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'The Dark Knight Rises' Blu-ray/DVD Review

The final chapter of Christopher Nolan's Batman saga is now available and we've got a review of the Blu-ray to give you insight on all of the extra features.

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Chances are you have already seen The Dark Knight Rises, but if you haven't and you've been waiting for the film's Blu-ray release, you'll be happy to find that it comes jam-packed with tons of special features. And if you've already seen the movie a dozen times in theaters, the Blu-ray might just be enough stuff to make you want to buy.

The Blu-ray combo pack of The Dark Knight Rises doesn't just come equipped with the film both on Blu-ray and DVD, but it also gives viewers a closer look at everything from the characters that appeared in the movie, to a break-down of the different scenes and how they were constructed.

The Dark Knight Rises Blu-ray really delves beyond the whole "making of" aspect of the film and gives perspective on the by digging deep not only into how the film was made, but also digging into the character of Batman and his evolution through the years.

With this look at the Blu-ray, we won't necessarily delve into the aspects of the movie since we previously posted a review of the film when it was released in theaters (you can read that HERE if you haven't already). Instead, we'll be focusing on the special features to help you determine whether this is worth the purchase for you as a fan of the Christopher Nolan film and the character.

== TEASER ==

Special Features

The Batmobile (58:17)

This section dives into the relationship between the man and the machine. Christopher Nolan, Adam West, Tim Burton, Joel Schumacher, Dan DiDio, Dennis O'Neil -- these guys sit down and give viewers a glimpse at the behind the scenes in the making of the Batmobile not only in the Christopher Nolan films, but the Batmobile through the ages and across all types of media.

The hour-long feature opens with the car that was initially introduced in 1941 by Bill Finger and Jerry Robinson and goes on to explain the importance of the Batmobile to the Batman mythos by elaborating on the evolution of the Batmobile in all forms of media; it delves into what the Batmobile represents and how often the changes made to it often coincided with the different interpretation of Batman's character across all realms of entertainment.

For example, the Batmobile we saw in the Adam West television show inspired the change made to the car's design in the comics. As comics evolved, and Batman's character was interpreted in different ways, so did the Batmobile evolve and change with the times. It's a great look at the step-by-step process of how each Batmobile was created for film and how the car changed with the man.

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Ending the Knight

This section contains a lot of short clips that focus on specific scenes we see in the film, essentially breaking them down and showing viewers how each scene was constructed, story-boarded and filmed. How do you make a crowd of ten-thousand people in a stadium look like eighty-thousand people? Why did the creators of the film choose to build real sets as opposed to shoot and CG much of the film's backgrounds? What are the advantages (and disadvantages) of creating a movie like The Dark Knight Rises? Christopher Nolan and the film's producers answer these questions and more, expanding on the what and why of the decisions made to create a movie like TDKR. The following is a list of the different segments included in the Blu-ray with a short description of their focus.

-Production 12 parts Prologue:

  • High-Altitude Hijacking (7:52) Skyjacking scene done with as little CG as they were allowed.
  • Return to the Batcave (3:37) About building a massive set since Nolan likes to shoot from every possible angle.
  • Beneath Gotham (2:34) Huge sets built again.
  • The Bat (11:08) Batman's flying vehicle. Find out what went into making it work.
  • Batman Vs. Bane (6:07) Putting Batman to the test. He hasn't met his physical match in the other films. We see all the people involved in making the fight look like Nolan would want and have it work.
  • Armory Accepted (3:19) Dropping the Tumbler in the set. The scene was prepared and shot to match the scale model.
  • Gameday Destruction (6:44) How they blew up the football stadium. Getting the stadium filled, blowing up the field, etc. This is a great feature if you've ever wondered what went into making that scene happen.
  • Demolishing a City (4:15) More about how Nolan doesn't like to use CG and wants everything to look real.
  • The Pit (3:04) Creating the set for the underground prison.
  • The Chant (5:19) Where does Bane's evil come from? The chant was part of a ritual around his escape. The decision of using voices in a musical score is something that isn't done too often.
  • The War on Wall Street (6:40) Describing how the scene went down.
  • Race to the Reactor (7:52) Creating the chase scene with the Tumblers and bikes. Practicing the stunts and setting up some of the CG effects.
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  • The Journey of Bruce Wayne (8:53) Competing the story of Bruce Wayne. Showing the consequences of being Batman.
  • Gotham's Reckoning (10:05) Creating the look of Bane. Cool look at the different types of masks that were considered. There's some explanation as to why the final mask looks the way it did. You also find out where the accent came from.
  • A Girl's Gotta Eat (9:26) The reason for Catwoman. She allowed Batman to have a connection with someone. Now he has someone other than Alfred for human connection. There's a description on her costume being more practical versus sexy. There's a reason for every part, like the high heels, etc.


  • Shadows & Light in Large Format (5:37) More on making the movie look as epic as it does. You don't think about how there is a focus on the mood and color of the scenes and the care they have to take when bright colors are involved. There was also mention ok making the movie work in the IMAX format.
  • The End of a Legend (9:04) Making the characters feel real. Designing the sets and wardrobe. We get to hear from those involved in making the trilogy happen.

Trailer Archive

Four different trailers

Print Campaign Art Gallery

31 different banners and posters used for the movie.

Second Screen App

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Sometimes when you buy a DVD or Blu-ray there will be an option to view the film with creator commentary; that is sort of what this Second Screen App allows you to do. You can download the free Dark Knight Rises FX app onto your smart phone or tablet and as the movie runs, you can see behind-the-scenes notes and shots for the movie without pulling you completely out of the film.

For example, in the prologue scene where the plane is highjacked, you can see pictures of the models and how they performed the stunts rather than use CG. There are trivia notes and storyboard shots as well. This feature walks viewers through the creative process and deconstructs the way the film was created. Yet, if you want everything all one one screen, you can do that, too. With the Second Screen App viewers can choose to either sync the app to the movie or the movie to the app depending on whether you want to check out a particular scene.

Your device has to be on the same wi-fi network as your BD-Live-enabled Blu-ray player. Some of the scenes that support the Second Screen App include the scene during the mayor's speech about Harvey Dent where viewers can see a letter with the actual speech. Also, when some of the characters make their first appearance in the film, viewers will have the option of exploring further by clicking on an image and seeing a brief bio.

All in all, you get more than just two copies of a movie when you purchase The Dark Knight Rises on DVD and Blu-ray. If you opt for the "combo pack" you don't just receive the final installment of Christopher Nolan's Batman trilogy, but you get the creator commentary and a closer look at how the movie was made. The combo pack also included UltraViolet, which allows the viewer to stream the film across a variety of platforms (smartphones, computers, tablets), so when you buy the combo pack, you're not just buying it for DVD and Blu-Ray, you're buying it for your phone or tablet, too.

Beyond all this what you're also getting is the opportunity to also explore Batman's character and discover how Nolan created the film. Why did the director often opt to utilize real sets as opposed to CG? What did he have to do in order to create a movie at the scale of The Dark Knight Rises? Who designed the Tumbler and why not name it the Batmobile? Chances are that if you had questions during the film, you just may find your answer among the 90 plus minutes of behind-the-scenes footage for The Dark Knight Rises as part of the combo pack's special features. Having said all this, even someone who didn't love the film will likely enjoy all the cool stuff that comes in this neat little package.

The Dark Knight Rises is now available on Blu-ray, DVD and for digital download. If you're into the Twitter hash tag thing, you can follow updates under #TheDarkKnightRises.