Blu-ray Review: Stellar Release For Epic ‘The Dark Knight Rises’

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CHICAGO – While a new Oscar bait release hitting theaters every week at this time of year as we work our way through films like “Zero Dark Thirty,” “Django Unchained,” and “The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey,” it’s easy to forget that one of the films long-considered a likely Oscar player came out months ago. The stellar three-disc release for Christopher Nolan’s “The Dark Knight Rises” is here to remind you. Blu-ray rating: 4.5/5.0
Rating: 4.5/5.0

As for the film itself, it looks incredible in HD, perfectly mastered for Blu-ray video and audio on a disc of its very own as the special features have been segmented to a second BD. The video quality is flawless here. WB has long led the way in HD transfers of recent theatrical releases but this may be their best to date. Certainly one of the best transfers of a 2012 film. So if you already know you like “TDKR” and want to recreate that theatrical experience, the Blu-ray comes damn close.

The Dark Knight Rises was released on Blu-ray and DVD on December 4, 2012
The Dark Knight Rises was released on Blu-ray and DVD on December 4, 2012
Photo credit: Warner Bros.

My feelings on Nolan’s film are still a bit conflicted. It’s an undeniably accomplished piece of filmmaking. Nolan is one of our most detailed and remarkable technical filmmakers. However, I still think he lost some of his storytelling skill here simply by extension of the importance of this film to his resume. The first word I think of when I consider “The Dark Knight Rises” is bloated. It’s a film that needed some finetuning in pacing and scope, particularly in the character of Bane, who would have been more powerful if he spoke half as often. I stand by most of what I wrote in my 4-star review in July although may even be closer to 3.5-stars on repeat viewing. It’s a good film that doesn’t compare to Nolan’s best.

StarClick here to buy “The Dark Knight Rises”

However, the Blu-ray release is still a beauty. The three hours of special features are segmented to cover various aspects of the film production with no Play All feature, a navigational commonality that often bugs me but they’re so focused that it works here. Sometimes Blu-rays cut up mini-featurettes with no rhyme or reason but the numerous featurettes bundled under “Ending the Knight” work. In one, you’ll learn about how much of that intense prologue was actually practical and not CGI. In another, you’ll learn about the design of the Bat Cave. They’re well-directed featurettes with illuminating interviews from most of the major players, including Nolan.

“The Dark Knight Rises” is one of the highest grossing films of 2012 and one of its most beloved. It will surely be one of the most-purchased Blu-rays of the holiday season and even if I was a bit disappointed in the film itself, the incredible HD transfer and enlightening special features (along with DVD and Ultraviolet versions of the film) should make for some happy Bat-fans this year.

“The Dark Knight Rises” stars Christian Bale, Marion Cotillard, Tom Hardy, Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Michael Caine, Gary Oldman, Anne Hathaway, and Morgan Freeman. It was directed by Christopher Nolan and released on December 4, 2012. content director Brian Tallerico

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I didn’t get a chance to see this movie in theaters and I’m glad I waited. The show was sold out three days in a row here. This wasn’t my favorite of the three that Nolan has directed: I prefer The Dark Knight. I felt as if this story had so many layers that it was a little hard to keep up. Then again that’s just my opinion.

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