The Dark Knight Christopher Nolan

The Dark Knight Christopher Nolan
Batman Begins sequel The Dark Knight - the game-changing superhero movie that busted box office records and brought both a realism and heightened terror to the genre - is naturally catnip for geeks eager to explore the insane world created by writer/director Christopher Nolan. Commentaries, a tribute to Joker actor Heath Ledger (whose death cast a pall over the film's release), an extensive making-of that details the film's complex production and design, as well as numerous other treats are sure to energize the film's fan base. Problem is, this initial two-disc offering gives us none of those things. Because they don't exist? Surely not. Because they're saving those extra elements for a multi-disc super-version to be released mere months from now? Bingo. As a stopgap first effort, The Dark Knight is a tease: sound design and some making-of elements (designing the suit and Bat pod) are included in a couple of short featurettes, and they're fine. However, the amount of attention paid to Nolan filming in the high-def big screen Imax process is largely useless as home theatre entertainment (just how big do they think my TV is?). The most entertaining element here is in fact the most peripheral: a series of "newsmagazine"-style shorts done up as real Gotham news. To see crime epidemics, Batman sightings and city politics from a news station point of view - even a fake one - is totally fascinating, and they're so well done they're indistinguishable from an episode of Inside Edition. It's that kind of attention to detail that makes this DVD so frustrating - clearly there are loads of this type of material available. That they're "double dipping" with consumer loyalties, assuming that fans eager for one more glimpse at "the pencil trick" will want it right away, is what makes this a disappointing first stab. Ledger - whose death receives nary a mention anywhere on this release - is just one participant who deserved better. Plus: production galleries. (Warner)