The day The Dark Knight Rises gets its DVD and Blu-ray release — that’s today — is also a day worthy of a trip to iTunes’ app store.
Warner Bros. Home Video is bringing the behind-the-scenes exploration most of us are used to experiencing solely on our TVs further into the 21st century with its iPad/iPhone app that syncs to Dark Knight Rises’ Blu-ray disc. The app’s dual screen features spotlight aspects of the film like the characters, the sets, vehicles and gadgets and the making of ambitious action scenes including the football stadium disaster and Bane’s brutal fight with Batman.
It’s an app that focuses solely on exactly what its title (The Dark Knight Rises FX App) suggests: the final film in Christopher Nolan’s Batman trilogy. Unlike WB’s recent app that syncs with the Sherlock Holmes: A Game of Shadows Blu-ray disc – which supplied a wealth of content about the history of the Arthur Conan Doyle character – this app leaves the content about the source material to the DC Comics website (the app’s Batman section, for example, has a link to DC’s webpage about the comic book character). So comic book devotees, by all means, check out the app, but action movie fans, this app, with its illuminations of the making of complex action sequences, is really for you.
The Explore Gotham: Second Screen portion of the app has five categories: Characters, Locations, Vehicles and Gadgets, Featurettes and Scene Explorer. The video content that can be viewed on the iPad in each of these sections is all on the Blu-ray pack’s second disc – so as far as video featurettes go, you’re not getting a lot of content on the app that you don’t get as soon as you purchase the Blu-ray. But the perk of having these videos accessible on the app comes with its synchronization to the disc that plays the film. Once you’ve synced the app to the disc via Wi-Fi, a timeline appears on the app, laying out all of the app’s content from all categories in the order they appear in the film. Scroll ahead and you can select a feature that’s linked to a scene later in the movie – and the Blu-ray player will also skip ahead to the relevant scene. The second disc actually lays out the bonus content in an overly layered manner that’s not easily navigatable, but that same content is very logically navigatable in the app, both in time with the film or via those categories.
One area of video content that is only available with both the app and the Blu-ray disc is what is essentially The Dark Knight Rises’ Easter Eggs. Once synced with the disc, “flick to screen” buttons appear on certain areas of the app, launching extra content on the TV screen. A button on the Batcave Location page, for example, cues up a timelapse video depicting the construction of the Batcave set.