THE DARK KNIGHT RISES Blu-ray Review
Author: Bill "Jett" Ramey (@BATMANONFILM)
November 20, 2012

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EDITOR'S NOTE: For BOF's full coverage of THE DARK KNIGHT RISES -- including the set visit, interviews with the cast and crew, and much, much more, CLICK HERE or on the logo below.

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.

THE DARK KNIGHT RISES is definitely a game changer when it comes to the comic book movie genre. Instead of going on and on and on and inevitably running the series into the ground, director Christopher Nolan took the bold step of actually ending his cinematic Batman story. Thus, he gave both Bruce Wayne (played wonderfully throughout all three films by Christian Bale) and fans of “The Dark Knight Trilogy” a satisfying – and in my opinion, quite appropriate – ending.

Yes, I know that some fans were let down by THE DARK KNIGHT RISES. Hey, to each his own I say. If you love the film as much as I do, the fact that there’s a segment of fandom that doesn’t dig it shouldn’t bother you in the least. Do you really care that there are people who have nitpicked and over-analyzed RISES to death? Hell, I couldn’t care less – and neither should you.

I’m of the opinion that many of the people who fall into the “I Don’t Like RISES” category were disappointed because they assumed what the film would be before actually seeing it. When the RISES that they envisioned in their heads didn’t jibe with what Team Nolan actually gave us, they were “disappointed.” Here’s hoping that these folks will give it another chance on home video as RISES is the sort of film that requires multiple views to truly appreciate it.

On the other hand, if you already like THE DARK KNIGHT RISES, subsequent screenings via your Blu-ray or DVD player will only reinforce how you already feel. In particular, there are so many “little things” planted by Chris Nolan, David Goyer, and Jonathan Nolan that I figure both you and I will still be picking up these subtleties for some time to come. I won’t reveal any here as some of you may have yet to come across them. But I will say that I saw RISES twelve times in the theater and I'm still discovering things I had missed upon watching it on Blu-ray.

I’m not going to “review” the film again here. If you’d like to read my initial take on RISES after I first saw it in late June this past Summer (2012), CLICK HERE. I’ll move on to what I suspect that many of you all want to know about – the “Extras.”

The review continues after the jump!

PRODUCTION
Director Christopher Nolan and members of the cast and crew discuss the process of creating THE DARK KNIGHT RISES in twelve featurettes: “The Prologue: High-Altitude Hijacking,” “Return to the Batcave,” “Beneath Gotham,” “The Bat,” “Batman vs. Bane,” “Armory Accepted,” “Gameday Destruction,” “Demolishing a City Street,” “The Pit,” “The Chant,” “The War on Wall Street” and “Race to the Reactor.”

“Production” is 68 minutes of excellent stuff the delves into the details of the making of the film.

CHARACTERS
Three more featurettes focusing on the three main characters: Bruce Wayne (“The Journey of Bruce Wayne”), Bane (“Gotham’s Reckoning”) and Selina Kyle (“A Girl’s Gotta Eat”). Of note, the details of how both Bane and Catwoman’s costumes were created are particularly interesting. Just wait ‘til you see some early concept art of Bane’s mask!

REFLECTIONS
“Shadows and Light in Large Format” focuses on cinematography Wally Pfister’s work, filming locations, filming in IMAX, and RISES’ production design. In “The End of a Legend,” Team Nolan says goodbye to “The Dark Knight Trilogy” (and it kinda made me sad).

THE BATMOBILE
This was my favorite “extra” of the bunch! THE BATMOBILE is a wonderful, 58 minute documentary that tells the story of, well, The Batmobile – the cinematic version of it that is. Amongst the folks featured in the doc discussing Batman’s ride are Chris Nolan, Tim Burton, Joel Schumacher, Adam West, Christian Bale, various craftsmen and engineers who helped create these vehicles, and my friend, the great Michael Uslan. Trust me, you are going to absolutely love THE BATMOBILE!

ET AL
There’s the “Second Screen Experience” that allows you to see exclusive content while watching the film. You have to download the “Dark Knight Rises FX app to your smartphone/tablet and then sync it with your Blu-ray player to get this stuff. It’s only for the iPhone – no Android version unfortunately.

Also, all four theatrical trailers are included. If you’re like me, you’ve probably watch ‘em each hundreds of times and analyzed every frame prior to the film’s release. Regardless, they are there for your viewing pleasure if you so choose.

Even though I received the Blu-ray edition of THE DARK KNIGHT RISES free for reviewing purposes, I would have bought it myself regardless. All the extras – especially THE BATMOBILE – make it well worth purchasing and adding to your Bat-collection. The only thing missing is a “Director’s Commentary” – you know how Mr. Nolan is, right? HOWEVER…

A little birdie told me we may be getting such a thing next year for all 3 films of the Trilogy.

One final note on the Extras...there are NO "deleted" scenes included. Why you ask? Because what was filmed was put into the film! Yes, I know there was talk about Bane's "orgin" being cut, but that scene amounted to mere seconds. Trust me, what Chris shoots goes into his films.

In closing, I must get a bit personal – I hope you will indulge me.

Visiting with Chris Nolan, Jonathan Nolan and Emma Thomas over the last year-plus, all three used the same word to describe THE DARK KNIGHT RISES: “Bittersweet.” For me, this is a bittersweet review to write as I know – outside of retrospectives and maybe a book by me about BOF – this is my last article on Team Nolan's “The Dark Knight Trilogy.”

I've spent a good chunk of my life covering "The Dark Knight Trilogy" – 14 years plus a few days from the day I started BOF to seeing RISES for the first time. I must admit, RISES is more than just a “movie” to me. While it certainly isn’t the end of Batman on film – the franchise or this website – I’m not sure I’ll ever become as emotionally attached to a Batman film – or in this case, the Trilogy – again.

When I started BOF back in 1998, I never imagined that Batman fans would get
the sort of films like the three we got from Team Nolan. For that – and not all the cool stuff BOF has allowed me over the years – I must say, again, THANK YOU to ALL those
responsible. - Bill "Jett" Ramey"

THE DARK KNIGHT RISES -- starring Christian Bale, Tom Hardy, Anne Hathaway, Michael Caine, Gary Oldman, Morgan Freeman, Joseph Gordon-Levitt and Marion Cotillard -- available on Blu-ray Combo pack, DVD and for download 12/4/12!

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