December 10, 2008
The title The Dark Knight underscores the somber Stygian depths of Hades to which three duplicitous knights descend to dual. At the bleakest time of day when shadowy characters come to play, bedeviled heroes and benighted villains fight their demons, from inside and out.
Batman/Bruce Wayne (Christian Bale) is not the only militant zealot with a cause, and not the only damned Dark Knight. District Attorney Harvey Dent (Aaron Eckhart), the somewhat/sometimes White Knight, is on a criminal cleanup crusade colored by his own personal shades of gray. And the Joker (Heath Ledger), the blackest of all knights, declares an unholy war of his own.
Of the three jousters, the jihadist is hell-bent to distress a damsel while the other two are her chivalrous love-smitten champions. Assistant D.A. Rachel Dawes (Maggie Gyllenhaal), the magnet of this attention, is, in her own right, a bright starry knight, a legal champion for the good of Gotham City.
Admittedly, this abridgement affronts the complexity of the comic-cum-tragedy. In Batman Begins and The Dark Knight, Director Christopher Nolan probes the underbelly of a troubled everyman with soaring abilities.
Were there an Oscar tourney for the best 2008 ensemble, this cast would slay them all: Christian Bale, Heath Ledger, Aaron Eckhart, Michael Caine, Maggie Gyllenhaal, Gary Oldman, Morgan Freeman, Eric Roberts, and Chin Han. Exceptional storyteller and director Nolan wrings the sweat from every performer. From Ledger, out of pores we never knew he had. The actor has been spotted by Oscar sonar. Whether the late Heath wins or not, he is definitely an over qualified contender. How many actors can express their full range with a tongue?
(Editor's note: The Two-disc Special Edition Blu-ray package includes a digital copy of the movie that can be downloaded onto your computer.)
Like an old fashioned documentary, "Gadgets and Tools" features talking heads from academia, cinema, science and comics tracing the amazing evolution of Batman's armament and transport since1939. Fiction and fact cross pollinate science and sci-fi. And the director of the C.I.A. Museum demos a little Show and Tell with Agency artifacts inspired by or copied to Batman's utility belt.
Dark Knight technology of flight, armor, weaponry, cars and bikes is grounded in physics, not digital wizardry. And the explanations and demonstrations are engaging enough to rouse any slumbering student in lab class. (Some of the interviewees were actually seduced into science by innovative heroes like Batman.)
Next up is Psychology class. Doctors and armchair psychologists dissect the psyche of Batman/Wayne and his nemeses. They draw examples from contemporary and historic lives to explore and explain the valorous and deviant deportment extending the sixty nine year saga of the caped man's comic life.
The lengthy Gotham newscasts felt as outré as anchor Lidia Filangeri's lips. Today's TV journalism too often feels as surreal as this reenactment. The pseudo interviews struck me as unctuous as oft our acrid 2008 campaign coverage. So I advise waiting to watch the quasi politicking until the acidic aftertaste of our recent reportage has waned from the collective mouths of our memory. Maybe it will be more palatable then.
The Joker art segment from the Gallery packs a lot of talent into cards. The Concept and Poster Art are also rich with imagination.
I could otherwise enthusiastically endorse most of the Extra Specials if it were not for the throbbing refrain of the Dark Knight theme that obnoxiously and repetitively punctuated every pixel of the footage. Or so it seemed.
Studio: Warner Home Video
Director: Christopher Nolan
Cast: Christian Bale, Heath Ledger, Maggie Gyllenhaal, Aaron Eckhart, Michael Caine, Gary Oldman, Morgan Freeman
Length: 151 minutes
Video codec: VC-1
Video resolution: 1080p
Aspect ratio: 2.40:1
Dolby Digital 5.1, Dolby Digital Stereo, Dolby TrueHD 5.1
Dolby Digital 5.1
Dolby Digital 5.1
English SDH, Spanish, French