Movie: Picture: Sound: Extras:
Warner Bros hasn't stinted -- too much, anyway -- in the Blu-ray release. So let me quickly dispose of the bit on which it has stinted: the US version comes with three discs, not two. The missing one is a DVD carrying a so-called 'Digital Copy', a standard definition version suitable for loading onto a portable video player for on-the-road viewing. We don't get that.
But we do get everything else, including top notch picture and sound quality.
The director, Christopher Nolan, had always wanted to play with IMAX filming, so he used that for a few segments of the movie, the first such use for a feature film. IMAX was developed for the enormous projection screens in IMAX theatres, so the film is also enormous. It fact, it is 70mm film stock run sideways, providing film frames with more than eight times the number of pixels of standard 35mm film. The movie mostly is in 2.35:1 aspect ratio, but at least three sections, which were shot in IMAX, are presented on the Blu-ray in 1.78:1 (ie. they use the full resolution of the format). These sections are the heist at the start, the truck chase half way through, and six or so seconds introducing Bruce Wayne's journey to Hong Kong.
For those enthusiasts of Constant Image Height projection, this will be a drawback because fiddling with anamorphic lenses and projector settings several times through the course of the movie isn't really a very enjoyable way of watching it. So they will probably prefer to accept the black bars above and below the picture for its bulk.
The 2.35:1 sections which were filmed conventionally are nicely presented, but the heist at the start hints at what IMAX has to offer, with the greatest clarity of any filmed scenes (as opposed to computer generated ones) I have yet seen. Because of the narrow depth of field of the format, they also deliver an extraordinary sense of depth.
The sound, presented in Dolby TrueHD is easily referance quality as well. But for some reason Warner also includes a quite unnecessary Dolby Digital 5.1 audio track, to which the disc defaults. Since Warner Bros movies don't commence via a menu screen, you will find yourself having to change the sound after the movie has started.
Still, that is a small price to pay for one of the best movies ever made, presented with one of the best picture and sound qualities available, complete with a second disc to hold the more than three hours of high definition special extras.
The following video bitrate graph was generated by BDInfo 0.5.2: