Batman Begins Review and Bluray Features
15 Jun 2005
Behind the Scene and other Major Plot Points
Cracks Beneath the lake (FAMOUS SCENE)
When Christian Bale and Liam Neeson were fighting on the frozen lake they could hear the ice cracking beneath their feet. The next day, the lake was completely melted.
Private Screening of Blade Runner
Before the shooting began, Christopher Nolan invited the whole film crew to a private screening of Blade Runner (1982). After the film he said to the whole crew, “This is how we’re going to make “Batman”.”
Alfred, Lucius Fox and Bruce Wayne
Christian Bale revealed in interviews in 2009 that in his first ever scene with Michael Caine and Morgan Freeman (one involving Bale waking up in bed to find them waiting there), he fell asleep after getting ready for the scene. Bale described waking up to find Michael Caine poking him the ribs, saying “Look at that! He’s bloody fallen asleep”.
Contrary to the previous Batman films, in which the Batcave was realized as a combination of a live set and matte paintings (done either by hand or computer), no visual effects were used in this film to show the Batcave. The entire Batcave is instead a massive full-scale set.
To get back in shape after 2004 famous movie MACHINIST
Due to his part in The Machinist (2004), Christian Bale was vastly underweight (about 120 pounds on his 6 foot+ frame) when he was under consideration for the part. After being cast, he was told to become as “big as you could be” by Christopher Nolan. Bale underwent a 6 month dietary and exercise regimen and ending up weighing about 220 pounds (about 40 pounds above his normal weight). It was decided that Bale had become too large (friends of his on the film’s crew dubbed him “Fatman”) and he quickly shed about 20 pounds to have leaner, more muscular frame. Bale described the experience as an unbearable physical ordeal.
C.Bale in Batsuit
The first day of filming that Christian Bale tried on the Batsuit, he stayed in it all day in an effort to get used to it.
Creation of Batman’s Cape
The cape was made with a technique called electrostatic flocking, taught to the crew by the British Ministry of Defense and normally used to decrease the night-vision visibility of objects. Nylon parachute fabric was brushed with glue and covered with fine hair-like material. An electrostatic current was then passed under the material, creating a dark sheen while maintaining the billowing appearance
FEATURES of Batmobile (a.k.a TUMBLER) used by C.Bale
The Batmobile, 9 feet wide and 16 feet long, has a top speed of 106 miles per hour and can accelerate from 0 to 60 miles per hour in 6 seconds. The engine is a 5.7 liter V8 Chevy. It runs on unleaded gas and can do about 7 miles per gallon. It has four 44-inch tires at the rear, made by Interco Tire Corp, while the front is covered in jagged plates of armor. It was designed and built by Chris Corbould and Andrew Smith at Shepperton Studios in England. This Batmobile was built from the ground up and is estimated to be worth half a million pounds. It was designed by mashing together several different off-the-shelf model kits; its construction was so exacting to the model that they even duplicated the blobs of excess glue.
Own stunts by actors
Christopher Nolan would generally shoot the fight scenes with the actors doing as much of the stunts as physically possible (in the case of Christian Bale and Liam Neeson, that was pretty much all of them). He would then shoot the same fight sequences with the stuntmen for coverage.
CGI Shots and non-CGI shots
The buildings were miniatures, and the Batmobile (aka The Tumbler) was a real working prototype. The film had very few CGI shots, because the director does not like the use of computer animation in movies. In the DVD, however, it is shown that some shots of Gotham were augmented using CGI, such as the exteriors of the monorail, and the wide-establishing shot of a distant Gotham City was a rendered effect. In addition, there were several miniature models of the Tumbler made for the rooftop chase sequence. The bonus disc of the 2 disc DVD set shows the various stages of production for the Tumbler.
Invading Alien Spacecraft
While shooting on the streets of Chicago, a person accidentally crashed into the Batmobile. The driver was apparently drunk, and said he hit the car in a state of panic, believing the Dark Knight’s vehicle to be an invading alien spacecraft.
Traffic jam during shooting
While filming in Lower Wacker Drive, in Chicago, Illinois, the filmmakers were so concerned for the care of the Batmobile, that they told the stunt driver to take as much time as he needed to make any move. Therefore, when it came time to back the Batmobile up, they went so slow as to cause traffic jams that had to be reported on the news. Simply moving the Batmobile around Chicago took numerous police as well as caused traffic jams where ever they went.
Reference to Animated Series
Scarecrow (Cillian Murphy) and Batman’s (Christian Bale) first encounter is more likeBatman: The Animated Series: Nothing to Fear (1992) than the comics. Both titles feature Batman trying to foil Scarecrow’s arson attempt, failing and being drugged by the villain’s fear toxin.
Contains 400 VFX shots.
RT/Meta Critic Review
Every so often, it’s time to re-boot Batman. Click here to see
If there is one Batman film anyone should see, this is it. It’s a superhero film with a dark tone that’s very well-written with nothing but incredible actors involved(Click here to see)
It may be too scary intense for younger children, but for everyone else Batman Begins is just about the perfect summer movie. (Click here to see)
This movie was excellent i loved every bit of it. I didnt think any of it was boring. It told the story of how batman came about something the other batman films didnt do. the action was excellent the villian was excellent the acting was excellent this movie was just plain perfect i could watch it all day everyday and not get bored of it. KyleB(MetaCritic)
One of the flagship Warner releases on HD DVD, Batman Begins was delayed on BD to better capitalize on interactive features. Unfortunately, Warner appeared to make no effort to capitalize on Blu-ray’s overarching feature: superior capacity. The bitrates of the BD are no better than that of the HD DVD. That means the picture and sound are also held back by the HD DVD, and appear to have been sourced from the same transfer. The video and audio are not bad at all, but Batman Begins is not up to reference quality by any accurate assessment. The most frustrating part of this observation is not just waiting more than a year for no significant bitrate improvement over the HD DVD, but in comparing Batman Begins to a six-minute prologue of The Dark Knight, which is included on the BD. Every frame of the prologue is truly reference quality, generating a stark contrast to the comparably veiled and constricted dynamics of the main feature.
Watch the scene on the frozen lake, where Bruce spars with Ducard. The color and detail is a touch muted, although the resolution is actually quite good. The tonal balance, from light to dark, appears lifelike, but definition is subdued as if a thin layer of plastic is placed over the screen. It is this “veiling” from the low bitrate transfer that hinders the picture and separates it from reference quality BDs like No Country for Old Men. Night scenes show good black level and adequate 1080p detail, far surpassing the DVD version. Since darkness and gradients of black are featured so prominently in the film and in Batman’s accouterments, it becomes a necessity to resolve objects in night scenes. Here again, the BD does an adequate job, and many night scenes show good depth. Unfortunately, some life appears sucked out of the picture
Like the video, the audio appears to be a straight port from the HD DVD, presented in Dolby TrueHD 5.1 at 16-bit, 48 kHz. While this isn’t bad or offensive (there is no audible distortion) it is similar to CD resolution. Warner again does not capitalize on the capacity or capability of Blu-ray’s advantages. Still, dialog orchestral sound and some effects and explosions are adequate and resolve well, if not the greatest in definition. LFE content is deep and significantly improves action sequences. In a word, the TrueHD track is polite. And that’s a problem.
Watch the scene where Batman eludes the police in the Batmobile, jumping from rooftop to rooftop. At one point, as the tumbler cruises along a sloped roof, the wheels rip off ceramic tiles in rapid succession, like machine gun fire. When I saw the film in the theater, the wheels made a distinct sound as the Batmobile drove over each of these tiles, but the detail, impact and dynamic punch of this audio sequence was a bit lost on the Blu-ray. The sonics are not badly muddied, but they lack the punch, realism and extension of the best BD content. This is a prime example of how HD DVD held back the HD formats. Hopefully, Warner’s days of using low bitrate content on BD are coming to an end.
Prologue: The best supplementary material by far is the six-minute prologue of The Dark Knight presented in a 1.80:1 aspect ratio at 1080p resolution. Rarely has video quality this good been achieved in home video. The scene shows a bank heist orchestrated by The Joker (Heath Ledger) and his cohorts–each with a clown-face mask. The scene is shot, acted and produced impeccably for IMAX. In addition to whetting viewers’ appetites for the sequel, the reference quality of the prologue shows the shortcomings (both video and audio) of Batman Begins.
Picture-in-Picture: This is why we had to wait so long for the title to appear on BD? The interviews, behind-the-scenes sequences, and commentary are all quite interesting, but I would have much preferred that Warner focused its efforts on delivering the feature film in the best possible quality. The PiP material showcases director Christopher Nolan and all the major actors of Batman Begins. Much of the content is very instructive; however, there are lags in which no picture or commentary is included for a couple minutes at a time, which hurts the pacing.
Genesis of the Bat: Clocking in at 15 minutes, this featurette is in standard definition like all remaining supplementary material (aside from the theatrical trailer). Genesis of the Bat is an amalgam of several on-set interviews–mostly from Nolan and screenwriter David S. Goyer–to explain the conception of Batman Begins to reset the Batman saga.
Batman: The Journey Begins: At 14 minutes, this featurette is among the least rewarding supplementary features on the BD. It focuses on the film’s casting of such stars as Christian Bale, Katie Holmes and Cillian Murphy, among the other actors that helped Batman Begins achieve success.
Path to Discovery: Another 14-minute, standard definition featurette, Path to Discovery DOCUMENTS THE FILM’S OPENING FOOTAGE SHOT IN ICELAND AND THE CHALLENGES OF SHOOTING IN A COLD CLIMATE.
Saving Gotham City: Clocking in at 13 minutes, this featurette focuses on the film’s action sequences. Nolan sought to minimize computer-generated graphics and developed better ways to shoot the scenes. This not only makes Batman Begins impressive from a technical standpoint, but it eliminated the need to integrate CGI into the film, which can dynamically squash the image.
Shaping Mind and Body: At 13 minutes, this documentary shows why Bale, a questionable candidate for a superhero, IS ACTUALLY THE MOST SUCCESSFUL ACTOR TO TRY ON THE BATSUIT. The behind-the-scenes footage and INTERVIEW COMMENTARY DOCUMENT THE WAY BALE WORKED HARD AT HIS ROLE WHILE EFFORTLESSLY LATCHING ON TO THE CONCEPTS LAID OUT BY NOLAN AND GOYER. Easily one of the best featurettes on the BD.
Gotham City Rises: Another fascinating featurette clocking in at 13 minutes SHOWCASES THE DESIGN TEAM THAT PUT TOGETHER THE MOST ELABORATE INCARNATION OF GOTHAM CITY. BY COMBINING DESIGNED SETS WITH EXISTING STRUCTURES, THE FILM ACHIEVED AN AMAZING METROPOLITAN LOOK, RANGING FROM THE LUXURIOUS SETS OF WAYNE MANOR TO THE PRECARIOUS ELEVATED TRAIN TO THE SLUMS OF GOTHAM’S “THE NARROWS” DISTRICT.
Cape and Cowl: THIS EIGHT-MINUTE DOCUMENTARY FOCUSES ON THE BATSUIT FROM A CONCEPTUAL, TECHNICAL AND PRACTICAL PERSPECTIVE. IT SHOWS HOW MUCH WORK WENT INTO EVERY DETAIL OF BATMAN’SOUTFIT.
Batman: The Tumbler: Clocking in at 14 minutes, this featurette showcases the Batmobile, from NOLAN’S ORIGINAL VISION AS A CROSS BETWEEN A HUMMER AND A LAMBORGHINI TO KATIE HOLMES’ TAKE ON THE VEHICLE. Some interesting technical details, but mostly fluff.
Rounding out the supplementary content is a STILL GALLERY FROM STANDARD DEFINITION PR CAMPAIGNS, A SET OF SD CONFIDENTIAL FILES SHOWING CONCEPTUAL ANIMATED TEXT PAGES; an MTV spoof entitled Tankman Begins, from the 2005 MTV Movie Awards, and the high definition theatrical trailer (abbreviated version).