production section was definitely my favorite part of The Dark Knight Rises’ special features. Here we get a great behind-the-scenes look at just about every major scene in The Dark Knight Rises. From the jaw dropping plane heist in the prologue, to the epic Batman vs. Bane fight scene, we get to see all the hard work and preparation that went into making this movie. It amazed me how much detail and planning went into something that only got a few seconds of screen time. In all there are 12 behind-the-scenes videos and if you watch them all at once they’ll clock in at just over an hour.
One of the most disappointing things about The Dark Knight’s Blu-ray was the lack of behind-the-scenes footage of Heath Ledger’s Joker. That’s not a problem here, as the “Characters” section features three behind the scenes look at the main characters. “The Journey of Bruce Wayne” takes a look at our hero, and how Christian Bale made the role his own. “Gotham’s Reckoning” gives us a fantastic look at how Tom Hardy transformed himself into Bane. In addition, we get to see how Bane’s costume and mask were designed, and there’s some really cool concept art that’s shared with us too. “A Girl’s Gotta Eat” takes a look at how Anne Hathaway prepared for the role of Selina Kyle/Catwoman. Like Bane’s featurette, we get to see the process of creating Catwoman’s costume.
This final section of The Dark Knight Rises’ extras is split up into two parts. The first, titled “Shadows & Light in Large Format” gives us a behind-the-scenes look at the IMAX cameras and how they were used to make The Dark Knight Rises feel larger than life. “The End of a Legend” is a fitting way to end the special features, and includes interviews with all of the main cast, crew, and of course Christopher Nolan. Everyone shares their thoughts on ending the trilogy after 8 years of hard work.
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This is a fun extra that Batman fans of all ages will enjoy. This one hour documentary features a behind-the-scenes look at Batman’s famous car. From Adam West’s 1966 classic, to Christian Bale’s Tumbler, every Batmobile that’s ever been on screen is featured here. This documentary features commentary from the talented engineers that built these vehicles, as well as directors Christopher Nolan, Tim Burton, and yes, even Joel Schumacher.
Second Screen and UltraViolet
If you own an iOS device such as an iPhone, iPod touch, or iPad, you’ll be able to download The Dark Knight Rises FX app for even more bonus content. The “second screen” app syncs with your network enabled Blu-ray player via WiFi and gives you access to character bios, behind-the-scenes photos, and some of the featurettes that are included on the Blu-ray. The UltraViolet digital copy allows you to stream a DVD quality version to your computer, smartphone, tablet, and any other UltraViolet enabled device.
I know most of you already pre-ordered The Dark Knight Rises on Blu-ray but if you were on the fence, I highly recommend you pick it up. Not only is it one of the best looking (and sounding) Blu-rays, it features some of the best behind-the-scenes featurettes of any of Christopher Nolan’s Batman movies. If you don’t own a Blu-ray player, now is the time to upgrade.. you’ll thank me as soon as you see The Dark Knight Rises’ amazing opening scene in glorious 1080p. The Dark Knight Rises is available on Blu-ray Combo pack, DVD and digital download on December 4th!