Rebecca L. from LOVINGTON, NM Reviewed on 1/12/2011...
I enjoyed watching this movie. It had very little of the things that I usually don't like about action movies, like excess profanity.
0 of 2 member(s) found this review helpful.
Lewis P. (Turfseer) from NEW YORK, NY Reviewed on 10/24/2010...
Convoluted plot and lack of humor sinks overlong exercise in self-indulgent nastiness
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
Unlike their first entry in their Batman series, the Nolan brothers juxtapose their comic book characters against a well-lit Chicago urban backdrop—they seem out of place in the real world and would have been much more at home in a make-believe noirish setting.
The opening scene urges us not to take any of the antagonists seriously. As a bank robbery unfolds, the criminals end up double-crossing one another, shooting one another in the back. Only Health Ledger's Joker is left standing, collecting all the proceeds from the robbery. From the outset, the Joker faces no obstacles and appears almost omnipotent.
The next thirty minutes consists of a series of very slow-moving expository scenes. There's a clash between mobsters and a few Batman wannabes show up (The leader of the wannabes is later captured by the Joker and in a repugnant scene is tortured in a video clip shown on the evening news). Cut to Bruce Wayne's 'Bat Cave' which looks more like a concrete bunker fitted with large high definition computer screens (so much for the neat old Bat Cave!). Michael Caine as Bruce Wayne's affable butler has little to do except impart pithy advice to his boss. Then there's the relationship between DA Harvey Dent and his girlfriend Rachel, who Bruce has an interest in (the love triangle never seems to develop).
After Dent invokes RICO laws, the mobsters agree to allow one of their own, Lau, a Chinese Mafia accountant from Hong Kong to hold all their cash outside the US where the DA can't get his hands on it. Wayne then makes his way to Hong Kong where Batman manages to break into Lau's impenetrable skyscraper, kidnap him and return him to the DA where he's placed under arrest. Of course, this sideshow has nothing to do with the main plot which involves the Joker approaching the mobsters and agreeing to take half their cash in exchange for killing Batman. After the bosses refuse to go along with the Joker's proposal, one of the bosses, Gambol, puts a bounty on the Joker's head. The Joker then gains easy entry into Gambol's lair in a body bag, only to jump out and then kill the hapless criminal by slashing his throat with a knife (the point is made that the Joker is a sadist and the Nolans appear to congratulate themselves by emphasizing that fact over and over again without regard for good taste or an economical narrative).
The rest of the film's extremely convoluted plot mainly concerns the Joker's efforts to eliminate his nemesis, The Dark Knight. The Joker declares if Batman doesn't reveal his identity, people will die each day until he decides to act. When the Police Commissioner and Judge presiding over the mob trials are assassinated, the public blames Batman. DA Dent concocts a plan to draw the Joker out by claiming that he's The Dark Knight. As Dent is transported in an armored car, the Joker attacks but is captured by Batman aided by Lt. Gordon who is soon promoted to police commissioner as a result of his heroic efforts in capturing the Joker.
We never see how it happens but Dent and Rachel disappear and soon turn up as hostages at a warehouse. Batman gets a little rough with the Joker in jail and it's revealed that some corrupt police officials (they seem to be all over the place) were the one's who kidnapped the DA and his girlfriend. It turns out that one of the Joker's associates who he was imprisoned with has a cell phone implanted in his chest (don't know why he wasn't put through a metal detector) and when the phone rings, there's a huge explosion and the Joker and Lau both escape. Batman is able to save the DA but is unable to rescue Rachel. Despite surviving an explosion Dent's face is maimed and now he becomes the second villain of the movie, 'Two Face".
The unlikeable Joker proves even less charming when he declares he has no interest in money and torches Lau who is tied up in a warehouse on top of a giant pile of cash. Then in the most ludicrous part of the movie, the Joker visits Dent in the hospital and convinces him to take revenge on all the corrupt people responsible for Rachel's death. How the good guy DA could morph into a sinister criminal so easily just proves how silly the whole story is (instead of honoring his girlfriend's memory, he too conveniently becomes a bad guy!).
The finale features a bunch of convicts and upstanding citizens held hostage on two separate ferry boats. The boats are rigged with explosives (how did they get on the boats undetected?). Each person on the ferries have the ability to set off the explosions but out of the goodness of everybody's hearts, no one can bring themselves to act.
Finally, in the most distasteful scene in the movie, Dent attempts to kill Commissioner Gordon's son by throwing him over the side of a building. The killing of a child is not something that should be shown in a story that's supposedly taken from a comic book.
Despite the absurd, overlong plot, The Dark Knight wouldn't have been so bad if the filmmakers didn't take themselves so seriously. Did they really have to rehash their point ad infinitum—that criminals are sadistic? Somehow a little humor could have humanized all the comic book characters and made the film a lot more enjoyable. Instead, the Dark Knight is an example of lazy screen writing where there is no interest in explaining one implausible event after another.
1 of 3 member(s) found this review helpful.
Danielle T. (sugarkane) from FITCHBURG, WI Reviewed on 12/14/2008...
This was honestly the best movie I've seen all year! Actions sequences are excellent! The script offers a dark and probbing look at the Batman story. Heath Ledger was incredible as the Joker, and the rest of the cast did great too. A must see!!!
4 of 7 member(s) found this review helpful.
The Dark Masterpiece Surpasses the Hype
Justin Heath | Fort Erie, Ontario, Canada | 10/11/2008
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Christopher Nolan has a vision. And whether you agree with it or not, he undeniably completes it in "The Dark Knight"--a vicious, engrossing, overwhelming, intelligent event- film that re-defines 'comic-book-flicks'. In Nolan's grim, dark-depiction of Gotham-City (the crime-ridden hell protected by legendary superhero Batman), the director strives to make everything real (something he began in the well-received "Batman Begins"). He makes it plausible, possible. And yet there's more to it: just as 'Begins' was a dissection of myth, the nature of symbols and heroes, 'Knight' is the escalation of that notion. It's a biblical- confrontation of 'good-and-evil', yet as 'good-and-evil' really exist: a conflict of ideals, something that can't be purely-defined but that is relative to a viewpoint. In Nolan's world, the line of villainy and heroism isn't crossed... it's non-existent. The bad-guys don't see themselves as bad-guys, and as such something so unnervingly-real comes across it might fly past some people's minds (no insult to anybody, it's just common that people don't look deep into 'popcorn-flicks'): the battle is a complete ambiguity.
The film runs at nearly 2.5-hours, yet never ceases to lose interest or momentum. It doesn't waste a scene or moment; every event is utilized and necessary. 'The Dark Knight' tells a story worth telling and it takes the proper amount of time to tell it. Action-sequences are frantic, old-school, eye-grabbing stunts (vastly superior to 'Begins') and in their chaotic intensity we see that they serve purpose to the story, yet more interesting are not played for pure entertainment-value: we are meant to watch, petrified, simply hoping that the outcome will go the hero's way. Attention is never lost because we are immersed in a breathtaking, almost completely-unpredictable story (it packs many a shock), that makes us think and more importantly gains our emotional-investment. We come to care for the characters, because they are believable, developed, and personified fully.
Everyone has great-chemistry together. Maggie Gyllenhal is a more mature Rachel Dawes than Katie Holmes. Morgan Freeman provides his authoritative presence to the role of bad- gadget-inventor/Wayne-Enterprise CEO Lucius Fox, and under anyone else's portrayal, the part would be less-memorable. Gary Oldman underplays his world-wearied lawman with such honest-nobility, you never feel for a second any of its forced-acting. The irreplaceable Michael Caine makes a gentle, reassuring, father-like presence as Alfred, and the movie would surely fail without his strong-presence and interjected-moments of light-humor.
And while everyone (rightfully) pours the praise unto Bale and Ledger, I think most are glancing-over Knight's breakout-performance. As Harvey Dent, Aaron Eckhart does more than hold himself in the company of such a renowned-cast. He makes his presence known, whether he's playing on the easy-going charisma of Gotham's 'White-Knight' or the broken and damaged, twisted-soul of Two-Face. He achieves a full-impact with the tragedy that comes unto his character, and so closely connects with Dent, that he makes his pain tangible for us: we sympathize even as we become terrified. He captures both facets of each personality flawlessly.
Now, some people cite that 'Knight' has a potential fatal-flaw in the supposedly wooden- acting of Christian Bale. Admittedly, his development is not as grand as in 'Begins' (yet that film gave us such a good psychoanalysis of Wayne, we hardly need more), yet what Bale pulls off is admirable. Wayne is not an eccentric personality. He is a disillusioned man who can hardly find any joy in having no family, giving up his love-interest and spending his life fighting a battle that may never end. He's dark and conflicted, and Bale plays up on that brooding-mood by making Wayne look as though a thousand dark-things were on his mind. He's not wooden...he's a humorless, quiet individual. Even when Wayne is acting as a frivolous playboy for the public, every now and then Bale offers us a powerful glance that reminds us its all a façade; that deep down, something more disturbed irks him. Occasionally he offers a broken-smile when exchanging banter with Alfred, letting us know that beyond the dour depression of the Caped-Crusader lies a damaged human-being. It is only in the guise of a growling masked-man, that he can unleash his true, ferocious personality.
Finally, who could forget Heath Ledger. Now, when he was first-announced for the part, I was (along with many other people) asking myself: "Why?". Mr. Ledger had proved with 'Brokeback Mountain' he could deliver a potent performance. But he hadn't before. It is only, after seeing this film, that I know the answer to 'why?': I see the significance of his loss.
When Heath appears in this movie, he is completely unrecognizable. His voice is distinctly-altered; a near-whiny, pedophile-like tone that sends shivers down the spine. His face is completely splattered with makeup that renders him both freakishly-nightmarish and strangely-funny. And when you see him, you don't think it's him. In this, his final performance, Ledger proved he was a chameleon. His two iconic performances in this, and 'Brokeback', could not be more different. I am convinced he could have been anything in his career. He commits so intensely to character that the line of actor/portrayal dies. His every tick and gesture only further-enhances his character. Heath never hams the role up or goes for something cheap: he delivers a fully-immersed display of psychotic madness...or do we just label him that to feel safer? The movie writes the character brilliantly; blending terrifying truth into his every social-accusation, and making us question why we laugh at his sick-jokes.
'The Dark Knight' has had an incredible-amount of hype running for it, from the get-go, mounting ever-higher, until Heath Ledger's too-soon death. And the finished-product does more than exceed all of the near-impossible expectations placed on it. It becomes something much richer than a super-hero-franchise-saga. Christopher Nolan has opened a new door in cinema: allowing action-flicks to become more serious, capable of intelligence. He has transformed this into a piece of artwork, full of beauty, terror, moral-conundrums. This movie has changed things...forever.
There's no going back. 10/10"
Great Film - Buy the Single Disc Version!
Victor Belagosi | Park City | 12/09/2008
(5 out of 5 stars)
"What has been said about the Dark Knight cannot be elaborated on - so I won't. The film is muscling its way into my #1 favorite comic movie adaptation of all time.
The reason for my review is in hopes of saving you some money. This double disc Special Edition doesn't deliver the price you pay for it. There isn't even deleted scenes!!! I would save your very hard earned dollars and buy the single disc version and wait for the inevitable ULTIMATE re-release that will come later on down the road.
But nonetheless, a great film - you will not be dissapointed; I just wish the studio would have given a better Special Edition release than what we have here. So enjoy!"
The DARK KNIGHT Returns for Gotham City's Soul....
Woopak | Where Dark Asian Knights Dwell | 07/20/2008
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Rarely has a film left me speechless, much less a comic book inspired film. Christopher Nolan's rendition of the DC comic character has. "THE DARK KNIGHT" may well be the best comic book film I have ever seen. Christopher Nolan, along with Jonathan Nolan has crafted a screenplay of nearly unbelievable proportions. The duo has taken the "Batman" mythos and has turned it into their own; what results is a film that captures the essence of the comic book and combines it to a truly gripping and engaging psychological crime drama-action-adventure. You heard that right, a psychological crime drama and an adventure.
I'll get right to the point, you don't need to read any reviews, (including this one) just watch this film. It stomps Burton's rendition of the caped crusader to the ground and MAY well eat "Batman Begins" for breakfast, lunch and dinner; all the more evolving the concept of Gotham City's "Dark Knight".
Still here, no trust? Ok then, here we go...
Gotham City is the battle ground. The mysterious "Batman" has the crime element by its ear. Harvey Dent (Aaron Eckhart) is an incorruptible force in court and Lt. James Gordon (Gary Oldman) has his special unit to combat crime. Seems like a good time to be in Gotham, doesn't it? Wrong. A mysterious "Joker" (Heath Ledger) has surfaced and seemed poised to take Gotham's soul by creating mass hysteria and chaos. Gotham's population is at the mercy of this madman--and what does he want? To prove a point.
Christopher Nolan has impressed me before, with his films; "The Prestige" and "Memento". But never as much this time around. The director has abandoned the idea that "Batman" has to have a comic book feel. The film goes for the comic book's soul. Nolan is armed with a near flawless script that exudes the spirit of Gotham City as well as its Dark Angel. If there are any holes in it then I cannot see it. The movie is unstoppable, the direction it went is awe-inspiring that it nearly gave me goose bumps. The movie not only portrays the usual Batman vs. Joker main event, it also defines the meaning of the word "hero" as well as the morality that surrounds the idea.
"The Dark Knight" has a lot of characters and the film develops each one. No one is a plot device, everyone has a purpose in the screenplay. Heath Ledger gives the performance of his career (Rest in Peace, Heath) and trumps Nicholson's portrayal. Ledger's "Joker" is very reminiscent of the Joker in the comic book "The Killing Joke". The maniac is not after money, he has no grand scheme but he wants to prove a point. This Joker isn't joking around, this villain is frighteningly twisted, maniacal and homicidal. Ledger performs as if he saw the adage: "Crazy people don't know they're crazy" and brings all to bear. There's no "origin" as to where he came from, although his past is suggested by his quippy remarks. The Joker will remain an enigma in this film, and I think it's a very smart move to do so. Christian Bale is still a great Bruce Wayne and as his cowled alter-go. Bale changes his voice to a raspy one when he is Batman. Aaron Eckhart is an intriguing Harvey Dent, the district attorney is charismatic, heroic and the embodiment of Gotham's hope, until he--well, has a very bad day. Yes, Two-Face makes an appearance and not to worry, the character won't be one-dimensional.
The film's success is that the plot has attained a life of its own. The characters can breathe and everything has a purpose. The film's main premise is not limited to our two nemeses. Even Gotham City itself has become a character in the movie as well as its inhabitants. Gotham is portrayed as a melting pot of chaos and disorder and one nudge towards the wrong direction may unbalance the city's moral fiber. Yes, the film has its bit of morality in it and explores the decency of everyday folk. Before, in "Batman Begins" James Gordon and Bruce's lost love Rachel (played this time by Maggie Gyllenhaal) embodied this idea, but the concept is more widely expressed this time around. The Joker's target is the soul of Gotham and never more has the stakes been this high. The Mantle of the Bat is by itself a separate entity from Bruce and the concept is even given more depth, just what it means and what it is.
The movie still has the tank-like Batmobile and a newer version of a Bat-cycle or in this case, a "Bat-Pod". The mantle of the Bat has undergone some updates to make it lighter but for me, it looked bulkier. Tim Burton's rendition of the Bat-suit may have the edge over this one but none are more accurate than the Bat suit in the fan film: `Batman Dead End". If the film had a fault, is that the fight sequences need some smoothening up. They're not bad, it's just that it's not as hard-hitting as I would've liked and the camera work needs to hang back a little bit so the audience can see the fight a little more. The action sequences itself are exciting, the movie does have some very cool car chases which are intense and adrenaline-pumping; further complemented by Hans Zimmer's very powerful soundtrack. The proceedings have that somber but intimidating "dark" feel that the film's cinematographer needs to be commended. The visuals are great, the CGI doesn't look they're CGI at all.
There are cleverly placed bits of humor that help the film's pace. Alfred (Michael Caine) supplies the sarcasm that is reminiscent of his character. The sarcastic exchanges between him and Wayne give a lot of depth to their relationship. Morgan Freeman reprises his role as Lucius Fox and his character has a humorous exchange in sarcasm with a Wayne Enterprises employee. Fox also serves a significant role as a man who serves as Bruce's conscience almost as much as Alfred. Even "The Joker" adds some twisted bits of black humor--"I have a magic trick..", boy, what a way to add an exclamation point to his character. The bits of humor help the film balance its darkness towards its gripping build-up to its end game.
BATMAN is a dark character and he is arguably the most interesting character in DC's line of comic books. The man is an enigma and very mysterious. Obsessed? Crazy? a Genius? This man is an urban legend and Nolan and company has successfully represented all these factors. Ledger's performance may have taken the spotlight since this is his last film and he does somewhat steal the show from Bale--from Bale not the character itself.
I'm not exactly sure how Christopher Nolan will be able to top this film. The promise of things to come and its climax has such an impact the way everything was structured through its storytelling. Comic book fans have a reason to rejoice, the director has taken the Batman myth to new heights. "The Dark Knight" is epic, deliciously exciting, unforgettable, groundbreaking, scary and manages to put the audience in the middle of the struggle between Gotham's Dark Knight and his arch-nemesis; The Joker. The film is very sincere and precise in its execution.
HIGHEST POSSIBLE RECOMMENDATION! [5-Stars]
This review is Dedicated to the Memory of Heath Ledger.
Batman channels Plato's Republic
Marmez1@aol.com | Los Angeles, CA USA | 07/23/2008
(5 out of 5 stars)
"First of all, this is a GREAT film, not just a great Batman film.
Others have compared Christopher Nolan's two Batman films to the Tim Burton Batman films, so I won't repeat their observations. Let me simply say that everything about this movie, from the script to the casting to the CGI to the acting and ultimately the directing is superb.
Now to Plato. The meta-message of The Dark Knight is a meditation on the nature of good and evil, the veneer of civilization, the virtues of principle and the necessity and the danger of bending principle in emergencies, the differences between evil for gain or power and evil for mere destruction and chaos, and the tension between public duty and private loyalty. Finally there is the question of the place for facts and the place for "sacred" myth.
(Caution: this review refers to specific scenes and characters.)
The mafia in Gotham is evil for gain and power. They want money and they want influence. They also want order. When the manager of the bank objects to the robbery he complains that the usual rules and courtesies among criminals are being violated. The corrupt police officers are evil for gain as well. They too need general acceptance of rules and procedures.
The Joker is evil for evil's sake. He sows chaos and disorder and wants to expose the thin veneer of civilization. He seeks only to unmask what he sees as contradiction and hypocrisy in human nature and to demonstrate that so-called good citizens are really evil underneath.
Scarecrow, who was featured in Batman Begins and has a minor role in the drug bust scene in The Dark Knight, is a deranged psychiatrist whose evil comes from desire for power over others as he uncovers the weaknesses in the minds of others.
The Mayor is out for power but does not resort to evil. Police Lieutenant James Gordon represents incorruptible good. This is ultimately stressed when Gordon must make a choice between public duty and personal relationship. Batman faces that same dilemma when he must decide whether to rescue Harvey Dent or Rachel Dawes. Likewise, the passengers in the ferries must choose between what they are told will be personal survival and the deaths of others, in another of The Joker's nefarious experiments. When the Wayne Industries accountant is about to reveal the identity of Batman, The Joker announces that the accountant must die, and citizens try to assassinate him. Personal safety trumps adherence to the good sometimes, but not all times.
Batman seems weaker than The Joker because he adheres to rules. The Biblical injunction, "Justice, justice shall you pursue," has been understood as demanding that justice be pursued justly. Evil, especially evil for its own sake, makes no such demand. We see this every time terrorists deliberately target innocents and hide themselves behind children knowing that those in pursuit will not purposely aim at innocent bystanders. This gives evil a huge temporary advantage.
Yet sometimes the good must bend and even break the rules. Abraham Lincoln suspended the right of habeas corpus during a critical interval during the Civil War. Batman asks Lucius Fox to preside over such a broken rule to locate and catch The Joker. When and how can we know when good can break rules to catch evil? Batman answers by creating a mechanism to restore the rules as soon as the crisis is over.
Alfred Pennyworth indirectly poses the question, "Knowing that evil, if attacked, will double its efforts and create even more destruction, is it really wise to go after evil?" The bad guys cause huge destruction after Batman and Gordon squeeze the mafia, creating enormous conflict and guilt in Batman. But without disturbing the hornet's nest, evil would prevail anyway. So the battle must be joined in any event.
Harvey Dent is extremely complex. He berates Gordon for compromising his police unit by accepting some corrupt officers to his staff. Gordon answers by claiming that sometimes those who know corruption can be the most effective in fighting it. Dent is identified as the "White Knight" whose public persona will rally the public against evil. But Dent himself participates in an untruthful diversion to help trap The Joker. Even he compromises good for the sake of fighting evil.
When Rachel and Dent are being held in danger Batman and Gordon each race to save them. Batman declares he is going to save Rachel but is tricked into going to Dent's location. Rachel dies and Dent is severely injured. In a brilliant make-up creation the right side of Dent's face remains normal and the left side is severely and dramatically changed. He has physically transformed from a White Knight into his derisive nickname, "Two Face." Reminiscent of Jekyll and Hyde, Dent's nature is now permanently divided.
The death of Rachel has destroyed Dent's belief in good and has dissolved his commitment to the public's welfare. Now he only thinks of his own personal pain and loss. But he is not a creature of pure evil. His hurt and grudge turn him into a near nihilist. The lucky coin with two heads has been transformed. One side is now ruined and becomes for him the oracle of ethics. Life and death depend solely on chance; solely on the flip of a coin.
Furious at Gordon for the actions of the corrupt police officers in Gordon's unit who betrayed Rachel, Dent finds Gordon's wife and children. Recognizing that Gordon's young son is dearest to him, Dent demands that Gordon reassure the son as Dent flips his coin to decide the boy's fate.
Batman, for whom good and evil, life and death, are not decided by chance, intervenes. In their fight Dent and Batman both plunge to the ground from a height. Batman survives and tells Gordon that the myth of Dent's goodness must become the rallying point for the city. Dent remains the White Knight, while Batman allows himself to become The Dark Knight, spurned by the public, identified wrongly but necessarily as the source of evil, who can then secretly work for the good. Only Gordon and his son know the true story behind this myth. Gotham thus gets the hero it deserves.
The Joker is captured but his fate is left hanging, literally and figuratively. We do not even know for certain whether Dent died, or unconscious, has survived his fall. All we know for sure is that the complexity of fighting evil and the compromises permitted for good are unsolved. Civilization continues but only barely. The Joker has destroyed Rachel, transformed Dent, and caused everlasting turmoil and doubt within Batman.
The need to resort to myth over facts after arguing previously for the absolute value of Truth, ends Plato's Republic, with the famous story of the myth of the cave. We too are left in the dark, in the company of The Dark Knight, at the end of this superb film.
We can only wonder what the sequel might have been, with The Joker and Two Face challenging Batman, had Heath Ledger survived.
Speaking of Heath Ledger I want to mention a few things about his performance as The Joker. There is a small pantheon of presentations of psychiatrically deranged individuals in film. Among the best are Olivia Thailand in Snake Pit, Gregory Peck in Spellbound, Jack Nickelson in One Flew Over The Cuckoo's Nest, and Heath Ledger in The Dark Knight. Ledger's perhaps surpasses them all.
For those with a psychiatric or medical background like myself, the use of his slight head tics and the seemingly random movement of his tongue suggest that The Joker has been in a psychiatric institution and medicated with drugs that left him with a case of tardive dyskinesia, a rare but serious and irreversible movement disorder that can be a side effect of certain psychotropic medications. This touch, which I believe was meticulously and masterfully added to the portrayal by Ledger, makes The Joker both more convincing and more dangerous.
I am told that Ledger immersed himself in The Joker's state of mind before and during the filming. It is not unknown for an actor to have difficulty extricating himself from such a wrenching and demanding role. Joaquin Phoenix and Faye Dunaway have each spoken about this as they worked to emerge from Johnny Cash and Joan Crawford. If this was so for Ledger then The Joker got an undeserved bitter laugh while we have only tears.
Addendum July 23, 2008: One of The Joker's henchmen must have gotten into my spell checker to change Olivia De Havilland into Olivia Thailand. Sorry for that.
I want to expand on one point distinguishing Batman from Dent. When The Joker reveals the locations of Rachel and Dent, Gordon asks Batman which location he is going to. Batman says Rachel's but I believe he is aware of The Joker's double crosses and switches, and knowingly goes to Dent's location. That Batman expresses no surprise at finding Dent rather than Rachel confirms this view. Bruce Wayne would have rescued Rachel but Batman, a true hero, puts his public duty above his private preferences.
After Rachel is killed Dent loses his sense of public duty and loses faith in goodness. Batman, equally in love with Rachel and equally convinced she will marry him, retains his public duty and goodness, though he is burdened with grief and guilt. Perhaps a White Knight cannot endure crushing disappointment. Perhaps only a Dark Knight, who has already experienced the crushing loss of viewing the murders of his father and mother, and holding himself responsible for that tragedy, can make his way through darkness without losing his way.
A final note, in response to a commenter who took issue with my portrayal of Gordon as incorruptibly good, I agree that Gordon made pragmatic choices, and refer to them in the essay. But as a person he is beyond bribery and never loses sight of his duty to the citizenry. So how about personally incorruptible but one who made some seemingly necessary but ultimately unwise alliances."
DO NOT BUY 2-DISC "SPECIAL" EDITION DVD - MAJOR RIPOFF
Leif Fellague | Albuquerque, NM USA | 12/29/2008
(2 out of 5 stars)
"There is nothing more to be said about this movie - probably the best superhero film ever made, with a mesmerizing performance by Heath Ledger as the embodiment of chaotic evil - this is a 5-star DVD if ever there was one. But there is a LOT to be said about this awful, feature-free, completely inadequate 2-disc set.
On Disc 1, the movie itself provides no alternative soundtracks, no director/cast/technician commentary, no "music only" version, no alternate versions, no deleted scenes, nothing. You may as well watch it on Amazon Unbox given the utter absence of extra features.
On Disc 2, things get much, much worse. There are exactly two mini-documentaries - one on the design and implementation of the new Bat-suit and the quasi-motorcycle Bat-pod, one on the evolution of the Joker's "theme sound" for the movie soundtrack. Both are interesting as far as they go, but in the immortal words of another Warner Brothers hero, "That's all, folks!" Everything else on the disc is worthless. I'll list here and you can decide for yourself:
- A gallery of movie posters, production stills, and trailers. The posters and stills are not even presented full-screen - pathetic.
- IMAX scenes - The major action set pieces for The Dark Knight were filmed in IMAX, which I had the opportunity to see for myself at an IMAX theater. The effect in the theater was interesting - when the action took off, the somewhat over-sized widescreen image suddenly exploded into full IMAX. But what exactly is the point of this feature on DVD? It's NOT IMAX, obviously, so all we're really seeing is how these scenes looked in their original IMAX-style framing (which is, um, pretty close to 3:4 "full TV screen", kids) before being trimmed down to the "widescreen" format of standard movie screens and newer televisions. I guess this "feature" might be of interest to fanatics who worry about what they missed at the top and bottom of the screen during those scenes, but to the rest of us, this is a complete snooze-fest (unless you just like the idea of watching all the action scenes back-to-back).
- "Gotham Tonight" - the most inexplicable feature of all is this collection of 6 episodes of the fictional "Gotham Tonight" show featured throughout the movie as background and/or commentary on the action from the perspective of local TV news. Not sure where these came from, or why they were produced, but whatever value they might have had as "deep background" (if that is indeed why they were made), in this context they're just DVD shovelware.
Folks, THAT IS *IT*. The above is *everything* on Disc 2. Not even a *mention* of the late Heath Ledger, much less the sort of documentary a lot of us would love to see, perhaps featuring recollections of cast and crew about how he created the character that made it onto the screen. Given this, the fact that the picture used to label Disc 2 is a close-up of the Joker's face just adds insult to injury.
I share the opinion of many other customer reviewers I've read here - this is clearly a holiday season rip-off, a quick-and-dirty scheme to rake in a few extra bucks from unsuspecting clods like me who expected WB to release a package worthy of this great movie. Instead, what we have is an insult to the fans and the film makers. Save your money and get the single disc if you must, but better still wait for the proper "deluxe edition" that's sure to come next year. As it stands, the current "special edition" is really, really sad.
UPDATE: I hope we ARE getting a true deluxe edition of this movie on DVD, but you might want to take a look at the product description of the Blu-ray disc. Apparently, WB has decided (at least so far) to save all the decent supplemental material for Blu-ray customers. There's no technical reason for this - a 2-disc DVD set has all the capacity needed to carry the extra documentaries, etc., included on the Blu-ray edition.
Blu-ray and its flaky BD+ anti-piracy technology have given many of us pause. 1080p's nice, but not if it doesn't work, and until I'm convinced that the dust has settled on the stability and compatibility problems, I'm sticking with DVDs (assuming I still have a choice). If WB's handling of "The Dark Knight" is a harbinger of things to come, if the studios are going to try to force us to buy Blu-ray by needlessly withholding material from DVD editions, the most significant effect may just be to kill the "deluxe" DVD business. I know that from now on I will wait to read some detailed reviews to see if "special edition" DVDs are worth the premium before buying - no more pre-orders!"