want to become a symbol that will give the people hope and strike fear into
Driven by anger, Bruce
Wayne (Bale) seeking a means to administer justice for the death of his parents.
In the Far East, under the tutelage of Ducard (Neeson), the head of Ra's Al
Ghul's (Watanabe) League of Shadows, he learns the many skills he will need
to return to Gotham City and become the symbol that will strike fear into
the hearts of criminals and give hope to the people, Batman.
After the disaster
that was 'Batman & Robin', many thought that the franchise was dead but the
bat is about to come out of the darkness.
Totally ignoring the
previous efforts by Tim Burton and the man that murdered the franchise, Joel
Schumacher, the film starts from the beginning showing how Bruce Wayne became
the Dark Knight.
Finally we see how
Bruce gained the skills to take on the criminals of Gotham. The film begins
in the Far East, as we meet him trying to get inside the mind of the criminal
by emercing himself in their world, all the time plagued by dreams of that
fateful night when his parents were killed. There he meets Ducard, who becomes
his mentor, teaching him all the martial arts and the stealth and evasion
techniques of a ninja, all under the watchful eye of the 'League of Shadows'
leader Ra's Al Ghul. He also learns how to finally face his demons and fears,
channelling them into a driving force that would see him take the fight to
the Gotham underworld.
With the training
aspect of the film taking nearly an hour to complete, some may argue that
the film lacks the pace of many other films in the genre or even the others
in the franchise but this is what makes 'Batman Begins' so good. 'Memento'
and 'Insomnia' director Christopher Nolan is no stranger to character building
so the first act of the film is crucial for the development of the Bruce Wayne
character. In all the other big screen outings of the Dark Knight, Bruce Wayne/Batman
was a very secondary character and just a reason to have the big star villains
on the screen. This movie is completely different with Bruce and the Batman
been the characters that drive the movie. The villains, while still menacing
and scene stealing, do not grab all of the limelight away from the most interesting
character in the Batman universe, Batman himself.
After this we return
to Gotham and the Batman makes his first appearance. From here the film shifts
up a gear as we see the evolution of Bruce Wayne into the Batman. We find
out were he got all his equipment from, the reasons behind the look and how
his arrival impacts the criminals and the law enforcement of Gotham City.
The best thing to
do with a character of this magnitude in comic book folklore is hire a director
who has a real passion and vision of the material and Christopher Nolan is
that man. As he showed in his previous films, he is no stranger to character
development and telling a story, thanks to a tremendous script by David Goyer,
the only question mark against him was could he handle the action sequences?
The answer is yes. Nolan has taken a realistic approach to the movie and grounded
Batman in reality. Remembering that this is a man with no superpowers who
can be killed at any time, the fight sequences are quick and precise, as you'd
expect from an expert. Villains and henchmen are put down quickly and efficiently,
making you feel that Batman could realistically take on many enemies at a
time. The scenes with the new and improved Batmobile are also not too far
from the realms of reality, as the tank-like car smashes its way through the
streets of Gotham. Nolan handles these sequences with growing confidence and
the realistic approach really adds to the appeal of the movie.
has gathered together an all-star cast to bring the comic book legend to life.
Michael Caine is tremendous as Bruce Wayne's butler Alfred. Stealing almost
every scene that he graces, the British legend provides a much needed comic
light in all the darkness. James Gordon is finally correctly portrayed for
the first time by Gary Oldman. This is an important role in the Batman mythos
and Oldman brings dignity and respect to Batman's ally. Liam Neeson plays
a mentor again with the role of Ducard. This is a character that Neeson plays
extremely well as he always has that air of knowledge and authority about
him. Cillian Murphy is suitably chilling as Dr. Jonathan Crane/The Scarecrow.
This quite terrifying character could have easily been another camp Batman
villain but Murphy plays him with great menace, adding to the fear. Katie
Holmes does a good job as Rachel, Bruce's childhood friend and Gotham District
Attorney, who wants to clear up the city as much as Bruce. Morgan Freeman
brings even more class to the picture as Lucius Fox, the man who invents all
of Batman wonderful toys. There are also good turns from Rutger Hauer as CEO
of Wayne Enterprises, Tom Wilkinson as Gotham's number one crime lord and
Ken Watanabe as 'League of Shadows' leader Ra's Al Ghul.
Christian Bale as
Bruce Wayne/Batman drives the film however, in a role that will make him one
of the biggest stars in Hollywood. A brilliant character actor in his own
right, Bale becomes the both sides of the same coin, as we see the man riddled
with guilt and anger over his parents death and the man who dons the suit
to take the fight to the streets of Gotham.
'Batman Begins' is
quite simply stunning. In the mould of other great superhero movies like 'Superman',
'Spider-Man' and 'X-Men', director Christopher Nolan and his cast and crew
have captured the true essence of the source material to produce a film that
will delight fans and captivate everyone else. This is not just a brilliant
comic book movie but also an extremely good film in its own right. Forget
what has gone before, Batman really begins now.
PICTURE & SOUND
The Blu-Ray disc presents the
movie in High Definition widescreen 2:40 up to 1080p, with Dolby TrueHD
5.1 surround sound. The comic book world of Batman is vividly brought to
life via a crystal clear picture. The sound quality is also extremely good
especially during the climatic sequences.
The Dark Knight Prologue (6.36
Watch the prologue to the movie as the Joker Gang perpetrate an elaborate
bank robbery but is the Clown Prince of Gotham just pulling the strings
or is he part of the mayhem?
In Movie Experience
Watch 'Batman Begins' and at key moments within the movie, supporting commentary
and video/comic book imagery pops up to inform you about certain scenes
and sequences within the movie. This new feature is becoming common place
on Blu-Ray discs and is a welcome addition to the growing level of excellent
extras available on this new format.
Reflections on writing Batman
Begins (1.57 mins/Standard Definition)
Co-writer David S. Goyer talks about the secret writing of the story for
'Batman Begins' and nearly getting caught by the comic book community. Digital
Batman (1.06 mins/Standard Definition) Visual effects supervisor Paul Franklin
talks about creating a digital version of Christian Bale's performance.
Batman Begins Stunts (2.29
Watch behind the scenes footage of the preparations for tumbler, the bat
cape, the ice lake fight and the costume burn.
Tankman Begins (5.12 mins/Standard
Comedian Jimmy Fallen stars in the opening sequence to the 2005 MTV Movie
Awards, with guest stars joining in the chase through the streets of Gotham.
Batman - The Journey Begins
Director/co-writer Christopher Nolan, co-writer David S. Goyer, production
designer Nathan Crowley, producers Charles Roven and Emma Thomas, fight
arranger David Forman and star Christian Bale reveal how Batman returned
to the silver screen. The group discuss how the film evolved and how Nolan,
Goyer and Crowley wrote and designed the look and feel of the restart of
the franchise. They also talk about telling an origin story and covering
the mythology of the Batman, filling in the gaps that the previous films
and the comic books/graphic novels hadn't approached or covered. The featurette
also covers casting Alfred, Ducard, Lucius Fox, James Gordon and Rachel
Shaping Mind and Body (12.50
Director Christopher Nolan, stunt coordinator Paul Jennings, fight arranger
David Forman and stars Christian Bale and Liam Neeson talk about making
the fight scenes as realistic as possible. The featurette takes you behind
the scenes of the fight preparation, highlighting the new martial arts technique,
Keysi Fighting Method, which was used as Batman's fighting style in the
movie. Also covered are the sword fights, the brawl and the final confrontation,
as the stunt team outline the process of choreographing the sixteen fight
scenes of the film.
Gotham City Raises (12.49
Director Christopher Nolan, production designer Nathan Crowley, producers
Charles Roven, Larry Franco and Emma Thomas, director of photography Wally
Pfister, visual effects supervisors Paul Franklin and Janek Sirrs and special
effects supervisor Chris Corbould reveal how the fictional city of Gotham
was brought to reality. Combining computer-generated imagery, sets and locations,
Wayne Manor, the Narrows, the Batcave and Gotham itself are brought to the
Cape and Cowl (8.18 mins)
Director/co-writer Christopher Nolan, co-writer David S. Goyer, costume
designer Lindy Hemmings, costume effects supervisor Graham Churchyard and
stars Christian Bale and Gary Oldman talk about creating the new Batman
outfit for the reinvention of the franchise. The group talk about the evolution
of the suit from previous version to include better movement and greater
Batman - The Tumbler (13.40
Director Christopher Nolan, co-writer David S. Goyer, production designer
Nathan Crowley, special effects supervisor Chris Corbould, special effects
workshop supervisor Andrew Smith, stunt performer George Cottle and stars
Christian Bale and Katie Holmes talk about the new Batmobile. Nolan, Goyer
and Crowley reveal how they came up with the design for the tumbler. The
featurette includes footage of the building of the car, testing the prototype
and the planning of the car chase.
Path to Discovery (14.14 mins)
Director Christopher Nolan, co-writer David S. Goyer, production designer
Nathan Crowley, director of photography Wally Pfister, stunt coordinator
Paul Jennings, producers Larry Franco and Emma Thomas, special effects supervisor
Chris Corbould, art director Susan Whitaker, stunt performer Buster Reeves
and stars Christian Bale and Liam Neeson take you to the Iceland location
shoot as the film charts the seven year training programme that Bruce Wayne
through to become Batman.
Saving Gotham City (13.01
Director Christopher Nolan, special effects supervisor Chris Corbould, stunt
performer Buster Reeves, director of photography Wally Pfister, art director
Steve Lawrence, miniature unit supervisor Steve Begg, visual effects supervisor
Paul Franklin and star Katie Holmes talk about the final confrontation in
the movie. The featurette takes you behind the scenes of climatic sequence,
outlining the fight sequence, the monorail and the explosive finale.
Genesis of the Bat (14.34
Director Christopher Nolan, co-writer David S. Goyer, DC Comics president
Paul Levitz, Batman comic editor Bob Schreck, writer Danny O'Neil, DC Comics
vice president Dan Dibio and artist Jim Lee talk about the history of Batman,
the origins of the character and the storylines and graphic novels that
the movie was based upon. With 'The Long Halloween', 'The Man who falls',
'Batman Year 1' and the 70s introduction of Ra's Al Ghul are all mentioned
by the creative team as the major influences behind restarting of the Batman
Read information and see footage of Batman's hardware including the utility
belt, memory fabric cape, the prototype military suit and the tumbler, his
enemies Scarecrow, Ra's Al Ghul and Carmine Falcone and the caped crusader's
allies and mentors Detective Sergeant James Gordon, Rachel Dawes, Lucius
Fox, Alfred Pennyworth and Henri Ducard.
View the US, International and exploration poster art for 'Batman Begins'.
Watch the promotional trailer for the cinematic release of 'Batman Begins'
The Blu-Ray treatment for 'Batman
Begins' is very similar to the original two-disc DVD release a few years
ago, which was already very good. Adding in a few extra bonus features makes
the High Definition version of the film worth buying, especially the inclusion
of 'The Dark Knight Prologue'.
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