Give yourself double the fun with this Batman Begins
/ The Dark Knight
double pack. Batman Begins
Genius of mystery and intrigue Christopher Nolan (Memento
) helms this prequel to the Batman films based on the DC Comics series, explaining how Bruce Wayne (Christian Bale) the billionaire prince of Gotham whose parents were killed in an alleyway mugging transformed into the crime-fighting superhero. With flashbacks to his privileged childhood, young Master Wayne, as he is called by the butler Alfred (Michael Caine), develops a terrible fear of bats when he falls through the backyard garden into a hidden cave. As a young adult, Wayne lives among the League of Shadows, a martial arts group in the mountains of Asia. His leaders Ra's al Ghul (Ken Watanabe) and Henri Ducard (Liam Neeson) teach him strength, endurance, and unfortunately evil, against which he naturally rebels. Returning to Gotham and reinstating himself as a dapper socialite and the rightful heir to his parents' enterprise, Wayne quickly devises his secret identity, commanding help from the gadgetry expert Lucius Fox (Morgan Freeman). With one eye on his childhood playmate Rachel (Katie Holmes) now a beautiful woman and dedicated lawyer and the other on his mission to save Gotham from criminal corruption, Batman makes his fledgling debut. But when the blue-blooded mastermind Dr. Crane (Cillian Murphy) who steals every scene with chilling menace taints the water system with a hallucinatory substance, Batman realises he has met his first true opponent. An attitude of grave seriousness elevates Batman Begins
above more cartoony Batman movies, as Nolan crafts a dark drama that thrives on sci-fi intrigue. Bale strides into the role with grace, adding refinement that is seldom seen in action-oriented films. And while the action scenes explode with high-tech glitz and fast-moving thrills, they are evenly placed among sequences of plot and character development, making for a complex and satisfying viewing experience. The Dark Knight
Director Christopher Nolan (The Prestige
) returns to Gotham City with this sequel to the critically-acclaimed fan favourite, Batman Begins
In The Dark Knight
, Batman raises the stakes in his war on crime. With the help of Lieutenant Jim Gordon (Gary Oldman, The Fifth Element
) and District Attorney Harvey Dent (Aaron Eckhart, No Reservations
), Batman sets out to dismantle the remaining criminal organisations that plague the city streets. The partnership proves to be effective, but they soon find themselves prey to a reign of chaos unleashed by a rising criminal psychotic mastermind known to the terrified citizens of Gotham as the Joker (Heath Ledger, Brokeback Mountain
). What ensues will blow your mind away. From its release on the big screen The Dark Knight
has fast become one of the biggest grossing films world-wide.
It might sound dramatic, but after the release of director Christopher Nolan’s Batman Begins
in 2005, superhero movies were never quite the same. Likewise, his 2008 follow-up, The Dark Knight
, raised the bar higher still. Nolan not only resurrected the big screen adventures of Batman, he delivered two of the finest films in the superhero genre.
This particular Blu-ray double pack was released to tie in with the arrival of The Dark Knight Rises, and some effort has been gone to in order to make it collectable. The packaging is sublime. Inside, too, there’s a pair of films that never seem to weaken, no matter how many times they’re spun.
Briefly, Batman Begins introduced Christian Bale in the lead role, and gave us a Gotham City packed with darkness, crime and uncertainty. A clever plot, strong villains and an excellent tease for the next film made it one of the best genesis movies in the genre. Then, The Dark Knight broadened the canvas, introduced the late Heath Ledger as The Joker, and earned deserved rave reviews and massive box office returns. It’s a stunning, intelligent blockbuster movie.
The discs have clearly been a labour of love, with the Blu-ray transfers both reference standard. Backed with a hefty collection of extras, it’s the wonderful presentation of the movies that’s the key thing here. It means that you get two brilliant films, brilliantly presented. Simply unmissable. --Jon Foster
--This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.