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A Few Words About A few words about...™ The Dark Knight Rises -- in Blu-ray (1 Viewer)

Robert Harris

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As I make notes on Blu-ray discs, I abbreviate titles. This one worked out simply to DNR. Fortunately, I'm not seeing any here. The Dark Knight Rises is an unusual film for 2012. Shot totally on that stuff with the holes on the side -- and using virtually every format available today -- 35mm Panavision, 35mm VistaVision, with some sequences in IMAX 65/15, and others in Panavision Super 70 65/5... All courtesy of DP Wally Pfister. This is fodder for an extraordinary Blu-ray presentation. I missed the film theatrically, but caught it for the first time on one of the industry screeners in Blu-ray. That presentation, which was gorgeous as to its imagery, and with huge uncompressed audio that can rattle the best audio system, got me to wondering. That presentation had no menus, no warning screens... nada. Just the film, which meant that data throughput could be cranked. How would the final Blu-ray release available to the home theater crowd, handle all of this high density imagery, along with the requisite menus, etc? I've now had a chance to compare. The answer is: perfectly. Even at 165 minutes, never does Warner Bros. allow the quality to wane (no pun intended) for a single frame. Resolution, which in many cases in off the boards, black levels, gray scale, color, densities... All absolutely gorgeous. When the aspect ratio changes to 1.78 (IMAX), there is an absolute and visceral uplift in quality, that must be seen to be believed. I'm aware that some who are set up to run standard height scope have a problem with this, but I'd be content, based upon the quality here, to run the film in 1.78 and just go with it. Not certain whether I should be commenting on this release as one of the final of 2012 or (as I've seen it) earliest of 2013 to be absolute Reference Quality in every regard, but the point is made. I have no doubt that Blu-ray as a format can do no better than what one will see on The Dark Knight Rises. Image - 5 Audio - 5 Very Highly Recommended. And at a $25 street price, one of the bargains of the season. RAH
 

Stephen Brooks

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IMO, there is so much IMAX in this movie that it sort of defies logic why they didn't shoot the entire movie in that format. Surely it wasn't a matter of budget. The Dark Knight felt like a scope movie that occasionally opened up to IMAX, Rises feels more like an IMAX movie that occasionally compresses down into scope. Obviously not what they were going for, but that's how it feels to me. There are also a few of the 35mm shots that seem almost shockingly bad. In particular, the one where Lucias and Bruce are exiting the elevator into applied sciences.....I remember in the theater being taken aback by how fuzzy this shot was. There also seems to be more than the usual amount of "anamorphic distortion" around the edges of scope shots. I normally don't even notice things like that when watching movies, but it seemed really obvious here. Maybe my eyes have just become more sensitive after a year or so of every movie being shot with Reds. But then, I prefer the look of Batman Begins to either of the sequels. Hopefully for next year's Ultimate Trilogy or whatever edition, we get an awesome new transfer with more detail but without messing with the original (and perfect!) color timing .
 

SD_Brian

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Stephen Brooks said:
IMO, there is so much IMAX in this movie that it sort of defies logic why they didn't shoot the entire movie in that format. Surely it wasn't a matter of budget.
It is explained in the bonus features on DKR (DNR isn't quite accurate) that the decision to shoot all of the dialogue-heavy scenes in non-IMAX format was because the IMAX cameras make so much noise that the production audio would have been unusable and the actors would have had to loop everything, which would have negatively affected their performances.
 

Persianimmortal

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Stephen Brooks said:
The Dark Knight felt like a scope movie that occasionally opened up to IMAX, Rises feels more like an IMAX movie that occasionally compresses down into scope. Obviously not what they were going for, but that's how it feels to me.
Agreed, that's how it was for me as well. I didn't see it in the theater, so the BD was my first viewing of the film. It just felt like a random variable aspect ratio movie, rather than one where it periodically opened up to IMAX for "moments of grandeur" as it were. Otherwise no complaints about the Blu-ray's quality. The movie itself was unsatisfying for me. I loved Batman Begins, enjoyed The Dark Knight, but The Dark Knight Rises just didn't rise to the same level emotionally. It's not the so-called "plot holes" that some point to, as I prefer to think of them as being part and parcel of Nolan's highly stylized storytelling method. It's not the ending either, I was fine with that for the most part. I just didn't feel the tension or get involved with any of the characters throughout this movie.
 

Robert Harris

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SD_Brian said:
It is explained in the bonus features on DKR (DNR isn't quite accurate)
Am aware. Simply what I use for notes. One that I use quite a bit is SOAP.
 

Carlo Medina

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Shot totally on that stuff with the holes on the side
Wait, Epic RED cameras have holes in the sides? :D Count me in as another who is glad that films are still being shot on...film. And what a great one Nolan & Co. put out to show that the medium is still alive and kicking! :tu:
 

Dave H

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I thought this disc looked very film-like. I really wish the first two movies looked the same. :(
 

Kris Deering

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What has always baffled me is why Nolan didn't decide to shoot all of the non-IMAX scenes with 70mm instead of 35mm. It would have matched better and it shouldn't have had the noise issues. I don't think it would have been budget issues either since I'm pretty sure the budget for this stomps the budget for The Master into the ground. I just think it would have made things a bit less jarring throughout. I also wish he would have edited the different scenes a bit better, there are more transitions from one format to another intercut in this one that makes consistency akward than we had with TDK. It plays more like the back and forth from Transformers 2, which would come in and out of the IMAX format during some sequences too much.
 

JoshZ

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With The Dark Knight, Nolan had limited ability to use IMAX, and saved it for scenes that would make the most use of it (i.e. action scenes and establishing shots). With Dark Knight Rises, he basically chose to use IMAX for any shot where he could feasibly get a camera into the location and that wouldn't prevent the actors from acting. (Hard to emote in a subtle dialogue scene when a giant box as loud as a lawnmower is blaring three inches from your face.) There were no other artistic or even logical criteria for which shots would be IMAX and which wouldn't. That's why the movie regularly flips back and forth from one format to another within scenes, even for shots of no particular visual interest.
 

Dave Vaughn

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Kris Deering said:
What has always baffled me is why Nolan didn't decide to shoot all of the non-IMAX scenes with 70mm instead of 35mm. It would have matched better and it shouldn't have had the noise issues. I don't think it would have been budget issues either since I'm pretty sure the budget for this stomps the budget for The Master into the ground. I just think it would have made things a bit less jarring throughout. I also wish he would have edited the different scenes a bit better, there are more transitions from one format to another intercut in this one that makes consistency akward than we had with TDK. It plays more like the back and forth from Transformers 2, which would come in and out of the IMAX format during some sequences too much.
Totally agree Kris.
 

Bryan Ri

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Thank you for your review, Mr. Harris. I agree, the sound on this disc is absolutely superb. I am very surprised that TDKR did not receive any nominations for any sound related categories. What was your take on the movie itself? Before reading your review last night I had actually just re-watched the movie earlier in the day for the first time in about a month. I am a huge fan of the Nolan take on the character and found that his third act was incredibly moving, particularly the last 45 min to hour.
 

Billy Batson

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I saw this again last night, only on DVD (borrowed from my local library). I didn't make much sense of it at the cinema & it still don't know what's going on, but I suppose you have to have seen the previous film. It looked better than it did at the cinema, but I thought the faces were very ruddy, sometimes yellow (esp. the first third). They don't seem to use a lot of fill light these days. There's a scene where the young cop (the future Robin) is talking to Bruce Wayne in Bruce's big old house. Robin is wearing a black (or dark) t shirt & coat, but it's mostly one black blob, but the thing is, he's sitting in front of a BIG window, & it's daytime!
 

Robert Harris

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Bryan Ri said:
Thank you for your review, Mr. Harris. I agree, the sound on this disc is absolutely superb. I am very surprised that TDKR did not receive any nominations for any sound related categories. What was your take on the movie itself? Before reading your review last night I had actually just re-watched the movie earlier in the day for the first time in about a month. I am a huge fan of the Nolan take on the character and found that his third act was incredibly moving, particularly the last 45 min to hour.
I found the film involving, and at tines confusing. Somehow, I had linked the Gotham prison with the other. Some motivations questionable. Problem with ole Harvey? Blow up the world. Destroy a stadium. Was that game into five innings? Who won?
 

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