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Home Theater Movie Renter's Guide - December, 2012

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 "The Dark Knight Rises" (Blu-ray) - Reviewed by Jim Clements

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Synopsis

The last we saw of Batman, he was being blamed for the death of Gotham's District Attorney, Harvey Dent.  Despite the dissappearance of Batman, the ensuing eight years have been a period of great peace for Gotham thanks in large part to the anti-crime law implemented by the fallen DA.  Now a powerful new masked vilian named Bane comes on the scene with plans to destroy Gotham.  Bane, who was once a member of the League of Shadows proves to be a formidable force of terror.  Bruce Wayne must resurrect Batman to save the city from this new evil.  Batman is going to need help but since he is the accused killer of the city's great DA, he has few places to turn and is forced to solicit the support of Catwoman, a jewel thief who also operates in the  shadows.

Specifications

  • Warner Brothers
  • 2012, Color, Rated PG-13, 2 Hr 45 mins
  • Aspect Ratio: 2.40:1 and 1.78:1
  • 1080p
  • Codec: AVC
  • English 5.1 DTS-HD Master
  • Starring: Christian Bale, Michael Caine, Gary Oldman, Anne Hathaway, Tom Hardy, Marion Cotillard, Joseph Gordon-Levitt and Morgan Freeman
  • Directed by: Christopher Nolan
Rating
  • Entertainment:
  • Video:
  • Audio:
  • Extras:
  • Violence: Yes
  • Sex: Mild
  • Language: Mild

Commentary

This is a long movie with lots of plot elements that I honestly couldn't grasp in a single viewing.  I was intrigued, but I needed to go back and watch it over so I could pick up on all the subtle aspects of the story.  The good news is that I enjoyed the movie even more the second time around.  I will return to this movie again and strive to get even more immersed with each viewing.  It is art in that it stays fresh and can offer deeper insights each time you watch it.  That is what makes a movie worth  watching over and over much like many of the cinematic classics in human history.  A full appreciation of this movie does require more than a passing understanding of the first two Nolan Batman movies and it also requires that you suspend your reality and find some way to really care about the dark city of Gotham.

Technical

I am deducting a half a star from the video rating in large part because the picture is so darn good.  Allow me to explain.  As with the Dark Knight, this Blu-ray is a mixed aspect ratio with scenes in both a 'scope 2.4:1 aspect ratio and some in an IMAX 1.78:1 format.  Well as before, the 'scope scenes are noticably softer and it made me wish they'd just forget the whole affair and film the entire show in IMAX.  So I'd give the IMAx five and a half stars and the 'scope scenes four stars for a net 4.5 rating.  Outside of that, my only quibble would be that some of the scenes had a bit of crush in the blacks.  Every remaining quality of the picture is state of the art.  

The audio is nothing short of masterful.  The opening action scene caused my sub to double, a rarity.  But I found the whole movie is mastered at a high level of gain and I settled on a volume setting of around 4 dB below normal.  That was just right.  Even with my high-res system, I found that I needed to concentrate at times to understand Bane despite that his voice is prominently rendered in the dialog channel.  The musical score and special effectes are very well recorded and transferred.  Brilliant.

Extras

I reviewed the three disc combo pack that includes the two layer Blu-ray, a separate disc of Special Features on Blu-ray, a DVD copy and an Ultraviolet Streaming Code.  The extras on disc 2 include The Batmobile documentary, Ending the Knight featurette and much more.  Also available is the Dark Knight Rises App that allows you to sync your phone or tablet to your Blu-ray player and view exclusive content while watching the film.