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The Dark Knight

4K Ultra HD

Blu Ray

  • Score
    from 6 reviewers
    Review Date:
  • The Dark Knight's 4K release wows with stunning visuals & audio, despite its narrative flaws.

    The Dark Knight 4K UHD Blu-ray Front Cover

    Disc Release Date:

  • Video
  • The Dark Knight's 4K UHD Blu-ray excels with a stunning transfer, mixing IMAX's perfection with detailed 35mm shots, enhanced by HDR and WCG for an immersive experience, despite minor artifacts.

  • Audio
  • The Dark Knight Trilogy's impeccable audio quality shines, featuring profound bass, Hans Zimmer's intense score, and clear dialogue, making for a thrilling, demonstrative experience.

  • Extra
  • The Dark Knight's 3-disc set includes a bare Ultra HD disc and rich Blu-ray extras, featuring insights into character psychology, gadgets, and Gotham with features, news segments, and trailers; content mirrors prior releases.

  • Movie
  • The Dark Knight, hailed as a masterpiece, elevates superhero cinema with Nolan's direction and Ledger's iconic Joker, garnering acclaim for its intensity, narrative, and technical brilliance.

    Video: 90

    “The Dark Knight” on 4K UHD Blu-ray delivers an exceptional visual feast, primarily sourced from a new 4K scan that has been meticulously color-corrected and HDR graded under the vigilant eye of director Christopher Nolan himself. Reviewed using a combination of high-end Samsung equipment, the presentation is an audacious showcase of detail clarity and color vibrancy that transcend its Blu-ray predecessor. Whether it’s the intricately detailed makeup of the Joker, the richly textured clown masks in the opening heist, or the nuanced architectural imperfections of Gotham’s skyline, every frame benefits from a sharper, more refined image quality. The IMAX sequences, formatted at 1.78:1, stand out with jaw-dropping clarity, transforming the living room into an extension of Nolan’s Gotham. Contrarily, the 35mm portions retain their gritty aesthetic without succumbing to previous enhancements or filtering issues, although they notably lack the punch of their IMAX counterparts in terms of definition and vibrancy.

    Despite its grandeur, not all aspects are without fault. The translation from IMAX spectaculars to the more subdued 35mm footage introduces a slightly jarring shift, not just in visual scope but also in color delivery and shadow detail. Some instances of aliasing and noise, though minimal and forgivable, mar what is otherwise a staggering improvement over past releases. The application of HDR embellishes the visuals with striking contrasts and deep blacks, producing scenes of cinematic beauty that are as immersive as they are visually compelling. However, certain shifts in color grading — especially in 35mm scenes — occasionally detract from the consistency of Nolan’s visual narrative.

    Warner Bros.' effort on this UHD release articulates a technical prowess that respects Nolan’s vision while pushing the boundaries of home theater technology. The IMAX footage is unequivocally breathtaking, serving as the pinnacle of visual delight in this format, bolstered by enhanced shadow details and a conspicuous leap in color depth. Scenes under the cover of night and the interior intricacies of Gotham’s architecture benefit immensely from improved black levels and specular highlights, revealing subtleties previously lost. While shifts between the film’s native aspect ratios might unsettle some enthusiasts, they ultimately serve as a testament to Nolan’s ambitious cinematic technique. This blend of cutting-edge video quality and fidelity to source material marks “The Dark Knight’s” 4K presentation as a definitive home viewing experience for aficionados demanding the utmost in visual immersion and detail.

    Audio: 90

    The 4K UHD Blu-ray of "The Dark Knight" showcases an exceptional auditory experience, anchored by a dynamic DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 track, which, while seemingly identical to its Dolby TrueHD 5.1 predecessor in structure, provides a slightly enriched listening experience. The upgrade manifests in a broader dynamic range, allowing for a more profound contrast between the booming intensity of action sequences and the subtlety of quieter, dialogue-heavy scenes. This distinction enhances the atmosphere, making silence equally as gripping as the explosive moments, due to the anticipation it builds. The effective sparing use of rear channels complements the overall mix by contributing to a fully immersive soundscape without overwhelming the core audio elements.

    Hans Zimmer’s score is undoubtedly a pivotal aspect of this auditory feast, its presence accentuated by the improved encoding that seems to allow for deeper bass and a more potent impact overall. The balance between score, dialogue, and sound effects is meticulously maintained, ensuring clarity and coherence throughout. Particularly noteworthy is the exceptional handling of dialogue, which remains clear and distinct even amidst the cacophony of Gotham’s chaos. This clarity in dialogue delivery is crucial, given Nolan’s tendency in later works to weave complex narratives that demand attentive listening.

    Effects are masterfully layered, offering depth and realism to the film's thrilling action sequences. Explosions and gunshots exhibit a notable directionality and weight, enhancing the viewer's sense of spatial awareness within the film's environment. The mix’s prowess in navigating the nuances of sound placement contributes to a vividly realistic and engaging audio presentation. While an Atmos track is noticeably absent, this does not detract from the mix’s ability to deliver a compelling auditory experience, with substantial LFE contributions and precision in sound movement across channels emphasizing an already stellar sound design.

    Extra: 84

    The 4K UHD Blu-ray release of "The Dark Knight" maintains Christopher Nolan's preference for featurettes over traditional extras but offers a comprehensive look into the film's creation, technology, and psychology despite the apparent absence of extra content on the UHD disc itself. Instead, the supplemental features are housed across the accompanying Blu-ray discs, providing a blend of insights through Focus Points, which offer a PiP-style background that runs for just over an hour. Viewers can delve into the depths of Batman's world with two extensive 46-minute documentaries—Batman Tech and Batman Unmasked—which explore the real-world parallels to Batman's gadgets and the psychological underpinnings of the characters, respectively. The package is rounded out with six episodes of the faux-news program Gotham Tonight, galleries, trailers, and more, encapsulating a thorough behind-the-scenes look into one of Nolan's most celebrated films. Although some features might feel skimped and offer only minor insights into the film, this package serves as a solid collection for fans seeking to immerse themselves further into the universe of The Dark Knight.

    Extras included in this disc:

    • Gotham Uncovered: Creation of a Scene: In-depth exploration of scene creation.
    • Behind the Story
    • Batman Tech: Documentary focusing on the real-world parallels to Batman's gadgets.
    • Batman Unmasked: The Psychology of The Dark Knight: A look into the psychological depth of characters.
    • Extras
    • Gotham Tonight: Six faux-news segments reporting on various storylines.
    • The Galleries: A collection of stills.
    • Trailers and More: Includes trailers among other content.

    Movie: 90

    Christopher Nolan's "The Dark Knight" emerges not only as a pinnacle of superhero cinema but as a monumental achievement in film, transcending genre boundaries to establish itself as one of the finest films of its era. With a narrative that is intricate yet cohesive, this sequel surpasses its predecessor, "Batman Begins," in both ambition and execution. The film's portrayal of Gotham, mirroring the fears and anxieties of 2008 America post-9/11, grounds its comic book origins in a reality that is palpably tense and immediate. Through Nolan's skillful direction, combined with the late Heath Ledger's iconic rendition of The Joker — a performance that redefined the character for a generation — "The Dark Knight" offers a profound exploration of heroism, vigilance, and the moral quandaries that accompany them.

    Incorporating IMAX technology with an unparalleled finesse, Nolan crafts action sequences that are not just visually staggering but integral to the storytelling, elevating the film's scale to epic proportions. The meticulous attention to detail in these sequences, paired with the score's dynamic intensity, complements the film’s narrative depth. Meanwhile, Ledger's Joker — an avatar of chaos and unpredictability — stands as a testament to the film's innovative character portrayal, pushing Batman to his ethical limits. The interplay between Batman and The Joker delves into complex themes of order, chaos, and the cost of justice, distinguishing "The Dark Knight" as a study in contrasts.

    Technical brilliance aside, it's the film's dedication to challenging its audience's perceptions — about heroism, sacrifice, and the fine line between justice and vigilantism — that cements "The Dark Knight" as a landmark in cinema. Nolan not only delivers a masterclass in blockbuster filmmaking but also invites rigorous reflection on the societal implications of its themes. Coupled with a stellar supporting cast and a narrative that expertly intertwines spectacle with substance, "The Dark Knight" stands as a paragon of not just superhero movies, but film as a whole.

    Total: 89

    The Ultra HD Blu-ray release of "The Dark Knight," as part of both the Dark Knight Trilogy set and the Christopher Nolan 4K Collection, represents a landmark in home cinema presentation. This Nolan-directed superhero epic, which reshaped the Batman saga with its grittier, darker narrative, receives a stellar treatment that showcases its cinematic excellence. The 4K HDR presentation elevates the film above its original release, offering viewers an unparalleled visual experience that accentuates the film’s meticulous detail and IMAX-scale action sequences. The audio experience is equally impressive, with a new DTS-HD MA track that maintains the fidelity of the reference-quality Dolby TrueHD mix from the Blu-ray edition. Despite some criticism towards its third act for perceived pacing issues and narrative distractions, the film's compelling portrayal of Gotham's battle for its soul and Heath Ledger's iconic performance as the Joker remain poignant, reinforcing its standing as a superhero genre masterpiece.

    An amalgamation of perspectives highlights "The Dark Knight" not only as a pivotal moment in Nolan’s directorial career but also as a significant chapter in the evolution of superhero cinema. Its intricate plot, balancing the themes of law, order, and moral sacrifice, alongside Ledger's unparalleled performance, has left an indelible mark on both audiences and the genre. The 4K UHD release brings this complex narrative and its breathtaking IMAX visuals to life with stunning clarity and audio prowess, making it an essential addition for fans and cinephiles keen on experiencing one of the 21st century's quintessential films in its finest form.

    In conclusion, "The Dark Knight" on 4K UHD Blu-ray is not merely a visual and auditory upgrade but a compelling rediscovery of Nolan’s masterwork that has unequivocally set the bar for superhero films. With its remarkable technical presentation that surpasses previous editions and preserves the film's intricate details and dynamic sound landscape, this release is highly recommended for those looking to showcase their home theater's capabilities. Whether as part of Nolan’s wider body of work or the seminal moment it represents in Batman lore, it is a must-own for aficionados and newcomers alike, ensuring the film's continued admiration for years to come.