Quantcast

The Dark Knight Rises (4K UHD Blu-ray Review)

Christopher Nolan released his tenth directed feature film in 2017, the escape/evacuation World War II thriller chronicling the events of Dunkirk. Being well regarded as one of the best directors of the the twenty first century; one of the rare breed who manages to consistently please the general audience and critical one alike. Breaking out with Memento and finding major success in reinventing Batman on the big screen, Nolan has been an influential voice in cinema and made many modern classics. Commemorating ten films, Warner Bros has put together a box set containing the 4K Ultra-HD Blu-ray debut of the segment of his work from Batman Begins to Dunkirk. Releasing on December 19th, you have the option for a full box set, individual releases or a trilogy set with just the Dark Knight films. We have already reviewed the 4K Ultra-HD Blu-rays of Dunkirk and Interstellar and will continue with the Batman trilogy and Inception. In this last review from me, I’ll be taking on The Dark Knight Rises, that concludes Nolan’s epic Batman trilogy.

Film 

It has been eight years since Batman, in collusion with Commissioner Gordon, vanished into the night. Assuming responsibility for the death of Harvey Dent, Batman sacrificed everything for what he and Gordon hoped would be the greater good. However, the arrival of a cunning cat burglar and a merciless terrorist named Bane force Batman out of exile and into a battle he may not be able to win.

Four years passed before Christopher Nolan made his hotly anticipated follow up to the insanely successful The Dark Knight. Instead of leaving the lights on, he decided to bring the story to a close. Its unclear whether Nolan wanted to come back and do it, but the fact that he did meant he had something to say and overall I’m sure he just wanted to do things on his time. And honestly, if he’s not ready, I truly wouldn’t rush him. After the last one, he gets to do things on his own time. Nolan constantly baffled me as he continually would tell people “If there is another story to tell, we’ll do one” which didn’t make sense to me at the time…because its BATMAN. He’s got more than plenty! But, if you look to what Nolan had done with the previous two films and see exactly the root and theme with which The Dark Knight ended on…he’s right.

Who knows where Nolan goes with the story if Heath Ledger doesn’t die, but this film feels plenty right. It both feels a follow up to the previous film, while equally playing the trilogy capper by bringing back elements to from the first film to have things come full circle. The story both Batman and Jim Gordon kept as a rouse to the city of Gotham comes back to bite them in the ass. The League of Shadows returns, stronger than ever to try and finish what they started in the first film. Bruce Wayne learns a lot about what he’s done, what he didn’t realize he’d been to people, where he really wants to be, and that he can’t go on forever doing this.

While its not a tight and perfectly plotted film like the first two impressively are, its still a damn good one and a very entertaining time. If anything, Nolan makes this one a bit more comic-book-y than the first two were. There are areas where he pulls the reigns back a little and lets loose. It doesn’t have tight, sound logic, but at the end of the day, its a movie. Where there are obvious plot twists (Due to obvious casting) you have to wait til too later to reveal and there are big memorable sequences that has a finale that includes Batman with the full police force fighting side by side together on foot to take down Bane and his mercenaries.  Tom Hardy spins an iconic Bane, both quotable and impression-worthy. Anne Hathaway is terrific as Catwoman, and its a shame we only get to see her in action for one movie.

I was half tempted to give this the 4.5 as I seem to enjoy this one more and more every time I return to it (And I liked it well enough the first time around), but issues I do overlook with the film are still abound. Even given those, I still really love watching this film. And I must give it to Nolan, he really didn’t make the same movie or even close to it, three times. While it may not be the best film in the series, its still damn good and a great way to cap off this trilogy. It may even be one of the best part 3s we’ve seen. He chooses a route that fits his two and world he set up, rather than try to appease some sort of comic book requirement that he do “X” or leave it open or whatnot. And whew, thank the maker Christian Bale refused to come back and tie this world to Man of Steel.

Video 

Encoding: HEVC / H.265

Resolution: 4K (2160p)

Aspect Ratio: 2.40:1 / 1.78:1 (IMAX sequences)

Layers: BD-66

Clarity/Detail: In an already impressive set of movie images, The Dark Knight Rises may be the most impressive of them all. That may be due to the fact that it includes a lot of IMAX footage in it. Details are insanely impressive, carrying over great textures no matter how much lighting there is. It helps to give a nice, large “experience” to everything as you’re watching. This and The Dark Knight probably aren’t THAT far off in terms of picture quality, but this one I think edges it bay the slimmest of margins. This is the only “new” thing the release has going for it, and they really made it rock and worth it.

Depth:  Moreso than a lot of the rest of these releases, Rises features a much more natural three dimensional appearance. This becomes even more apparent when The Bat is just soaring above the city scapes and such. The pit sequences are quite fine as well. Hell, there was one scene where Marion Cotillard is just looking out a window that I was impressed with. No motion issues occur in the film at all, no jitter no blur.

Black Levels: One the best upgrades on these releases has been the saturation and deep, rich blacks. Character, texture, patterns and everything is still quite discernible no matter the how deep or how dark a scene or object is. No crushing witnessed.

Color Reproduction: Colors once again make natural colors look gorgeous and almost like a painting. I compared them in one of these to a modernized looking 60s palette (Without any extravagant popping colors) and that’s the same here. HDR is really applied well in explosions, digital counters, car lights and especially on city shots at night with the little lights in the windows.

Flesh Tones: Skin tones are natural and have a color and appearance on part with all the other Nolan films. Its consistent and stays the same from start to finish. Facial features like scars, moles, freckles, stubble and the like are clear as day in any given scene.

Noise/Artifacts: Clean

Audio 

Audio Format(s): English 5.1 DTS-HD MA, English Descriptive Audio, French (Canadian) 5.1 Dolby Digital, French 5.1 DTS-HD MA German 5.1 DTS_HD MA, Italian 5.1 Dolby Digital, Spanish (Castilian) 5.1 Dolby Digital, Chinese 5.1 Dolby Digital, Spanish (Latin American) 5.1 Dolby Digital, Portuguese 5.1 Dolby Digital, Czech 5.1 Dolby Digital, Hungarian 5.1 Dolby Digital, Polish 5.1 Dolby Digital, Russian 5.1 Dolby Digital, Thai 5.1 Dolby Digital, Turkish 5.1 Dolby Digital

Subtitles: English SDH, French, German SDH, Italian SDH, Spanish (Castilian), Dutch 5.1 Dolby Digital, Chinese (Mandarin), Chinese (Simplified), Chinese (Traditional), Korean, Spanish (Latin American), Portuguese (Brazil), Arabic, Croatian, Czech, Danish, Finnish, Greek, Hebrew, Hungarian, Norwegian, Polish, Portuguese, Romanian, Russian, Swedish, Thai, Turkish

Dynamics: Once again, we are treated to what I’m pretty sure is the same 5.1 mix on the previous release of the film. The original theatrical mix (Nolan is a purist and involved in his releases). And, that’s no issue. This 5.1 mix is top tear. Its loud and bassy like Nolan’s other films. This one packs a lot of action and big explosions. You also get that intense chant that sound vivacious through the channels.

Height: N/A

Low Frequency Extension: Zimmer’s score of course, along with explosions, punches, crumbling, blasts and gunfire are just some of the many things that keep the subwoofer busy through all wee hours of the night as you watch.

Surround Sound Presentation: Sound travels all around in this 5.1 mix, leaving no channel unturned. Bullets whiz front to back and side to side and you really are given a true sense of environment through ambiance an attention to detail of off screen action and positioning.

Dialogue Reproduction: Vocals are clear and crisp, though a hair under the score. Bane’s voice is much more proclaimed than everyone else’s being much more loud and without feeling its a part of the scene at times.

Extras 

The Dark Knight Rises is a 3-Disc set that comes with the 2-Disc Blu-ray release and an UltraViolet digital copy.  Bonus Features are found on the Blu-ray discs.

Blu-ray Disc 1

Second Screen

Blu-ray Disc 2

The Batmobile (HD, 58:17)

Ending The Knight

  • Production – The Prologue: High Altitude Hijacking (HD, 7:52), Return To The Batcave (HD, 3:37), Beneath Gotham (HD, 2:34), The Bat (HD, 11:08), Batman Vs. Bane (HD, 6:07), Armory Accepted (HD, 3:19), Gameday Destruction (HD, 6:44), Demolishing A City Street (HD, 4:15), The Pit (HD, 3:04), The Chant (HD, 5:19), The War On Wall Street (HD, 6:40), Race To The Reactor (HD, 7:52)
  • Characters – The Journey Of Bruce Wayne (HD, 8:53), Gotham’s Reckoning (HD, 10:05), A Girl’s Gotta Eat (HD, 9:26)
  • Reflections – Shadows & Light In Large Format (HD, 5:37), The End Of A Legend (HD, 9:04)
  • Trailer Archive (HD, 8:35)

Summary 

The Dark Knight Rises is a very fine and fitting conclusion to Christopher Nolan’s Batman trilogy. Where it stands on being held up to the previous two is of course up for debate, but that point is moot because this is still highly entertaining and impressive. Once again, this one only features a new image and that one is again, outstanding. Its a movie/series to upgrade with every new format and here’s a new format, so upgrade. Everything I have experienced (And Brian) has been top notch except Batman Begins which was “okay, but should have been much better”. So, what happened there? Who knows. But as a whole, this Nolan set is an awesome treat from Warner Bros. Maybe um, they could…uh…tackle a Scorsese set or something next?

Share

Writer/Reviewer, lifelong obsessive film nerd. As eager to educate in the world of film as I am to learn. An avid lover of horror, schlock and trash, Brandon hosts the Cult Cinema Cavalcade podcast on the Creative Zombie Studios Network (www.cultcinemacavalcade.com) You can also find more essays on his blog Naptown Nerd (naptownnerd.blogspot.com).

  1. No Comments