Blu-ray Review “Batman: The Dark Knight Returns (Deluxe Edition)”

batmandarkknightStarring: Peter Weller, Michael Emerson, Gary Anthony Williams, David Selby, Ariel Winter, Mark Valley
Director: Jay Oliva
Number of discs: 3
Rated: PG-13 (Parental Guidance Suggested)
Studio: Warner Home Video
Release Date: October 8, 2013
Run Time: 156 minutes

Film: 5 out of 5 stars
Extras: 5 out of 5 stars

When I saw that Warner Bros was releasing “Batman: The Dark Knight Returns” with Part 1 & 2 complete together, I thought it was a bit of a double dip but I have to let everyone know that it is not at all. This deluxe edition releases takes the two parts and puts them into one seamless cut, which runs nearly two hour and thirty minute. I will repeat that a two hour and thirty minute Batman movie, I mean HELLO NERD ALERT!! I thought the first part was great but the second part was better but having them together just makes the entire film work so much tighter. Easily this is the most bold and risky DCU animated movie yet and it only gets better with easy viewing. Highly recommended picking up this release for any Batman fan.

Official Premise: It is ten years after an aging Batman has retired, and Gotham City has sunk deeper into decadence and lawlessness. Now, when his city needs him most, the Dark Knight returns in a blaze of glory. Joined by Carrie Kelly, a teenage female Robin, Batman takes to the streets to end the threat of the mutant gangs that have overrun the city. And after facing off against his two greatest enemies, the Joker and Two-Face, for the final time, Batman finds himself in mortal combat with his former ally, Superman, in a battle that only one of them will survive.

If this brand new seamless cut wasn’t enough Warner Bros delivered this combo pack with a Blu-ray + DVD + Digital Copy + UltraViolet and packed it with some amazing new extras. The 1080p looks stunning (like the solo releases) and works perfectly with the mix of hand-drawn animation and CG effected for the film. The DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 track works perfectly with the action as it explodes off the screen and kicks you in the face. It also complements Christopher Drake’s score very well.

So along with all the special features from the previously released part one and two Blu-ray’s, this deluxe edition continues to prove why it is worth the additional purchase. There is a fantastic new audio commentary track with director Jay Oliva, writer Bob Goodman and voice director Andrea Romano. The track is a blast and packs a ton of great information. This is especially cool since part one and part two didn’t include an audio commentary previously. There is also a fantastic new documentary called “Masterpiece: Frank Miller’s The Dark Knight Returns”, which narrated by actor Malcolm McDowell. It included tons of great interviews with Miller himself and covers the story from the comic to the film and everything in between. Must see for any fan!

I thought the special features on part one are good but not stunning but put them together with the new extras and part two and it all comes together so well. Part one included. “Her Name is Carrie… Her Role is Robin” is a look at the role of a female Robin. “Batman and Me: A Devotion to Destiny, The Bob Kane Story” is a 2008 documentary that looks into the life of Batman creator. “Batman: The Dark Knight Returns, Part 2 Sneak Peek” is a behind the scenes look into the second part. ”The Dark Knight Returns” Digital Comic is a very short 4-page preview of Miller’s Batman epic novel, I would have loved to see the complete comic converted. Lastly there are two classic episodes of “Batman: The Animated Series Episodes”, ”Two-Face, Parts 1 & 2″, though not in HD.

The special features are more impressive than “Part 1″ release. First up, we have “From Sketch to Screen: Exploring the Adaptation Process” is a behind-the-scenes documentary which looks into the extensive work that has went into converting this comic to a movie. ”Superman vs. Batman: When Heroes Collide” is a look into who would win this epic battle. “The Joker: Laughing in the Face of Death” is a look into the twisted villians role in this final chapter. “Additional Episodes: From the DC Comics Vault” is collection of classic episodes including “The Last Laugh” and “The Man Who Killed Batman” from Batman: The Animated Series and “Battle of the Superheroes!” from Batman: The Brave and the Bold. Lastly there is an extended preview of the DCU animated movie, ”Superman Unbound”.

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