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The Dark Knight (Two-Disc Special Edition + Digital Copy) by Christopher Nolan (Director-Cowriter )
Review by Charles Mohapel
Warner Home Video DVD  ISBN/ITEM#: B001GZ6QDS
Date: 09 December 2008 List Price $34.98 Amazon US / Amazon UK

Links: Wikipedia - The Dark Knight / IMDB.com - Hans Zimmer / Wikipedia - Fulton Surface-To-Air Recovery System / Show Official Info /

I would call Batman Begins a stroll on the dark side in comparison to The Dark Knight. While Henri Ducard/Ra's Al Ghul is amoral evil and The Scarecrow uses chemicals to foster fear, The Joker is psychotic chaos incarnate. He is the walking equivalent of an incendiary grenade with a loose pin in a room full of 55 gallon drums of gasoline - he performs random acts of violence with no sense of rhyme or reason. My favorite line of his is one spoken to a badly burned Harvey Dent lying in Gotham General Hospital: "I'm like a dog chasing a car - I wouldn't know what to do with it if I caught it."

Disc 1:

    Anti-piracy commercial featuring Bogie in Casablanca
    Whether you're a fan of Humphrey Bogart or Casablanca or both, I think you'll agree with me that this is one of the best and most entertaining anti-piracy commercials you've ever seen.

    Promo for WB titles on Blu-ray

    Promo for Batman Begins on Blu-ray

    Promo for Batman: Arkham Asylum videogame

    Promo for Watchmen (Release Date: 6 March 2009)
    I've seen a number of teasers for Watchmen, the film directed by Zack Snyder (300) and based on the groundbreaking graphic novel created by writer Alan Moore, artist Dave Gibbons, and colorist John Higgins, and frankly, I can't wait to see it on the silver screen.

    Anti-smoking PSA from California Department of Public Health with support from the Entertainment Industry Foundation

    The Dark Knight

Disc 2:

    Batman - Gotham Knight (animated feature from Warner Premiere chronicling Batman's journey to being the Dark Knight). Described on the DVD as "6 Interlocking Films - 6 Celebrated Directors - 1 Groundbreaking Masterpiece", this animated feature takes places after Batman Begins, but before The Dark Knight. While I don't know how many people caught the teaser with the Joker's "business card" (a Joker from a deck of playing cards) at the end of Batman Begins, but we know that Batman will have to fight fire with fire to defeat the Joker.

    The Dark Knight Motion Picture Soundtrack by Hans Zimmer & James Newton Howard - the CD, the Vinyl, the Special Edition with 3 Collectors Cards
    Who said "Vinyl is Dead?" True audiophiles will choose the soundtrack on vinyl, collectors of soundtracks will likely choose the CD, and compleatists will likely choose the Special Edition with 3 Collectors Cards for their collections.

    Special Features:

      Gotham Uncovered: The Creation of a Scene
      - The Sound of Anarchy
      Composer Hans Zimmer is brilliant and has a distinguished body of work dating back to 1984. This includes a wide range of films such as Rain Man, Twister, Black Rain, Driving Miss Daisy, Bird on a Wire, Thelma & Louise, A League of Their Own, The Lion King, Crimson Tide, The Rock, The Prince of Egypt, The Thin Red Line, Gladiator, Pearl Harbor, Black Hawk Down, Madagascar, Batman Begins, The Da Vinci Code, Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man's Chest, Pirates of the Caribbean: At World's End, Kung Fu Panda, The Dark Knight, and Madagascar: Escape 2 Africa. (Source: IMDB.com)

    I had previously seen Zimmer being interviewed in the bonus material on Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man's Chest and Pirates of the Caribbean: At World's End and he comes across as being the kind of artist you could actually sit down and have an intelligent, immensely entertaining conversation with.

    Here Zimmer says that every time he thought he was too far near the deep end, Chris Nolan would push him farther. All in all, this was a brilliant but disturbing feature. (6:25)

    - The Evolution of the Knight
    A really great feature on the evolution of the Batsuit and the Batpod, as well as shooting the film entirely in IMAX. Wanting to redesign the Batsuit to be more flexible and allow Christopher Bale to be able to turn his neck instead of having to turn his entire his torso to see to the side, Christopher Nolan and the Powers-That-Be chose to incorporate the desire to modify the Batsuit. We see that the Batpod is far more than an updated Batcycle on steroids - it's an agile, ultramobile self-propelled antiaircraft battery on wheels. If you've ever seen a film shot in IMAX, you know how impressive the final result is. Choosing to shoot The Dark Knight entirely in IMAX makes sense and gives the audience a real treat.(17:35)

    The Dark Knight IMAX Sequences

      - The Prologue (6:23)
      - Hong Kong (3:51)
      - The Armored Car Chase (8:28)
      - The Lamborghini Crash (7:56)
      - The Prewitt Building (7:22)
      - The Dark Knight (2:42)
    This collection of six sequences is one of my favorite segments on the DVD. I especially got a chuckle during the "Hong Kong" sequence where Batman has grabbed Lau, the Chinese mob accountant and both are extracted using "Skyhook". "Skyhook" actually does exist and is the nickname for the Fulton Surface-To-Air Recovery System developed by inventor Robert Edison Fulton, Jr. for the Central Intelligence Agency in the early 1950s. It is still being used today by the US Air Force and US Navy - in fact I saw it used in an episode of The Unit this season. (Source: Wikipedia)

    Gotham Tonight

      Episode 1: Election Night
      Episode 2: Billionaire Without A Cause
      Episode 3: Escalation
      Episode 4: Top Cop
      Episode 5: Cops and Mobsters
      Episode 6: Gotham's White Knight
      I can sum this up in two words: "Talking Heads"

    The Galleries

      - Poster Art
      - Production Stills

    Trailers

      - Trailer 1
      - Trailer 2
      - Trailer 3

    Digital Copy

I really liked the Two-Disc Special Edition + Digital Copy version of The Dark Knight for all the bonus features, as well as the Digital Copy for viewing on another device like a laptop, iPod Touch, or MP3/video player. While I can't say that all the bonus features excited me, some of them succeeded in making my pulse race, while others made me laugh.

The Dark Knight (Two-Disc Special Edition + Digital Copy) is an excellent movie, particularly in this version, but I wouldn't recommend watching it with younger children since I expect parents will have great difficulty explaining the character of the Joker to them.

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