Christopher Nolan teams up with Jonathan Nolan and David S. Goyer to bring us more Batman in The Dark Knight. Christian Bale as Bruce Wayne/Batman, Michael Caine, Gary Oldman & Morgan Freeman. New to the cast is the late Heath Ledger, Aaron Eckhart, Eric Roberts & Maggie Gyllenhaal (who replaced Katie Holmes as Rachel Dawes, reason unknown.)
With the origins of Batman having already been explored in the previous film, The Dark Knight jumps right into action. It opens a year after the events of Batman Begins with a well plotted bank robbery, and it’s in these first few minutes that we meet The Joker.
In the last year, we see that the criminals of Gotham City have become pretty jumpy about the Batman and we get a taste of Batman in action, taking down the Scarecrow and come copycat Batmans.
And Batman has a whole new slew of bad guys. And like the first movie, Batman deals with each new threat on its own merit but unlike the first movie where Batman dealt with each crook in its own time this time, they overlapped, as far as The Joker and Two Face were concerned.
Needless to say, the movie itself rocked and as a movie or franchise fan, I think its worthy of a recommendation.
That, and Heath Ledger’s performance as The Joker is rather stunning, to say the least, as he models the idea of introducing anarchy to the system.
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The Blu-ray Disk Features
The extras included on disc-1 were called Focus points. You had the option of playing the movie with the focus points turned on, or watching them individually.
They felt this prologue was the best way to throw the fan right into the action. They showed an IMAX output film strip and wow, it IS big! IMAX film is 9 times bigger than standard film, hence the incredible resolution. The film is very heavy and the camera is 5 to 6 times the weight of other cameras.
Filming in IMAX makes it very hard to focus on actors because of the ‘range of field’ for focusing the cameras.
The camera only has three-minute loads.
They wanted a redesign and came upon the armored looking suit instead of a rubber suit, and looked to protective sports outfits and combined them.
The premise was to make it more maneuverable.
Is a set of two notes off a cello. And it took a lot of work and effort to eventually pick the right sound. And it worked.
When the Joker shows up in specific scenes, you can hear it… or hear him. The music score is a tone that runs in the background, slow and tedious, building ever so slowly in tandem with the tension it’s designed to build with the movie-goer.
Hong Kong Jump
The jump was practiced by a stunt man doing a bungee dive in Chicago while being attached to a helicopter. A helicopter!!! Man, oh to be a stunt man. (I wonder what they do for fun and excitement in their off days?)
But the logistics of getting permissions to do this in Hong Kong was too much and they ended up doing this with green screened footage and CGI.
Judge’s Car Blows UP
They touched on the logistics of blowing up a car in a neighborhood without taking out the surrounding buildings or windows.
Challenges of the Chase in IMAX
The semi-trailer chase being filmed was interesting because of how they had to shoot in IMAX… rigs and such had to be beefed up to hold the heavier weight.
Before The Dark Knight, there were only 4 portable IMAX cameras in the world. After the chase scene, “Now there were three.” Do’h! Yep, they smacked one around during the production.
Swat Van into River
They talked about needing to do it right in one take and some of the coordination needed to pull it off.
The scene where the Batmobile rams the garbage truck used 1/3rd scale models that were built by a company in Los Angeles. That is incredible to see the set up they used to film this.
Destruction of the Batmobile
The scene with the Batmobile ramming the garbage truck, tumbling through the tunnel and self-destructing, birthing the Bat-Pod was shot over several months in two countries.
98% of what you see on screen can be tested once or twice, but this beast needed to be figured out so they could learn how to drive it.
They originally weren’t going to have Batman’s cape in the Bat-Pod scenes, but they found out that the cape gets picked up naturally by the airflow off the bike.
They recorded various electric engines like the Tesla for the basis of the bikes sound, then manipulated it from there.
Believe it or not, the semi-trailer truck flip was not a CGI scene. The secret was a huge TNT powered piston installed under the trailer.
It was all about the stunt driver and getting the timing right… I can’t watch this! The destruction of a perfectly brand new Lamborghini…
In this case, they wanted to blow up a real building and not use miniatures or CGI. They showed us the inside of the building as it was set to be destroyed, with placed charges, pre-cut concrete and steel beams, and such.
There was a little bit of CGI added. The glass for the top floors were stolen from the set and they didn’t have time to get more in there, so they CGI’d the top floors.
They made note that when filming the scene, Heath Ledger never once looked back at the destruction ensuing behind him, he just walked and stayed in character perfectly.
Mob Car Flip
This was a quickie on how that stunt was pulled off.
String of Sausages Stunt
They rehearsed this stunt for three weeks… practicing on a set, then tossing sand bags off the real building that they planned the shoot at.
Upping the Ante
They wanted this to be bigger than the last… using IMAX, scenes in daytime, more of everything, including special effects folks being more agitated being pushed to their limits.
And that was on the BD with the movie. There’s still the second BD with the extras and special features!
Batman has been around since May of 1939. He started out as a detective, and his big tools were lock picks, glass cutters and flashlights. They talk about spy cameras, heat rays, etc. Christopher Nolan notes that all of Batman’s tools need to have a basis in reality.
Originally Batman’s suit was mere cloth, but then in the 50’s things started to change. In this movie the batsuit consisted of 110 separate plates that come together to form his suit.
Memory cloth is still quite a ways off. The cape taking the shape of wings and we do have wing suits. Any Transformers movie fan saw those in Dark of the Moon.
Batman has cruised in a car since 1941… and through the years it’s changed. They touch on how through the years, Batman has used various kinds of different vehicles, touching on the Bat-Pod. (Don’t forget… the Bat-Wing will be in the next, upcoming movie, The Dark Knight Rises.)
Batman Unmasked; The Psychology of the Dark Knight
They call Batman complex and contradictory.