on 3 March 2009
It is not often the case that the sequel is as good as, if not better than the original, but "The Dark Knight." is definitely a worthy successor to "Batman Begins". Words of warning though, pay attention to the certificate! Don't be one of those parents that let their eight-year-old watch this film and is then surprised that their child has nightmares. This is a very dark tale! Heath Ledger's well-deserved posthumous multiple awards, for his portrayal of The Joker, creates memorable and disturbing scenes, suggestive of deeply cruel violence; stealing every scene he is in. Christian Bale, as Batman, takes the story of our hero from triumph to tragedy; supported by excellent performances from Michael Cane and Morgan Freeman amongst others. But, of course, this is much more than intense drama. The special effects are stunning and the action will leave you breathless. The filmmakers have paid attention to every detail of the visuals and soundtrack to make this DVD worth watching many times over to pick up on everything that they achieved. If that is not enough for you, the second disk of features will probably give you all the information you could wish for about the making of the film. This two-disk release is well worth adding to your collection.
The film's great, blah blah, nothing new.
This is really to comment on the Blu-Ray variable aspect ratio that is featured on this BD. As a film purist, I was VERY sceptical about the idea of moving from letterbox to full-screen aspect ratios during such a brilliant film. I was so worried that it would look cheap and gimmicky that I rented the BD before buying to make up my mind. At the worst, I would get the DVD and get the whole thing in letterbox format, I thought.
Looking back, I am glad I checked, because it really could have been awful, but honestly? I'm not sure how I could imagine that such a landmark film would be the object of cheap gimmicks...
The switching from letterbox to full screen is so subtly integrated that my wife didn't even notice it(and she's just as film savvy as I am - I knew about the VAR so I was looking out for the switches)
Here's the verdict: I found that it actually added to the film.
The opening bank heist and the lorry vs bike scene (don't pretend you don't know the one...) both get the full screen treatment. Obviously, they are two amazing set pieces that really benefit from the involving appeal of the full-screen experience. They are also two scenes that must have been intentionally shot with no important info on the sides, so you really do lose nothing you would have wanted to keep and you gain immersion and pixel-perfect definition. This is not Channel 5 cutting of the sides of your favourite movies just to get rid of the black stripes. When the black stripes go, it's because it really is best that way. And then when they come back, it's integrated into dark scenes so that you don't even realise it.
Other full-screen moments include wide-angle pans over the city giving you a completely immersive experience. The switch to full-screen on these scenes give you the impression of flying over Gotham at night. Incredible.
I will now never accept to see the film in any other format. This truly seems to be the director's vision. And if it isn't, then it should be. Who would have thought that The Dark Knight could be improved on? I feel humbled.
EDIT: Yes, obviously, when I say full screen, I mean the full 16:9 (1.78:1) of an HD TV, as opposed to letter-box 2.4:1 which presents black lines at the top and bottom of the screen. (For those commentators who appear to be watching their blu-ray films on a 4:3 cathode-ray tube... I do suggest sticking to DVD or even VHS: it's much cheaper! Another tip would be to buy two speakers so you can upgrade to stereo sound! I hope this clarifies things for you.)
Though it is interesting to learn that the sequences that I was so impressed with were originally shot with that 16:9 IMAX ratio, staying therefore 100% true to the director's vision. So in the end it's the DVD version that cuts material off, not this blu-ray version. Thanks for the info!
on 27 July 2012
Oh My! Has it really been four years (at the time of writing) since this was released? The quick answer is 'Yes it has'. Just that, to me, it still only feels like yesterday.
Anyhow, onto business, I don't want to talk about the plot (a well-constructed review either here or over the net can help you there, better than I could). I shall tell you my opinion of the BD transfer.
Picture: 9.5/10. This film is absolutely superb in HD, a real improvement over its' DVD counterpart. I was initially sceptical about making the purchase and put it off for months, but eventually gave in and bought it, along with Batman Begins... review on that to come! The picture works really well in HD; the opening bank heist scene, Wow! Also, shots of the city, both Gotham and Hong Kong, look beautiful in stunning HD. The fight scenes and explosions look gorgeous. A real improvement over the standard DVD's picture, I must say.
However, as I often state with Blu Ray reviews, dark/scenes set at night don't really work in HD. At least, in my eyes, they look quite the same as the DVD (character's faces look a little brighter in HD in dark scenes here, but that's about it, I'm afraid).
Audio: 9/10. The sound has definitely improved over the DVD counterpart. Fight scenes, explosions and the film's score (masterfully conducted by Hans Zimmer, the genius that is!) are now a joy to watch and hear in stunning HD.
Overall, I do recommend buying this over the DVD. It is a definite improvement. One drawback is the lack of 'new' Special Features. Many reviewers have felt that this was a problem (they are the same as the standard edition), and I am no exception. They should have given the Blu Ray release a little more. Oh, well...
Thanks for reading this.
Bruce Wayne and his masked alter-ego don't actually feature in this film as much as you'd think, instead the focus is on the other characters. We don't see a great deal of Bruce Wayne, but when we do Bale excels - there are times when his Patrick Bateman from American Psycho seems to shine through as he gives the impression of being a carefree playboy yuppie. We are aware that in order to live his double-life, he must sacrifice his own image and popularity.
It's great that the film makes an effort to build up the characters who will become Batman's nemeses - often in comic-action films the baddies are 2-dimensional larger-than-life beasts who appear, cause a bit of hassle, and then get obliterated by the hero. Batman is famed for its outrageous bad-guys, but in Dark Knight they have a grittiness which grounds them in reality - this makes them seem far more sinister. Instead of almost cartoon-like caricatures they feel eerily like the product of a broken society.
It's difficult to discuss this film without gushing praise to Heath Ledger for his performance as The Joker, it's all justified - his performance was sublime and The Joker comes across as a unhinged sociopath hell-bent on causing destruction for a very personal motive. He doesn't crave money, not even power - and it is his unpredictability which makes him so creepy. But through it all there's always sympathy for him, he might be a evil lunatic who kills with no emotional regard - but behind the make-up he's a damaged soul. He stands as a message to us all, the scariest realisation is that Gotham City produced this monster.
Helping to reel the film into plausibility are the answers to many of the questions an action hero film naturally produces: What do ordinary folk think of Batman? How does he make all of his money when he's busy fighting baddies? Does he get hurt? And how do bad guys recruit henchmen?! We also see the evolution of his suit, being Batman requires constant developments - and having your very own version of Bond's Q in the company helps! (I half expected Morgan Freeman to say "do be careful Wayne! This may look like an ordinary biro, but...")
Dark Knight contains most of the clichés you expect in an action film, but in addition to that it delivers a bit more. It breaks the conventions of the genre and that's a good thing. There's always something unexpected; the film reaches a natural conclusion, but then it slaps you round the face and you haven't a clue how things are going to turn out.
In a nutshell: This sequel continues the darker style and throws more violence into the mix. Batman Begins was a great introduction to a new re-imagining, and Dark Knight is still a good film which manages to stretch the genre. I can't help but think though that the film tried to chuck too much into the mix. Two villains were present when only one was necessary.
When this film ends it's clear that the new Batman film franchise is taking another step into the dark side. You know Batman is going to save the day, but you never know at what cost.
Being the last to join the Dark Knight reviewing party there's nothing at all I can post that will add anything of use or interest, so I will simply say what I thought of it.
Anti-climax is one word that might sum it up. The hype surrounding this film is surely without precedent; in a matter of months it has become the fourth biggest of all time in terms of global revenue, raking in about US$1 billion already. Everyone seems to rave about it. So I sat down to watch it with, let's face it, justifiably sky-high expectations! And while I agree it's very good, it didn't exactly blow me away. It's too long, for a start, and really if it wasn't for the extraordinary Heath Ledger it would probably have been half the film that it is, for entertainment fare. He simply carries the film, in a way that Christian Bale could never hope to do, as Bale lacks anything in the way of charisma. I welcomed the different and darker side to the Batman identity, and I thought that overall this was a clever combination of styles that enable the finished product to appeal to adults of all ages as well as teenagers. The special effects were variable; Two-Face was amazing, but some of the explosions were a touch unconvincing, particularly when a hospital was blown up. It was so obviously CGI'd that it spoilt the film as a whole to a degree. I found Maggie Gyllenhaal a rather lightweight 'love interest' and would have welcomed some other female lead characters with more power to bring to the story.
High points were the cinematography, the music and of course Heath Ledger as The Joker. He was immense and utterly convincing. On the down side, I have always thought that if you actually notice the editing in a film, or if you think about it while it's happening, then that usually means that it hasn't been done very well. This was a weakness prevalent throughout the length of the movie and I found it distracting. And dare I say that although I liked the roles that Bruce Wayne and Batman played, I was less than 100% convinced that Christian Bale is the definitive Caped Crusader - he just isn't that tall or tough enough, especially if like me you remember his images from the DC comics of several decades past, when Batman really looked every inch the superhero. For this film, the intention seems to have been to make Batman appear more 'real' and less cartoon-like, that fair enough but I think he has been toned-down too much to the extent that he wasn't really intimidating at all. But hey - this is just my opinion!
In the end, the film is more than saved by the epic and iconic portayal of The Joker by Heath Ledger. It's worth seeing if only for him. He was on the screen a lot but it still wasn't enough. Magnificent, memorable and masterful. We shall miss him.
In "Batman Begins," Christopher Nolan managed to do what few directors could do -- create a dark, gritty atmosphere around an all-too-human Batman, who fights for the oppressed with quiet intensity.
That moody murk is only intensified in the breathtaking, harrowing "Dark Knight," which fills itself with blasts of action, psychological twists and a shocking tragedy. Nolan pulls no punches for our dark knight or his ever-endangered Gotham City, but brilliant acting of the hero and villains is what truly elevates the second of Nolan's Batman movies to a work of cinematic art.
Crimfighting is going well for Batman (Christian Bale) especially since the new DA Harvey Dent (Aaron Eckhart) is a morally-upright good-guy. But Batman isn't prepared for the Joker (Heath Ledger) a mad clownish psychopath who has hired himself out to the mob to destroy their worst enemy, the Dark Knight. He starts blackmailing Batman by killing Gotham citizens, and saying he won't stop until Batman turns himself in.
But even when captured, the Joker has an ace up his sleep -- Dent and Rachel Dawes' (Maggie Gyllenhaal) lives. And after a devastating loss, Batman finds himself dealing with the Joker taking all of Gotham hostage, and the maddened and disfigured Dent bringing vigilante justice to all those whom he thinks have wronged him. Only Batman has a chance of stopping even one of them -- let alone both -- but doing so may tarnish the Dark Knight forever.
No matter how hard you search, there's not a hint in "The Dark Knight" that anything kitschy or campy came before it, or that it was once a comic book. Instead Christopher Nolan creates a movie as dark, tightly-wound and intense as Batman himself.
And Nolan's skills are even more polished this time around -- lots of kinetic action, vicious dogs and car chases, including the rather silly-looking Batpod and the tanklike Batmobile. The dialogue is drizzled with dry humor ("That isn't exactly what I had in mind when I said I wanted to inspire people"," Batman says, looking at a bunch of impersonators), mostly to temper the overhanging sense of horror and apprehension.
This is especially true whenever the Joker's corrosive presence is onscreen, since he's all too happy to stick pointy objects in people -- he's creepier than a thousand boogeymen. And Nolan is not afraid to further darken the storyline by inflicting yet another personal tragedy on Batman. His direction is painfully delicate as he explores Wayne's sorrow and guilt.
But the most striking aspect of "The Dark Knight" is Nolan's delvings into morality -- The Joker has none and Dent's becomes horribly perverted, but we're reminded that there are some who will not be corrupted even if they lose what is most precious. It's almost a doom'n'gloom movie, but the faint glimmers of optimism and hope keep it from being TOO overwhelmingly dark.
Christian Bale is simply perfection as Bruce Wayne/Batman, using his handsomely chiseled face and piercing eyes to best advantage -- even in the most tragic scenes, where you can practically see Wayne's soul bleeding. And he has a difficult character to wrangle with -- not only does he have to expose Batman's pain and struggles, but also his inner incorruptibility.
On the flipside, the late Heath Ledger is blindingly brilliant as the sadistic, creepy, gleefully malign Joker, and he chews the scenery as few actors could. He's pretty spine-chilling, actually -- the Joker is a true "agent of chaos," whose intent is to seize Gotham, and corrupt Batman's soul along the way. Eckhart is outstanding as an upstanding DA whose morality becomes horribly perverted (along with his handsome face), and Michael Caine is a quiet, steady flame as the ever-faithful, dryly sardonic Alfred.
"The Dark Knight" is suffused with darkness and some truly ghastly villains, but the magnificent acting and dryly witty script are what really make this a masterpiece. Utterly astounding -- and promises better yet to come.
on 9 December 2008
Audio: Dolby True HD: English5.1, Dolby Digital: Brazilian Portugese 5.1, Castilian Spanish 5.1, French 5.1 , German 5.1, Italian 5.1,
.Subtittles English, Brazilian Portuguese , Castalian Spanish , Complex CHinese, Danish, Dutch,French, German, Italian ,Korean , Norwegian , Portuguese Spanish and Swedish
on 30 January 2012
The Dark Knight is exactly what hollywood has been missing until a film of this magnitude was released, with the amount of half arsed, money making, greedy film companies taking your hard earned money for over hyped rubbish, you don't see many films that really were written and made with such passion as this film is, and it delivers for the people. Everyone involved had worked there arse off to make a masterpiece like this film and the final outcome prooves that beyond a doubpt. Most of the writers, producers, and filmers biggest example is steven speilberg abuse there name with the trash they have delivered to us in recent years.
Christopher Nolan is a brilliant story teller and producer of films and makes sure he delivers the most brilliant story, picture and sound he can possibly deliver to people. As we will see him do this year when The Dark Knight Rises is released and will conclude a brilliant Batman trilogy.
Heath Ledger won an academy award for his role as "Joker" in The Dark Knight ledger is amazing, brilliant, scary, and to be honest an academy award is not enough recognition for a performance of that caliber, so many actors/actresses spew out the same characteristics in every single film they appear in and get to call themselves actors movie after movie and get paid ridiculous amounts of money to do so.
The Dark Knight is the most awesome, action packed, twisted adventure, you can ever hope to see, and the most well written and acted film i have seen hollywood release, in a long time.
A short overview of the film:
Batman (Bruce Wayne) raises the stakes in his war on crime. With the help of Lieutenant Jim Gordon and District Attorney Harvey Dent, Batman sets out to distroy the remaining criminal organizations that corrupt the police, lawyers, and which also plague and terrorise the city's streets. The partnership proves to be effective, but they soon find themselves prey to a reign of chaos unleashed by a rising criminal mastermind known to the terrified citizens of Gotham as "The Joker".
This film is hands down the way batman and was always ment to be envisioned and portrayed, and is defently one of the top 10 films to see before you die. If you have not seen this film then do yourself a favour and buy it on Blu-Ray watch it and be amazed at how trully brilliant this film is.
The action scenes where shot in IMAX (the best picture quality available) and all other scenes are shot in 70mm lens (2nd best picture quality available) making this a brilliant film to watch and enjoy in the most crisp high definition experiance on BLU-RAY, mix that with Dolby Digital 5.1 surround sound and your in for one hell of a treat.
on 29 August 2015
All in all the best Batman by Nolan, although I consider the first one (B begins) more consistent from start to end, while this one has a great first half but then it does not keep the promises it's made before: you expect the joker to be a real evil guy, and he ends up like a silly character, you expect the apocalypse to come and it does not, you feel the joker is right and humanity is basically evil, then everything ends up in disney style. But while you've been watching it, you can't deny it is a fascinating entertainment, with great and ambitious moments. Maybe too ambitious, but still worth to watch.
Blu ray is spectacular and you can tell right from the opening scene, shot in Imax camera, and transferred in HD. I first saw it in the theatre and was really impressed, and the good thing is that, watching it again on tv, I was impressed again.
on 27 February 2010
The movie per se is mind-blowing. Two and a half hours that passes in a blink of an eye and yet keeps you longing for more. Amazing film-making, extraordinary acting, well written script... OK, nothing new so far.
This 2 disk BD edition reflects the contents' excellency. The transition between the IMAX shots (1.78) and the traditional 2.35 widescreen shots is seamless and allows the viewer to see the picture in the way the director intended to present it. A high quality video transfer, crisp and clear audio and a supplements galore completes the package. And better, for an affordable price!
In a nutshell, a superb cinematic experience for a inexpensive price. Absolutely recommended!