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HTF DVD REVIEW: Batman Begins: Limited Edition Gift Set



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#1 of 6 Ken_McAlinden

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Posted July 08 2008 - 02:18 AM

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Batman Begins: Limited Edition Gift Set

Directed By: Christopher Nolan

Starring: Christian Bale , Michael Caine, Liam Neeson, Katie Holmes, Gary Oldman, Cillian Murphy, Tom Wilkinson, Rutger Hauer, Ken Watanabe

Studio: Warner Brothers

Year: 2005

Rated: PG-13

Film Length: 140 minutes

Aspect Ratio: 2.4:1

Subtitles: English SDH, French, Spanish

Release Date: July 8, 2008

The Batman Begins: Limited Edition Gift Set is first and foremost a re-packaging of the Batman Begins: Deluxe Edition 2-Disc DVD which was released on October 18, 2005. That edition is included in the gift set box shrink wrapped with the exact same cover and disc art. The only thing missing is a comic and cardboard slipcase that were part of the packaging for that title. As such, rather than re-tread old ground, I will dispense with the part of my review focusing on the film and DVD presentation and simply refer you to Herb Kane's excellent assessment of the Deluxe Edition available in our review archives at this link..

Packaging and Additional Extras

In addition to the extras found on the Deluxe Edition DVD, the box includes a number of physical extras as well as a DVD with a brief promo. They are all encased in a thick box made of thin cardboard. Here are the details:

A card that slips inside the box and is visible through a matte cut out of the front features a 3-D Lenticular rendering of the cover art. The image has been altered slightly by adding a few more swarming bats on the upper right side to increase the 3-D depth effect.

Exclusive 2-Minute Sneak Peek of "The Dark Knight": This is a DVD packaged in a separate square cardboard slipcover. The promo runs two minutes and sixteen seconds and is presented in 4:3 letterboxed video with Dolby Digital 2.0 mono sound (yes, you read that right - mono sound). It consists of about 85% footage that has already appeared in other trailers, but it does offer the first public glimpse of the Two-Face make-up with a ¼ profile over the shoulder of the character's defaced cheek. This is not the Dark Knight Prologue that is included exclusively with the Blu-Ray releases of the film.

Movie Money to see The Dark Knight in theaters worth up to $7.50.

A 128 MB Flash Drive loaded with eighteen high resolution promotional images from "The Dark Knight". Most of the images are sized in the neighborhood of three megapixels. (e.g. 2100 x 1400 pixels). Four reproductions of posters are more than ten times that resolution. One of the images has a toll free phone number discretely placed on it that will lead you to a pre-recorded message from Aaron Eckhart in character as prospective District Attorney Harvey Dent which will in turn refer you to his mock-political web page.

The tiny black USB flash drive with the Batman logo is inserted in a bulky piece of clear plastic that is intended to fill up the space in the box and keep the contents from shifting around. This actually makes the thin cardboard exterior susceptible to crushing, so if you are interested in this set and picky about your cover condition, I would recommend either purchasing it at a brick and mortar store where you can confirm that the packaging is intact, or making sure you choose an e-tailer who is meticulous about how they package their materials for shipping.

Five postcards with unused key-art from the film are included. They are joined together along perforated edges and folded accordion-style. All five are less graphically interesting than the promotional art that was finally chosen for Batman Begins, including the two images which were used for the one disc and two-disc DVD cover packages, but its nice to see what else they were considering.

There has been some consumer confusion about the contents of the standard definition (SD) DVD gift set reviewed here versus the content of the Blu-ray Disc (BD) gift set released on the same date. They do not include exactly the same contents. The flash drive and the "Sneak Peek" DVD are exclusive to the SD gift set. Exclusive to the BD gift set are two booklets, one including an all-new DC Comics comic book adaptation of The Dark Knight Prologue and another with exclusive photos, script pages, and storyboards. Both the standard and gift set BD releases includes some exclusive on-disc content not available on standard edfinition releases including The Dark Knight Prologue and a picture in picture commentary carried over from the previous HD DVD release.

Summary

I cannot recommend this gift set for "bat-fans" who already own the 2-Disc Deluxe Edition of Batman Begins. While everything from that excellent edition is reproduced here, the additional materials are somewhat underwhelming and largely promotional in nature, meaning they will lose most of their value to viewers once the sequel, The Dark Knight hits theaters. Packaging is a bit unwieldy, and the sparse two minute promo that is the only additional video supplement is presented in 4:3 video with mono sound. If you have not yet gotten around to picking up the 2-disc Deluxe Edition, then you may want to opt for this set if you could use $7.50 in movie cash for The Dark Knight and a 128MB USB flash drive.

Regards,

Ken McAlinden
Livonia, MI USA

#2 of 6 Tim-H.

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Posted July 08 2008 - 08:46 AM

Picked this up today, somehow I "didn't get the memo" about the Prologue being Blu-ray only. Oh well, I've pretty much decided to give Nolan & Co. all the money I used to fork over to Lucas. Thanks for the review!
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#3 of 6 Ken_McAlinden

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Posted July 08 2008 - 08:53 AM

Quote:
Originally Posted by Tim-H.
Picked this up today, somehow I "didn't get the memo" about the Prologue being Blu-ray only.
The press releases were confusing (although they were accurate if you read them very carefully), and review copies were held back until a day or two before street date since WB did not want the "prologue" or "sneak peek" leaking out too early.

Regards,
Ken McAlinden
Livonia, MI USA

#4 of 6 Tim-H.

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Posted July 08 2008 - 09:12 AM

Understandable - and of course the Prologue on SD could be ripped, etc.
Having seen the Prologue at IMAX, I can scarcely wait to see all of DARK KNIGHT. Until then, I'll just enjoy my sneak peak in glorious mono!
Thanks again.
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#5 of 6 MarcoBiscotti

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Posted July 08 2008 - 11:26 AM

These sound like the most worthless extras ever and the lamest reissue from the studio so far.... a lenticular replica of the cover art?? a bonus disc for a promo trailer?? a usb drive??

what's next a coffee mug, shower cap, gas card?

#6 of 6 Joseph J.D

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Posted July 08 2008 - 02:28 PM

I purchased the Blu-ray version and I am somewhat unhappy that they do not include the flash drive and sneak peek disc. Considering that the BD version is more expensive, it should contain everything don't you think? Why couldn't they have released this like they did the Dirty Harry collection in which there were no format specific extras and everyone is happy? Really boneheaded move on Warner's part. Posted Image
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