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The Dark Knight BR


Dave C
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If any release deserves it own thread it's this highly anticipated disc. I know Dan has posted his impressions so perhaps a mod can merge his post into this dedicated thread.

 

Anyway, I'll be picking mine up tonight as I just found out that my local Blockbuster is doing a midnight release. I preordered with my store credit and I typically go to bed at 1:00-1:30, so I figured why not. Maybe there will be some swag. I'll definitely give the disc a spin when I get home.

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I made a few posts about it, but rather than having a mod dig them up and plonk them in here it's easier for me to post a summary of what I wrote two weeks ago – particularly now that I have managed to watch the disc two more times since then and have had further time to explore and reflect upon the release.

 

I still believe it to be a generally pleasing disc, let down only by the unfortunate decision to extract the whole transfer from an IMAX source. What this means, for those who didn’t catch what I had previously written, is that a fair bit of the 35mm footage which was artificially sharpened in order to try and help it hold up better on an eight story screen retains the artificially sharpened look here on the Blu-ray. Ideally they should have extracted the 35mm scenes from the 35mm source, and the IMAX scenes from the 65mm source… I knew back in July there was always a chance they’d take this approach in doing the HD master and it's a shame they didn't go a different way, but hardly a travesty.

 

Ignore the usual suspect at AVS who’d make you think this was another Gangs of New York. Grain retention still looks relatively accurate here for a modern day anamorphic production, and for the most part the image honours the film's photography. At its worst the image is, I suppose, reminiscent of the sharpening we’ve seen on some of Universal’s catalogue titles (like The Mummy where it is often noticable but rarely severe enough as to drastically rob the image of attributes one associates with film origination). The main thing people simply must realize is that the digital tinkering employed here was not done to the Blu-ray to please the masses, but is an unfortunate by-product of tinkering done for its actual IMAX theatrical release… and it IS unfortunate because we are talking about what is going to be the biggest Blu-ray yet released, for one of the biggest films of the year and of all time. I certainly won’t deny that I’m sad not to consider it amongst my top five discs of 2008.

 

Perhaps in three to five years Warner will give it another go, but with so many review sites deeming it perfection we'll have to see. It's certainly not perfection, but for now I think if you’re truly engaged by the film itself the digital artefacts will go relatively unnoticed - especially if you're seated at the correct distance in relation to your screen size (and I say this having seen it in IMAX twice where the sharpening and edge halos were staggeringly obvious on such a vast canvas, but still you can get too caught up to notice when you're that invested in the story).

 

My feelings were, and still are, that 75% of the disc ranges from good to excellent in the video department (with the IMAX shots/scenes obviously being at the top end of that scale) and the retention of the dual aspect ratios, despite the IMAX footage now being cropped rather tightly to 1.78:1, holds up as well as could be expected at home. If you have a light controlled environment the effect of the screen expanding vertically will be most dramatic as you really want it so the “black bars” are rendered invisible against the bezel of your screen and darkness of the room. I thought the sound was magnificent.

 

The featurettes on disc one are the only extras I considered to be worth watching – particularly if you’ve any interest in how they adapted the IMAX cameras for rigs that are not traditionally made to hold such cumbersome devices. Disc 2 is fluff, although everything including those amusing Gotham News broadcasts that Comcast did, is in HD.

 

In the end, what struck me most was just how much I continue to enjoy the movie, and how thrilling and well paced it remains even at home. On that basis I can't imagine any of you who loved the movie not feeling the same when watching the Blu-ray.

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I had no idea they were adding the IMAX footage onto the bluray. Thats cool.

 

It's actually the only the Blu-ray release is presented.

 

Whereas the IMAX footage itself - as seen in IMAX cinemas - is inherently 1.43:1 they've cropped it down to 1.78:1 for the Blu-ray in order to retain as good a sense of vertical expansion of the frame as possible (had they left the IMAX footage in its OAR here it would have looked horizontally smaller than the 2.39:1 35mm footage and defeated the intent of the IMAX shots/scenes being bigger so the Blu-ray a bit of a compromise, but an effective one I felt).

 

So the BD jumps back and forth between 2.39:1 to 1.78:1. In a darkened viewing environment - and I found this to be true watching it in IMAX venues over the summer as well - by the time the action reaches Hong Kong your brain seems to reach an acceptance point where it no longer registers the ratio shift as any kind of distraction. They put so much thought into which shots/scenes should be shot in IMAX that it just feels right when the screen is suddenly filled entirely (even for those establishing cityscape shots that last a matter of seconds).

Edited by Doctor Hoo
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Just finished watching the BD. The movie is just amazing as it was the first four times I saw it in the theater. I'm sure I'll watch it four more times by the end of the week too.:)

 

The IMAX stuff looks amazing. The regular 35mm footage also look rather good but as noted does suffer from EE on several occasions. I'm sitting at an optimal seating position from my 50in though and I have to be honest, it's really quite hard for me to notice (outside of two specific scenes) the EE unless I'm really looking for it. It's not the best the film could look but I have to agree with Daniel's assesment - it's a solid presentation and I'm just pig in shit levels of happy to finally have the movie at home.:rock:rock

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Watched it tonight. Just as amazing as it was the first time, if not moreso.

I dunno, I guess I'm not the most discerning viewer when it comes to transfers and picture quality, but I thought it looked beautiful on my three-week old 65" Mitsubishi WD-65735 DLP.

Its still hard to believe that's Heath Ledger as the Joker. Talk about disappearing into a part.

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Here are a few pictures of the Target Edition taken with the shitty iPhone camera.

 

casezz0.jpg

 

case1avy6.jpg

 

case1rq0.jpg

 

case2mg0.jpg

 

The mask case actually can stand on its own since the bottom corners are flat. The digital copy came in its own cardboard sleeve.

 

So far I have this and the Indy Blu Ray which came inside a photo album of pictures from the set of the film. That case is spectacular. Target is doing the exclusive Blu Ray stuff up nice. :)

 

-Dean-

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Personally I can't stand the special case for IM or Batman. I would avoid those plus they cost more $5. If they had extra content, I might reconsider.

 

Dan,

When I saw the clown figure, there did appear to be BR versions of that along with the other toy. The Clown figure looked more like a bobblehead.

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Variable AR?

Absolutely didn't even bother me one bit. In fact, the lighting is easily controlled in my room and I felt the IMAX effect was still there to certain degree (of course not to the effect of an IMAX screen:)). I looked forward to the opened up city pans as I watched the film.

 

I'll watch it 20 more times before the weekend.:)

Edited by Romier S
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Just watched. I thought it looked and sounded completely fantastic :D

 

The IMAX shots are simply awesome. Likely the nicest shots I've ever seen on Blu-ray, or on my HDTV period.

 

I saw it 3 times in IMAX and once in DLP, and the Blu-ray reminded me of the IMAX viewings. Especially all of the IMAX shots, which just didn't pop nearly as well in DLP. I was pretty giddy when the movie started to see how awesome the IMAX stuff looks.

 

I hear it's showing in theaters here again in January, so I'm looking forward to another IMAX viewing :)

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Watched it last night. As far as the aspect ratio switches, I only even noticed it the first time. When the credits rolled, I realized I never noticed it again. Must not have bothered me, and certainly didn't take me out of the movie.

 

Out of curiosity, how many AR changes are there?

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