"REVIEW - THE DARK KNIGHT RISES (Blu-ray Combo Pack)"

The Dark Knight Rises
Studio: Warner Home Video
Release Date: December 4th, 2012 on Blu-ray, DVD and Digital Download

Synopsis: It has been eight years since Batman vanished into the night, turning, in that instant, from hero to fugitive. Assuming the blame for the death of D.A. Harvey Dent, the Dark Knight sacrificed everything for what he and Commissioner Gordon both hoped was the greater good. For a time the lie worked, as criminal activity in Gotham City was crushed under the weight of the anti-crime Dent Act. But everything will change with the arrival of a cunning cat burglar with a mysterious agenda. Far more dangerous, however, is the emergence of Bane, a masked terrorist whose ruthless plans for Gotham drive Bruce out of his self-imposed exile. But even if he dons the cape and cowl again, Batman may be no match for Bane.

Special Features:
-UltraViolet™ Digital Copy
-"The Batmobile" Documentary
-"Ending the Knight" Featurettes:
--Production - The Prologue: High Altitude Hijacking, Beneath Gotham, Return to the Batcave, Batman vs Bane, The Bat, Armory Accepted, Gameday Destruction, Demolishing a City Street, The Pit, The Chant, The War on Wall Street, Race to the Reactor
--Characters - The Journey of Bruce Wayne, Gotham's Reckoning, A Girl's Gotta Eat
--Reflections - Shadows & Light in Large Format, The End of A Legend
-Trailers
-Art Gallery


Review by Greg Bishanky
Well, it's been a fun seven years, but at last Christopher Nolan's widely loved take on the Batman comes to an end. It's fair to say that there was a vocal minority who didn't care for his dark and gritty take, but I enjoyed it. As far as I'm concerned these three flicks are the definitive cinematic Batman. Nolan is an auteur with a clear passion and understanding for the rules of film, and like all great directors, he knows when to break those rules. I have said time and again that he is the next Martin Scorsese, and my feelings are cemented here.

Once again, Christian Bale's Bruce Wayne is a man who is willing to sacrifice everything for Gotham City, the city is father died wanting to make a better place. Once again we see that the mantle of the Batman is a symbol of hope in the most corrupt city in the world, and that while it may save a city it is also destroying the man who wears that mantle.

However, sometimes you can take a third option. No, Bruce Wayne does not die, even if he is dead to the world. Throughout the movie, we see Bruce Wayne slowly lose everything. His company, his fortune, his mobility, and even Alfred in one of the most moving scenes in the entire movie. I did not think they would kill him off, and when it looks like they did, I was waiting for the twist, and we got it... but in a way that was moving instead of cheap and hackneyed. Bruce Wayne left the city and the mantle to another to live the life Alfred always wanted him to live.

Anne Hathaway's Catwoman was getting a lot of hate out there in internet land. But, just like everybody screamed about "that gay cowboy playing the Joker," all of the complaining and gnashing of teeth was for nothing. Hathaway owned the role. She wasn't a crazy psycho who got thrown out of a building, she wasn't a thieving environmentalist. She was a cat burglar, and an anarchist with a conscience. Yes, she represents the 99% movement in a lot of ways, but as the movie shows and I think she learns, there is a dark side to that populist uprising.

Everybody is going to be talking about Joseph Gordon-Levitt as John Blake. I know I said this would be a spoiler filled review, but I'll keep this one to myself. But yes, Blake is definitely the next generation.

Now let's talk about our villains. Tom Hardy was a great Bane, and I loved this re-imagining. Bane is a character who, like Venom, I never liked in the comics. So this re-invention as a mercenary and terrorist leader (or is he?) was a welcome one as far as I'm concerned. He was imposing, powerful, smart, and he did break the bat. You put Bane into a movie, that's what you're going to get as that is the one thing the character is famous in the comics for. And I love movie magic for making vertically challenged Tom Hardy be the biggest person on the room.

But the real villain of the movie is Marion Cotilard's character, Miranda Tate. But, if you're a comic book fan, you've figured out she was actually Talia al Ghul over a year ago. I remember being disappointed that Talia wasn't in "Batman Begins" so I was really excited when I heard she was going to be in this.... and being played by Marion Cotilard, whom I've loved forever. Bane was her henchman and lover, this was her revenge scheme. She had the real motive to imprison Bruce and destroy Gotham. She had her hand on a detonator that would destroy Gotham, she maneuvered her way into Bruce Wayne's trust and bed (well, floor blanket is more like it), and she was downright vicious and evil once she revealed herself in a scene I wish I didn't see coming. But that's more on me, and not on the movie. It was all very well done.

Was it a perfect movie? No. I thought it had structural problems. I think I liked the previous two Batman films more. BUT this movie does not suffer from third movie syndrome like the awful "Return of the Jedi," "Spider-Man 3" and "X-Men 3" do. This is one of those rare third films that is a gem, and can be placed alongside "The Return of the King" to cap off a fantastic trilogy.

The first of the special features is an hour-long documentary about the Batmobile. From the days when Batman drove Bruce Wayne's red Sedan, to the old movie serials, to Adam West, to Tim Burton, to Bruce Timm's, to Joel Schumacher, to finally the Tumbler and everything in-between, this is everything you could ever want to know about the history of Batman's car.

Next up was "Ending The Knight" which is basically the "Making of Featurette" which is thankfully a lot more comprehensive than most other such featurettes on Blu-ray and DVD releases these days. I've long wished to know how they shot that scene where the League of Shadows crashes that plane, and they told us every little detail. There are also ten minute documentaries on Batman himself, Bane, and Catwoman.

Trailers and a print art gallery are also available.

The film itself is presented in 1080p High definition 16x9 variable 2.4:1 and 1.78.1 for the IMAX sequences. The audio is DTS-MD MA English 5.1 Dolby Digital, and also features French and Spanish audio and subtitles.

The Dark Knight Rises arrives on Blu-ray, DVD and Digital Download on December 4th, 2012.



"The Dark Knight Rises" On Blu-ray Combo-Pack, DVD, OnDemand, and Digital Download!
Click the above image to view the High-Definition Quicktime trailer!