The Dark Knight Rises: The Extras REVIEW

The Dark Knight Rises extras review.

The Dark Knight Rises is out on DVD and Blu-ray on 3 December. No advance review discs were made available, but we sent our man to the offices of Warner to see what bonus features you can look forward to. Here’s his report.

Alas, there are no commentary tracks on either format. The DVD just has “The Journey Of Bruce Wayne”, an eight-minute featurette on Wayne’s character arc. The Blu-ray adds art galleries and another 165 minutes worth of material, comprising lots of little featurettes and one hour-long documentary.

Weirdly, the latter isn’t about Rises or the Nolan trilogy, but the evolution of the Batmobile from the ‘40s onwards. It may not sound promising, but it’s a very enjoyable trip through the franchise, with interviewees ranging from Adam West to Tim Burton.

The smaller featurettes (grouped under the heading “Ending The Knight”) are best in a “how they did it” way, emphasising how much of the film’s action was shot for real. There really were stuntmen on the wing of a mid-air plane in the opening heist scene; the flying “Bat” vehicle was a life-sized prop lifted on wires, vehicles or helicopters; and the final street battle involved 1000 flesh-and-blood extras, all of whom had to be costumed and made up as cops and criminals.

However, the extras are patchier in other respects. While there are enlightening sections on Catwoman, Bane and Batman himself, with comments from the respective actors, other players (Michael Caine, Gary Oldman, Joseph Gordon-Levitt) get short shrift. The bitty format also means that you don’t get the narrative flow of the cast and crew’s journey through the production. The principals reflect on the end of the trilogy, but there’s too much back-slapping and little meat – and certainly no clues about what form a future Batman film might take.

TEN THINGS WE LEARNED FROM THE DARK KNIGHT RISES BLU-RAY.

  • Tom Hardy bulked up by 35 pounds for the role of Bane. When he saw Christian Bale in the dressing room, he thought the actor looked weedy – then was mortified to discover that, in costume, Bale was three feet taller than him!
  • Hardy’s Bane mask gripped his head like a vice.
  • Anne Hathaway opted not to watch any of the previous actresses who had played Catwoman. However, she did look at the films of actress Hedy Lamarr, one of the influences on the comic book character, and borrowed Lamarr’s trick of keeping her breathing steady.
  • Alien artist HR Giger sketched a possible design for the Batmobile for Batman Forever. His version would have had four “legs.”
  • The American Football game scene featured around 11,500 extras (multiplied by CGI). The Mayor of Pittsburgh (where the scene was filmed) played the “kicker” for the Rapid City team.
  • Many of the “winter” scenes were filmed in Pittsburgh during summer, in temperatures of 95 degrees.
  • Hardy describes his Bane voice as a “Richard Burton, slightly florid, camp English villain.”
  • Filming the three Nolan Bat-movies, Bale played the character for a total of 21 months.
  • Nolan dislikes ADR (Automated Dialogue Replacement), because he thinks the actors’ delivery “may never be as good as on the day” of filming.
  • A third of The Dark Knight Rises was shot with IMAX cameras, including all the big action set-pieces.

Andrew Osmond twitter.com/andyozma

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Read our Dark Knight Rises review from the theatrical release.