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The Dark Knight Rises (2012)
Warner Home Video
Blu-ray Disc Released: 12/4/2012
All Ratings out of
Review by Mike Long, Posted on 11/30/2012, Updated 12/22/2017
The Dark Knight Rises available on Blu-ray Combo pack, DVD and for download 12/4!
For me, the summer of 2012 will always be known as the season of disappointing super-hero movies. The Avengers finally fulfilled the promise of having multiple comic book characters in one movie, but then it placed the heroes in a battle which looked like something from aTransformers movie. (And yes, I'm saying that like it's a bad thing.) The Amazing Spider-Man took my favorite hero and placed him in a story which lacked heart and offered a ludicrous villain. However, the most disappointing of all was The Dark Knight Rises. The hype surrounding the movie was palpable and it had a lot to live up to. While it may have seemed unlikely that any movie could have met those demands, the movie which we got was still surprisingly mediocre.
The Dark Knight Rises opens eight years after the events ofThe Dark Knight. Following the death of Harvey Dent (Aaron Eckhart), and the story concocted by Police Commissioner James Gordon (Gary Oldman) that Batman (Christian Bale) was responsible, crime in Gotham City has decreased and the streets are safer than ever. Feeling that the services of Batman are no longer needed, Bruce Wayne (Bale) has become a recluse who never leaves his mansion. Two events occur which force Wayne out of hiding. First, cat burglar Selina Kyle (Anne Hathaway) steals a cherished necklace from Wayne during a party. Secondly, Gordon is hospitalized after pursuing thugs into the sewer. Rumors begin to circulate that a mercenary named Bane (Tom Hardy) has come to Gotham City and that he's amassing an army. By the time Batman emerges from the shadows, Bane's plan has already been put into place. Using one of Wayne Industries weapons, Bane takes the city hostage and Batman will now face a challenge which will push him to the limits, both physically and mentally.
OK, I know that I'm in the minority here, but I really found The Dark Knight Rises to be huge let down. I admired what Director Christopher Nolan did inBatman Begins, and while it was too long, the scope and majesty of The Dark Knight is undeniable. And while The Dark Knight Rises is even longer than The Dark Knight, it appears that with this new film, Nolan both bit off more than he could chew and also rested on his laurels.
Before I launch into my issues with The Dark Knight Rises, I do want to say that the movie isn't complete failure and it does some things right. For starters, Michael Caine had better get an Oscar nomination for his role as Alfred. While's Alfred's on-screen time is limited in this entry, Caine brings a truckload of emotion (really, the only emotion in the film) to his performance and he helps to maintain a human face on the story. The plot twist presented in the third act is genuinely surprising and very effective. While Selina Kyle is never referred to as "Catwoman" in the film, Costume Designer Lindy Hemming introduced a ingenious idea by having Selina goggles become cat ears when she places them on her head. The action in the finale is exciting and "The Bat" is cool looking. The stunts are top-notch and the movie is beautiful at times.
Yes, the film is technically sound, but it really suffers in the story and pacing department. As with The Dark Knight, the screenplay for The Dark Knight Rises is credited to Christopher Nolan and his brother Jonathan Nolan, based on a story by Christopher Nolan and David Goyer. The whole thing feels like the Nolans took ideas from The Dark Knight and Batman Begins and simply expanded on them. For example, whereas The Joker took Gotham City hostage for a day, The Dark Knight Rises sees Bane taking over the city for weeks. The chase between Batman and the police reminded me of the one in Batman Begins, but it simply wasn't as exciting. Wayne's appearance at the charity ball mirrors his arrival at the hotel in The Dark Knight. While Christopher Nolan is often inaccurately lauded as being original, this movie simply feels like a greatest hits of the other films.
The Dark Knight Rises stumbles even more in the places where it tries to do something new. It would be nearly impossible to present a villain who could top The Joker, but going with Bane was a mistake, especially as he's presented here. In the comic books, Bane uses a super steroid to give himself strength and he wears a mask reminiscent of a luchadore. Here, we simply get a big guy wearing a Darth Vader-eqsue mouthpiece which makes him sound like James Mason on autotune. Bane is incredibly banal and he's never interesting, either in his look or his personality. The plane hijacking in the film's opening is a masterpiece of stuntwork...until you realize that none of it made any sense and Bane could have easily gotten what he needed without all of the theatrics. The movie really suffers in the second act when Gotham is under siege. I can't believe that anyone was still engaged in this movie when it suddenly split into two films, one Midnight Express and the other Escape from New York (adding more fuel to the argument that all modern films have their roots in the works of John Carpenter). This part of the movie becomes excruciatingly slow and tedious, further driving home how dull Bane is. Speaking of which, Bane's plan of liberating the people of Gotham while also holding them hostage borders on silly. The third act also features some staggering lapses in logic, such as how Bruce Wayne gets back to Gotham City and how "The Bat" can suddenly fly 360 miles per hour.
I went into The Dark Knight Rises with high hopes and emerged with those hopes dashed. While the movie probably couldn't have lived up to the hype, but it had no right to present us with a boring movie. This is not the way in which the beloved "Dark Knight Trilogy" should have ended. And speaking of the ending, the promise of a possibly new franchise seems a bit misguided given that Warner will most likely insist that Batman appear in the all but greenlit "Justice League" movie. As an action movie, The Dark Knight Rises is serviceable. As the final part of this series, it is a swing and a miss.
The Dark Knight Rises apparently has a back door to Gotham City of which only Bruce Wayne is aware on Blu-ray Disc courtesy of Warner Home Video. The film has been letterboxed at 1.85:1 and 2.35:1 and the Disc contains an AVC 1080p HD transfer which runs at 25 Mbps. The dialogue scenes are framed at 2.35:1, while the action scenes were shot in IMAX and shift to a 1.85:1 framing. Some may not notice this, but I found it very distracting. The image is very sharp and clear, showing no overt grain and no defects from the source material. The picture is extremely crisp and the daytime shots look as if you could walk into them. The picture has a nice amount of depth, as the actors are clearly delineated from the backgrounds. The image carries a nice amount of detail and we can make out textures on objects. The Disc carries a DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 track which runs at 48 kHz and an average of 4.0 Mbps. The track provides clear dialogue and sound effects. From the opening scene, we get a plethora of surround and stereo effects. The sound is very crisp and detailed and we can often pick out distinct sounds. The stereo separation is quite good and we truly feel as if we are in the middle of the action. The subwoofer effects are very intense, almost too much so at times. Overall, this is a nice technical package.
All of the extra features for The Dark Knight Rises are housed on the second Blu-ray Disc. "Ending the Knight" is divided into three sections with no PLAY ALL. "Production" is divided into twelve sections with no PLAY ALL, so this title is already well on its way to being the worst Blu-ray Disc release of the year. As the title implies, these segments examine the actual shooting of the film, examining every big scene and the major sets in great detail. We get a lot of on-set footage here, as well as comments from Christopher Nolan and various members of the crew. "Characters" is split into three sections which examine Bruce Wayne/Batman, Bane, and Selina Kyle. The actors and the Nolans discuss how Wayne has evolved over the three films and how the two new characters contribute. "Reflections" allows those involved in The Dark Knight Rises and the entire trilogy to take a look back at the films and the stories, and to also talk about the importance of using IMAX in making the movie. "The Batmobile" is a 58-minute documentary which explores the history of Batman's car. Beginning with the earliest DC comic books, the pieces explores how The Batmobile has evolved over the years. With the 1960s television series and the feature films, we get interviews with the designers and the directors of the movies. "Trailer Archive" offers four TRAILERS for The Dark Knight Rises and what do you know, it does have PLAY ALL. "Print Campaign Art Gallery" offers 31 movie posters from the film.
On December 19, 2017, Warner Home Video released The Dark Knight Rises on 4K UHD. The film has been letterboxed at 2.35:1 and the Disc contains an HEVC 2160p transfer which runs at an average of 60 Mbps. The image is very sharp and clear, showing no notable grain and no defects from the source materials. The colors look very good, most notably blues, and the image is never overly dark or bright. The picture is well-balanced and doesn't show the fluctuation from light-to-dark which hamper some 4K UHDs. The image shows a great level of detail, as we can make out textures on objects. The depth looks good as well, making the actors appear separate from the backgrounds. The video is certainly an upgrade from the Blu-ray Disc. The Disc carries a DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 track which runs at 48 kHz and an average of 5.0 Mbps. The track provides clear dialogue and sound effects. While the bitrate is higher than the audio found on the previous Blu-ray Disc release, one can't help but wonder why this release doesn't have a 7.1 or Dolby Atmos track, as one would find on most 4K UHD releases. As it stands, but the audio is certainly good, but not great. The subwoofer effects are notable, as they punctuate each explosion, gunshot, and roar of the Batmobile. The action sequences deliver detailed surround sound effects, and the stereo effects highlight sounds coming from off-screen. Again, the audio isn't bad, it's just not what we would expect on a 4K UHD.
The Dark Knight Rises 4K UHD contains the same extras as the previous release.
Review by Mike Long. Copyright 2012.