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Review of the BATMAN BEGINS DELUXE EDITION DVD
Tuesday, October 4, 2005, 12:00 AM CENTRAL TIME
Author:
Jett

BATMAN BEGINS is a fantastic movie and I consider it to be the best “superhero” based film every produced. "What a newsflash," you are probably thinking. As it has been said many times by several reviewers, it is not just a great “comic book” movie, but a great film in general. So how does it translate to DVD? More on that later. I’m sure that the real reason you are reading this review is because you want to know how good the bonus material is included on the 2 DISC BATMAN BEGINS DELUXE EDITON.

Well, I’m here to tell you that the bonus material is good. There are some things missing that I wish were included - like commentaries from Nolan and co. and deleted scenes. But there are none. The reason for this is that Nolan and Goyer talk at length about the project in the Disc 2 features, so perhaps they thought that commentaries would be redundant. But overall, I don’t think anyone will be disappointed.

What I will do for you here in this review is to begin with a break down of bonus material (Disc 1), provide a quick review of the film (Disc 2) on DVD, and end with a grade for DVD package as a whole.

DISC 2 is set up like an interactive comic book (see examples below) with images from what I believe is the official comic book adaptation. When you click on a name or picture and it lights up, you know that you have found one of the features. Simply click on it and watch. There are a few “Easter Eggs” to find and you know you have discovered one as this feature starts with a note saying “Finders Keepers” - just like the note Rachel placed in Bruce’s birthday gift in the film.

Let me now take a quick look at each of the features:


© Warner Home Video, all rights reserved.

THE JOURNEY BEGINS

This is a very detailed account of just how the project came to be. It features interviews with director Christopher Nolan, screenwriter David S. Goyer, producer Charles Roven, and star Christian Bale among others. It is the story of how the path of BATMAN BEGINS literally began in Chris Nolan’s garage and then moved to Iceland, the U.K., Chicago, and eventually to the big screen.

The story is an interesting one. Director Christopher Nolan found out that Warner Bros. was interested in reviving the BATMAN movie franchise and quietly hired screenwriter/director David Goyer to pen the first draft. Nolan and Goyer secretly met in Nolan’s garage and began to hammer out the screenplay. Production designer Nathan Crowley joined in and began the creating conceptual designs of the things we ended up seeing in the film - like Gotham City and “The Tumber.”

CAPE AND COWL

The contents of this section are pretty obvious - it is about the Batsuit used in BATMAN BEGINS. Basically, we get an inside look how the suit (all parts of it) was created from concept to production.

THE TUMBLER

Again, an insider look on the creation of the new Batmobile. A lot of shots from the film accompany this section.

PATH TO DISCOVERY

That training fight between Bruce and Ducard on ice - it was real. Bruce climbing the mountain in a snowstorm - real. Great section about filming on location in Iceland.

SAVING GOTHAM CITY

This feature focuses on the Monorail sequence at the end of BATMAN BEGINS. This is one of the best bonus features on the DVD. It was amazing how real they made that sequence look and it was actually done with miniatures, cgi, and green screen.

There also “confidential files” on each of the main characters, broken down by allies and enemies. Here, we learn of some of the “inside scoop” on each character that one may have not have known by simply watching the film. Files are found on Gordon, Rachel, Alfred, and Lucius Fox - the allies. As well files on Ra’s Al Ghul, The Scarecrow, and Falcone - the enemies. Secret files also are included to provide details of Batman’s weaponry, including the utility belt, grappling gun, batarangs, etc. The downside here is that this is all text - no video whatsoever.

One particularly cool aspect of the DVD extras were stills of the various one-sheets, billboards, and ads used to promote the film domestically and overseas. In addition, concept art for one-sheets, ads, and billboards that were not used are also revealed.

One can also pop the DVD-ROM into a computer and play a demo of the BATMAN BEGINS mobile game. Various weblinks are also included - most of which were are already available online and/or head back to the Warner Bros. and BATMAN BEGINS websites.

The deluxe edition also includes an “exclusive collectible” 72-page comic book featuring three stories. DETECTIVE COMICS #27, the very first story featuring “The Bat-Man” by Bob Kane and Bill Finger. “THE MAN WHO FALLS,” a classic Batman story by Denny O’Neal and Dick Giordano that influenced BATMAN BEGINS. And finally, the first chapter of THE LONG HALLOWEEN by Jeph Loeb and Tim Sale - yet another strong influence on BATMAN BEGINS.

DISC 1: BATMAN BEGINS

What else can I say? BATMAN BEGINS is a great film and the best live-action BATMAN film yet produced. I'm not going to go into a long, re-hashed review of this film - it is just as good on DVD as it was on the big screen. (If you would like to read my full theatrical review from June of 2005, CLICK HERE.) I found the sound (DOLBY SURROUND and DOLBY DIGITAL) excellent and obviously it is enhanced if one watches it with a home theater system. The DVD languages include 5.1 English and 5.1 French. Subtitles are provided in English, French, and Spanish. Running time for the film is 140 minutes and is rated PG-13. The deluxe version is presented in a letterbox widescreen format preserving the scope aspect ratio of what you saw at theaters. It is also enhanced for widescreen TVs.

One thing that might disappoint is that there are no extra footage from the film included. This would have been nice, but in all fairness, what was filmed was in the movie. Very little was left out, just as Christopher Nolan has said. So don’t expect to see any outtakes, bloopers, alternative scenes, etc. It does have “TANKMAN BEGINS,” a spoof of BATMAN BEGINS with (Jimmy Fallon and “Napoleon Dynamite” played by Jon Heder.) that was shown on MTV - and which is pretty damn funny. The full theatrical trailer is also included on Disc 1.

By far, the positives outweigh any negatives by a large margin. In fact, the negatives are few and far between. Not including a commentary track and any of the deleted scenes are a bit of a bummer. I’m sure that at some point - probably around the time the sequel hits the big screen - another “special edition” of BATMAN BEGINS will be released.

Overall, I rate this entire Deluxe Edition an A- and proclaim it to be a definite must-have for all Batman fans.

So, what are y'all waiting for? CLICK HERE TO BUY!

"Jett" is the creator and editor-in-chief of BATMAN ON FILM and ON-FILM.NET.

DVD SPECS:

2-DISC DELUXE EDITION with Movie Adaptation Comic Book
Exclusive collectible 72-page comic book from DC Comics(TM)
-- Detective Comics #27 -- The very first Batman story.
-- "Batman: The Man Who Falls" -- A classic story that inspired "Batman Begins."
-- "Batman: The Long Halloween" -- A chilling excerpt that also inspired the film.

Lots of other special features include:

-- "Genesis of the Bat": Batman incarnations from the mid-1980s to the present.
-- "The Journey Begins": Creative concepts, story development and casting.
-- "Shaping Mind and Body": Fighting style.
-- "Gotham City Rises": Production design.
-- "Cape and Cowl": The new Batsuit.
-- "The Tumbler": The new Batmobile.
-- "Path to Discovery": Filming in Iceland.
-- "Saving Gotham City": The monorail chase sequence.
-- "Tankman Begins": A spoof on "Batman Begins."
-- Confidential files character/weaponry gallery.
-- Still gallery of design ideas developed to market the movie.
-- "Batman Begins" mobile game and DVD-Rom* weblinks.

SINGLE DISC EDITION:

-- Theatrical Trailer.

BASICS:

-- Street Date: October 18, 2005
-- Languages: 5.1 English, 5.1 French
-- Subtitles: English, French and Spanish
-- Running time: 140 minutes
-- Rating: PG-13
-- DLBY/SURR DLBY/DGTL (CC)

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