DVD of the Week: 'Dark Knight'

The year's most anticipated DVD release hits stores today, and those who enjoyed the movie one, two, five times in theaters will no doubt be thrilled. But discerning fans should know the Blu-ray far outshines the DVD, and it might be the best reason yet to buy that BD player for Christmas.

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If you haven't seen it five times, you have to at least know what it's about, so I'll spare the plot details. Now, if you saw the film in IMAX, you no doubt noticed the alternating formats (most of the movie was filmed in standard 35mm but expanded to IMAX in some scenes). Only the Blu-ray has the capacity to handle that transfer, and while the alternation is still a little jarring, as good as the film looks in high-def, the IMAX scenes look even better. The DVD shows only 35 mm and the IMAX scenes are presented as part of the extras. As well, the quality of the DVD isn't perhaps what you might expect--all in all, it's somewhat of a disappointment in standard def.

Extras: Here too are major differences in formats. The BD doesn't have everything you might want, but satisfies enough for the film's first release (double, triple and ultra-super-special edition dips to come down the line, no doubt). The first disc of extras is a throwaway of behind-the-scenes stuff explored better on disc two, which contains a few neat things like "Batman Tech"; "Gotham Tonight" faux newscast shorts; and a massive still gallery for Batman uber-geeks. The standard DVD includes the same shorts and gallery, IMAX scenes and the behind-the-scenes extras contained on the BD's first disc. Eh. Maybe they're saving it for future releases, but where is a featurette on...hello, Heath Ledger? Director Christopher Nolan's commentary isn't even on here.

Overall: Surprisingly lackluster treatment for the year's biggest movie, but if you're not picky and you loved the film, it's a must-see.

Also New This Week: Horton Hears a Who Jim Carrey and Steve Carell star in the Dr. Seuss animated classic about an elephant determined to save a tiny dust speck that's home to an entire micro-town.

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