It's been known since last October that an "Ultimate" collection of The Dark Knight Trilogy of films would debut in a brand new Blu-ray collection this coming fall. But what would it include? Yesterday, Warner Bros. Home Entertainment issued a press release to spell it out, and you can read in full over at SuperHeroHype.com. I'll be breaking down the parts of it that are most important to me here in this blog.
As a life-long Batman fan and a big fan of Christopher Nolan and David Goyer's most fanboy-fulfilling depiction of the comic book origins of The Batman ever put on film, I was eagerly looking forward to seeing what Warner Bros. would cook up for an Ultimate Collector's Edition set for these films. After reading through the press release, I'm surprised to find I'm not all that excited about what's inside.
"And why do we fall...?"
There are two basic criticisms I have against this set. One has to do with the new content, the other with the set as a whole.
Regarding the content, I am one of those guys that love going through bonus features. Getting excited learning the minutia of how movies are made started for me when I was a kid reading books about the making of the original Star Trek series and devouring magazines I'd find like Starlog, Famous Monsters and Cinefex which featured articles and photos about such things and satiated my need to know "How did they do that?" way back in those newsprint-and-ink dark ages before the Internet.
In this UCE comes one new Blu-ray Disc carrying the exclusive bonus material.
NEW Special Features:
The Nolan and Donner conversation sounds interesting, but I'm curious to find out what the running time of that conversation is. I hope it's around an hour. The Fire Rises features doesn't sound very appealing to me. Maybe it's just the way it's written, because I certainly am not impressed to hear so many talking heads talk about a film they weren't involved in the making of!
As for the IMAX Sequences, that just points out the fact that the original The Dark Knight Rises Blu-ray Disc apparently (I haven't watched my copy of it yet) shows those scenes reduced in widescreen format to match the rest of the film rather than leaving them in their original, taller IMAX format as was done for The Dark Knight Blu-ray Disc release and was awesome to watch!
So to re-buy or "double-dip", as we Blu-ray and DVD collectors say when we choose to buy a movie again and again just to own the newer release, on this trilogy for the one bonus disk isn't quite as enticing as I'd hoped.
"The Tumbler? Oh, you wouldn't be interested in that."
But of course, there's more inside the UCE. Ignoring the five discs of the original trilogy set which I already own (for gratis! See photo above), also included are some exclusive swag.
Exclusive NEW Memorabilia:
Now I love stuff. Anyone who's ever been to my place can clearly see I love stuff. Cool stuff, like starships and animated wall art and action figures. So getting a box with more stuff included with my Blu-rays is a pretty easy sell to a guy like me. But alas, I already have UCE sets of other movies amongst my stuff, and that just means I'm gonna end up comparing what's inside The Dark Knight Trilogy UCE to these ones I own, ones that Warner Bros. themselves put out. And it's pretty clear to me that Warner Bros. didn't go all out like they have done with these other sets.
Below are publicity shots of five UCE sets that Warner Bros. Home Entertainment have previously released. I own them all. Click each one to blow them up and see what all's included with each one besides the Blu-ray Discs.
Previous Warner Bros. Home Entertainment UCE Sets
By my eyes, in every case shown, everything included, whether book or watch or replica vehicle or replica totem or facsimile document, were unique and exclusive to the set.
Not exactly so with The Dark Knight Trilogy UCE as they're including three Hot Wheels replicas of vehicles from the films. Three previously available Hot Wheels toys. This picture here on the left? That's my Tumbler and Bat-Pod that I already own sitting next to my Dark Knight Blu-ray and CD collection, the same ones that are included in the set. And that again makes me less excited to double-dip on getting the exact same toys I already have (altho' I guess I could just give the extras away to a deserving kid).
"Bats frighten me. It's time my enemies shared my dread."
If the UCE had to include a replica, I'd've chosen one of those ninja star-like Batarangs from the movies. The symbol was a prevalent image in every one of the Dark Knight movie posters, and it's also plastered big and bold here on the face of the UCE box. So that makes it seem obvious that that should be what's inside, at least to me. Of course, it might've also been re-purposing an existing, previously available Batarang like any of the ones on the left below from DC Direct or the one on the right from The Noble Collection. Or maybe they did consider it and thought the pointy ends were a safety hazard to stay away from.
Another suggestion I'd offer also comes from another pre-existing Dark Knight toy. MATTEL produced an exclusive action figure set to sell at last year's Comic-Con. As you can see in the video below, the packaging inside riffs on the room in the movie with the piano in Wayne Manor that hides the elevator used to descent to the Batcave. There's a hidden button behind the photo of the piano. Press the keyboard area and a sound chip plays audio of the three-note trigger heard in Batman Begins. Then, when you open the inner door, it reveals his Batsuit inside the Batcave which gets lit up while bats are heard flying and chirping throughout. I own one and IT IS COOL! And I think it would've been kinda neat to have that three-note trigger be heard as one lifted the lid to this The Dark Knight Trilogy UCE set box.
If they chose not to include any figural replicas, they could've still carried on with the Batarang motif by including some inexpensive overlay like vellum or acetate sheet with the Batarang symbol across it as a light cover over the rest of the contents inside the box. The Blade Runner Briefcase set has such an inner cover that you first see when you open the case and then have to lift up in order to access the goodies underneath it. Or include an inner cover with a diecut hole in the shape of the Batarang. Or better yet, maybe that book that holds the discs could've been shaped like a folded Batarang, so you get to open it up and form a larger, fully-shaped Dark Knight symbol.
"Didn't you get the memo?"
And as cheap as these things go, I enjoyed see all the printed facsimiles of call sheets, movie programs, letters, telegrams, production drawings or press releases that were included in the previous UCEs. While some were more interesting than others, these inexpensive paper props helped to put you in the context of the times and events happening when the films were made. By comparison, The Dark Knight Trilogy UCE gets five Mondo art cards and a book on top of the Hot Wheels toys. It's just my preference, but I think there might've been something else from the production of the films provided here that could've been more appealing to me than art cards, like production schedules or audition sides or marked up shooting script pages or pieces of the Batman cape. That last notion is a novelty that trading card companies have embraced often, embedding a small swatch of material used to make the actual costumes and uniforms into a trading card. Something like that's a little more interesting and uniquely "ultimate" to me than oversized postcards I'll never use or frame.
So will I get this or not? That's the $99.99 suggested retail price question, Batfans. Amazon will likely offer it for $69.99 right off the bat (pun intended). And then come Black Friday and the holidays, the price will get some further nursing to get fans to add it to their Christmas shopping lists. Right now though, I don't have a hell of a lot of enthusiasm to buy it for myself. And that makes me kinda sad.
But that doesn't mean I wouldn't want to get it as a Christmas present!
New poster debuts at Con
At the last minute, I got the chance to attend Comic-Con in San Diego for my fifth straight year and probably my tenth visit overall. With rehearsals for Fiddler on the Roof every other night of the Con, Friday the 13th was my day for a day trip to Geekdom's Holy Mecca. And within three hours of being inside the Exhibit Hall, something happened that had never happened before.
I was tired of it!
For the first time that I've ever gone, the inherent amount of sensory overload that is Comic-Con really got to me. And not just me, but when I met up with friends there that morning, all of us seasoned vets of the Con, we all agreed this time it was a tiresome experience.
But would we never go if given the opportunity to go? Of course not! We'd always go. You can't not go to Comic-Con if you have a pass. That's just silly.
Fotos on Flickr!
Here's a few of the 130 shots I took at the Con. All of them are posted on Flickr where you can also see my photos from past Cons.
Video of the Long Line of Hall H!
I also took video while at the Con. Every year, both the media and the fans talk a lot about Hall H and especially about the long line you have to wait in to get into Hall H. Hall H is the largest hall at the San Diego Convention Center and it's where all of the major studios have made their big movie and television presentations complete with cast and crew in attendence. Everyone from Steven Spielberg, Ridley Scott and Joss Whedon to Harrison Ford, Robert Downey, Jr. and Charlize Theron to the casts of The Big Bang Theory, the new Star Trek film, Buffy and Firefly have shown up to meet and greet with the fans while talking up their new big films or TV shows.
With all that talent and the opportunity to ask them questions one-on-one, fans are willing to get in line very early in the morning for a chance to be let in and sit in one of those 6,500 seats inside Hall H. And because of the policy that folks can sit all day long if they desire without fear of being asked to leave at the end of each presentation, people will get in line at 3am just to see The Big Bang Theory cast that's scheduled for, say, 3:30pm. With that strategy to compete with, the ritual of getting and waiting in line for Hall H has become legend.
Finally, I leave you with several links to a few favorite articles I've found so far about this year's Comic-Con. Enjoy!
The Firefly 10th Anniversary Panel in Full - Video of the reunion of the cast, crew and creator (and "The Avengers" director) Joss Whedon of the cult "post-apocolyptic futuristic western". Great video if you're a fan of the show, Nathan Fillion and Castle and/or Whedon. It's especially neat to see what happens in the last fifteen minutes.
Man of Steel, The Hobbit & Pacific Rim Panel Live Blog - Text blog written as Warner Bros' big presentation of major films in production took place, describing film footage that debuted, surprise announcements and reveals as they happened.
Joss Whedon's "Dr. Horrible" to Air on the CW - Internet series to network broadcast. Is that a first!?
Halloween in July: Images from the San Diego Comic-Con - A great set of photos!
San Diego Comic Con International 2012 - And in case you missed it above, here's the link again to my photos posted on Flickr.
All About Me
A fan of Star Trek, Star Wars, Harry Potter, Batman, comic books, Blu-rays, Disney, soundtracks, taking pictures, theatre and...Barry Manilow!